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

Lots 204-206: French in California, Medicine, Science

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204. TRÉNY. La Californie Dévoilée, ou Vérites Irrécusables Appuyées sur de Nombreux Témoinages sur Cette Partie du Globe...Deuxième Édition. Paris: Chez Tous les Libraires [Bonaventure & Ducessois], 1850. 60 [2, ads] pp., numerous woodcut text illustrations. 8vo, original tan pictorial wrappers (old matching paper spine). Wrappers slightly chipped and darkened, spine splitting, small hole in half title, very light foxing, else very good. In a blue cloth slipcase with gilt-lettered leather label and chemise.
    Second edition. Braislin 1796. Cf. Cowan I, p. 232. Cowan II, p. 644. Graff 4185n. Howes T347. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 637b. Monaghan 1414. Sabin 96779. Streeter Sale 2655. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 210: “Significant pamphlet.” There were three editions, all in 1850, all with 60 pages. The bibliographical relationship among them has never been adequately explored. All are rare and none have appeared at auction since the Streeter Sale in 1968.

    A propaganda publication of the Compagnie la Californienne of Paris, this work is uniformly flattering of California, the emigrant’s prospects there, and the company’s ability to assist. Valued because it contains matter not normally found in such French publications, especially translations from English-language newspapers. Most astonishing, however, is the description on pp. 57-60 of the departure of a group of the company’s emigrants on board the Jacques-Lafitte, which is made to sound like a veritable party cruise, greatly in keeping with a long tradition in French emigration literature stretching back to Charles de Rochefort in the mid-seventeenth century, who described the voyage to the West Indies as no more difficult than sitting in one’s living room. More interesting to those of calculating analysis, however, would be the letter of one Léopold Perrot, written from California to his mother (pp. 35-38). Although he includes something of a “Prices Current” list that seems to indicate not everything is expensive, he remarks that carpenters receive up to 100 francs a day and that the washerwoman charges 5 francs for every piece of clothing. Clearly, easier and surer money is to be made off of serving miners than in being one.

205. TYLER, Charles Marion. The Island World of the Pacific Ocean. San Francisco: Howard & Pariser, 1885. 337 pp., errata slip, chromolithographed frontispiece, 3 chromolithographed plates (scenes, natural history, natives), 16 woodcut engravings, 1 folded chromolithographed map. 8vo, contemporary three-quarter maroon morocco over maroon pebble cloth, sprinkled edges. Spine lightly scuffed, minor stain on lower cover, hinges just starting, some offsetting from color plates, generally very good.
    First edition. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 3941n. Taylor, Pacific Bibliography, p. 13n: “Fairly comprehensive.” The frontispiece is a spectacular view of Mt. Erebus in full eruption. The chromolithographs were printed by the San Francisco firm of A. L. Bancroft. A general work on the history, geography, ethnology, products, and resources of Oceania by a man involved in the South Sea trade. The chapter on Alaska and the West Coast includes material on the seal fishery.

206. TYSON, James L. Diary of a Physician in California: Being the Results of Actual Experience, Including Notes of the Journey by Land and Water, and Observations on the Climate, Soil, Resources, of the Country, etc. New York & Philadelphia: D. Appleton, 1850. 92 [4, publisher’s ads including Gold Rush books] pp. Narrow 8vo, modern beige cloth, gilt-lettered beige leather spine label, lacks wrappers. Title page with two small chips in blank right margin and minor stains, light uniform age toning, red ink stamp of Mercantile Library of New York on title page and three places in text, old ink number on title page.
    First edition. Braislin 1807. Camp 668. Cowan I, p. 235: “This work has a greater originality than the majority of similar narratives written by adventurers of that time.” Cowan II, p. 648. Howes T451. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 642a: “Tyson’s book is important in that it...includes advice on how to stay healthy for those crossing the Isthmus or working in the mines.” Norris 4040. Rocq 16114. Sabin 97640. Streeter Sale 2656: “One of the best contemporary accounts in print of travels to the northern mines of California and of life there in the summer of 1849.” Vail, Gold Fever, p. 25. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 211. Tyson sailed to California in January 1849 by the Panama route to become familiar with diseases, particularly at the mines, and to select a location for permanent settlement. His plans fell apart, however, when he himself got sick and found mining life disagreeable. He then retraced his steps back to the East Coast. Because he was a professional physician, his remarks are the first substantial ones by such a person aimed at protecting the health of immigrants and miners. In somewhat of a departure for his time, he recommends frequent bathing. Some of his recommendations, however, seem a little understated. He recommends avoiding “drinking much of the water” during the trip through Panama because “They are highly charged with decayed vegetable matter, and are liable to do mischief” (p. [7]).

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