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Lot 101

“This is one of the best of the guides, as it is one of the few where distances were closely measured”—Streeter

101. [MAP]. HORN, Hosea B. Pocket map with text:

Text: HORN, Hosea B. Horn’s Overland Guide, from the U.S. Indian Sub-Agency, Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, to the City of Sacramento, in California; Containing a Table of Distances, and Showing all the Rivers, Creeks, Lakes, Springs, Mountains, Hills, Camping-Places, and Other Prominent Objects; with Remarks on the Country, Roads, Timbers, Grasses, Curiosities, etc; the Entire Route Having Been Tracked by a Road-Measurer, and the Distances from Place to Place, and from the Missouri River, Accurately Ascertained. With a Complete and Accurate Map. By Hosea B. Horn. New York: [Stereotyped by Wm. J. Baner, 201 Williams-St., N.Y.] Published by J. H. Colton, No. 86 Cedar Street, 1852. [i]-iv, [5]-[84], 18 (Colton catalogue of publications) pp. (pages 77/78 misnumbered 78/77), folding map. 12mo. Edges sprinkled blue. Light foxing to front endpaper and flyleaf, interior exceptionally fine. Old pencil note on front fly leaf: “L.S.M. from Emma.” From the library of collector Thomas Wayne Norris, with his bookplate illustrating Mission Carmel in its state prior to restoration (Talbot, Historic California in Bookplates, pp. 196, illustrated). Bookplate with a few remains of paper from a subsequent bookplate or other pasteover (appears easy to lift and remove).

Map: Map to Illustrate Horn’s Overland Guide to California and Oregon. Published by J. H. Colton, No. 86 Cedar Street, New York. 1852. Lithograph map within ornamental floral border, route outlined in red, folding into original cover. Neat line to neat line (including border): 33 x 51 cm; 13 x 20-1/16 inches. A brilliant, untouched copy.

Cover: Horn’s Overland Guide to California. 12mo (15.9 cm; 6-1/4 inches tall), publisher’s original blindstamped plum cloth, upper cover, gold-stamped. Except for minor fading to spine and outer edges of binding, very fine. “Horn’s” is printed upright rather than slanted. Preserved in a half brown morocco and brown cloth slipcase, matching brown cloth chemise.

     First edition, early mixed issue: 1852 on title; “Opinions of the Press” on p. 5 following “Certificates”; p. 6 with notice of Council Bluff’s Ferry commencing “Council Bluff is the natural crossing of the Missouri River...”; New England Land Company ad on p. [68], Council Bluffs Agency Ferry ad on p. [84] commencing “This long-established Ferry, at the great natural crossing on the Missouri River”; pp. 77 and 78 reversed; “Horn’s” printed upright on cover. Braislin 969: “This is the first work which describes much of the route traversed.” Cowan I, p. 114: “A small work highly useful in its time. It is in itinerary form, and of interest, as showing how minutely observations had been made at almost every mile of the tedious and frequently dangerous route.” Cowan II, p. 292. Graff 1954 (sets out details on three issues in entries 1952, 1953, and 1954). Holliday 530. Cf. Howell, California 50:529 (first issue, Horn’s own copy). Howes H641: “Best hand-book for the central route available at the time.” Norris 1671 (present copy): “A very fine copy of an important overland guide, and now becoming extremely rare.” Plains & Rockies IV:214. Plath 592. Mintz, The Trail 238. Sabin 33021. Streeter Sale 3170. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 105: “Important guide with detailed information on the trans-plains route. Used by many immigrant parties.”

     Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 751: “There was a great revival of overland travel in 1852 when numerous gold-seekers, disappointed or otherwise, decided that there was no place quite like California after all, and set out—this time taking their families along. One natural result was the publication in 1852 of a number of emigrants’ guides by men who had traveled overland to California in 1850. The most successful—or at any rate the best known—was undoubtedly Hosea B. Horn’s Overland Guide.” Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 221 & p. xxxiv: “Another map of 1852 deserves mention because, although it was published to illustrate one of the most important guides used by emigrants on their transplains journey, and although it was prepared by that prolific New York map publisher J. H. Colton, it fails to show that news of any of the important developments, or knowledge of any part of the vast fund of information obtained during the past four years, had as yet filtered through to its makers. It is the ‘map to illustrate Horn’s Overland Guide to California and Oregon,’ and unmistakably discloses its lineage by the presence of the familiar words ‘El Dorado or Gold Region’ along the American and Feather rivers.”

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 343b:

Hosea Horn was a lawyer from Bloomington (now Muscatine), Iowa. Edward Eberstadt called this guide “the most exact account.” Horn was an experienced overlander and the “Certificates” of others, found on page 5, support the value of this slender work. In press endorsements, the New York Observer, March 11, 1852, offered the following: “It is the first work of the kind that has been published, and being from the pen of a bona fide traveler, is doubtless correct. No one should venture across the desert without it.” Horn gave realistic opinions of mining in Placerville, Weaverville, and Mud Springs. The appendix consists of: “a table, showing the distance from the Missouri River to several prominent points, and from one point to another.” The section on “Business Advertisements” primarily features Iowa businesses of interest to the traveler. The preface is dated the City of Sacramento, September 1, 1850. According to the advertising matter, Horn’s guide sold for $.50.

      The 1853 edition differs from the 1852 with the addition of opinions of the press on the “Certificates” page. The pagination runs to page 83, and the advertisement of the Council Bluff’s Agency Ferry is on page [84], instead of page [68]. Six additional pages of Colton advertising are included. Graff describes copies in brown, blue, and plum cloth.


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