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Lot 120

Fayette Robinson in wraps & with the large folding Colton map

120. ROBINSON, Fayette. California and Its Gold Regions; With a Geographical and Topographical View of the Country, Its Mineral and Agricultural Resources. Prepared from Official and Other Authentic Documents; With a Map of the U. States and California, Showing the Routes of the U. S. Mail Steam Packets to California, also the Various Overland Routes. By Fayette Robinson, Author of “Mexico and Her Military Chieftains,” Etc. Etc. New York: [Stereotyped by C. Davison & Co., 33 Gold Street, N.Y., for] Stringer & Townsend, 222 Broadway, 1849. 137 [1, blank] [6, ads] pp., large folding map on wove paper. 8vo, original gold printed wrappers bound in early twentieth-century three-quarter brown sheep over tan, beige, red, and black marbled paper over boards, spine gilt-lettered and with raised bands, matching marbled endpapers. Sheep scuffed (boards slightly exposed at corners), upper wrapper barely chipped at blank right margin, otherwise fine. Map with mild browning at folds and a few small, clean splits, tear at junction with text block (no loss), otherwise fine. Map reinserted, or possibly supplied from another copy. Brown cloth clamshell case


Map of the United States the British Provinces Mexico &c. Showing the Routes of the U.S. Mail Steam Packets to California, and a Plan of the Gold Region. Published by J. H. Colton, 86 Cedar St. New York. 1849. Drawn and Engraved by J. R. Atwood, New York. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1849 by J. H. Colton in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. Printed at Ackermans...120 Fulton St. N.Y. 1849. Lithograph map with ornate vine border, 3 insets, ships at sea, overland routes in blue, California Gold Regions in yellow. Image including vine border: 47 x 61.3 cm; 18-1/2 x 24-1/8 inches. Insets: [map, upper left]: Map of the Gold Region, California. 12.2 x 7.7 cm; 4-7/8 x 3-1/16 inches. Gold regions colored yellow; [view, above title at left]: Pyramid Lake, Upper California.... 10.1 x 12.7 cm; 4 x 5 inches; [map, center right]: [Untitled map of South America, Central America, eastern portion of Gulf of Mexico showing Florida, and Caribbean, with ships at sea and sea routes]. 17.8 x 8.9 cm; 7 x 3-1/2 inches. Table of distances below. Streeter refers to the map as “the first Colton map showing the gold fields” (see Streeter Sale 3524).

     First edition, the issue with the appendix on pp. 125-137 (there is another issue the same year and with the same title with 144 pp.). Without a plate of San Francisco which Howes notes “was not issued with the book.” Graff, Howes, and Streeter do not specify which issue has precedence. Bradford 4679. Braislin 1563. Cowan I, pp. 193-194. Cowan II, p. 537. Graff 3527. Howell, California 50:212. Howes R366 (“b”). Jones 1215. Norris 3291. Rocq 16029. Sabin 72070. Streeter Sale 2595. Vail, Gold Fever, 22. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 168: “One of the best of the earliest books on California printed for sale to intending goldseekers.” Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 116. An unusual book in that it was admittedly written for the armchair rather than the actual traveler (p. [3]). Nevertheless, it includes considerable information that would be of use to an actual Argonaut. Among such tips is one offered by the publishers on the rear wrapper, urging that emigrants buy books for the trip: “They eat nothing, nor do they spoil, and they will be sold at prices that will insure to the dealer a profit of from three to five hundred per cent.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 539b:

In his preface, dated December 1848, Robinson related that this publishers requested him “to make a fair exposition of the most authentic accounts of California and the gold region.” In keeping with this admonition, Robinson assembled a fine anthology of several of the earliest reports of the gold discovery, conditions in California, history of the region, and ways to reach the diggings. He squeezed between the covers letters and reports by Mason, Frémont, Larkin, Emory, Kearny, and others. The appendix adds information drawn from newspapers and government reports on conditions in San Francisco and on the Panama route. While discussing various routes to California, Robinson recommended the northern Overland Trail, with Council Grove as the departure point. The author concluded with the following: “Masses of similar interesting communications might be selected, but it is believed the above will suffice to satisfy the readers that California is really a land of gold and pearls.”

      The excellent map is important for delineating the various sea and overland routes to California. On the map and one of the small insets, the gold region is tinted in yellow. The back wrappers carries an interesting publisher’s blurb promoting the purchase of books by emigrants as a means to relieve the tedium of the voyage or journey. Stringer and Townsend also advocated selling books in California, as “they eat nothing, not do they spoil, and they will be sold at prices that will insure to the dealer a profit of from three to five hundred percent.”

      Two variant issues of Robinson exist. One issue consists of 138 pages of text with six pages of advertisements [as in the present copy]; the other with 144 pages of text. According to Wright Howes, the view of San Francisco was not issued with the book.


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