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

Lots 158-161: Railroads, Diggin', Swindlin', Yellowbird

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158. [RAILROAD]. The Great Dutch Flat Swindle!! The City of San Francisco Demands Justice!! The Matter in Controversy, and the Present State of the Question. An Address to the Board of Supervisors, Officers, and People of San Francisco [caption title]. [San Francisco, 1864]. 131 [1, contents] pp. 8vo, original printed wrappers. Lower wrapper foxed, uniform light age toning, otherwise very good. The Grabhorn-Streeter-Robbins copy, with the bookplates of Streeter and Edwin Grabhorn on chemise and Robbins’s plate laid in. Preserved in morocco over patterned paper slipcase with chemise, spine gilt. Rare, especially in wrappers.

    First edition. Cowan II, p. 188. Graff 1632. Sabin 28444. Streeter Sale 2885: “The scandal referred to was the passage by the voters of San Francisco of a proposal to subscribe $1,000,000 to the capital stock of the Western Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, $600,000 of the subscription going to the Central Pacific, of which Governor Leland Sanford was president. Most of the work comprises documentation of the intent to defraud.” This complicated controversy arose when Sanford and others of the Central Pacific attempted to obtain actual cash from the City of San Francisco after bonds had been floated. This pamphlet contains a vigorous denunciation of the vote that authorized the investment, and the writer alleges that the measure carried fraudulently. Indeed, officials refused to sign the bonds until finally served with a court order. In the end, history has agreed with Bancroft, who argued in 1890, long after the railroad had cleared the steep grade at Dutch Point, “Whatever may have been the shortcomings of the railroad associates, now that the dust of controversy is clearing away, and malice and prejudice are losing their influence, it will be at least admitted that they have been men of remarkable enterprise and administrative talent” (History of California VII, p. 624).

159. [RAILROAD]. [WHEELER, Arthur]. The Valley Road (Illustrated): A History of the Traffic Association of California, the League of Progress, the North American Navigation Company, the Merchants’ Shipping Association, and the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railway.... San Francisco: Wheeler Publishing Co., 1896. 224 pp., photographic frontispiece portrait, 12 photographic plates (portraits, scenes), numerous photographic text illustrations, some full-page. Large 8vo, contemporary full polished tan calf gilt, spine gilt with red and green morocco labels, marbled endpapers, a.e.g. Lightly rubbed, upper joint and hinge open but holding, rear hinge starting, text block cracked at pp. 16-17. Interior very fine. With printed bookplates of San Francisco publisher Henry Payot on front pastedown and Pacific Union Club on front flyleaf.
    First edition. Cowan II, p. 521. Rocq 16555. Another chapter in the interminable railroad and transportation fights that marked early California history, this work is an attack on those who tried to stop the progress of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad and a paean to those who supported it. The list of Stockton subscribers (pp. 215-220) is fascinating because it breaks the group into categories by occupation (bakers, bootblack, butchers, embalmers, jewelers, etc).

160. READ, J[ames] A. & D[onald] F. Read (illustrators). Journey to the Gold Diggins by Jeremiah Saddlebags. Illustrated by J. A. & D. F. Read. Cincinnati: U. P. James, [1849]. 63 pp., pictorial title, 112 engraved comic illustrations. Oblong 8vo, original gold pictorial wrappers with illustrations on both wraps, stitched. Upper wrapper slightly stained along top and left margins, lower wrapper detached, mild browning to edges of first few leaves, but generally very fine, the interior clean and fresh. In a half red calf slipcase with chemise.

    First edition, the Cincinnati issue. Byrd 45. Cowan II, p. 523. Graff 3432. Howell 50, California 203. Howes R92. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 524a. Norris 539. Sabin 68157. Streeter Sale 2591. The illustrations by James A. and Donald F. Read are among the earliest caricatures in American literature of the forty-niners (but see XOX, item 10). This work, copyrighted May 20, 1849, is usually considered the best known of the Gold Rush comic book literature, although the illustrations lack the rough-and-ready character of those found in the XOX work and the story itself is not nearly so grim and pessimistic. Saddlebags, after numerous adventures involving capture by Native Americans, nearly being eaten by an alligator, and discovering a large chunk of fool’s gold, finally makes his way back home to recover his true love and his sanity.
    Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers II, p. 130: “The Read brothers were wood engravers of New York City, but they were illustrators as well, working for a number of magazines”; #1902: “Shows the lamentable experiences of Mr. Saddlebags in search of gold...18 of the cuts are signed by Richardson as the wood engraver and 1 (p. 40) by Orr. The title-page cut is repeated on the front wrapper, and on the back wrapper is an elaborate wood engraving...advertising Redstick: or, Scenes in the South, published by U. P. James.... Another edition of this book was published by Stringer and Townsend in New York. It is not dated but it may precede the Cincinnati edition. A comparison of the 2 editions shows in the Cincinnati edition some breaks in the thin lines surrounding the cuts, breaks which do not appear in the New York edition. Except for this there is not much to choose between the 2 editions in the quality of the impressions.”

161. RIDGE, John R[ollin] (“Yellowbird”). Poems. San Francisco: Henry Payot & Company [Edward Bosqui & Co., Printers], 1868. 137 [1] pp., albumen photographic frontispiece of author mounted to front free endpaper. 12mo, original dark green cloth, author’s name and title in gilt on upper cover, beveled edges. Clumsily rebacked, joints and hinges weak and starting, text block split between pp. 12-13, shaken and shelf-worn, p. 47 with small void in blank right margin. The Graff copy, with his bookplate on front pastedown and deaccession bookplate of the Newberry library just below, original Ayer shelfmark book sticker on rear pastedown.
    First edition. Cowan II, p. 533. Graff 3504. Howell 50, California 1202. Kurutz, California Books Illustrated with Original Photographs 1856-1890 #43. Miles & Reese, Creating America 122. Norris 3270. Walker, San Francisco’s Literary Frontier, pp. 227-228. A Cherokee born in Georgia, Ridge emigrated to California in 1850 and was for years a leading newspaperman. This posthumous collection of his poems, many of which are of California interest and written squarely within the prevailing romantic style of the time, may be the first published book of poetry by a Native American. Ridge is best remembered for his legendarily rare biography of Joaquín Murieta, which he wrote under the pseudonym Yellow Bird (cf. Zamorano 80 #64). The book was printed by Edward Bosqui (1832-1917), generally considered San Francisco’s first fine printer, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850 and established himself as a printer, lithographer, bookbinder, publisher, and bibliophile (Hart, Companion to California, p. 48).

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