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Lot 75

75. HASKINS, C[harles] W[arren]. The Argonauts of California, Being the Reminiscences of Scenes and Incidents that Occurred in California in Early Mining Days by a Pioneer...Text and Illustrations Drawn from Life by C. W. Haskins. New York: Published for the Author, by Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 1890. [2] 501 [1, blank] pp., frontispiece plate, numerous text illustrations. 4to, original gilt-lettered goldenrod pictorial cloth, upper cover with two mining scenes in gilt and black, crossed pick and shovel in gilt on spine. An average copy, spinal extremities and corners worn (some board exposed at corners), lower cover with a few light creases and moderate staining (upper cover clean and bright), interior fine except for occasional light staining and an old tape repair at pp. 3/4, a good, tight copy. With the book is: SPINAZZE, Libera Martina. Index to the Argonauts of California. New Orleans, 1975. 4to, original tan pictorial wrappers. Fine.

     First edition. Bradford 2149. Byrd 51. Cowan I, pp. 104-105. Cowan II, p. 269. Graff 1812. Holliday 491. Howell, California 50:1547: "An interesting volume of Gold Rush memoirs, particularly valuable for the list of 35,000 pioneers who arrived in California before 1850." Howes H183. Norris 1598. Rocq 16913. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 93.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 319:

Dale Morgan offered the following summary: "Aside from the reference materials, Haskins' book is more an anecdotal history of the California gold region from a miner's point of view than a personal memoir." The author shipped to California from New Bedford in the clipper ship America on April 1, 1849, and arrived in San Francisco on September 20. Thereafter, the Argonaut went to Sacramento and Placerville and mined at Oregon Ravine, El Dorado County. The first section of the book presents the most reliable account. As Morgan comments, the remaining portion consists of dialogue, fictitious or otherwise. Haskins is best known for the Pioneer Index, a list of 35,000 pioneers who arrived in California by December 31, 1849. Despite the title page, the somewhat humorous illustrations were not all by Haskins.

      In the preface, Haskins revealed that he wrote this memoir while snowbound during the winter of 1887-88 in the village of Kingston, located upon the Coeur d'Alene River in the silver mining regions of northern Idaho. "These events," he confided, "are written entirely from memory."

      Libera Martina Spinazze created an index to this useful reference book (New Orleans, Polyanthos, 1975).

(2 vols.) ($300-600)

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