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

Lots 211-213: Literature Too Real, Sensational Chromolithographs

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211. [VIZETELLY, Henry]. Four Months among the Gold-Finders in Alta California, Being the Diary of an Expedition from San Francisco to the Gold Districts. By J. Tyrwhitt Brooks, M. D. London: David Bogue [title page verso: Vizetelly Brothers and Co.], 1849. xviii, 207 pp., lithographed map with gold regions outlined in yellow (The Gold Districts of Alta California.... 16.4 x 11.1 cm; 6-1/2 x 4-3/8 inches). 8vo, later three-quarter tan calf over brown cloth, spine gilt with raised bands and brown and black leather labels. Binding moderately worn (chipped at head of spine, corners bumped, front joint open and weak), endpapers with offsetting from leather binding, small stain to first several leaves in lower blank margins, uniform light age toning, otherwise very good. Littell copy, with his red morocco bookplate on front pastedown. Front pastedown with bookseller’s ticket of Shepard Book Company in Salt Lake City.

    First edition. Byrd 34. Cowan I, p. 25. Cowan II, p. 75. Gaer, California Literature (Gold Rush), p. 50: “A plausible as well as entertaining work.” Graff 4494. Howes V134: “One of the most remarkable ‘imaginary voyages’ since Defoe.” Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 653a. Norris 403. Rocq 16125. Sabin 8350. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 217; Maps of the California Gold Region 60. A fabrication so convincingly told that it was widely published in Europe and believed for decades, fooling even Cowan. Given the incredibly skillful and imaginative weaving of detail, dialogue, and incident that the author brings to the work, it is easy to see why many readers were fooled.

A singular work that belongs in any fiction collection worthy the name. Vizetelly (1820-1894) was a distinguished and sometimes controversial English author and printer who was also a wine expert.

212. [VIZETELLY, Henry]. Vier Maanden onder de Goudzoekers in Opper-Californie, Of Dagboek eener Expeditie van San Francisco naar de Gouddistricten; door J. Tyrwhitt Brooks.... Amsterdam: P. N. van Kampen, 1849. 168 pp., lithographed map with gold regions outlined in yellow (De Goud-Districten van Opper Californië.... 16.3 x 11 cm; 6-3/8 x 4-1/4 inches). 8vo, original maize printed wrappers bound in later three-quarter smooth red calf over red cloth. Spine light and a bit of minor shelf wear, wrappers slightly darkened, otherwise very good. With ink owner’s inscription of Lewis A. McArthur on front flyleaf with note that the volume was bound in London, 1928, and printed bookseller ticket of Van de Erven Doorman of the Hague on verso of front wrapper.
    First edition in Dutch of preceding. Byrd 34. Cowan I, p. 25. Cowan II, p. 75. Howes V134: “One of the most remarkable ‘imaginary voyages’ since Defoe.” Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 653e. Norris 403. Rocq 16125n. Sabin 8351. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 63.

213. [VOLLMER, Carl G. W.]. Kalifornien och Guldfebern. Guldgräfvarnes, Mormonernas och Indianernas Seder och Bruk, antecknade under en Resa i Vestra Nordamerika, af Dr. W. F. A. Zimmermann. Stockholm: C. H. Fahlstedts, [1862]. [8] 662 pp., 8 chromolithographed plates (views in the West and California, buffalo hunting, prairie fire, scene in a goldfields bar, night lynching in San Francisco, bear hunting), 50 text illustrations (mostly of mining processes and equipment). 8vo, original three-quarter brown morocco over brown boards, spine gilt. Light rubbing to boards, shelf wear, corners bumped, front hinge open, small hole in pp. 497-498 costing a few letters, text age-toned due to paper quality, overall very good to fine, the chromolithographs excellent. With modern printed bookplate on front pastedown. Overall a very good copy.

    First edition. Cowan II, p. 900. Flake 9491. Howes V140. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 655a (calling for an illustrated title not present in this copy): “This work served as part of the author’s ‘novels of natural science’ series. ‘Zimmermann’ was his nom-de-plume. The title translates as ‘California and the Gold Fever. Travels in the West of North America; Life and Customs of the Argonauts, Mormons and Indians.’ The chromolithograph plates are sensational.”

Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 238n. Besides the California Gold Rush, the author describes Mormon settlements, Native American tribes (including Comanche, Cherokee, Kiowa, Navajo, Cree), etc. The lithograph of the prairie fire may be a Texas lithograph (appears to be a reworking of the plate reproduced by Del Weniger in The Explorer’s Texas, Austin, 1984, see p. 195).

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