Description

    Major Horace Bell. Reminiscences of a Ranger or, Early Times in Southern California. Los Angeles: Yarnell, Caystile & Mathes, Printers, 1881. First edition of the first cloth-bound book to be printed and published in the city of Los Angeles. 8vo. 457pp. Text vignettes. Publisher's brown gilt-pictorial cloth ruled and decorated in black, beveled edges. Front hinge cracked but the board remains firmly attached. Missing first front free endpaper. Faint library mark on spine and additional small inked library numbers on the title page. J. A. Munk presentation bookplate on the front pastedown. Moderate shelf wear to the edges of the boards and spine ends, titles slightly faded on the spine, else a very good copy.

    This is possibly the most important chronicle of Los Angeles during the heady days of the early 1850s as it transitioned from being primarily a Mexican town to becoming an Anglo stronghold. Horatio Bell came to California in 1850 as a gold seeker, failed to strike it rich, and headed to Los Angeles in 1852 in search of better prospects. His journalistic skills permeate the volume allowing him to capture the flavor of Los Angeles during the violent and raucous early 1850s when his rangers struggled to bring peace to a town better known as "Los Diablos." While much of the volume focused on brawls, lynchings, drinking, gambling, and other assorted vices, it also offered a wonderful view of the mixing of cultures in Southern California. His eloquent accounts of fandangos, fiestas, a stagecoach race, and a cattle stampede demonstrate another side of life in Los Angeles.

    References: Graf 240. Howes B325. Streeter 2971.


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    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
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