Copyright 2000- by Dorothy Sloan-Rare Books Inc. for all materials on this site. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

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

Lots 151-153: The Missions, Murieta & Neruda

| <<previous lots | |Auction 15 abstracts| |Home| |A15 contents| | next lots>> |

151. NERUDA, Pablo. Fulgor y muerte de Joaquín Murieta: Bandido chileno injusticiado en California el 23 de julio de 1853. [Santiago]: Zig-Zag, [1967]. [3]-<97> [1, blank] [2] pp. (in Spanish and English), numerous text illustrations (from various editions, including original and early editions, fine press, dime novels, and pulp fiction). 8vo, original yellow pictorial cloth, printed in red and black. Spine slightly darkened, light soiling, but otherwise fine. Unusual, if not rare, Murietaiana.
    First edition, limited edition (#6828 of an edition of 10,000). This is the largest limited edition statement we’ve ever seen! A defense of Murieta in the form of a Greek tragedy, complete with choruses. Two of the unusual features of this play are that Murieta does not speak until the play is nearly a third done and that many of his lines are spoken by his disembodied head, which was removed violently from his body by a Texas Ranger. “Murieta (c. 1832-53), Mexican bandit in the Mother Lode country who presumably went to California during the gold rush and there met the common prejudice of the day against Latins, and because of some grievance is supposed to have sworn vengeance against Americans. More certain than this romantic, perhaps fictitious figure, is the fact that there were many robberies and killings in the mining region, all attributed to one person named Murieta.... Later legend that transformed Murieta into a Robin Hood began with the Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta (1854), by John R. Ridge. Pablo Neruda even wrote a play treating Murieta as a countryman justly opposing racist Yanquis” (Hart, Companion to California, p. 289). See also Zamorano 80 #64.

152. NEWCOMB, Rexford. Old Mission Churches & Historic Houses of California: Their History, Architecture, Art, and Lore. Philadelphia & London: J. B. Lippincott, 1925. xvii [1, blank] 379 pp., colored photographic frontispiece, numerous text illustrations from photographs and other sources. 4to, original blue ribbed gilt-pictorial cloth, spine and upper cover lettered in gilt. A very fine, bright copy. Lacks the scarce dust jacket.
    First edition. Howell 50, California 667. Norris 2842. Rocq 17046. Weber, California Missions 73: “Lucid, well-illustrated, and informative text.” In what remains the definitive work on this subject, Newcomb examines the history and architectural development of the California missions and of some of the prominent private structures in the state. Includes individual chapters on the important missions, such as San Luís Rey, San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel, and Santa Inés. His discussion of the architectural development of the missions is especially wide-ranging and includes examples of comparative architecture from missions in Texas and elsewhere.

153. PALÓU, Francisco. Noticias de la Nueva California. San Francisco: Imprenta de Edouardo Bosqui y Cia., 1874. xx, 270 + 301 + 315 + 253 pp., 18 original mounted albumen photographs (missions, views, scenes, architecture, cityscapes). 4 vols., 8vo, contemporary three-quarter dark green sheep over marbled boards, spines gilt-lettered and with raised bands, marbled endpapers, t.e.g. Slight scuffing to spines and some corners, otherwise a very fine set. With ink stamp of M[ariano Aniceto de?] Lara on verso of each title page. “Exceedingly rare” (Howell).

    Second edition, limited edition (#21 of 100 copies, numbered and initialed by John T. Doyle, who wrote the introduction); first edition published at Mexico in 1857. The first publication of the California Historical Society. Bull. NY Pub. Lib. (Spring, 1977) 300. Cowan I, pp. 170-171. Cowan II, p. 472. Doheny Sale 254. Evans, The First Hundred Years: A Descriptive Bibliography of California Historical Society Publications, 1871-1971 #1: “This is a reprint of the writings of the first priest of the Mission at San Francisco.... The Noticias was selected by the Society for its first publication because it concerned ‘the earliest Spanish settlement of this region,...was written at the old Mission of San Francisco, and was undoubtedly the first piece of literary work done here....’” Cf. Fritz, California Coast Redwood 324: “Under October 10, 1769, notes his discovery of the redwood tree.”

