THE SANTA FÉ TRAIL TO CALIFORNIA 1849-1852. THE JOURNAL AND DRAWINGS OF H. M. T. POWELL.

(San Francisco: [Printed by the Grabhorn Press for] The Book Club of California, 1931). 356 x 241 mm. (14 x 9 1/2"). 8 p.l., 272 pp.Edited by Douglas S. Watson. ONE OF 300 COPIES printed by E. & R. Grabhorn.

Publisher's tan quarter morocco over buckram, raised bands, titling in blind. In a matching morocco-backed folding box. With seven small drawings in the text, two folding maps showing the routes from Independence to Santa Fe and from Santa Fe to San Diego, and 16 drawings by Powell of California pueblos, towns, and missions, three of these folding. Heller & Magee 158; Kurutz 515; Wheat 161; Eberstadt 137:517; Graff 3334; Howes P-525; Streeter Sale 3229. Top of spine a little rubbed (apparently from the tight tray-case), otherwise a pristine copy.

This is a critically acclaimed edition of an important account of the treacherous journey west to the California Gold Rush. Kurutz tells us that "Powell's 'Santa Fé Trail' ranks as one of the most important and highly celebrated overland narratives. Its superb narrative combined with the elegant presentation of the Grabhorn Press make this a cornerstone of any Western travel collection." Wheat calls it a "notable journal, magnificently printed . . . with superlative reproductions of Powell's charming pencil drawings of California towns and missions." Based on the original manuscript in possession of the press, the journal was printed in Centaur type on Van Gelder Paper. According to Heller & Magee, "the printers felt that this was an American classic for all time," deserving of the finest treatment in book design and production. H. M. T. Powell left Greenville, Illinois, in 1849 to seek his fortune in California, like so many other hopeful prospectors. His journal of the arduous trek vividly brings to life the everyday difficulties and fatal hazards that awaited the western traveller. Between Independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe, his small team loses three of its members to cholera, and the hell is only beginning as they take the southern Gila trail through Arizona to reach San Diego. He describes life in San Francisco and Stockton (which seems constantly to be in flames) and in the rough gold mining camps. Hating the work, missing his family, and unsuccessful in his search for riches, Powell happily returns to Illinois via Panama in 1852.
(ST16866e)

Keywords: Californiana