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  

Zamorano Club published

The Zamorano


: A Selection of Distinguished California Books

Made by Members of the Zamorano Club.

The criterion for inclusion was that a selection above all

should be distinguished, and that rarity and importance would be secondary. Yet, over time, it

appears that the eighty books selected are both distinguished and important, and a number of

them are de


nitely rare. The Club’s goal was to choose those books considered cornerstones of a

serious collection of Californiana. The books listed in

The Zamorano


for the most part have

withstood the test of time.

The persons most involved in the selection and approval process were Leslie E. Bliss, Robert

G. Cleland, Robert E. Cowan, Homer D. Crotty, Phil Townsend Hanna, J. Gregg Layne, Henry

R. Wagner, and Robert J. Woods. Originally, the Zamorano Club intended to make a list con-

sisting of one hundred titles, but the committee and their consultants soon discovered that they

could not unanimously agree upon the one hundred books which merited inclusion. Under-

standably, with human tastes and opinions di


ering as they invariably do, consensus was no easy

task. Furthermore, some members felt very intensely about their selections or rejections. As we

know, bibliophiles of all persuasions are an impassioned breed. As Lawrence Clark Powell stated

in his introduction to the revised edition of

Libros Californianos

(Los Angeles: Zeitlin & Ver Brugge,


): “Bibliomania at its worst is a gentle form of psychopathia, though it may have its roots

deeply sequestered in the same ego from which spring all those ‘peculiarities of human behavior’

which Stekel has so exhaustively discussed.” In his inimitable fashion, Powell went on to distin-

guish two distinct species of con


rmed bibliomaniacs: the collector and the student. He said that

the collector is concerned with rarity, and the student seeks knowledge. Powell concluded by quot-

ing Henry R. Wagner’s pragmatic remarks on his selection of the twenty rarest and most impor-

tant books dealing with the history of California:

There is no such thing as the twenty rarest and most important works relating to any subject, for the rea-

son that the most important books on any subject are not usually rare, and the rarest books on any subject are

usually of but little importance except from a collector’s point of view.

It would be comparatively easy to make a list of the twenty rarest books relating to California, but extremely



cult to make one of the twenty most important books.... I will not go into the question as to what consti-

tutes importance; that depends upon one’s point of view and also of the particular subject under treatment.

In such case, the question is one of perspective. To go into such questions would take a book, and when the

book was


nished probably no one could be found to agree with the conclusion.

After much good-spirited dispute, the Zamorano committee and its advisors


nally reached a

consensus on a list of eighty titles, but only after discarding the twenty most controversial titles.

How I would love to know what those twenty discarded titles were—perhaps the Treaty of

Guadalupe Hidalgo, surely something on Francis Drake and his sojourn in Alta California in


, hopefully Louis Choris’s beautiful album

Voyage Pittoresque autour de Monde



), maybe

Hugo Reid’s


treatise on

The Indians of Los Angeles County,

or possibly the


rst book to contain

the name “California” (

Las sergas de Esplandián,

printed at Seville in


). Perhaps J. Goldsbor-

ough Bru


’s acutely perceptive and vivaciously illustrated




overland and Gold Rush

journal (New York,


) was too fresh o


the press for consideration. At any rate, the process of


nal selection of

The Zamorano


was speeded along by the smooth arbitration skills of Zamora-

no member and attorney Homer D. Crotty. Or perhaps, as Crotty modestly suggested in the

introduction to

The Zamorano



harmony might have been achieved due to a special menu