Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2011 Issue

Californiana from the William Reese Company

Reesebul19

California from William Reese Co.

The William Reese Company has issued their Bulletin 19:  Magnificent Californiana. This is not the California of movie stars, glamour and beautiful people. This is a grittier California, people eking out a hard living despite their spectacular surroundings. It is California as a Mexican state, briefly a sort-of independent land, again briefly an American territory, and concludes with the early days of American statehood. For most of this time it was a lightly populated place, home to scattered Indian tribes, Mexican missions, and a few other hardy settlers. Then, in 1849, gold was discovered, and Americans from the east flocked west to find their fortunes. Few did, but many stayed to settle down in this beautiful and climate-friendly land. Gold strikes may have disappeared, but the people kept coming. Here, now, are a few items from this collection of works from California when it was still a wild and mostly unsettled land.

 

We will start with one of the earlier looks at California, Relacion Historica de la Vida y Apostolicas Tareas del Venerable Padre Fray Junipero Serra… by Francisco Palou. It was published in 1787, when California was limited to a few Spanish missions and the scattered Indian tribes that had lived there since crossing over from Asia many millennia before. Palou's book is mainly an account of the life of Father Junipero Serra, the founder of the missions in Upper or Alta California, essentially today's U.S. state of California. The map shows 9 of what were eventually 21 missions founded by Serra, and appears to be the first map to show a boundary line between Upper and Lower California. Serra corresponded with Palou through letters, and these letters provide much of the information about California in this book, including descriptions of the land and of the Indian tribes and their customs. Item 1 is a first edition, second issue of Palou's work. Priced at $25,000.

 

Item 6 is a very early treaty between California and a foreign company. California was a Mexican state at the time, but the realities of long distances afforded it a certain degree of autonomy from Mexican authorities. California, then as now, was suffering from financial difficulties, and so signed this agreement with a Russian company, allowing that firm to hunt sea otters off the California coast. The "Russian Company of N. Arcangel" originally signed an agreement with California in 1823. Offered is the manuscript 1825 revision of this treaty, signed by Governor Luis Antonio Arguello, spelling out in greater detail the rights and obligations of the parties. Reese notes that this was the period of greatest Russian expansion along the Pacific coast of North America, far south of Alaska, then Russian territory. $12,500.

 

Item 9 is one of only five known copies, and the only signed in manuscript, of California's first declaration of independence. This is not from the "Bear Flag" revolution of Anglo settlers in 1846, but what was more an internal battle between Mexicans in California and Mexican authorities back in the capital. Beginning En el Puerto de Monterrey de la Alta California… dated November 7, 1836, it is signed by the leader of the revolt, Juan B. Albarado (Alvarado) and three others. It declared California independent, with Alvarado naming himself governor. This occurred at the same time as the Texas revolution, though its aims were less drastic than those of the Texians. The broadside was printed by California's second printer, Santiago Aguilar, Alvarado having forced California's legendary first printer, Agustin Zamorano, into exile three days earlier. The result of this revolt was Mexican authorities agreeing to recognize Alvarado and granting California more autonomy, for which Alvarado agreed for the land to remain Mexican territory. $65,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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