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

Lots 54-56: Gold Rush, California Directories

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54. [DELAVAN, James]. Notes on California and the Placers: How to Get There, and What to Do Afterwards. By One Who Has Been There. New York: H. Long & Brother, 1850. 128 pp., 2 lithographed plates by P. Emmert (Scene on the Isthmus and View of Culloma). 8vo, original brown printed wrappers with title within ornamental border, sewn. Some chipping and wear, with a few minor losses to spine at lower joint and edges (no loss of text or border), text with some light foxing and staining. Generally a very good, untrimmed copy. Preserved in a brown cloth clamshell case with maroon leather spine label. Exceptionally rare and in almost as-issued condition, with the two plates in fine impressions and the elusive wrappers present.

    First edition. Braislin 583. Byrd 20. Cowan I, p. 66: “Differs considerably from the usual work of this sort.” Cowan II, p. 164. Eberstadt 104:38: “This is one of the earliest diaries kept by an actual Gold Hunter and gives an unusually frank and detailed account of daily life at the diggings. Delavan was one of the original Feather River Party of ’49 and struck it rich at Rocky Bar, where in less than three weeks he took out over 100 pounds of the yellow metal. His book describes the trip to Californiathe San Francisco of 1849; extravagant prices; the Gaming Halls; the fortunes won and lost; life and observations in Benicia; Embarcadero (Sacramento); Sutter’s Fort; Culloma [sic]; Mormon Island; Volcano Bar; Spanish Bar; Kelsey’s Bar; Feather River; North Fork; Rector’s Bar; San Joaquin; Stockton; Monterey, etc. Other sections of the book deal with the ‘Code Lynch,’ the Oregon immigration; the Indian Tribes; their depredations, etc.; methods of mining; traders and trading posts; kaleidoscopic conditions; manners and customs; routes; and advice to emigrants.” Graff 1044. Hill 464 (reprint edition). Howes D237. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 183a: “One of the most spirited accounts of the journey to California and life in the mines.” Libros Californianos, p. 26 (Wagner list). Rocq 15773. Sabin 10036. Streeter Sale 2628. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 58.


    The two well-done lithographs of the Panama Crossing and Coloma are probably the work of Paul Emmert (1826-1867). After moving to New York from his native Switzerland in the mid-1840s, he went, like so many others in 1849, to California seeking gold. By the time he returned, he had enough material to mount his own exhibition in New York City. Going West again, Emmert remained briefly in California before immigrating to Hawaii, where he settled in Honolulu, going into business as a wood engraver and lithographer. He is known for his work in various media, such as oil and pencil. See: David Forbes, Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and Its People 1778-1941 (Honolulu: Academy of Arts, 1992); and Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California 1786-1940 (San Francisco: Hughes, 1989).
($4,000-8,000)

55. DIETRICH, Dr. [Leopold W.] (attributed). The German Emigrants; or, Frederick Wohlgemuth’s Voyage to California by Dr. Dietrich. Translated by Leopold Wray [pseudonym]. Guben [Germany]: Printed by F. Fechner, [ca. 1852]. [2] 39 pp., 8 bright hand-colored lithographed plates with gesso highlighting. 12mo, original green and gold decorated boards. Expertly rebacked (matching spine expertly applied), mild rubbing and soiling to boards, lacking rear flyleaf, just a trace of foxing to first few leaves and light age toning throughout. An excellent copy of a fragile item.

    First edition. Cowan II, p. 169. Gaer, California Literature (Gold Rush), p. 24. Hill 478 (citing the 1949 reprint): “An unusual juvenile publication concerning a voyage to California and subsequent adventures in the mines.” Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 194a: “Much of the plot centers around the slave trade.” Norris 969. The plot proceeds rapidly to its end when an Englishman uses a divining rod to discover a great quantity of gold, whereupon all become instantly rich. It seems, without doubt, that this work contains some of the more groaning puns in gold mining literature. Upon discovery of the first gold, the author remarks: “The gold lay in an ingot, and was recognized by the miner to be of sterling worth” (p. 37).
($300-600)

56. [DIRECTORY: NEVADA COUNTY]. BEAN, Edwin F. Bean’s History and Directory of Nevada County, California. Containing a Complete History of the County, with Sketches of Various Towns and Mining Camps, the Names and Occupation of Residents; Also, Full Statistics of Mining and All Other Industrial Resources. Nevada City: Printed at the Daily Gazette Book and Job Office, 1867. vi [6] [2, blank] 424 pp., 1 leaf of inserted ads (pp. 184-185), pp. 409-424 on colored paper, and with printed pastedowns. 8vo, original black gilt-lettered leather over salmon pictorial boards printed in red and brown. Boards lightly spotted and rubbed, text block slightly open at pp. 176-177, mild scattered foxing, some staining at pp. 343-344. Very good copy, in an attributed binding: A slip for Nevada City binder Hermann Ernst is present here between pp. 72-74. (In the Graff copy, which has a similar binding, it is between pp. iv-v.) It seems likely that this binding was applied by Ernst. Old ink ownership inscription (G. C. King?) on front pastedown.

    First edition, first directory printed in Nevada County and an early imprint for Nevada City. Bradford 319. Cowan II, p. 170. Graff 219 (with binder’s ad). Howell 50, California 420. Howes B278. Littell 49. Norris 2833. Quebedeaux 36: “Very scarce.... His history and directory is, by far, the best-known of all California directories. One of the great ‘standard’ county histories, it is, in the minds of many collectors, dealers, historians and libraries, one of the most valuable–content-wise–of all the directories published in the United States.” Rocq 5956. Streeter Sale 2913. Wheat, Books of the Gold Rush 13: “Notable compendium of early source material.” A substantial essay is given over to mining gold from quartz deposits, which, as the author notes, has been the subject of numerous false starts. The ad for San Francisco doctor A. Folleau (pp. 413-414), in which he advertises, complete with illustrations, his proficiency at making artificial limbs, is a grim reminder of the hazards of life at the time.
($2,000-4,000)

For other early California directories, please see our lots of Early California Directories

Also see our following lots of San Francisco Directories.


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