Hill 1290: “Most notable in this edition are the eighteen mounted albumen photographs.” Howell 50, California 182. Howes P55.

Kurutz, California Books Illustrated with Original Photographs 1856-1890 #39 (cited as one of only 21 California books illustrated with original photographs before 1890). Streeter Sale 2944. Wagner, Spanish Southwest, 168a: “The work was compiled by Father Paloú while in California, and largely while at the Dolores mission at San Francisco from information derived from individuals connected with the various expeditions to and in California, and from original narratives. It has the appearance of having been intended for publication, but probably the idea was abandoned and instead Paloú wrote his life of Serra.”

    All of the photographs in this volume relate to San Diego and include a city view, San Diego Mission, Commercial Bank of San Diego, and olive orchard and palms at the Mission. The views were taken by prominent photographers, including Bradley & Rulofson, John R. Jarboe, E. J. Muybridge, and W. W. Stewart.

The history’s survival is a story of chance and some fortunate royal forethought. Doyle’s introduction has some interesting passages, especially that in which he describes his visit to the San Luis Rey mission, then in ruins. Some of the photos in this volume appeared first in Descriptive, Historical, Commercial, Agricultural, and Other Important Information Relative to the City of San Diego, California. Illustrated with 22 Photographic Views. Containing Also a Business Directory of the City ([San Diego]: Office of the “San Diego Daily Union,” 1874; see Quebedeaux 63).


Francisco Palóu was born in Palma, Mallorca, in 1725 and, following primary education, in 1739 he entered the Franciscan Order at the Convento de Santa María de los Ángeles de Jesús there. Following his solemn profession in 1740 he continued study at the Convento de San Francisco, Palma, under Fray Junípero Serra, O.F.M., thus initiating a lifelong camaraderie, and was ordained in 1743. Rather than teaching, upon completion of his studies in 1749, Fray Francisco joined his mentor, Fray Junípero, and eighteen other friars to become a missionary in the New World.
    With Serra and other classmates he was assigned to the Colegio de San Fernando in the City of Mexico, walked with Serra and to the Sierra Gorda in Querétaro to begin missionary labors in 1750. Returning to Mexico in 1758, Serra and Palóu were initially designated to re-establish San Sabá in Texas, where the mission had been burned and the ministers martyred by hostile Comanches. However, the friars remained in the Colegio de San Fernando until 1767 when they were destined to replace missionaries of the Society of Jesus in peninsular California.
    Following arrival at Loreto, Palóu was assigned to San Francisco Xavier Viggé-Biaundó; however, with Serra’s departure for the founding of San Diego in Alta California in 1769, he was stationed at Loreto as father president of the peninsular missions. Palóu remained in this post until 1773 when the peninsular missions were turned over to missionaries of the Dominican Order, and in that year he marched northward to join Serra in Alta California; en route, he established the first division of the Californias. As an active missionary and explorer in Alta California, Palóu served at San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel) and as the first resident minister at San Francisco de Asís (Dolores).

    Following Serra’s death in 1784, Fray Francisco served briefly as father president of the California missions, but in the following year moved to the City of Mexico, where he devoted his time to preparing a biography of his mentor for the press. In addition to this manuscript, published as Relación Histórica de la Vida y Apostólicas Tareas del Venerable Padre Junípero Serra... (México, 1787), Palóu also carried an extensive narrative-diary of his service in the Californias, “Noticias de la Nueva California”; however, before it could be prepared for publication, he died at Santa Cruz de Querétaro in 1789. Two contemporary copies of this manuscript are found in the Archivo General de la Nación, México (Ramo Historia 22-23), and Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid (Colección Juan Bautista Muñoz). This extremely valuable account of the Serra years of Franciscan history in the Californias, and particularly important for that of the ex-Jesuit missions, was first published in Documentos para la historia de México in 1857 from the Archivo General de la Nación copy, and the very limited second edition of the Noticias de la Nueva California appeared in San Francisco seventeen years later, taken from the first. A better-known annotated English translation by Herbert E. Bolton, Historical Memoirs of New California, was published in four volumes in 1926.

––W. Michael Mathes

| <<previous lots | |Auction 15 abstracts| |Home| |A15 contents| | next lots>> |