WHITNEY, Josiah Dwight
The Yosemite Book; A Description of the Yosemite Valley and the Adjacent Region of the Sierra Nevada, and of the Big Trees of California....
New York: Julius Bien, 1868. Large quarto. 116pp. plus twenty-eight mounted albumen photographs, each 6 x 8 inches, and two folding maps. Repairs to maps, text moderately foxed in places, photo mounts lightly so, but the photos themselves clean and bright.
Three-quarter morocco, publisher's green cloth, title stamped in gilt on front board, neatly re-backed, with original gilt morocco spine preserved, gilt edges
Twenty-eight Mounted Photographs of Yosemite
An important photographically illustrated piece of Western Americana, containing twenty-eight original albumen photographs, the first twenty-four produced by Carleton T. Watkins in 1866 and the final four by W. Harris the following year. The Yosemite Book ... was assembled by the office of the California State Geologist, headed by J.D. Whitney. The text was based mainly on the field survey work done by Clarence King in the 1866 season, supplemented with material from other sources. The whole was intended as a lavish guide to Yosemite. Only 250 copies were issued with photographs, as in the present copy. The rest were done on a smaller format to serve more practically as a guide book. The maps are the best of the Yosemite region produced up to that time. Whitney was justifiably proud of the work, which appeared early in 1869, although completed in December 1868. Currey & Kruska conclude that it is "one of the major contributions to Sierra Nevada literature."
This work is now scarce. It was notably absent from the DeGolyer Library exhibition devoted to photographically illustrated western books (although it is listed in the appendix). Important and visually impressive.
Cowan, p.699; Currey & Kruska, Yosemite Bibliography 60; Farquhar 7a; Graff 4646; Howell 50:929; Howes W389, "aa"; Kurutz, California Books Illustrated with Original Photographs 88; ROCQ 5170; Truthful Lens 896; Zamorano Select 32.