Association Copy With Detective
[Gold Rush] Thomas Fitch & Company. Directory of
the City of Placerville and Towns of Upper Placerville, El Dorado,
Georgetown, and Coloma. Containing a History of These Places, Names
of Their Inhabitants, and Everything Appertaining to a Complete
Directory Together With a Business Directory.
Placerville: Placerville Republican Printing Office, 1842. First
edition. Octavo. 128 pages. "Explanation" (errata) slip tipped to
front free endpaper. Association copy with the 19th Century
ownership ink stamp of noted lawman and Wells Fargo detective James
B. Hume "Special officer W.F. & Co. San Francisco, Cal." at the
top edge of the front free endpaper. Original brown sheep over
paper-covered boards, titles printed in red on the front board and
advertisements printed in red on the back board. Titles lettered in
gilt on the spine. Binding with light wear, some toning and mild
dampstaining to the lower right corner; spine leather chipping and
with some small areas of loss; spine neatly repaired; endpapers
toned, otherwise nicely preserved and in very good condition.
Offered in a custom clamshell case with gilt stamped spine
James B. Hume's Ownership Stamp
Known previously as Dry Diggin's, and later "Hangtown" due to its notorious reputation for hangings, the city was renamed Placerville in 1854 upon its incorporation. At the time it was California's third largest city. Placerville was a central hub for the Mother Lode region's mining operations. The town had many services, including transportation of people and goods, lodging, banking, and had a market and general store. The "Explanation" errata makes a slightly tongue-in-cheek reference to the city's hanging past: "A slight error occurs in the History of Placerville, which was not discovered until after the work was in the binders' hands. The Soubriquet of 'Hangtown' was applied to Placerville not from the hanging of 'Irish Dick' in 1850, but from the summary execution of the two Frenchmen and the Spaniard, who were hung in 1849, and not in 1854 as stated on page 11. No hanging, by a mob, has occurred here since 1850." James B. Hume, whose ownership stamp is present in this copy, is considered by many to be one of the first modern detectives in the United States. He was involved in several shootouts and standoffs, his most famous case his tracking and arrest of the outlaw "Black Bart". Hume is listed on page 44 as "deputy collector; house; Piety Hill".
References: Graff 1339; Greenwood 1685; Howes F159 and P405.
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