PALOU, Francisco (1723-1789)
Relación Histórica de la vida y apostólicas tareas del Venerable Padre Fray Junípero Serra, y de las misiones que fundó en la California septentrional, y nuevos establecimientos del Monterey
Mexico: Imprenta de Don Felipe de Zuniga y Ontiveros, calle del Espiritu Santo, 1787. Small quarto. , 344pp. 1 engraved portrait, 1 folding engraved map. (Abrasion on top edge of text block).
Contemporary vellum, manuscript title on spine (lightly rubbed, ties lacking). Housed in a half morocco and cloth folding box, spine gilt.
A primary source for information on the history of early California.
An outstanding book on early California. Palou was a disciple of Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784) for many years, and his work is still the principal source for the life of the venerable founder of the California missions. "The letters from Father Serra to Father Palou [provide] interesting details on the various Indian tribes and their manners and customs, together with descriptions of the country...This work has been called the most noted of all books relating to California" (Hill). "Both a splendid discourse on the California missions, their foundation and management, and an intimate and sympathetic biography of the little father-present. Better, by long odds, than the bulk of lives of holy men, written by holy men" (Libros Californianos). The map shows the locations of nine missions (of an ultimate total of twenty-one) and also the presidios at San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco. "[The map] is of interest here because it seems to be the first on which a boundary line was drawn between Lower and Upper California" (Wheat). The plate is a portrait of Serra. First edition, second issue, with "Mar Pacifico" printed on the map (see Wagner). This is also the issue of the text with "car" instead of "pro" at the end of the index and with the phrase "a expensas de various bienhechores" preceding the imprint on the titlepage.
Barrett 1946; Cowan, p.472; Graff 3179; Hill (2004) 1289; Howes P56, "c"; LC, California Centennial 34; Libros Californianos, pp.24,67; Wagner Spanish Southwest 168; Weber p.77; Wheat Transmississippi 208; Zamorano 80, 59.