Lot 63 of 235:
Rare pamphlet on Calif. oil field with maps 1865  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$1,800
$2,000 - $3,000

Professor Silliman's Report upon the Oil Property of The Philadelphia and California Petroleum Company, of Philadelphia, Situated in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties, California, to which are added extracts from the field notes made on a survey and exploration for a Rail Road, in 1850 and 1857, by Co. J. Williamson, Chief Engineer of the Survey

Silliman, Benjamin


E.C. Markley & Son



26 pp, With 2 lithographed maps hand-colored in outline, one of them folding. (8vo) 23.2x14.5 cm (9¼x5¾"), original blue printed wrappers.

Scarce California oil pamphlet from 1865, with two maps. The maps are: "The Property of the Philadelphia and California Petroleum Company Situate in Santa Barbara And Los Angeles Counties, California. Consisting of Rancho Simi... Las Posas... San Francisco... together 182, 432.57 Acres" (21x26 cm); & "Part of California Showing the Position of the Property of the Philadelphia & California Petroleum Co." (21x12.5 cm).  Warren Heckrotte comments at length on this pamphlet and other pamphlets relating to the early California oil industry, and on its participants, "According to the text, the larger map was prepared by Thomas Sprague, Surveyor of Santa Barbara County (according to White, Sprague was a 'thoroughly unscrupulous character'). The oil outcrops are marked on the map by numbers, 1 through 16 (and most by a dab of red color), and Silliman comments on each outcrop. The map also shows the stage road from San Francisco to Los Angeles and the telegraph line from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Streeter has four Silliman reports on oil in Southern California; one in 1864, three in 1865. I have three of the 1865 reports. The 1864 report does not have a map. According to White there is one more pamphlet on the San Buenaventura Pacific Petroleum Company (1864). Also according to White (pp 64-65) all the lands reported on in these pamphlets were owned or leased by Tom Scott. White states that Scott was an 'outstanding railroad entrepreneur.'" Rubberstamp "University Library, New Haven, Conn., Oct. 11, 1909" to top right corner of front wrapper.

Provenance: Dawson's Book Shop, 1/01

References: White, G. T., Scientists in Conflict. White's book relates the history of these early days of the oil industry and the conflict between Silliman and J.D. Whitney that arose in part on the issue of whether there was oil in California. Streeter 2905. This pamphlet not listed in usual references, though White notes it. White, G. T., Baptism in Oil.

Lot Amendments

Wear at spine, crease to top right corner of front wrapper; very good, in custom half morocco slipcase and chemise.

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