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

Lots 147-150: Muir (Signed), Cable Cars & Murder

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147. MUIR, John. Letters to a Friend: Written to Mrs. Ezra S. Carr 1866-1879. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin; Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915. [6] <194> [2] pp. 8vo, original grey boards, printed paper spine label. Except for very minor nick to lower spine, very fine.
    Limited edition (300 copies). BAL 14770. Farquhar, Yosemite 21. Kimes 331. Rocq 5245. Written to his “spiritual mother...his letters to her in later years are the outpourings of a sensitive spirit to one who he felt thoroughly understood and sympathized with him. These letters are therefore peculiarly revealing of their writer’s personality” (p. [5]).

148. MUIR, John. My First Summer in the Sierra. With Illustrations from Drawings Made by the Author in 1869 and from Photographs by Herbert W. Gleason. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin; Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1911. [1] vii [1, blank] <354> [1, blank] [1] pp., photographic frontispiece, 11 photographic plates (all on tinted grounds), text illustrations. 8vo, original dark green pictorial cloth gilt, t.e.g. Spine slightly rubbed and gilt lettering dull and somewhat flecked, otherwise fine. Ink signed presentation from Muir to California lawyer, politician, and businessman W. F. Herrin, October 1913, on front free endpaper.

    First edition. BAL 14765. Cowan II, p. 447. Neate, Mountaineering and Its Literature 546. Johnson, p. 386. Some of Muir’s text illustrations can be only described as delicate and exquisite.

This is Muir’s later editing of the records of his first visit to an area he would champion all his life.

His dedication is “To the Sierra Club of California Faithful Defender of the People’s Playgrounds.”

149. Murder of M. V. B. Griswold, by Five Chinese Assassins; Together with the Life of Griswold.... A History of the Murder Made Up from the Testimony Elicited at the Coroner’s Inquest, and the Trials. Jackson: T. A. Springer, 1858. 32 pp., 3 woodcut text illustrations (portraits). 8vo, original yellow pictorial wrappers (portrait of Fou Sin, the principal criminal), stitched. Edges of wraps lightly frayed, lower wrapper stained, generally very good. Tan cloth slipcase with chemise. With printed bookplate of Irving W. Robbins, Jr., laid in.

    First edition. Cowan I, pp. 160-161: “This extremely rare work is probably the earliest issue of the press in Jackson.” Cowan II, p. 251. Cowan & Dunlap, Chinese Question 340. Graff 1391: “May have been the first murder by Chinese in California.” Greenwood 972. Huntington Sale 1698:457 (fetching $120 in 1923): “Excessively rare.... Griswold was a prominent pioneer and miner at Jackson, California. He came to Oregon overland by ox-team in 1848 and from there to California in 1849. A portion of the above pamphlet is devoted to his journey and adventures, describing life in Oregon, mining, trouble with the Mormons, etc.” McDade 395. This work, an overlooked legitimate Gold Rush pamphlet and overland, contains the story of the sensational murder by five Chinese of a local businessman and personality. Most of the perpetrators were hanged; one committed suicide. The text and wrapper illustrations were engraved by Sterett & Butler in San Francisco after original ambrotypes by O. Hemenway, whose ad is on the lower wrapper.

150. NATIONAL CABLE RAILWAY COMPANY. National Cable Railway Company’s System of Traction Rail-Ways for Cities and Towns. New York: Martin B. Brown, Printer, [1881]. 52 pp., engraved illustrations. 4to, original grey pictorial wrappers. New York Public Library ink stamps on wrapper and a few pages. Wraps detached and with old repair, some chips and tears to a few leaves, overall a very good copy. Rare.

     First edition. This technical work includes two full-page engraved illustrations of the cable car in San Francisco:

(1) View of the Sutter Street Cable Railway, San Francisco--This, Originally a Horse Road, Was Changed to the Cable System; and

(2) California Street Cable Railway, San Francisco, at a Point 225 Feet above the Bay, Having Attained an Elevation of 190 Feet in a Distance of 1,375 Feet. The cable car, invented by Andrew S. Hallidie to traverse and climb the steep hills of San Francisco, is a hallmark of the city. “Although cable cars might long since have been rendered obsolete by other forms of transportation, San Francisco still retains some because the mode of travel and the Victorian design arouse popular sentiment among residents and they serve as a quaint and exciting attraction for tourists.”

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