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    Edwin Bryant. What I Saw in California: Being the Journal of a Tour, By the Emigrant Route and South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, across the Continent of North America, the Great Desert Basin, and through California, in the Years 1846, 1847. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1849. Fifth edition (the first to contain the J. H. Colton map). 12mo, 480 pages. Appendix. Frontispiece an untitled, engraved map showing the San Francisco Bay Area and the surrounding gold fields. Brown blind-stamped cloth over boards with title in gilt on the spine. In his book, Bryant records his journey to California, the tragedy of the Donner Party, and describes his term as the second alcalde (mayor with some judicial powers) of San Francisco. Front board is bowed outward slightly. Small .5" tear on page 8. Page number 150 is marked "50." Moderate foxing throughout. Minor chipping of the page edges in places.

    Regarding the first edition, Graff notes: "Although this is a faithful account of an overland journey, its usefulness was marred because there was no map. The lack was supplied starting with the fifth edition." Titled Map of California, Oregon, Texas, and the Territories Adjoining with Routes &c., the hand-colored, lithograph, foldout map by J. H. Colton, dated 1849, measures 18.5" x 21" and depicts rivers, towns and settlements, and the locations of various Indian tribes. Boundaries and routes are outlined in pink and the gold fields of California are denoted in yellow. Relief is shown in hachures. Weakness along some of the folds has led to separation at the intersections in places.

    Edwin Bryant (1805-1869) was a newspaper editor from Kentucky who traveled west because of his poor health. He joined the party of General William H. Russell in Independence, Missouri, and set out overland toward California. They were soon joined by other pioneers heading west, including the infamous Donner-Reed Party. Bryant and a few others decided to ride ahead because of the slow pace leaving the others behind. He arrived in San Francisco in September 1846 and was soon serving with Captain John C. Fremont. The following year, he was appointed alcalde of San Francisco by Gen. Stephen Kearny. He returned east later in 1847 and, in 1848, published his book. Twenty years later, again suffering from poor health, he leaped to his death from his room in the Willard Hotel in Louisville. A pencil inscription on the front board attests to Bryant's tragic demise: "Judge Bryant committed suicide by jumping from his 3d story window in Kentucky (1869)."

    Reference: Cowan, p.81. Graff 458. Howes B903. Kurutz 95i. Wagner-Camp 146:9. Wheat, Maps of the Gold Region 67.

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    15th Saturday
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