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

Lots 200-202: Thompson & West Country Histories

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Thompson & West County Histories

Thompson & West published encyclopedic histories of counties and their development, with highly inclusive surveys of every aspect of a region from early history to the time of publication. What makes the Thompson & West histories so appealing are the many lithographic plates of scenes of urban and rural life, rather than the usual array of pioneer portraits so prevalent in many county histories. These Thompson & West Victorian images, often idyllic and nostalgic to the modern eye, provide superb documentary details of architecture, street scenes, homes, farms, ranches, businesses, transportation, material culture, and social history. There is much of interest for ranching history in the Thompson & West tomes.

200. [THOMPSON & WEST (publishers)]. [WELLS, Henry Laurenz (compiler)]. History of Nevada County California with Illustrations Descriptive of Its Scenery, Residences, Public Buildings, Fine Blocks, and Manufactories. From Original Sketches by Artisans of the Highest Ability. Oakland: Thompson & West, 1880. 234 pp., 83 lithographed plates (one counted as part of pagination; several double-page; several with multiple images), 1 hand-colored lithographed map (Map of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona Published by Thompson & West Oakland. 1880; 24.7 x 31.6 cm; 9-3/4 x 12-1/2 inches). Oblong folio, original black roan over black cloth, upper cover gilt-stamped, lower cover blind-stamped. Spine rubbed, upper joint starting, cloth faded, front hinge open, rear hinge starting and repaired with tape, front flyleaf, rear flyleaf, and last few leaves wrinkled and repaired with tape, stain in upper corner of first few leaves affecting title page and map. Overall, very good condition for such an unwieldy book, with most of the valuable documentary plates fine.
    First edition. Blumann & Thomas 2191. Cowan II, p. 452. Howes N60. Rocq 5957. Some of the handsome lithographs were executed by C. L. Smith & Company. The history includes information on gold mining in the area. The text at pp. 38-40 and the two accompanying plates concern the Donner Party; the plate entitled “Arrival of the Relief Party” is especially dramatic, showing two figures crawling from beneath their snow-covered shelters.
($700-1,400)



201. [THOMPSON & WEST (publishers)]. [WRIGHT, George F. (compiler)]. History of Sacramento County California with Illustrations Descriptive of Its Scenery, Residences, Public Buildings, Fine Blocks, and Manufactories. From Original Sketches by Artists of the Highest Ability. Oakland: Thompson & West, 1880. 294 pp., lithographed frontispiece, 218 lithographed plates (several double sheets, several with multiple scenes, illustrating homes, ranches, businesses, and local attractions), 1 hand-colored lithographed map (Map of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona Published by Thompson & West Oakland. 1880; 24.7 x 31.6 cm; 9-3/4 x 12-1/2 inches); 1 hand-colored folded lithographed map (Map of Sacramento County California; 32.5 x 47.5 cm; 12-3/4 x 18-3/4 inches). Oblong folio, original black roan over purple cloth, title in gilt on spine, gilt-stamped on upper cover, blind-stamped on lower cover (small printed label of D. Hicks & Co. of San Francisco). Binding worn and stained, frontispiece and folding map in poor condition (old tape repairs and tattered with some losses), endpapers missing. Despite the binding wear and troublesome frontispiece and map, the rest of the book is quite fine.
    First edition. Bradford 744a. Cowan II, p. 548. Filby, p. 30. Howes S9. Rocq 6512. Written and edited by Wright with the assistance of others who contributed sections. This history includes sections on every township and on most prominent citizens and businesses. Wright’s comments about the State Library, including its Audubon folio, are quite flattering (pp. 136-137).
($600-1,200)

202. [THOMPSON & WEST (publishers)]. History of Santa Barbara County, California, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches.... Oakland: Thompson & West, 1883. 477 pp., with extra leaf and plate inserted at pp. 108, 140, 256, 356, and 364; correction slip inserted at p. 359; extra inserted title page for Ventura County, p. [348]; duplicate leaves between pp. 248-253 (text is complete), 2 lithographed title pages, 103 lithographed plates (several with multiple images). Large 4to, original gilt-stamped brown calf over brown cloth, beveled boards. Light wear and staining to boards, corners bumped. With printed binder’s ticket of Pacific Press, Oakland, on front pastedown.
    First edition. Adams, Guns 1724: “Chapter IX, entitled ‘Bad Men,’ deals with Jack Powers and Vásquez.” Cowan II, p. 889: “As Ventura County was a part of Santa Barbara County until 1872, this history is of Ventura as well as Santa Barbara.” Howes S100. Rocq 13462.
($750-1,500)


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