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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.
41. CLARKE, A[sa]
B[emet]. Travels in Mexico and California: Comprising a
Journal of a Tour from Brazos Santiago, through Central Mexico, by Way
of Monterey, Chihuahua, the Country of the Apaches, and the River Gila,
to the Mining Districts of California. Boston: Wright & Hasty,
1852. 138 pp. 12mo, original beige printed wrappers, sewn. Front wrap
and first few leaves lightly dog-eared, otherwise very fine, with contemporary
ink inscription of L. R. McCalla on upper wrapper and ink presentation
on title page from Grace B. Clarke to Dr. Anna McCalla. The Doheny copy,
with gilt red morocco book label on the chemise. Preserved in red calf
and red cloth slipcase with chemise.
First edition. Cowan I, p. 48. Cowan II, p. 128. Doheny Sale 203 (this copy). Edwards, Enduring Desert, p. 49: “Clarke’s description of the desert crossing is dramatically impressive.” Etter, To California on the Southern Route 1849, p. 68 (#32): “Clarke’s book is particularly valuable for studying the Mexican portion of the journey.” Graff 746. Hill 302: “An important and rare overland account.” Howell 50, California 376A: “First printed description of the route north from Camargo, Mexico, through Chihuahua and Sonora to the Gila River of Arizona.” Howes C451. Jones 1275. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 138: “Clark, a native of Conway, Massachusetts, sailed from New York on January 29, 1849, as a member of the Hampden Mining Company. After arriving in central Mexico, he proceeded westward via Arizona and the Gila River. He arrived in Los Angeles on July 9. In the Gila area, he met Dr. [Joseph E.] Field, one of the two survivors of the infamous Fannin massacre. By August 2, the New Englander labored in the Tuolumne Diggings. He spent the winter of 1849 and 1850 in San Francisco and in the summer of 1850 worked on the Yuba River. Only the last five pages of his account describe life in the mines.... According to a note, dated July 2, 1852, [Clarke] published this account for his friends.” Mintz, The Trail 534. Plains & Rockies IV:210. Streeter Sale 316: “Though this is not one of the rarest ‘overlands,’ it is one of the most interesting... [the author’s] route had not previously been described.” Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 41.
This well-known overland contains some material relating to California ranching history: remarks on Warner’s Ranch; the superiority of California cattle; assessment that the land from Santa Barbara to San Diego “is the best grazing country,” etc. Clarke stopped at various ranches along his California route and describes one near Santa Barbara: “Crossing a high and steep mountain, we came to a valley stocked with thousands of cattle, belonging to a rancho at which we arrived at 10 o’clock. As it is a fair specimen of the Spanish ranches in this section, I will give a short sketch of it. The ground in front of the house was strewn with the offal of cattle, on which scores of buzzards and crows were feeding in quiet security; and, as is commonly the case, the skulls and skeletons of animals, had been allowed to accumulate, making a perfect Golgotha. Nothing was to be had for food, but beef, and hence arises the name of ranches.”
Walter Lewis Burn of Los Angeles comments in a note with the book that on p. 120 is possibly the “earliest reference in print to petroleum in Los Angeles.” However, in 1543 Cabrillo waterproofed ships with pitch deposits found at Carpenteria, California. This book is also a little-known source on Dr. Joseph E. Field, the “roving and adventurous” (Streeter 1202) surgeon who escaped death at the Goliad Massacre by tending the wounded Mexicans. “Field and Clarke became messmates at the Pima village in Arizona...and made the rest of the trip together” (Streeter).
