Dorothy Sloan -- Books

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"the best single book ever written on the City”

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509.     SOULÉ, Frank, John H. Gihon, & James Nisbet. The Annals of San Francisco; Containing a Summary of the History of the First Discovery, Settlement, Progress, and Present Condition of California, and a Complete History of All the Important Events Connected with Its Great City: To Which Are Added, Biographical Memoirs of Some Prominent Citizens. By Frank Soulé, John H. Gihon, M.D., and James Nisbet. Illustrated with One Hundred and Fifty Fine Engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 346 & 348 Broadway; San Francisco: Montgomery Street; London: 16 Little Britain, 1855. [1-5] 6-824 pp., 6 plates (including frontispiece), 2 maps (1 folding), 154 engraved text illustrations (by leading artists and engravers of the day, some based on daguerreotypes by J.M. Ford). 8vo (23.5 x 16 cm), publisher’s gilt-lettered and ruled black morocco, spine with raised bands, beveled edges, a.e.g. (expertly re-backed, original spine preserved, new endpapers). Minor shelf wear, occasional light foxing, offsetting opposite steel-engraved portraits, browning to last page from adjacent tipped-in news clipping, small tear to folding map at juncture with book block (no losses). A very good copy, with extra material tipped in at back: newspaper obituary of ’49er David Hewes, two contemporary printed reviews of the book, and a 1903 contemporary ink manuscript bibliographical description on two leaves.

     First edition. Barrett, Baja California 2301. Cowan I, p. 219. Cowan II, p. 601. Cowan & Dunlap, Chinese Question 415. Graff 3901. Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 710 & Vol. I, pp. 71, 149, 158, 182, 200, 213 (contains information on several artists and engravers whose work appears in the text illustrations, including Harrison Eastman). Holliday Sale 1028. Howell 50, California 791. Howes S769. Huntington Library, Zamorano Eighty…Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 70: “Because the focus is on San Francisco, this has been called (by John B. Goodman III) the first California county history.” Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 594: “Supplies much information on mining and its impact on this instant city.” Libros Californianos, p. 39 (Powell commentary); pp. 64-65 (Hanna list): “Almost anything that one wants to know of life in San Francisco in the middle of the nineteenth century…. Growing scarcer as its merits become better known.” Norris 3458. Rocq 7970. Sabin 87268. Walker, San Francisco’s Literary Frontier, pp. 22-23. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush #193. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #798n: “Among the most important Western maps…. One very enterprising feature for so early a map is a dotted-line (if unlabelled) showing the Gadsden Purchase boundary.” Zamorano Eighty 70.

     Gary Kurutz commented in the Volkmann Zamorano Eighty catalogue:

Noted historian Richard H. Dillon, in the most recent edition of The Annals of San Francisco, states it is “not only the best single book ever written on the City, it has proven to be the most influential book ever set in type to concern itself with San Francisco.” …The book has a liveliness and readability not found in the usual Victorian-era nineteenth-century city or county history…. Just seven years after the discovery of gold, this instant city lived enough history to produce an 824-page book about itself…. Virtually every important event and personality receives [the authors’ attention. The flood of Argonauts, the transformation of the city from a sea of tents to substantial brick buildings, the noisy gambling saloons, the fights, hangings, clipper ship arrivals, fires, high prices, etc., present ample evidence that San Francisco was the most interesting, jumping city on the face of the earth.


Sold. Hammer: $250.00; Price Realized: $300.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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