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Galveston Directory 1866-1867—Original Printed Boards

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167.     [DIRECTORY]. RICHARDSON, W[illard] & CO. Galveston Directory for 1866-67. Containing the Early History of Galveston, the Officers of the Existing City Government, together with Full Details of All Public Improvements, Institutions and Associations, Public Enterprises, etc. etc. By W. Richardson & Co. Galveston: Printed at the “News” Book and Job Office, 1866. [2, ads], [1-3] 4-104, [40, ads] pp. 12mo (19.5 x 12.2 cm), original printed paper boards (neatly re-backed with sympathetic dark brown cloth). Boards worn, stained, and rubbed, title repaired and infilled (missing a few letters which are supplied in good facsimile), a few other text leaves with marginal tears and chipping, foxed. A rare survival, particularly in light of the imprint’s origin and subsequent disasters in Galveston.

     First edition. Raines, p. 174. Winkler 1517. Not in CBC. This rare directory provides names, occupations, and addresses of the citizenry, businesses, historical sketch of the city, officers of city government, public improvements, biographical sketch of Galveston founder M.B. Menard, first survey of Galveston (“The Flat Question”), institutions (including Galveston City Hospital and Galveston Medical College), associations, wharves, medical topography (healthfulness and safety of Galveston’s location), railroads, Galveston City Company, connections with Texas ports and interior, Galveston and Brazos Canal and Navigation Company, and cotton presses and related material. The many ads provide valuable documentation on business history and material culture.

     This directory documents Galveston’s rapid recovery and thriving economy following the Civil War. By 1870 Galveston was the largest city in Texas. The primary business emphasis of this directory is on trade goods, ships and shipping, transportation, and cotton. The section on “Medical Topography of Galveston” was written by Dr. Greensville S. Dowell, one of the founders of the organization that evolved to be the Texas Medical Association. Dr. Dowell acknowledges the susceptibility of the city and its residents to epidemics of yellow fever, which would in 1867 strike about three-fourths of the population and kill at a rate of twenty per day. Dr. Dowell includes an interesting survey of the composition of the population and living conditions at that time, on which apparently the editors felt the need to comment just a bit:

Galveston is represented by the Doctor as a perfect Bable [sic]—about one-fourth American and English, another fourth German, one-sixth French, another sixth Spanish, and the remainder all other nations. These representatives from different nations pursue avocations and habits of living peculiar to their nationality: the Americans eating of beef and pork, and drinking whiskey, gin and brandy; the Germans eating beef, pork, cabbage and sour-krout, drinking Rhine wine and lager beer, and so on with all others, the negroes eating anything and drinking everything. All use tobacco: the Americans chew, the Germans smoke pipes, the French and Spanish smoke cigars, the negroes chew and smoke…. The negroes are generally living in crowded huts, upon the alleys or in the outskirts of the city. Many places in the streets and alleys are filled with water for weeks after a rain; but few have much or deep mud. The alleys are the receptacles of all the filth of the house yard and kitchen. In walking through alleys your nose is greeted with effluvia arising from filth, the decaying carcasses of dogs, hogs, cats, rats, mice, old bones, fish…. Since the publication of this article by Dr. Dowell, an energetic cleansing of alleys and yards has been effected and sanitary measures generally adopted by the authorities….

     At pages 68-69 is an essay entitled Map and Plan of Galveston City and Island, which discusses a map of Galveston (none of the copies located have a map). See Day (p. 78) and Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library (336).


Sold. Hammer: $1,300.00; Price Realized: $1,560.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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