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|48. KOTZEBUE, Otto von (1786-1846).
Entdeckungs-Reise in die Süd-See und nach der Berings-Strasse
zur Erforschung einer nordöstlichen Durchfahrt. Unternommen in den
Jahren 1815, 1816, 1817 und 1818...auf dem Schiffe Rurick unter dem
Befehle des Lieutenants der Russisch-Kaiserlichen Marine Otto von Kotzebue....
Weimar: Gebrüdern Hoffmann, 1821.  91 [1, blank] [2, half-title,
verso blank] -168; 176;  240  [4, Inhalt]  xviii pp.,
20 copper-engraved and aquatint plates (views, natives of Alaska,
Hawaii, and Micronesia, and natural history by Louis
Choris and other artists; 19 of which are fully colored and
on thick wove paper, 4 double-page), 6 copper-engraved maps (5 folding),
including Charte von der Behrings Strasse nach Merkators Projection
August 1816 (36.6 x 39 cm; 14-5/8 x 15-3/8 inches), 2 folding tables.
3 vols. in one, 4to, contemporary three-quarter sheep over tree calf,
original orange gilt-lettered spine label. Early shellacking on spine
peeling, corners and edges worn (sections of boards exposed), lower
joint slightly split at bottom, interior very fine with only a few
traces of foxing (none affecting plates or maps), overall a very good
to fine copy, with especially beautiful coloring of plates. Preserved
in a half brown cloth and marbled boards slipcase with maroon morocco
label. Rare, especially with 19 of the plates in full color.
First edition (with the beautifully hand-colored butterfly plates by Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz, which did not appear in the Russian and English editions; some of the butterflies are specimens sighted in California); present copy with text on good-quality laid paper (leaves bulking to approximately 4 cm), plates on thick Velinpapier, and 19 plates in full, rich, vibrant color. Three issues are usually said to exist, differing as to type of paper used and extent of coloring to the engravings. There is some disagreement among various bibliographers and cataloguers as to the exact characteristics of the three primary issues. David W. Forbes (Hawaiian National Bibliography 525), whom we trust, states that the three primary issues available for purchase were: (1) regular issue, portraits colored, folding plates in sepia aquatint; (2) printed on good-quality laid paper (leaves bulk to 4 cm), plates colored; and (3) printed on heavy pressed wove Velinpapier (leaves bulk to 7 cm.), with plates particularly well colored in several colors. (The plate of the hooded monkey’s cranium is uncolored in all issues.) Furthermore, Forbes discusses an ad which he examined in Kotzebue’s Neue Reise (Weimar & St. Petersburg, 1830), offering yet another issue (Royal Velinpapier “mit den Kukpfern en gouache”), along with still one more rather vanilla variation (text without plates and maps). The list of subscribers accounts for approximately 587 copies in all, 90 of which were issue 3, on fine Velinpapier with the plates specially colored (two, or possibly three, of the latter were reserved for Tsar Alexander). A quick glance at Forbes’s list of located copies readily demonstrates that there are many variations of this work. What is important is that the set be complete with all plates and maps; also, most sources lean to a preference for the plates in full color, like the present copy.
Abbey 596. Arctic Bibliography 9189. Borba de Moraes I, p. 373. Cowan I, p. 132. Cowan II, p. 334: “The best of the editions.” Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 525: “A celebrated narrative important for its descriptions of Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Micronesia.... The narrative is one of the significant early accounts of California.... The Hawaiian portion of the text is extensive with important observations on life and customs during the reign of Kamehameha I, whose famous ‘red vest’ portrait by Choris is one of the illustrations.” Hill, pp. 164-65: “The description of the northwest coast of America is a most important contribution. The second volume contains a description of California and the earliest scientific account of the Golden Poppy, California’s state flower.... The account of Adelbert von Chamisso, the naturalist, gives a brief description of the climate, birds, and fauna, and paints a depressing picture of the Indians and the work of the missions.” Holliday 617. Howell 50, California 136; Anniversary Catalogue 67. Howes K258. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 48. Kroepelien 670.
Lada-Mocarski 80: “This edition—all 3 variants—is in many ways superior to the subsequent editions, including the English translation (London, 1821). The three volumes are rich in early original source material on Alaska.... The question arises of the priority in publishing the Russian and German editions. Some reasoning can be advanced in favor of the...German edition being an earlier one, but the evidence is not conclusive for the first two volumes. There is no doubt, however, about the third volume, which in the German edition appeared in the same year, 1821, while in the Russian edition it was not published until two years later. Until a more conclusive evidence is obtained, one way or another, the author decided to describe both the Russian and the German editions of 1821. One should add that the Russian edition has a separate atlas of 21 maps, while the German edition has no separate atlas and only 7 different maps in all three volumes. On the other hand the 11 colored plates of butterflies in the German edition are not present in the Russian issue.” Lipperheide 1457. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 82. Streeter Sale 3511. Zamorano 80 #48. ($7,500-15,000)
|48A. KOTZEBUE, Otto von (1788-1846).
A Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea, and to Beering’s
Straits, for the Purpose of Exploring a North-East Passage, Undertaken
in the Years 1815-1818, at the Expense of His Highness...in the Ship
Rurick.... London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and
Brown, 1821. xv  358 +  433  +  442 pp., 9 copper-engraved
plates (8 hand-colored) and 7 copper-engraved maps (4 folding). 3 vols.,
8vo, three-quarter nineteenth-century red morocco over marbled boards,
spines lettered in gilt, with raised bands, edges tinted yellow. Binding
rubbed and moderately worn, vol. 2 front endpaper with old tape repair,
occasional light foxing and offsetting to interior, overall a very
good to good set. Light ex-library with a few embossed stamps of Burbank
Public Library (confined to inner text leaves); front pastedowns with
evidence of removal of library materials (some loss and abrasions to
endpapers of vol. 2); vol. 3 with “Sold By” stamped on endleaves.
First English edition (Phillips of London published an edition the same year, but it was abridged and contained only 4 maps). Cowan I, p. 132. Cowan II, p. 335. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 528. Hill, p. 165. Graff 2356: “One of the great early nineteenth-century voyages of discovery.” Holliday 618. Howes K258. Jones 832. Norris 1979. O’Reilly & Reitman, Bibliographie de Tahiti 776. Streeter Sale 3512. (3 vols.) ($2,500-5,000)
48B. MAHR, August C. The Visit of the “Rurik” to San Francisco
in 1816.... Stanford: Stanford University Press, etc., 1932. 194
pp., frontispiece halftone of California poppy, halftone plates after
iconography from the expedition. 8vo, original maroon cloth. Spine
light and with a few spots, interior fine.
The Enlightenment came to Russia under the reign of Catherine the
Great (1762-1796) and the eastward expansion begun under Peter the
Great saw fruition in the establishment of Kodiak by Grigor I. Shelikhov
and the Russian-American Company in 1783. With a base in America, the
Russian Academy of Sciences entered the field of scientific exploration,
and, given that communication and supply to Alaska overland through
Siberia via Yakutsk, Irkutsk, Okhotsk, and Petropavlovsk required over
two years and was extremely arduous, maritime routes from St. Petersburg
to Kodiak were established by the Admiralty and its modernized fleet.
——W. Michael Mathes