[LE CONTE, Joseph]
A Journal of Ramblings Through the High Sierras of California by the "University Excursion Party"
San Francisco: Francis & Valentine, 1875. 103pp. plus nine original mounted albumen photographs. Inscribed on front fly leaf.
Original blue cloth, front board gilt. Small tear in lower outer corner of mount of second photograph (not approaching printed border).
Provenance: Signed by one of the members of the University Excursion Party, Everett Pomeroy ("Compliments of Everett B. Pomeroy")
A beautiful book, with superb original photographs depicting the range of northern California's natural splendor.
This copy is signed by one of the members of the University Excursion Party, Everett Pomeroy ("Compliments of Everett B. Pomeroy"), and is quite rare. Everett Pomeroy was one of five graduates who received a B.A. from the University of California in 1871, the school's second graduating class. Pomeroy went on to earn a Master's degree in 1875, and was also a member of the California state National Guard. In 1875 President Grant appointed him United States Attorney for Arizona Territory. A rare photographically-illustrated account of a tour of Yosemite and the High Sierras, by one of the pioneer founders of the University of California. Joseph Le Conte studied with Louis Agassiz at Harvard before going to California to serve as professor of geology, and he was among the charter members of the Sierra Club. This work describes Le Conte's first expedition, with students of the University, into the Sierras, and the text wonderfully conveys Le Conte's enthusiasm for the region and its natural beauty. While in Yosemite the group visited James Hutchings's hotel and met John Muir, who accompanied the group to Lake Tenaya, Tuolumne Meadows, Mount Dana, over Tioga Pass and down to Mono Lake. In his autobiography he describes his first years in California as "very active ones for me, the wonderful new country, so different from any that I had previously seen, the climate, the splendid scenery, the active, energetic people, and the magnificent field for scientific, and especially for geological investigations...." "A record of an excursion by Prof. Le Conte and nine members of one of the early classes of the university. It is stated that but 20 copies were printed" - Cowan. The actual number of copies printed was almost certainly higher, perhaps as many as 120 (twelve for each member of the party). The images are captioned on the mounts as follows: 1) "...Great Yosemite Fall" (frontispiece group portrait of the party). 2) "The Grizzly Giant...." 3) "The High Sierras...." 4) "The Gates of the Valley...." 5) "Bridal Veil Fall...." 6) "The Heart of the Sierras. Lake Tenaya." 7) "Day-Dawn in Yosemite. The Merced River." 8) "...North Dome, South (Half) Dome...." 9) "Montgomery St., San Francisco. Where our trip ended." The photographs are very handsomely composed and printed images of Yosemite and the High Sierra in very good condition. Farquahar speculates that the photographs "must have been procured from one or more of the professional photographers who operated in Yosemite Valley." The source of the photographs was likely J.J. Reilly, a professional photographer active in the Yosemite Valley at the time.
Cowan (1914), p.137; Farquhar 14a; Currey & Kruska 230; Howes L175, "aa." Kurutz, California Books Illustrated with Original Photographs, p.16 and item 27; Zamorano Select 64.;Cox, Classics 64; Robinson, High Sierra Classics 1; Rocq 16596; Eberstadt 124:38.