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The Californian
Monterey & San Francisco: August 29, 1846 - September 15, 1847. 27 numbers, quarto (11 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches) (vol.I, 21 issues) and folio (18 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches) (vol.II, 6 issues). Each 4pp. (No. 3 has large hole through both leaves with loss of some text, no. 5 is silked and separated at fold, no. 15 silked, no. 28 has small hole, no. 29 silked and separated at fold with small hole and corner missing, four numbers of volume II have small sections missing, either clipped or torn out). Contained in two half red morocco and cloth boxes. An extensive run of the first California newspaper, comprised of twenty-one issues of volume one and six numbers of volume two. The set offered here is probably the most complete to appear on the market since the Thomas W. Streeter Sale in 1968, and offers what is likely to be the last opportunity to acquire this California rarity. The California State Library's set is less complete, as is every other known run of the newspaper save for the complete set handled by Howell and a run of thirty-eight numbers sold at the Streeter Sale (for $ 17,500 in 1968). A set belonging to the California Pioneers was destroyed by fire. The Californian was edited by Walter Colton, author of Deck and Port (1850) and Three Years in California (1850), and Robert Semple, a frontier doctor from Kentucky. The first issue appeared on August 15, 1846 and continued to be published weekly in Monterey, in English and Spanish on the Zamorano Press, the first printing press in California. Paper was so scarce that a few issues had to be printed on cigar wrapping papers. Much of the news is comprised of first-hand accounts of local happenings. When there was a scarcity of news items, Colton and Semple used fillers of poetry and fiction, or culled from newspapers received in exchange. The paper was printed every Saturday until No. 36, April 24, 1847, when Colton turned the business over to Semple due to ill health. Number 37, here present, notes the change; this and the next issue, that last published in Monterey, appeared on Thursday rather than Saturday. Semple moved the paper almost immediately to San Francisco, where he began publication in a larger folio format, on May 22, 1847. The paper bore the masthead The Californian until Number 15, August 28, here present, when the "The" was dropped. B.R. Buckelew took over as publisher July 17, Robert Gordon on October 27th, and Buckelew again January 26, 1848. The Californian served as a vital source of news for the American forces during their occupation of California in the Mexican War. The paper continued in its important role after the war with its support of the new government, printing the texts of the various official proclamations, and strongly advocating a territorial relationship with the United States as a first step toward annexation. The issues included here include Part I of a review, with extracts, of Melville's Typee (Vol. I, No. 21), a reprinting of the Prospectus for the paper establishing editorial policy (Vol I, No. 30), and an account of the rescue of the Donner party survivors (Vol. I, No. 32), among many other items of great historical interest. Fahey, pp.33-48; Streeter Sale 2509; Greenwood 99; Graff 550; Kemble (1962), pp.52-65; Wagner, California Imprints 1.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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