PEN KNIFE SKETCHES; OR, CHIPS OF THE OLD BLOCK. A SERIES OF ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATED LETTERS, WRITTEN BY ONE OF CALIFORNIA'S PIONEER MINERS, AND DEDICATED TO THAT CLASS OF HER CITIZENS BY THE AUTHOR.

Sacramento. 1853. 112pp. including twenty-four engraved plates. Modern three-quarter calf and marbled boards, gilt. Modern bookplate on front pastedown. Light foxing and thumb-soiling to text, light vertical crease throughout. Very good. Item #WRCAM49695

An important and rare piece of illustrated Californiana, comprised of witty text by Alonzo Delano, (a.k.a. "Old Block"), and wonderful illustrations by the masterful Charles Nahl. Delano was born in Auburn, New York, and was living in Illinois in 1849. He travelled overland to California where he mined in the diggings and operated a shop selling provisions in San Francisco, before settling down in Grass Valley as a banker and agent for Wells Fargo. His writings provide a comic, but also realistic, view of life during the Gold Rush. The great illustrations by Nahl, the "Cruikshank of California," depict scenes in San Francisco and at the gold mines. "Delano...began publishing his witty and delightful observations of California for the PACIFIC NEWS and the CALIFORNIA DAILY COURIER. Well received, they were gathered with other Delano writings into book form in 1853...The publishers enriched the volume with full-page wood engravings by Thomas Armstrong based on drawings by Charles Nahl. The portrait of the long-nosed Old Block on San Francisco's Long Wharf is a classic" - Kurutz. A rare work, accorded a "b" by Howes, and a basic document of the Gold Rush. COWAN, p.163. HOWES D232, "b." GREENWOOD 383. HOWELL 50:1517 (this copy). ROCQ 6047. KURUTZ 181a.

Price: $4,750.00

A Classic of the Gold Rush