42. CLAVIGERO, D. Francesco Saverio. Storia della California Opera Postuma.... Venezia: Modesto Fenzo, 1789. 276; 212 pp. (both vols. lack errata leaf), typographical ornaments on titles, folded copper-engraved map (Carta Della California Suo Golfo E Contracoste Della Nuova Spagna [lower left below neat line]: Da D. Raimondo Tarros Delineata 1788 [lower right below neat line]: J. Zambellj Sculp. 36.5 x 29.8 cm; 14-3/8 x 11-3/4 inches; elaborate pictorial cartouche with palm tree, maguey plant, cactus, title within tablature, compass rose). 2 vols. in one, 8vo, contemporary three-quarter parchment paper over tan marbled boards, red and green morocco gilt-lettered spine labels. Boards and labels lightly rubbed, corners lightly bumped, title page and first few leaves slightly darkened, otherwise very good. Map with one small spot in the Sea of Cortez and with short tear at juncture with text block (no loss), otherwise a very fine, dark impression.
First edition. Barrett 527. Bradford 939. Cowan I, p. 49. Cowan II, p. 129. Graff 747: “One of the source books for the history of the missions in Lower California.” Hill 307: “One of the rarest primary sources on the history of Baja California.” Howes C465. JCB (II) 2359. Leclerc 846. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 66. Sabin 13524. Streeter Sale 2451. Streit III:1113. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 716; Spanish Southwest 172. According to the introduction, the map is based on the 1757 Konsag map. Burrus, Kino and the Cartography of Northwestern New Spain, p. 69: “Tarrós delineated a map of Lower California and the Mexican mainland for Clavigero’s Storia della California (Venice, 1789); it is a close imitation of Kino’s 1710 production except that the map-maker, on seeing the Island of Angel de la Guarda on some maps and Santa Inés on others, delineated both.... It is evident that Father Tarrós in delineating the map did not keep before him the detailed description of the area given by Clavigero in the text.” The missions are located on the map.
Francisco Javier Clavijero,
famed Mexican Jesuit savant, was born in the city of Veracruz in 1731,
studied in the colleges of San Jerónimo and San Ignacio in Puebla, and
entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tepotzotlán, outside the City of Mexico,
in 1748. Following six years of study, he was ordained, and subsequently
served as an instructor in the Jesuit colleges of Espíritu Santo and
San Francisco Javier in Puebla and San Francisco Javier in Valladolid
(Morelia). In 1765 he made his solemn profession in Guadalajara where
he served as professor of philosophy. He was expelled from Spanish domains
with his fellow Jesuits in 1767 and exiled to Italy. Following a shipwreck
in Corsica he lived in Ferrara in 1768, and in the following year moved
to Bologna to join other Mexican Jesuits in exile, and died there in
While at the exiled, and later ex-Jesuit (the order was suppressed by Clement XIV in 1773) residence in Bologna, Clavijero enjoyed access not only to numerous published volumes and manuscripts, but also collegiality with such coreligious as Francisco Javier Alegre and Miguel del Barco. His interest in, and nostalgia for, his homeland resulted in publication, translated into Italian, of Storia antica del Messico (Cesena, 1780-1781) in four volumes, a history of Mexico from the pre-Cortesian period with emphasis on contributions exclusively Mexican, based extensively on the seminal work of Fray Juan de Torquemada, O.F.M. (q.v.). Attracted as well to one of the major successes of the Society of Jesus in peninsular California, Clavijero undertook a synthesis of the history of the region, especially of the Jesuits, based extensively on the three-volume proto-history Noticia de la California, y de su Conquista Temporal, y Espiritual hasta el tiempo presente... of Miguel Venegas, S.J. (Madrid, 1757) and information provided by Fathers Alegre, Barco, and others. The map included is based upon that of Father Fernando Consag, S.J., first published in Venegas, and later, in Johann Jakob Baegert, Nachrichten von der Amerikanischen Halbinsel Californien... (Mannheim, 1772.).
The second published history of California, the Storia della California..., a fundamental volume of Californiana, did not appear in print in Spanish until 1852 as Historia de la Antigua o Baja California... (México, Juan R. Navarro). An English translation appeared in 1937 by Sara E. Lake and A. A. Grey, The History of [Lower] California (Stanford University Press), and a modern Spanish edition has been published in Mexico (Porrúa Hermanos, 1970).
––W. Michael Mathes