(Hartford: Wm. C. Hutchings, 1869). 240 x185 mm. (9 1/2 x 6 1/2"). 56 pp.
Publisher's brown pebble-grain morocco, covers with gilt frame and titling, smooth spine, all edges gilt. Graff 2008; Sabin 33685; Howes H785. ◆Spine and extremities rather rubbed, shallow chip to head of spine, top quarter of front board a little faded, boards just slightly splayed, isolated tiny marginal spots, but an excellent copy, internally fresh, clean, and rather bright, in a sound binding.
This is a first-hand account of the opening of the coast-to-coast railroad from a Connecticut businessman who was among the first paying passengers to cross the continent by rail. Vivid and amusing, Humason's account begins in Boston, where he departed for Chicago, heading on to Omaha. This part of the trip passed in relative comfort, but things begin to change when the train reached the Rocky Mountains: conditions became decidedly more rustic, and Humason paints evocative scenes of rough, whiskey-soaked towns populated by rowdy men. The train arrives at the spot in Utah where the Golden Spike completing the transcontinental railroad was placed just hours after the big event, only to find it deserted, containing nothing, in Humason's words, but "sand, sand, dust, dust, sagebrush, sagebrush, sagebrush!" Humason took a side trip to Salt Lake City, and was fascinated by the Latter Day Saints who had settled there, turning it into a prosperous oasis. Upon reaching San Francisco in a then-remarkable 10 days, he contemplates the vastness of the United States, filled with awe and pride. Our copy has the publisher's deluxe gilt-decorated morocco binding rather than the more commonly seen blind-stamped cloth. (CBJ1711)