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Auction 12: The Zamorano 80 Collection of Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lot 7

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Item 7. First publication of Anza’s California Expedition diaries and reports, documenting the first overland colonizing expedition from Mexico into Alta California in 1774—a monumental and resounding overland.

7. BOLTON, Herbert E[ugene] (1870-1953). Anza’s California Expeditions.... Berkeley: University of California Press, 1930. [24] 529 + [16] 473 + [22] 436 + [14] 552 + [20] 426 pp., 14 maps (some folding), 106 plates, 47 facsimiles. 5 vols., 8vo, original navy blue ribbed cloth. A few traces of shelf wear, otherwise very fine.
First edition. Bolton 4308. Cowan II, p. 60. Edwards, Enduring Desert, p. 11. Farquhar, Books of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon 7c (cited for the texts of Anza’s journeys along the Gila and the Colorado below Yuma and his crossings of the big river). Hill, p. 29. Holliday 103. Howell 50, California 310. Howes B583: “Monumental work containing translations of the original MS. diaries of Anza, Díaz, Garcés, Font and Palóu, relating to the 1773 and 1774 expeditions and the founding of both Monterey and San Francisco.” Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 7. Libros Californianos, p. 37 (Powell commentary discussing Father Font’s diary): “His observations are tempered with good humor and an appreciation of the ludicrous. No one else among the missionary fathers could have bathed the buxom Yuman maiden with dignity, nor rebuked drunken soldiers so ironically”; p. 64 (Hanna list): “Bolton’s introductory volume is a brilliant presentation of the whole scene of Spain’s expansion in the New World.” Norris 359. Powell, California Classics, pp. 3-16: "Anza towers above his time, dwarfing such johnny-come-latelys as Frémont and Carson and such scum as Billy the Kid and his ilk"; Southwestern Book Trails, p. 11. Streeter Sale 4308. Weber, The California Missions, p. 9. Zamorano 80 #7 (Phil Townsend Hanna): “Juan Bautista de Anza was the foremost land explorer in Spanish California. With his expedition of 1774 he opened up the land route between the established settlements of Sonora and the new colonies of Alta California, and his expedition of 1776 brought overland the colonists who founded San Francisco. Anza’s accomplishments were not well understood and hence not appreciated until Bolton assembled all the diaries, journals, and correspondence of Anza and his associates in this publication. Incidentally, I agree with Bolton in his assertion that the Font long diary of the 1776 expedition contained herein is the greatest single diary of exploration in the history of Latin America.” (5 vols.) ($300-600)


Although Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J., had definitively demonstrated in 1700 that the century-long geographic misconception of California as a great island off the west coast of North America was false, the region remained, from a practical point, insular. The great Colorado Desert extending from central Arizona through the Imperial Valley and to the crest of the Coast Range effectively defied an overland approach from the settled areas of Sonora and thus from central New Spain. Despite various attempts by Jesuit explorers to establish a land route, throughout their tenure in the Californias and for the first years following their replacement by Franciscans, contact and supply of the peninsula as well as the new foundations in Alta California relied upon sailings from the ports of Matanchel and San Blas on the coast of Nayarit. Given the limited space upon ships, the movement of large quantities of supplies, livestock, and particularly colonists to Alta California was severely constricted.
Juan Bautista de Anza (1735-1788), son of a presidio commander of the same name, was born on the northern frontier, served as commander of the presidio of Tubac adjacent to mission San Xavier del Bac at Tucson, and was charged by Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli with the establishment of the long-desired land route to California in late 1773. Departing Tubac in January 1774, Anza, with Franciscans Juan Díaz and Francisco Tomás Hemenegildo Garcés and thirty-one men, reached the Gila River, followed it westward to its confluence with the Colorado, crossed the Imperial Valley and San Gorgonio Pass, and arrived in San Gabriel in late March. Although the party was exhausted, Anza had succeeded in linking the route from Horcasitas (Hermosillo) to the Camino Real of the Californias. Following a brief trip to Monterey, Anza returned to Sonora and continued to Mexico City, where he reported his success.
With plans to expand the Franciscan missions northward to San Francisco Bay, Anza was commissioned by Bucareli to recruit thirty soldiers and their families for service in the projected presidio and conduct them overland via his newly established route. In October 1775, accompanied by Franciscans Pedro Font, Tomás Eixarch, and Garcés, twenty-five men as escort, and twenty-eight colonist-soldiers with their wives and children under Ensign José Joaquín Moraga, Anza again departed Tubac, and, following the route established the preceding year, reached San Gabriel in early January 1776. After reorganization, Anza then conducted the families northward to Monterey, arriving in early March. Having accomplished the purpose of his march, he returned southward a few days later. The Anza expeditions had not only opened a land route to California, but also led to the first explorations of the interior of Alta California by Garcés and Font, and to the establishment of the Franciscan missions of La Purísima Concepción and San Pedro y San Pablo Bicuñer at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers. The overland route established by Anza in 1774 was, however, short-lived, and in July 1781 it was effectively closed by the massacre of Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, a group of settlers he was conducting to California, and Franciscan missionaries Díaz, Garcés, José Matías Moreno, and Juan Antonio Barreneche at the hands of the Yumans.
Herbert Eugene Bolton (1870-1953), founder of the study of former Spanish provinces in the present United States, the “Spanish Borderlands,” also pioneered archival research in Mexican archives, and produced a prodigious number of scholarly articles and books on Spain in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and California. During his professorships at the Universities of Texas and California he supervised numerous graduate students, many of whom became noted scholars in the field and who were also unacknowledged contributors to his publications. The five volumes of Anza’s California Expeditions are the result of the unrecognized combined efforts of various graduate students, revised, edited, and compiled by their professor. Vol. 1 contains an introductory study also published separately as Outpost of Empire: The Story of the Founding of San Francisco (New York: Knopf, 1931); Font’s diary of his explorations; translated and annotated diaries of the first expedition (by Anza, Díaz, Garcés, and Francisco Palóu) and of the second expedition (by Anza, Font, Eixarch, Palóu, and Moraga); and selected official correspondence regarding the expeditions. A facsimile reprint of the five volumes was published in New York in 1966. Although numerous scholarly studies regarding the Anza expeditions and the people and events related to them have substantially augmented historical knowledge of the expeditions since 1930, this work remains a useful and fundamental source.

——W. Michael Mathes

Item 7. Map from Bolton’s Anza expedition diaries.

Item 7. Facsimile from Palóu’s diary.

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