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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 1-5: Ansel Adams (Signed), Social History, Artotypes

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1. ACKLEY, Mary E. Crossing the Plains and Early Days in California: Memories of Girlhood Days in California’s Golden Age. San Francisco: Privately printed, 1928. 68 pp., photographic frontispiece, 6 photographic plates (included in pagination). 8vo, original half beige cloth over beige boards, printed grey paper label on upper cover. Light cover wear and corners bumped (a bit of board exposed), a few signatures carelessly opened, otherwise a very good copy of a fragile book.

    First edition. Cowan II, p. 2. Eberstadt, Modern Narratives of the Plains & Rockies 1. Flake 12. Howell 50, California 264: “One of the scarcest of the modern books on overland travel.” Howes A33. Mintz, The Trail 3. “Mrs. Ackley was ten when her family emigrated from Missouri to Sacramento in 1852. An observant child with a good memory, she gives an engaging summary of her journey overland and her early experiences in California” (Hanna, Yale Exhibit).

2. ADAMS, Ansel. “Poplars, Autumn, Owens Valley, California.” Gelatin silver photograph. 32.7 x 22.9 cm; 12-7/8 x 9 inches. Signed by Adams in pencil on mount at lower right; titled, dated, and rubber-stamped in ink on verso: [stamped] Photograph by Ansel Adams | [in ink] Poplars, Autumn, Owens Valley | [in ink] California c. 1937 | [stamped] Route 1 Box 181 Carmel, California 93921. Matted, framed, and glazed. Very fine.

Item 2. Ansel Adams’ “Poplars, Autumn, Owens Valley, California”
— the purist approach to photography

3. ADAMS, Ansel. Sierra Nevada and the John Muir Trail. Berkeley: Archetype Press, 1938. [50 leaves of plates consisting of 50 mounted photogravures on coated stock (printed by the Lakeside Press, Chicago, each plate with a separate caption leaf)]. Folio, original white cloth. Very good copy, signed twice by Ansel Adams (on half title and colophon). Preserved in a cloth box.

    First and only edition, limited edition (#125 of 500 copies) of one of the rarest and finest of Adams’s many photography books.

Ansel Adams stated: “A word about the photographs themselves: my best work with the camera in the Sierra, they attempt to convey the experiences and the moods derived from a close association with the mountains.... I feel secure in confining the tone-scale of my prints to a vibrant deep register and in adhering to a certain austerity throughout, in accentuating the acuteness of edge and texture, and in stylizing the severity, grandeur, and poignant minutiae of the mountains.”

4. [ADAMS, Ansel]. ALINDER, James (editor). Ansel Adams 1902-1984. [Carmel: The Friends of Photography, 1984]. 56 pp., text illustrations (Adams’s photographs). 4to, original white wrappers blind embossed with an illustration of Adams’s photo of El Capitan. As issued.
    First edition. Essays on Adams by Anita Ventura Mozley, John Szarkowski, Anne Wilkes Tucker, Newhall Beaumont, James Alinder, Mary Alinder, Alfred Glass, Rosario Mazzeo, Alan Cranston, William A. Turnage, Wallace Stegner, and Peter C. Bunnell. James Alinder’s essay is a useful chronology of Adams’s life. The illustration on the upper wrapper is dramatic and unique.

5. Artistic Homes of California Issued with S.F. News Letter 1887-8. San Francisco: F. Marriott, Publisher; Office S.F. News Letter Flood Building Market and Fourth Streets San Francisco, [1888 or after]. [104] pp., 50 artotypes of architecture by Britton & Rey with captions printed in blue ink. Oblong small folio, original three-quarter black calf over maize and maroon gilt-lettered cloth, title and panel lines in gilt on spine. Calf slightly rubbed, professionally rebacked with original spine preserved, interior very fine. Very rare.


Norris 488. One of several manifestations of this book, which was issued under this title several times with various numbers of descriptions and views. (The Bancroft Library, for example, holds several copies of the book, one of which has only 27 plates.) The individual reproductions were originally published by Britton & Rey between 1887 and 1890 as supplements to the San Francisco News Letter. Here, each illustration is preceded by a leaf with descriptive text on one side and an ad on the other. This copy, except for numbers 38 and 43, matches the printed plate list. The originals published here appeared in the periodical between March 19, 1887, and March 10, 1888.
    Issued at the height of Victorian California exuberance and expansion, this work showcases not only the wealth and taste of the city’s leading citizens but also the skills and craft of the tradespeople who constructed these homes. Some structures are located in San Jose and Oakland. This beautiful documentary preserves images of many homes; the majority of those in San Francisco are no longer standing. An artotype is a variation of a collotype.

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