Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2009 Issue

Selections from the Zamorano 80 from Randall House Rare Books


Zamorano 80 from Randall House.

By Michael Stillman

Randall House Rare Books has issued a list entitled Zamorano 80. This is the ultimate collecting list of California. In 1945, the Zamorano Club set about compiling a list of the eighty most essential pieces for a collection of Californiana. These are not the rarest of California books, nor even always the most significant. However, it is what the club members, with undoubtedly much healthy debate, chose as the most essential pieces for a collection. While some surely still argue whether these are the exact eighty which should have been selected, their choices have become almost a biblical command. The Zamorano 80 is the collecting list of Californiana. Few have ever completed a collection, for while many titles are actually quite common, a few are exceedingly rare. Still, it is the chase that provides the greatest excitement, and one can only wonder how many partly completed collections are out there.

Randall House does not have all Zamorano titles available. That can quickly be deduced from the fact that the total number offered is 37. Besides, there are some duplicates here. They have not limited the listings to first editions, an opportunity for those looking to compile a collection without the enormous difficulty and expense of obtaining a first edition "Yellow Bird" (a copy last sold at auction in 2003 for $86,250). However, there are many first editions offered. Here are a few of the opportunities to develop your Zamorano collection.

Item 7 is the Report of the Debates in the Convention of California on the Formation of the State Constitution in September and October, 1849. This was a time of dramatic and rapid change for what had long been a lightly populated backwater. An unsuccessful brief revolt by American settlers was quickly followed with a seizure of the territory by American forces after the outbreak of the Mexican War. By 1848, Mexico withdrew its claims to California with the treaty ending the war. Meanwhile, gold was discovered in the land, and by 1849, California was awash with 49ers seeking their fortune. This was the backdrop to the constitutional convention, which would set up the laws for the territory. A year later, California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state. Offered is a first edition of the report, published in 1850. $200.

Item 26 is the rare first edition of the History of the Donner Party. A Tragedy of the Sierras. As most are aware, that was the terrible journey west where the party got stuck in the Sierras during winter, and the survivors were forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. Thirty years after the tragedy, Charles McGlashan, editor of the closest newspaper in the area at Truckee, set about to find the true story of what happened. He interviewed 24 of the 26 survivors still around to complete his account. Published in 1879. $6,500.

Here is the story of a man who truly got to see America, from its spacious skies and amber grain, to its purple mountains and fruited plains, from sea to shining sea. Item 29 is Stephen Powers' Afoot and Alone, a Walk from Sea to Sea by the Southern Route. Powers walked across America alone, probably the first to do so. He started in Raleigh, North Carolina, and walked 3,556 miles to California. His description of California Indians is particularly notable, his notes later being published by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Published in 1872. $450.

Item 30 is one of the best looks at California just before, and during the early days of the Gold Rush. The book is A Tour of Duty in California; Including a Description of the Gold Region... The author is Joseph Warren Revere, grandson of midnight rider Paul Revere. The younger Revere had served in the Navy during the Mexican War, which took him to California. He wrote about the territory in this book, published in 1849, and even settled for a while in California, though he eventually returned east. $1,500.

Randall House Rare Books may be contacted at 805-963-1909 or Pia@RandallHouseRareBooks.com. Their website is www.RandallHouseRareBooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
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    <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>

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