Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2011 Issue

Latin American Books and Manuscripts from Libreria de Antano

Some of Jose Torrubia's fossils.

Item 32 is the biography of a man Libreria de Antano describes as "the founder of agriculture in California." A quick internet search shows several people who have been given that title, but since Father Juan de Ugarte is the oldest, the others must be pretenders. Father Ugarte was one of the founders of the first California missions in the early 18th century. He was a very learned man, so in addition to spreading the teachings of his Jesuit order, he studied crops, climate, soil, and the adaptability of various plants and animals to the local climate. Father Ugarte is also remembered for building the first ship built in California. He was multitalented. Father Ugarte operated from Baja California, which is why he is not as well known to most American Californians as the later Father Junipero Serra who built missions in Alta California, today's American state. The biography's title is Virtudes de el Venerable, y Apostolico Padre Juan de Ugarte… by J.J. de Villavicencio, published in 1752. Libreria de Antano notes that this book contains the first mention of wine in California, today a major product of the state. $22,500.

 

Item 35 is noted as the first book on paleontology written in Spain:  Aparato para la historia natural Espanola, published in 1754. Author Jose Torrubia was a Franciscan who traveled the world. He had stays in the Philippines, China, and America. He also had a curious mind, and became something of an amateur scientist. He was particularly fascinated by geology. When shown some fossils in Spain, he began conducting field research. He was a believer in the scientific method of observation, but in these pre-Darwinian days, he sought biblical explanations for what he saw. The result was he attributed seashells found in the mountains to Noah's flood; and large bones he found to giants. $13,500.

 

Liberia de Antano may be reached at +5411 5272-1618 or info@antano.com.ar.

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