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

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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
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