Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,328

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 June 9 - 10 Rare Books Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search