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

Lots 176-178: San Francisco, Ambrose Bierce

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176. [SAN FRANCISCO]. San Francisco Block Book Fourth Edition Comprising Fifty Vara Survey, One Hundred Vara Survey, South Beach, Mission, Horner’s Addition, Potrero, Western Addition, Richmond District, Sunset District, Flint Tract, etc. Showing Size of Lots and Blocks and Names of Owners, Compiled from Latest Official Records. October, 1906. San Francisco: Hicks-Judd, [1906]. xxii, 897 pp., almost a thousand lithographed maps. Folio,contemporary three-quarter sheep over paper boards. Sheep rubbed and deteriorating, front hinge separated; except for minor marginal damage to first few leaves, very fine internally.
    First published in 1894, this is the first edition following the April 1906 earthquake and fire: “On account of the recent fire that visited our city, we were called on, within a period of twelve months, to issue a second volume of our Block Book. After unusual difficulties in both compiling and manufacture we now present this volume, and hope our efforts will merit your appreciation” (p. [iii]). Cowan II, p. 554n. Rocq 11832. This huge tome, almost entirely lithographed, shows every lot, its size, and the name(s) of its owners. Books like this and the Sanborn insurance maps are an incredible source for documenting the growth of towns and cities at the turn of the century.

177. [SAN FRANCISCO]. Visitors’ Guide to San Francisco and Tavern News. Published Monthly by Visitors’ Guide, Publisher M. D. Crookston.... Copyright, 1926. [San Francisco: Crookston, 1926]. 64 pp., text illustrations (ads). 24mo, original yellow printed wrappers, stapled, map of shopping, theater, and business district printed inside front cover. Covers slightly bent and wrinkled, light offsetting to title page, otherwise very good.
    Ephemeral pocket guide including information on shopping, dining, touring, hotels, sights, etc. Of sports interest is the April baseball schedule for the “Pacific Coast League.” Includes an early ad for Hertz’ Drivurself, promising to provide clients “a handsome, powerful sedan or touring car” at 72 cents apiece for five persons for ten hours.

178. San Francisco News Letter. Seven Christmas issues (1882-1888). Numerous colored lithographs and text illustrations (scenes and views, life in San Francisco, architecture, fanciful subjects, portraits ads). 4to, original chromolithographed wrappers bound into old three-quarter black roan over black cloth, spine gilt. Spine rubbed with small losses at extremities, corners bumped. A few stains to upper corners of 1882 issue, small strip cut from bottom on one leaf of 1885 issue, otherwise fine.

    First editions. Norris 292 et seq. All issues here include Ambrose Bierce’s vitriolic, satirical column “The Town Crier,” the writing of which was Bierce’s first job in journalism and sometimes considered the first real newspaper column. Bierce’s columns were collected and published as part of his The Fiend’s Delight. It was in the San Francisco News Letter that Bierce realized his metier. His first literary models were his contemporaries Bret Harte and Mark Twain, but, under the tutelage of James W. Watkins, editor of the News Letter, he was introduced to the satire of Swift, Voltaire, Pope, and Juvenal.

This profusely illustrated fin de siècle San Francisco periodical has attributed covers lithographed by A. L. Bancroft, Britton & Rey, Edward Bosqui, and Dickman, Jones & Hettrich. All issues but one contain either chromolithographs or lithographs on tinted grounds by Britton & Rey, Edward Bosqui, or Max Schmidt (see Peters, California on Stone).

The 1882 issue contains a woodcut portrait of Lilly Langtry. The issue for 1885 contains a shape poem on p. 19.

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