San Marino: The Huntngton Library. Large octavo, original brown cloth, original dust jacket. Bookplates, penciled call number to blank flyleaf, neat tape reinforcement to verso of unclipped jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #922
"NOW LET US CALL THE ROLL OF FAMOUS MEN THAT WERE OUR FATHERS LONG AGO" (ECCLESIASTES) First edition of this collective portrait of the California Franciscans—indispensable to the study of the history of Spanish California. These short profiles of the 142 Franciscans who served in Alta California in the decades before the Gold Rush were methodically compiled over a 25-year span by the Archivist and Historian of the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara. Of special interest is San Fernando College, Mexico City, which sent 127 missionaries to Alta California in the years between 1769 and 1833. It is said that 58 "Fernandinos" died at their missions. The biographies are preceded by Geiger's tributary Foreword: "It was this corps of soldiers of the cross who two hundred years ago effected the first triumphs of religion and civilization in what is now the golden state of California. Each one deserves the niche in history he earned. Memoria eorum manet in aeternum." The main Biographical Dictionary is preceded with epigraphs from Ecclesiastes and Carlos Antonio Carillo. The biographies are supplemented with an appendix in two parts (Appendix I. Franciscans Who Visited California Between 1769 and 1849. Appendix II. (Chart) List of Franciscan Missionaries who served in Upper California, 1769-1848), a Glossary of Terms and a Bibliography. Designed by Ward Ritchie and printed for the Huntington Library with a publication statement: "The publication of this volume has been assisted by the James Irvine Foundation Publication Fund of the Huntington Library." The front panel of the dust jacket is illustrated with flourishes from the signatures of Fathers Junipero Serra, Juan Crespi, and Francisco Palou. From the collection of newspaper publisher James S. Copley, with the bookplates of his California Library. The James S. Copley collection of historical Americana was auctioned at Sotheby's New York in May 2011. A valuable book with an interesting provenance.