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| 35. [PORTOLÁ, Gaspar de (attrib.)
(1723-1784)]. Estracto de noticias del puerto de Monterrey, de la
missión, y presidio que se han establecido en el con la denominación
de San Carlos, y del sucesso de las dos expediciones de mar, y tierra
que a este fin se despacharon en el año proximo anterior de 1769
[caption title]. [Colophon: Mexico, August 16, 1770].  pp. Small folio,
plain protective wrappers (on laid paper with watermark 1832). An exceptionally
fine copy, apparently removed from a larger legajo at some point
in time, with contemporary ink foliation at top right of each leaf (225,
226, 227). Preserved in chemise and slipcase of half navy blue levant
morocco over marbled boards. Exceedingly rare. This copy was owned by
John Howell–Books in the 1970s, and the chemise bears Warren R. Howell’s
penciled cost code (lxytxs) and a retail price of $9,500. Although this
copy was in Howell’s Catalogue 50, it was not from the collection of
Jennie Crocker Henderson, but rather one of the additions that Howell
made to her collection.
First edition, the folio issue, for official circulation. Cowan I, pp. 79-80. Cowan II, p. 199. Graff 1264. Howell 50, California 195 (cataloguing the present copy): “Although Wagner would not commit himself on the question of priority, never having discovered any contemporary statement as to which was printed first, Cowan considered the folio issue to be the first. Dr. George P. Hammond presents a conclusive solution to the problem in Noticias de California (Book Club of California, 1958): On the basis of two corrections made in the quarto of spelling errors in the folio, he assigns priority to the folio.” Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 35. Jones 538. LC, California Centennial 26. Libros Californianos (Cowan & Bliss lists), pp. 16, 20. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 56. Medina, México 5330. Palau 84307. Rocq 5676. Streeter, Americana-Beginnings 74n. Streeter Sale 2438 (folio issue): “The first published account of the first permanent settlement in California, the Estracto being the preliminary report of the Portolá expedition.” Wagner, Spanish Southwest 150. Zamorano 80 #35 (Henry R. Wagner): “Portolá and Costansó (q.v.) arrived in Mexico City on August 10, 1770, bringing the first news of the occupation of Monterey. The government therefore lost very little time in having the occupation report printed. It is the earliest known printed piece, since Torquemada’s Monarquía Indiana, to contain any information regarding what is now known as Upper California.” ($45,000-90,000)
35A. [PORTOLÁ, Gaspar de]. Noticias de California. First Report
of the Occupation by the Portolá Expedition, 1770.... San Francisco:
Book Club of California, 1958. 53 pp., folding maps, facsimiles of the
4to and folio editions of the Estracto de Noticias, illustration
of Presidio de Monterey. Small folio, original cloth-backed grey boards.
Very fine in d.j.
Born of the great tale of chivalry the Sergas de Esplandián
as the island of Queen Calafia decades prior to its discovery, California
engendered extraordinary curiosity throughout its early history. Unlike
other regions discovered by Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, California resisted occupation for a century and a half following
the first attempt at settlement by Fernando Cortés. Even following successful
permanent foundations established by the Society of Jesus after 1697,
California was the distant edge of the Spanish Empire and was, at best,
a marginal province. Following the expulsion of the Jesuits, in 1768
Visitor General José de Gálvez initiated plans for the occupation of
Alta California, unexplored since 1602. Through the creation of a naval
department at San Blas, this advance could avail itself of more rapid
maritime travel coupled with overland expeditions under Gaspar de Portolá
and Franciscan Fray Junípero Serra from the California peninsula.
——W. Michael Mathes