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

Lots 91 & 92: Gleeson & Gregg

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91. GLEESON, W. History of the Catholic Church in California. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft, 1872-1871 [sic]. xv [1, blank] 446; 351 pp., 12 lithographed plates (frontispiece portrait, Native Americans, scenes, views), folded lithographed map: Copy of an Accurate Map of California, Drawn by the Society of Jesuits, and Dedicated to the King of Spain, 1757. A. L. Bancroft & Co’s Lith. S. F. (21.8 x 15.6 cm; 9-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches). 2 vols. in one, early twentieth-century three-quarter tan calf over marbled boards, gilt-lettered spine, marbled endpapers, edges speckled. Light shelf wear, frontispiece and last page reattached with old cellophane tape and stitching, small waterstain just touching frontispiece image. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of Msgr. Joseph M. Gleason by James Webb (see Talbot, Historic California in Bookplates, p. 99; illustrated). Stanford Press Bindery ticket on rear pastedown.

    First edition. Bancroft, California I, p. 43: “[The author] read more of the old authorities, went more fully into details.... A pleasing and tolerably accurate picture of mission life.”

Barrett 987. Cowan I, p. 97: “This work, largely esteemed, is rare, having suffered a destructive fire at the publishers.” Cowan II, p. 239: “Of much value.” Howell 50, California 491. Howes G204. Peters, California on Stone, p. 55. Rocq 16882n.

The attractive lithographs were done by the Bancroft firm in San Francisco. The map is a simplified version of Kino’s 1757 map of California.

92. GREGG, Josiah. Commerce of the Prairies; or, The Journal of a Santa Fé Trader, during Eight Expeditions across the Great Western Prairies, and a Residence of Nearly Nine Years in Northern Mexico. New York: Henry G. Langley, 1844. 320 + 318 [2, blank] pp., 6 engraved plates, woodcut text illustrations, 2 engraved maps, including folded cerograph map tinted in green: A Map of the Indian Territory Northern Texas and New Mexico Showing the Great Western Prairies... [below neat line]: Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1844 by Sidney E. Morse and Samuel Breese.... (31 x 37.5 cm; 12-1/8 x 14-3/4 inches). 2 vols., 12mo, original brown pictorial cloth stamped in gilt and blind, gilt-pictorial spines. Binding slightly rubbed and cocked, minor tears to upper extremities of spines, lower extremities with short splits at joints, edges foxed, plates lightly foxed, otherwise a very good set. Cerograph map very fine except for a 7.5 cm (3-inch) tear at text block (no loss). Ink presentation from the “Publisher” to Horace Brooks, July 5, 1844, on front free endpaper of vol. 1. Preserved in green cloth clamshell box.

    First edition, first issue (with two maps and without the glossary and index) of a cornerstone book of Western Americana. Bennett, American Book Collecting, p. 91: “A key book of obvious importance.” Dobie, p. 76: “One of the classics of bedrock Americana.” Dykes, Western High Spots, p. 12 (“Western Movement–Its Literature”; first item listed in the section on the Santa Fé Trail) & p. 29 (“My Ten Most Outstanding Books on the West”): “The classic of [the Santa Fé] Trail and the commerce on it...authentic, entertaining, and natural...written by a man who spent nine years as a Santa Fé trader and who knew the trail, the varmints and plants along it, the Indians, and his Mexican customers. He kept a diary, and his carefully recorded notes were before him as he wrote the book. It has been source material for all the other books on the Santa Fé Trail and trade.” Flake 3716. Graff 1659. Howes G401. Plains & Rockies IV:108:1. Raines, p. 99. Rittenhouse 255: “If you can read only two books about the Trail, read Gregg and Lewis Garrard.” Sabin 28712. Streeter, Texas, p. 328 (citing the book as one of the most important for a Texas collection) & 1502: “This classic of the Santa Fe of direct Texas interest because of Gregg’s account of crossing the Texas Panhandle above Amarillo in the spring of 1839 and early months of 1840.... His discussion of the Snively Expedition of 1843...and his references to the Texan Santa Fe expedition make this an important Texas book as well as one of the great books on the West.” Streeter Sale 378. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 482 & I, p. 186: “A cartographic landmark.”
    “Conveying the impression of a well-populated region, the map must have whetted the interest of prospective traders on the trail to New Mexico. Finally, in a concession to geographic reality, Gregg mapped for the first time the Llano Estacado.... A blend of optimism and reality, Gregg’s map was certainly one of the best of the southern plains before the Mexican War” (John L. Allen, “Patterns of Promise” in Mapping the North American Plains, p. 51 & Fig. 3.7). The map is also important for the printing method used, cerography, a wax engraving medium introduced by Morse and Breese, the makers of this map. Cerography characterized American cartography for the next century. See Judith A. Tyner, “Images of the Southwest in Nineteenth-Century American Atlases” (p. 70) in Reinhartz & Colley (eds.), The Mapping of the American Southwest. Despite the excellence of his observations, Gregg is still a man of his own time and filled with American prejudices. He rarely sees any real good in the Native Americans or the Mexican populations with whom he comes into contact.

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