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Lot 98

Lyman in the Rare Pictorial Wrappers

98. LYMAN, Albert. Journal of a Voyage to California, and Life in the Gold Diggings, and also of a Voyage from California to the Sandwich Islands. By Albert Lyman, of Hartford, a Member of the Connecticut Mining and Trading Company, Which Sailed in the Schooner General Morgan from New York, Feb. 22, 1849. Hartford: [Press of Case, Tiffany & Co. for] E. T. Pease; New York: Dexter & Bro.; Boston: Redding & Co., 1852. 192 pp., 2 woodcuts (counted as part of pagination), text vignettes. 12mo, original tan pictorial wrappers with illustration of schooner General Morgan, cover title within rules, publisher’s ad on lower wrap. Wrappers moderately browned with some light staining, a few small pieces missing from spinal extremities, evidence of removal of bookplate inside upper wrapper. Interior very fine except for moderate foxing to endleaves. All in all an exceptional copy, very rare in wraps. Contemporary ink note on upper wrap changing price from 50 cents to 37-1/2 cents. Contemporary pencil ownership inscription of Charles W. Carrington. Preserved in navy blue morocco and blue cloth slipcase, matching blue cloth chemise.

     First edition. Bradford 3096. Braislin 1202. Byrd 40. Cowan I, p. 145: “A very rare and curious work.” Cowan II, p. 400. Eberstadt 115:661. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 1887: “An important scarce Gold Rush narrative.” Hill II:1047. Holliday 709. Howell, California 50:613. Howes L577 (“b”). Littell 677. Norris 2255. Rocq 15926. Streeter Sale 2715 (original wrappers, fetched $500 in 1968, comparable condition to present copy). Vail, Gold Fever, p. 20. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 129.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 411:

Albert Lyman, a twenty-four-year-old merchant from Hartford and member of the Connecticut Mining and Trading Company, arrived in San Francisco on August 6, 1849, after a strenuous and adventure-filled voyage. Immediately all of the sailors deserted ship. Lyman and his companions hired a pilot for $350 to take the General Morgan up the Sacramento River. They arrived in Sacramento City on August 10, and the company split. Lyman and nine others went back to San Francisco to form a business running the schooner up the river. Lyman and friends also established a store in Sacramento and one in Mormon Island, and still found time to survey the diggings. The remaining portion of the book covered the Sandwich Islands.

      The preface stated that the Journal was “made for no other purpose or design than the gratification of the author’s family and personal relatives.” The response to his manuscript, however, was apparently so positive that Lyman solicited a publisher. The preface further stated that “the manuscript was fully illustrated with graphic pencil sketches of great artistic beauty,” but only two were published. The remaining illustrations, as Cowan points out, must have been common “stock” woodcuts.

      Page seven is a “List of members of the Connecticut Mining and Trading Company and of the passengers, officers and crew of the Schooner General Morgan, on her voyage to California.” The appendix consists of steamboat routes in California and information on the amount of gold taken from the mines through 1850.


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