Lot 41 of 235:
Rare report by Judah on Central Pacific RR 1861  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$1,140
$1,500 - $2,500

Report of the Chief engineer of the Preliminary Survey and Cost of Construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, of California, Across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, From Sacramento to the Eastern Boundary of California

Judah, Theodore D.



October 1, 1861


36 pp. (8vo) 22x14 cm (8¾x5½"), removed from larger volume, set in modern folding cloth case. First Edition.

Presentation copy inscribed in pencil at the top or the title-page: "Respects of T.D. Judah Washington, D.C." This inscription is very slightly affected by trimming of the text block when bound; the work was originally issued separately in wrappers. One of Judah's first reports on the progress of the transcontinental railroad and the specific report that convinced the Big Four to go ahead with the project. Theodore D. Judah, a surveyor and railroad engineer who was involved with railroads in California in the 1850's, was a prime mover of the transcontinental railroad, surveying the route across the Sierra Nevada, and attempting to find financial backers. Failing to interest moneyed San Franciscans, he was able to procure backing from four Sacramento businessmen, Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker, in financing the Central Pacific Railroad, the western half of the railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific, which would join the Union Pacific at Promontory, Utah. The four were to become giants in the financial, social, educational and philanthropic fields, stemming in large part from this little booklet. Warren Heckrotte notes that "There is a description and assessment of three routes, and a detailed discussion and description of the chosen route. One really needs a detailed map to follow it. Rare." There was a second edition published in 1862 that did have a map. However, for the present edition, as Mr. Heckrotte further notes, "Page 35 has list of maps that were submitted with the report. Some are very large manuscript maps of the route. Others are published maps: Warren's map of the west, Goddard's map of California, Elliott's map of Central California, the map of railroad from Sacramento to Folsom, Ransom's map of San Francisco and 40 miles round, and others." No copies of this 1861 first edition have sold at auction since at least 1975 according to American Book Prices Current.

Provenance: Argonaut, 2/10

References: Graff 2255; Greenwood 1438; Howes K269; Streeter 2861.

Lot Amendments

Final leaf with 1½x3¼ piece torn out of lower corner, affecting a few lines of text; else very good.

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