Bird’s-Eye View of San Diego in 1876

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34. [BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA]. GLOVER, E[li] S[heldon] (artist) & A[lbert] L[ittle] Bancroft (lithographer). Bird’s Eye View of San Diego, California 1876. From the North-East, Looking South-West. [below image at left] Drawn by E.S. Clover [sic] and Published by Schneider and & [sic] Kueppers, San Diego. [below image at center] Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by Schneider & Kueppers, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C. [below image at right] A.L. Bancroft & Company, Lithographers, San Francisco, Cal. [to left of title] Showing the central portion of the city, with the actual improvements; San Diego Bay and Peninsula, the Entrance to the Harbor, Point Loma and the Los Coronados Islands, twenty miles distant in the Pacific Ocean. [to right of title] The County Seat of San Diego and the proposed Terminus of the Texas Pacific Railroad. Present population, about 4,000. A thriving commercial town; publishes two newspapers, the “San Diego Union” and “World” weekly and daily editions. [at very bottom, left and right, numbered key to buildings] 1. Presbyterian Church. 2. Baptist Church. 3. Methodist Church. 4. Episcopal Church. 5. Catholic Church. 6. Public Schools. 7. Point Loma Seminary. 8. San Diego Academy. 9. Bank of San Diego. 10. Commercial Bank. 11. City Hall. 12. Central Market Building. 13. Horton’s Hall. 14. Telegraph Offices. 15. Horton House. 16. San Diego County Court House. 17. Lyon House. 18. Bay View Hotel. 19. Government Barracks. 20. San Diego Flouring Mill. 21. San Diego Farming Association. 22. San Diego Foundry. 23. San Diego Planing Mill. 24. City Brewery. San Francisco, 1876. Toned lithograph bird’s-eye view of the town, waterfront with piers and bay in distance, several ships on water; visible image including text below: 46.2 x 67 cm. Minor split to right edge of image (no losses), otherwise fine. Under glass, matted, and in vintage gilt and walnut frame.

     According to Reps, this is the fourth bird’s-eye view of San Diego, preceded by earlier views in 1871, 1873, and conjectured date of 1870-1873. There are at least two variants of this print. Our print is like a Bancroft copy (Call No. BANC PIC 1963.002:0909--D), without vaquero on horseback trying to lasso three cows in foreground at lower right, foreground has been altered adding more shading, and with misprints in text at lower left: “Drawn by E.S. Clover [sic] and Published by Schneider and & [sic] Kueppers, San Diego. Bancroft and the Library of Congress have a copy with the vaquero and cows and without the errors in text. One is tempted to speculate that the first issue of this print was the one showing the vaquero lassoing cows, and that the city promoter preferred to de-emphasize San Diego’s pastoral image. Peters, California on Stone, p. 54. Howell & White, California in Lithographs: Nineteenth Century Prints from the Robert B. Honeyman, Jr. Collection, p. 129. Reps, Cities on Stone, p. 97. Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America 228.

     Consummate viewmaker Eli Sheldon Glover (1844-1920) had educational training and experience in the art and marketing of bird’s-eye views, having apprenticed with Albert Ruger. In 1870 Glover launched out on his own in Michigan. Over the next decade he travelled widely and created over sixty bird’s-views of U.S. and Canadian towns and cities. Glover’s last view was Port Arthur, Texas, in 1912. For more on Glover, see Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America, pp. 178-179, who comments: “The Glover-Bancroft collaboration brought together a skilled topographic artist and high-quality lithographic craftsmanship. The large folio views that resulted are consistent in their style, format, attractive appearance, and use of a single tone stone to provide pleasing and often dramatic cloud and sky effects.” Reps sums up Glover’s accomplishments thus (p. 180): “In [his] profession he succeeded admirably, leaving a legacy of more than sixty well-drawn views of towns and cities in fourteen states and Canadian provinces.” For more on lithographer Albert Little Bancroft, see herein.

     San Diego was a small village when Alta California joined the United States in 1850. A decade later, in 1860, its population was listed as only 731 persons. In 1867 the center of town was relocated closer to the waterfront and, by the time of Glover’s view in 1876, one can see the significant development of that area as San Diego emerged as a West Coast trading port and, later, a base of significant military training operations.


Sold. Hammer: $10,000.00; Price Realized: $12,250.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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Detail from another variant of the print, courtesy of Library of Congress

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