“One of the best of the early books on California printed for gold seekers” (Wheat)

With a Superb Map

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512. 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: Stringer & Townsend, 222 Broadway, 1849 [title verso]: Stereotyped by C. Davidson & Co., 33 Gold Street, N.Y., 1849. 144 pp., i.e.: [1-5] 6-137 [1, blank], [6, ads], 1 folded map (see below). 8vo (22.5 x 14.7 cm), original gold printed wrappers (sympathetically rebacked). Map excellent with minor mended tears (no loss). A very fine, uncut, unsophisticated, as-issued copy. “Yale College Library” in old ink on upper wrapper and old accession number at foot of title page.


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 & Engraved by J.M. Atwood. New York. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by J.H. Colton in the clerk’s office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. [upper left inset map] Map of the Gold Region. California. [view at center left]: Pyramid Lake Upper California Discovered by Capt. Fremont, 35 miles long, 1,890 feet above the sea. The Pyramid of Rock in the Lake rises 600 ft. above its surface. [inset map at upper right: Untitled map from the East Coast of the United States around Horn] [lower center] Table of Distances from Sandy Hook. Neat line to neat line: 39 x 54 cm; image area including ornate grape-vine border: 46.5 x 62.5 cm; overall sheet size: 55.5 x 65 cm. Overland routes shown in blue. Gold region at top left highlighted in yellow.

     First edition (the variant with 137 [1] pp. of text and 6 pp. of ads as opposed to another variant with 144 pp. e-vineed. The priority of the two variants of this year is unknown). Copies with a view of San Francisco inserted are sophisticated. Cowan I, pp. 193-194 (144 pp.). Cowan II, p. 537 (144 pp.): “The view of San Francisco which is occasionally in bound copies, does not belong to this work.” Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 539b (citing two variants without priority). Graff 3527 (137 pp.). Howell 50, California 212 (137 pp.). Howes R366 (lists an “issue” with 138 pp. of text + “6 adv-p” and a 144 page issue, with “app. added”: “A view of San Francisco is sometimes found, inserted, but was not issued with the book.” Jones 1215. Norris 3291. Sabin 72070. Streeter Sale (2595; 137 pp.). Vail, Books of the California Gold Rush 168 (no pagination). Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 116: “One of the best of the early books on California printed for gold seekers.” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 591 (noting that the map was also issued in 1849 as a separate, in a German publication, and the present work by Robinson).

     From Gary Kurutz in The California Gold Rush 539:

In his preface, dated December 1848, Robinson related that his 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 earlier 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 [pp. 125-137] 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.... The back wrapper 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 do 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 percent.”

     One effect of the Appendix is to damn in no uncertain terms the cross-Panama route, except for those who can be assured of immediate sailing once Panama City is reached. The anonymous author of the appendix makes it quite clear that anyone who tarries between Chagres and Panama City is putting his life at risk. His one concession to this route is to admit that if one can get immediate passage for California after crossing the isthmus, this is the fastest route to the Gold Region.


Sold. Hammer: $3,000.00; Price Realized: $3,675.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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