Lot 104 of 431:
Accounting ledger of W.A. Leidesdorff 1843-44  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$6,000
$20,000 - $30,000

Personal accounting ledger, 1843-1844, of merchant captain and California pioneer William A. Leidesdorff

Leidesdorff, William Alexander

At sea & California




[20] pp. including self-wrappers, a few of them blank. 34x21.5 cm (13¼x8½"). Set in modern custom folding cloth box with leather cover label.

The original manuscript personal accounting ledger of William Alexander Leidesdorff, merchant captain and West Coast pioneer, son of a Danish sugar plantation manager and his common-law wife of African and Spanish descent. Leidesdorff migrated to Alta California in 1841, then under Mexican rule, settling in Yerba Buena (now San Francisco). One of the earliest mixed race, African-European citizens of California under both Mexican and United States rule, Leidesdorff was also one of its most successful – he received a land grant from the Mexican government of eight Spanish leagues, or 35,500 acres, south of the American River, known as Rancho Rio de los Americanos. He served as U.S. Vice Consul to Mexico at the Port of San Francisco beginning in 1845. By the time his estate was auctioned off in 1856, it was worth more than $1,445,000, not including vast quantities of gold mined upon his land. The account ledger covers his expenses in 1843 and 1844, most for the schooner Julia Ann, including food and drink: smoked and fresh salmon, fresh vegetables, beef, gin, and grog. Other expenses were for salaries, ship’s maintenance, and clothing. The ship docked primarily at the west coast cities of Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and “the pueblo of Los Angeles.” The ledger is a rare and important artifact of an early African-American in California, and major figure in California history at the end of Mexican control regardless of race.

Lot Amendments

Minor aging and wear, very good or better.

Item number:
Shipping info:

We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS Priority Mail. We do NOT ship USPS Media Mail under any circumstances.For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a minimum $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained  by contacting [email protected] prior to the auction.


Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.