A GUIDE TO CONVERSATION IN THE ENGLISH AND CHINESE LANGUAGES FOR THE USE OF AMERICANS AND CHINESE IN CALIFORNIA AND ELSEWHERE.

Boston, Cleveland, & London: Published by John P. Jewett [et al], 1854. [3],viii,41,[3],179pp., printed in English and Chinese characters. Oblong octavo. Original printed yellow wrappers, printed in English on the front wrapper and spine, and in Chinese characters on the rear wrapper. Wrappers a bit soiled and edgeworn. Very clean internally. A very good copy, partially unopened. In a half morocco and cloth clamshell case, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM63133

A very early and significant guide to Chinese- English conversation, one of the first such produced in the United States. The text contains hundreds of words and phrases, written in English and Chinese characters, and in Anglicized Chinese. Hernisz had served as an attaché to the U.S. diplomatic legation in China. He notes in the introduction that "the conclusion of treaties with western nations, the opening of the Five ports, and the discovery of gold in California, have caused a vast increase in the trade, more extensive intercourse, and closer relations" between the United States and China. The central importance of the Gold Rush is clear in the vocabulary, which lists "gold" as the first word, followed by "gold dust," "gold leaf," "iron-ore," and a host of other mining terms before moving on to food, clothing, and the other necessities of life. The text is quite comprehensive, however, listing hundreds of basic, everyday words and phrases - as well as some odd locutions. As noted by Cowan, the wrapper carries a date of 1855, though it is listed as 1854 on the titlepage.

“The Chinese characters used in this volume were a part of the collection of type engraved by Marcellin Legrand, the first European to manufacture a set of Chinese type. The book was printed ?to supply, on the one hand, to Americans some knowledge of the Chinese idiom, and on the other, to the Chinese, some elementary instructions in the English language” - Howell.

An important artifact of the growing Chinese presence on the west coast of the United States in the second half of the 19th century, quite uncommon in the market, especially in the original wrappers.
COWAN & DUNLAP, CHINESE QUESTION, p.35. COWAN, p.276. HOWELL 50:1548.

Price: $5,000.00