Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2019 Issue

California and the West from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller

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California and the West.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller has issued his 15th Short List, this one entitled Books and Artworks on California and the West. This material depicts the Golden State from a different time, before it was the largest state, sometimes before it even was a state, occasionally before it was even a possession of the United States. There was once a time when California was a sparsely inhabited place. The beginning of the end of that era started with the Gold Rush, a process that has continued unabated for the past 170 years. Here is a look at a few samples of the different aspects of California as it has evolved over the years.

 

We will begin with an account of California in its early days, while still a part of Mexico. The author was José Bandini, a Spanish sea captain who settled in California around 1818. Item 2 is a manuscript English translation of Bandini's description, originally written in 1828, likely made between 1838-1846. It would have been taken from one of the handful of manuscripts in Spanish then in circulation. The heading is Description of Upper California. It is an extended version of a letter he wrote to a British vice-consul who requested it. Windle notes that the "highly-detailed report describes the government, presidios, missions, Indians, settlements, trade routes, revenue, flora and fauna, and topography, and gives recommendations for its future development." Bandini was none too favorably inclined toward the Indians, whom he did not consider trustworthy or grateful, but then again, he was not particularly complementary toward the Spanish-Mexicans who migrated north, considering them less than industrious workers. This translation was likely made for Thomas O. Larkin. Larkin was an early American settler who was the first and only American consul to the California Republic and a signer of the original California Constitution. Larkin promoted the desirability of settlement of this new territory to authorities in Washington and this account would have provided ammunition for his cause. Despite its importance, Bandini's manuscript was not published until 1951, when an edition in Spanish and English was printed in 400 copies by the Friends of the Bancroft Library. Priced at $25,000.

 

Larkin wasn't the only person promoting settlement of California in the days after it was taken over by the U.S. On the other side of the continent, J. Morrison Harris was promoting the territory to members of the Maryland Historical Society. Item 6 is A Paper Upon California; Read before the Maryland Historical Society. The year was 1849. Harris noted California's advantageous geographic position, foreseeing the transcontinental railroad, then just a dream two decades away, and California's role as the gateway to the Orient. He predicted California would become the new Constantinople or Lisbon, obviously major ports of commerce in that day. This being the era before the Panama Canal, shipping to the east coast of America required an enormously long journey, to be greatly reduced by California and its terminus of the railroad. $175.

 

Here is a Californian who lived in the state long before the above named gentlemen, a life long resident of the place where born. It still lives today, though an estimated 1,700 years old. Okay, this is not a person. The Grizzly Giant is a tree, a sequoia 209 feet tall. The Giant is a resident of Yosemite National Park. Item 15 is a photograph of the Grizzly Giant taken circa 1908-1917. The photographer was Harold A. Parker, who operated a studio in Pasadena from 1903-1930. The studio's stamp reads "H. A. Parker, Fotografer." Parker passed on in 1930, but the Grizzly Giant still thrives today, looking much as it did a century ago. $500.

 

You will find some photographs of Parker's studio in the Huntington Library, which provides a perfect lead in to this next photograph. It is one of Collis Potter Huntington, the uncle of Huntington Library founder Henry E. Huntington. Both Huntingtons were wealthy railroad magnates. Collis' most significant achievement was as one of the four founders of the Central Pacific Railroad. The Central Pacific was created to build the western portion of the first transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific handling the other half. They met at Promontory Point, Utah. Collis Huntington would go on to be involved with several other railroads, most notably as a founder of the Southern Pacific. Huntington died in 1900, and this photograph was evidently taken near the end of his life. The photographer was William Keith, a painter as well as photographer. Item 11. $1,500.

 

Not all Californians are nice people. Take James Gilbert Jenkins, for example. Actually, it's unfair to blame California for producing Jenkins. He was born in North Carolina, later working his way across the country, killing lots of people along the way. This book contains his gallows confession: Life and Confessions of James Gilbert Jenkins: The Murderer of Eighteen Men. Containing an Account of the Murder of Eight White Men and Ten Indians; Together with the Particulars of Highway Robberies, the Stealing of Several Horses, And Numerous Other Crimes, Committed in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska and California: as Narrated by Himself...while in Jail under Sentence of Death... At least in his home state of North Carolina, he wasn't such a bad guy. Jenkins narrated his grisly tale to Napa County Sheriff C. H. Allen, who made the most of it by publishing this book in 1864. Not coincidentally, 1864 was also the year in which Jenkins died. The law finally caught up with Mr. Jenkins when he offed one Patrick O'Brien, who made the mistake of hiring Jenkins as a helping hand. He obviously didn't check Jenkins' references (not that they could have talked). You can find a couple of explanations online as to why Jenkins murdered O'Brien. One is that he was messing around with O'Brien's wife who encouraged this particular outcome. The other is that Jenkins wanted to marry O'Brien's 14-year-old daughter, but her father said no. Whichever doesn't really matter. Jenkins required little excuse for murdering someone. He expressed little remorse in his confession, regretting only that he got caught. Item 24. $375.

