Lot 282 of 613:
Thomas Russell printing of the Shirley Letters  

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Lot closed - unsold
$250 - $350

The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52. Being a Series of Twenty-three Letters from Dame Shirley to her Sister in Massachusetts

Shirley, Dame [Clappe, Louise Amelia Knapp Smith]

San Francisco

Thomas C. Russell



xlvii, [5], 350, [1] pp. With synopsis of the letters, foreword, etc., by Thomas C. Russell. Illustrated with 8 hand-colored plates, including frontispiece. (8vo), blue and tan cloth with small gilt vignette, morocco spine label lettered in gilt, top edge gilt.. No. 286 of a stated 200 numbered copies on California bond-paper, from a stated total edition of 450 copies. First Edition.

Signed in Thomas C. Russell's name on limitation page, as issued. Significant, first-hand impressions of Gold Rush California and the activities at the mines. As the Zamorano 80 describes it, "these valuable letters, first published in the old Pioneer magazine of San Francisco under the name of `Dame Shirley,' were written from the California mines by Mrs....Clappe to her sister in Massachusetts in 1851 & 1852. They were not published until 1854.... The letters were written from Rich Bar on the Feather River, where the author accompanied her husband, Dr. Fayette Clappe. They give an entirely different picture of the conditions at the mines from that ordinarily found in books written by miners and travelers of that day. Being a cultured woman's contemporary report of experiences in the gold rush, they are unique..." Howes calls the letters "a vivid and unexcelled picture of every-day life in the mines." Kurutz adds that "the Shirley Letters have received the highest possible praise. The importance of her letters was recognized early on and influenced the views and writings of Josiah Royce, Hubert Howe Bancroft, Bret Harte, and possibly, Samuel Clemens. Russell edited, amended, annotated, printed and published the work. Cowan p.837; Howes C427; Kurutz 133a; Zamorano 80 #69.

Lot Amendments

Large dampstain areas to cloth, heavy rubbing to spine with fraying to ends; gift inscription on front flyleaf; very good.

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