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Lot 143

A New York surgeon in the Gold Rush—50 copies printed by Doxey

143. TUCKER, J[oseph] C[larence]. To the Golden Goal, and Other Sketches Dr. J. C. Tucker. San Francisco: [Privately Printed by] William Doxey, 631 Market Street, 1895. 303 [1, blank] pp., frontispiece (photographic portrait), 8 halftone plates. 8vo, original beige linen printed and decorated in black and brown. Spine slightly dark and a few flecks to binding, front hinge cracked (but holding), otherwise fine in a board slipcase covered with mottled tissue. Front free endpaper with Newbegin’s printed slip with purple typing.

     First edition, edition limited to 50 copies. Cowan I, p. 234. Cowan II, p. 646: “Fifty copies were printed for private distribution.” Graff 4204. Hill II:646. Howes T381. Norris 3961. Rocq 16112. The imprint is the work of publisher-bookseller William Doxey (1845-1916), who emigrated from England to San Francisco, where in the last quarter of the nineteenth century his book store was a gathering place for the city’s literati and artists. The books Doxey published were usually printed by Charles Murdoch (1841-1928), known for his distinguished typography (see Item 128 herein). The best known work of the press was The Lark, which contained the first appearance of Gelett Burgess’ “Purple Cow.”

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 639:

Joseph Tucker's widow prepared this handsome Doxey imprint for private publication in an edition of 50 copies. Dr. Tucker began his California odyssey when he left New York as surgeon on the ship Tarolinta on January 13, 1849. He arrived in San Francisco on July 6, and took the schooner Olivia to Sacramento. Tucker's account is significant for its summary of the Gold Lake excitement, Sacramento in the fall and winter of 1850, hunting in California, and Tucker's escapade as a filibusterer in Nicaragua and Guatemala. The good physician returned to California in 1859 via the Butterfield Overland Stage. This reminiscence contains a list of those he sailed with in 1849.


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