 

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller may be reached at 415-986-5826 or john@johnwindle.com. Their website is www.johnwindle.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. The Rocky Mountains. Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1866. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in English]. <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English.</i> Rheims, 1582. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in Latin]. <i>Biblia latina.</i> Venice: Franz Renner of Hailbrun [Heilbrunn], 1483. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. “MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE.” $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> RAMSAY, David (1749-1815). <i>The History of the Revolution of South-Carolina…</i> Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1785. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BINDINGS]. MUIR, John (1838-1914). <i>The Writings of John Muir.</i> Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-1924. 10 vols. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [CHICAGO] -- <i>Park & Guide Map of Chicago.</i> Chicago: Jas. Van Vechten, 1873. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [ALLEN PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). <i>Romeo and Juliet.</i> Greenbrae: Allen Press, 1988. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BEMELMANS, Ludwig (1898-1962). Pencil drawing on paper. 247 x 198 mm, sight, matted and framed. Showing a child shooting at a baby's balloon. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [LOGAN ELM PRESS]. HARVEY, Rebecca. <i>Any Number of Things.</i> Ohio State University, 2013. Single sheet paper scroll. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BINYON, Laurence (1869-1943). A small archive of letters and pamphlets. $200 to $300.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Mariette (Pierre-Jean). <i>Traité des pierres gravées / Recueil des pierres gravées...,</i> 2 vols., 1750. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> [Bryant, Jacob & William Cole]. <i>Gemmarum Antiquarum Delectus, [Marlborough Gems],</i> 2 volumes, [privately printed, 1780-83], £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Caylus (Anne Claude Philippe, Comte de). <i>Recueil d'Antiquités Egyptiennes, Estrusques, Grecques et Romaines,</i> 7 volumes, Paris, 1756-67, £700 to £1,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Devonshire Gems. <i>Duke of Devonshire's Collection of Gems,</i> privately printed, c. 1790, [one of 8 copies], £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Goltz (Hubert). <i>Le Vive Imagini di tutti quasi gl'Imperatori,</i> Antwerp, 1557, £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Manuscript. <i>An Explanation of Dassier's Medals, by Charlotte Hanbury,</i> c. 1795-1800, £700 to £1,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Paoletti (Bartolomeo and Pietro). A collection of 300 plaster cameos presented in 7 leather-bound double-sided faux book boxes, Rome, c. 1820, £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Mayer (Luigi). <i>Views in Egypt, from the Original Drawings, in the Possession of Sir Robert Ainslie,</i> London: Thomas Bensley for R. Bowyer, 1805, £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Blaeu (Willem Janszoon & Johannes). <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive Atlas novus, pars quarta</i> [England and Wales], Amsterdam: Johannem Blaeu, 1648, £6,000 to £8,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Reuter (O.M. & Mela, A.J.). <i>Finlands Fiskar. The Fishes of Finland,</i> 12 parts (complete), Helsingfors: G.W. Edlund, 1883-93, £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Lunardi (Vincenzo). <i>An Account of the First Aerial Voyage in England,</i> 2nd edition, London: Printed for the Author, 1784, £700 to £1,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> North America. Jansson (Jan). <i>Virginiae partis Australis et Floridae partis Orientalis,</i> circa 1641. £400 to £600.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Daniel Giraud Elliot. <i>A Monograph of the Phasianidae, or Family of the Pheasants,</i> 1870-1872, coloured plates. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Georg Braun und Franz Hogenberg. <i>Civitates orbis terrarum.</i> Cologne, 1597-c.1606, 5 volumes, hand-coloured, calf. £140,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Qianren Huang. "Blue Map" of China. [Daoguang, 19th century]. £60,000 to £80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Abraham Ortelius. <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1595. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Maxime Du Camp. <i>Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie. Dessins Photographiques.</i> Paris, 1852. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>China, Canton School. A superb album of 141 watercolours, c.1800. £70,000 to £100,000.

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