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Alonzo Delano Old Block’s Sketch – Book; or, Tales of California Life

Illustrated with Numerous Elegant Designs, by Nahl, The Cruickshank of California. Sacramento: James Anthony & Co., Publishers and Printers, Union Office. 1856.

 

COLLATION: [1] title, [2] blank, [i] ii-iii introduction, [iv] dedication, [1] 2-78 text, (double columns), [79] conclusion, [80] blank, [81] advt., [82]. 8¾ x 5¾ in. 

BINDING: Book is placed in a custom-made slip case; half dark blue leather over tan boards. Original cover wrappers lacking. 

ILLUSTRATIONS: Fifteen wood engravings included in pagination.

 

REFERENCES: Cowan I, p. 65; Cowan II, p. 163; Graff 1043; Greenwood 676; Holliday 284; Howell 412; Howes D-231; Kurutz 180a; Streeter 2800; Wheat, Books 57, note; Zamorano 80, 29

A companion to the earlier Pen-Knife Sketches (see next entry), this collection of stories and observations was dedicated by Delano to the miners of California. He loved his miners and wrote with deep feeling about the lives they endured. In these sketches he recalled his snug and cozy miner’s cabin, his amigos like “Old Swamp” and Bogue, Sunday in the mines, his first day in Sacramento, the burning of Grass Valley, and a mountain storm. As so energetically told by Delano, Sunday was not a day of worship or rest but a time to frolic with horseracing, gambling, and drinking. Waxing nostalgic, Delano, a native of Auburn, New York, concluded with the following celebration of his new home: “There is probably no country in the world whose early settlement abounds in more thrilling incident, more daring adventures, or more hardy and chivalrous deeds, than that of our beloved California.” 

 

The full-page Armstrong engravings based on Charles Christian Nahl sketches of life in the mines and mining towns add greatly to the appeal of this Sacramento imprint. In particular, the last engraving presents a delightful portrait of this pioneer humorist. It humorously shows him “leaving this world on a black cat’s back, with my face towards his tail.” Leslie E. Bliss, Henry E.  Huntington’s first librarian, states in The Zamorano 80: "Both author and illustrator are characteristically Californian, and few volumes have a truer flavor of the Mother Lode than this result of their combined efforts." Processing and shipping within the continental U.S. $25.00 plus 1.5% replacement cost insurance. Witherell's strives to provide as much information and photographs as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Condition statements are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Witherell's. All lots are sold "AS IS" under terms and conditions. Please be advised we do not provide porters nor packing materials for pick ups.

 

 

Estimate: $2,500 - $5,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$3,630
09/16/2020

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Witherell's strives to provide as much information and photographs as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Condition statements are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Witherell's. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms and Conditions. Methods of payment are cash, check, money orders, or wire transfer for foreign payments. Please note we do not accept credit cards. This auction has a buyer's premium of 21% when bidding through witherells.com.