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

Lots 75-77: Fiske Photography, French Iconography

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75. FERRY, Hypolite. Description de la Nouvelle Californie geographique, politique et morale contentant l’historique de la découverte de cette contrée. Un précis des événements politiques qui s’y sont accomplis. Des renseignements détaillés sur sa topograhpie, son climat, ses productions minérales, végétales, et animales. Des notions sur la minérologie, la métallurgie, et la géologie. Le caractère, les meours, usages, coutumes de ses habitants. La description de ses baies, ports, villes, missions, villages. Des instructions nautiques sur ses baies et ses ports. Le tarif des duoanes en Californie. Des renseignements généraux concernant les routes qui conduisent en Californie, les lieux de passage, description de Chagres, Panama, du Cap Horn, et de la Terre-de-Feu, etc., etc.... Avec une grande carte de la Nouvelle Californie. Des Cartes particulières des baies de Monterey et de San-Francisco. De L’Isthme de Panama. Du Cap Horn et du Détroit de Magellan.... Paris: L. Maison, Éditeur des Guides Richard, 1850. [4] 386 pp., 4 woodcut plates, 3 woodcut maps (of California interest is Carte Particulière Des Baies De Monterey Et De San Francisco Dressée D’Après Les Travaux Hydrographiques Les Plus Récents), folded lithographed map: Deuxieme Edition. Carte De La Nouvle. Californie Dressée D’Après Les Travaux Géographiques De Mr. Duflot De Mofras Et Du Colonel Fremont. Par Hipolite Ferry. [left below neat line]: Grave par F. Delamare R. de la Harpe. 26. [right below neat line]: A Paris, chez I. Andrivean Goujon, Rue du Bae No. 17. (39 x 50 cm; 15-3/8 x 19-3/4 inches). 12mo, contemporary half red calf over pebbled red boards, spine gilt, edges sprinkled. Spine detached, minor shelf wear, front free endpaper wanting, lacks wrappers, light foxing throughout, 35 and 37 torn at bottom, with latter into text (no loss). Folded map with minor voids at folds, lightly foxed.

     Second edition (Cowan notes that two editions came out in 1851 and they are identical in content; in the present copy printed above the top neat line of map is “Deuxieme Edition”; most bibliographies do not set out this difference). Bradford 1655. Cowan I, p. 84: “The most complete and extensive work descriptive of California published in France at this time.” Cowan II, p. 207. Holliday 368. Howell 50, California 81: “Among the plates are views of Sutter’s Fort, San Francisco in 1850, and the big trees of California. The latter view is probably the first of its kind to be published.” Howes F101. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 236a. Monaghan 689. Pilling 1282: “Short comparative vocabulary of American Indian and Asiatic Words, p. 203; Specimens of the Rumsen language, pp. 215-216; Lord’s Prayer in language of the Indians of the valley of Tulares, p. 217.” Sabin 24198. Vail, Gold Fever, p. 19. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 75n; Maps of the California Gold Region 155 & 156. Not in Currey & Kruska.
    Written for emigrants, sailors, voyagers, and armchair travelers, this book is based on numerous official accounts and other fairly reliable sources of information. Given the rapidity with which this substantial work was published after the discovery of gold, it is a monument to editorial and authorial efficiency. Although the gold diggings and mining methods are given their due, the majority of the work seems intended for those who perhaps have plans other than mining gold. Such scope is in keeping with the author’s purpose of also encouraging and guiding the emigration plans of those who do not seek to get rich by digging for ore.

76. FIELD, Stephen J. Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California with Other Sketches by Stephen J. Field. Printed for a Few Friends. Not Published. [San Francisco? 1880?]. iv [1] [1, blank] [7]-248 pp. 8vo, original burgundy cloth, beveled edges (recased, hinges supported by cloth tape). Spine faded, upper joint starting at top, rear hinge starting, internally very fine. Author’s signed ink presentation as U.S. Supreme Court justice to Jos. P. Bradley, December 1, 1880, on front flyleaf (possibly supplied).
    First edition. Bradford 1666. Cowan I, pp. 84-85. Cowan II, p. 108. Graff 1315. Howell 50, California 462. Howes F117. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 237b. Norris 1133. Rocq 9357. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 76. Field moved to California in 1849, arriving with $10 in his pocket. “He practiced law and served as alcalde of Marysville and in the state legislature before becoming Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.... Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Lincoln, he served the longest term in the Court’s history (1863-97), and was famous as a strict constructionist” (Hart, Companion to California, p. 137).

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77. FISKE, George. Album of Yosemite photographs. 24 leaves (approximately 17.5 x 24.2 cm; 7 x 10 inches) containing 47 mounted albumen photographs (each approximately 11 x 19 cm; 4-1/4 x 7-1/2 inches). N.p., ca. 1880-1890s. Oblong 4to, period brown cloth photo album, embossed and gilt-lettered, photos mounted to cards bound into covers with string through linen mounting tabs. All photographs are numbered and signed by Fiske in the lower corners. Two are copyrighted 1884. Contemporary ink manuscript captions added below each image. With printed ticket of Howard Album, patented January 28, [18]89, on rear pastedown and George Fiske’s wood-engraved ticket (by Durbin Van Vleck) on verso of last card. Gilt lettering fading, a few images faded, but overall fine with most of the photographs in excellent impressions. In a green clamshell case with gilt-lettered green leather spine label.

    This handsome album by the renowned Yosemite photographer contains important examples demonstrating the wide-ranging beauty of the Yosemite region and Fiske’s consummate skill in capturing that beauty.

Besides the expected icons, such as El Capitan and Bridal Veil Falls, the images include several of such subjects as a female member of the Digger tribe, a stagecoach in full career, and a nosebleed image of a couple standing precariously on Overhanging Rock. Fiske (1835-1918) was the first photographer to live full-time in the Yosemite Valley. His work had a great influence on Ansel Adams, who admired him above any of the earlier photographers. Regrettably, in a series of disastrous fires, almost all of Fiske’s negatives were destroyed, leaving prints such as these as the only realistic means of acquiring his original images. Cf. Currey & Kruska (pp. 113-116: “Talented pioneer photographer”) and Beaumont Newhall’s preface in George Fiske, Yosemite Photographer, by Paul Hickman and Terence Pitts (Flagstaff, Arizona: Northland Press, in cooperation with the Center for Creative Photography, the University of Arizona, 1980).

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