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

Lots 37-39: Redwoods, French in California

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37. CHAVANNES DE LA GIRAUDIÈRE, H. de. Les Petits Voyageurs en Californie. Tours: Ad Mame, 1853. [2] 188 pp., 8 chromolithographs. 8vo, original black glazed pebble pictorial cloth, a.e.g. (spine extra gilt with decorative elements in gold and green laid on; upper cover with illustration of nun reading to children, elaborately stamped with gold, blue, red, and green panels laid on; lower cover with illustration of two boys reading stamped in gold with blue, brown, and gold with panels laid on and signed by Harhaus of Paris).

With contemporary ink ownership inscription dated 1857 of James Falcon on front pastedown and front free endpaper. Upper joint slightly weak and inconsequential wear at corners, interior and plates very fine. The unusual binding is bright and fresh.

    First edition. Cowan II, p. 837. Gumuchian 1159. Howell 50, California 360. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 125. Sabin 12350. This optimistic juvenile, which went through several editions, recounts the voyage of M. Canton and his two sons from France to California by way of New York and Panama. Canton, a Paris furniture maker, falls on hard times when his business fails and his wife dies, leaving him with his sons Vincent, age 14, and Arthur, age 12. Deciding to seek his fortune in California, Canton takes his sons on what proves to be a fairly idyllic trip to riches. As Arthur remarks: “Why not emigrate? We would be so strong the three of us that nothing could beat us down or discourage us.”

And so it went. Among the notable plates are a charming view of San Francisco and another showing the trio calmly killing a grizzly, an allegory for the entire adventure. One plate is an early illustration of the giant redwoods (clearly inspired by a similar one in Ferry, q.v.).

38. CHERRY, Edgar & Sons (publishers). Redwood and Lumbering in California Forests. San Francisco: Edgar Cherry & Co., 1884. [2] ii [3]-107 pp., 24 mounted albumen prints. 4to, original gilt-lettered terracotta cloth. Light rubbing to spine and joints, corners lightly bumped, minor stains on covers, front hinge starting, rear hinge open but holding, one plate mount reattached, small hole in blank gutter margin of pp. 39-40, overall a very good copy of a heavy, fragile book. With ink presentation from John B. Caswell, Xmas, 1884, to S. B. Wakefield on front flyleaf, and Wakefield’s ink signature on front pastedown.

    First edition. Cowan I, p. 186. Cowan II, p. 525. Fritz, California Coast Redwood 1209: “A popular but comprehensive account of logging, transport of logs, and lumbering manufacture as it was practiced at the time. Photographs (tipped in) are numerous and descriptive. Includes a quote from George D. [W.] Gray on lumbering, p. 57-64, and an ‘Essay upon Redwood’ by A. Kellogg, p. 77-107.” Howell 50, California 361: “Of the copies known to us, each is unique–the photographs vary in their order and in the views presented.... A rare work, important for the transition in media of book illustration.” Kurutz, California Books Illustrated with Original Photographs 1856-1890 #7. Miles & Reese, Creating America 74. The caption titles on the mounts are applied with wooden stamps rather than printed. An important work that covers many of the technical, practical, and business matters associated with the logging industry, but nevertheless written for the layman and for those who wish a view book to preserve their memories of the vast California forests, albeit for those who might prefer their trees horizontal rather than vertical. The authors chose to illustrate this work with photographs because of their verisimilitude, which they consider superior to engraved illustrations produced “perhaps by enthused artists” and therefore perforce inaccurate in their portrayals. A volume important in the development of book illustration; regrettably, the identities of the photographers have vanished into obscurity.

39. CHEVALIER, Michel. Les Mines d’Or de la Californie. [Paris: Journal des Débates, 1849]. 52 unnumbered leaves consisting of clippings of six of his own articles pasted on the front side of leaves. 8vo, contemporary half tan sheep over black and tan marbled boards, gilt-lettered black leather spine label, marbled endpapers, edges sprinkled. Spine a trifled rubbed, otherwise very fine. Chevalier’s illustrated bookplate on front pastedown.

    A unique compilation probably made for the author’s own use. Trained as an economist, Chevalier (1806-1879) was quite interested in the Gold Rush and the economic effects it might have. Even before the California Gold Rush, the French author-economist-traveler wrote essays on the impact of New World gold on European economies (see, for example his “Des Mines d’argent et d’or du Nouveau-Monde,” published in Revue des Deux Mondes in Paris in 1846). The present article is an important precursor to the proposal that he presented in his The Probable Fall in the Value of Gold and Social Consequences Which May Ensue, and the Measures Which It Invites (Manchester, 1859; Sabin 12594), in which he decries the fact that gold is becoming too abundant and should be decoupled from currency. Chevalier fears that the large amounts of gold coming from mines in California, Australia, and Russia will disastrously devalue coinage. The present work concentrates heavily on California and reflects his experiences while there. Chevalier, once he first arrived in the U.S. in 1833, became smitten with the country and was an enthusiastic promoter of its freedoms, industry, and democracy. His best-known work is Lettres sur l’Amérique du Nord (first edition, 1836), which went through several editions and was translated into German and English. For lists of Chevalier’s writings, see Monaghan and Sabin. See also Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 126.

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