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

Lots 26 & 27: Crossing the Sierras vs. the Isthmus

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Early Report on the Donner Party

26. [CALIFORNIA]. The Californian. Monterey, vol. 1, no. 32, March 27, 1847. [4] pp., printed in two columns. Small folio. Uniformly wrinkled with moderate to heavy staining to first page and light staining to others, old stitch holes at left blank margin, creased where folded, overall good to fair.
    First edition of the first California newspaper, which began publication August 15, 1846 (see Streeter Sale 2509). Fahey, p. 134. Cf. Graff 550. Greenwood 99. Cf. Streeter Sale 2509. Wagner, California Imprints 1. An extremely important issue because it contains George McKinstry’s February 28, 1847, report concerning efforts to relieve the Donner Party. It includes reports of cannibalism among the survivors and was the source for many reports on these tragic events throughout the country. This issue also contains news in Spanish and English about the Mexican-American War and various notices. Finally, in keeping with what would become a superb California culinary tradition, Mr. Crane announces a new restaurant where “Beef Steaks, Mutton Chops, Eggs cooked in any manner to suit customers, at the shortest notice” may be had. Nouvelle cuisine would have to wait.

27. [CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH]. For San Francisco, via Chagres. 30th June. The New and Splendid Steamship Crescent City. 1500 tons burthen.... New York: G. F. Nesbitt, n.d.. Printed advertisement: [1] [3, blank] pp., wood-engraved illustration of steamship at top. 25 x 19.8 cm; 9-13/16 x 7-3/4 inches. With contemporary manuscript ink note on last leaf stating the steamer will sail June 28, 1849, and manuscript ink note on p. [1] noting that steerage fare does not include “beds & beddings.” Creased where formerly folded, verso of last leaf has old adhesive stains, otherwise fine. Matted, framed, and glazed.
    Howell 50, California 101 (this copy): “Exceedingly rare, probably unique.” The Crescent City was the first ship on the new New York to New Orleans mail line, a run she made in record time. On her first trip to Chagres, however, her engines failed and the passengers had to be rescued by a passing ship. The price of a ticket to the Panama port ranges from $80.00 for steerage to $150.00 for a cabin in the after saloon. Haskins, Argonauts, lists several arrivals of this ship in California.

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