Zamorano Eighty

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Picture, possibly by Charles Nahl, of "Joaquín Murieta, The California Bandit", from the rarest book of the Zamorano 80, The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, 1854

The Zamorano Eighty is a list of books intended to represent the most significant early volumes published on the history of California. It was compiled in 1945 by members of the Zamorano Club, a Los Angeles-based group of bibliophiles. Collecting first editions of every volume on the list has become the goal of a number of book collectors, though to date only four people have completed the task.[1]

The Zamorano Club was founded in 1928 and named for Agustín Vicente Zamorano, the first printer in California.[2][3][4] A series of committees of Club members, including former American Smelting and Refining Company executive Henry Raup Wagner and bibliographer Robert Cowan, assembled a list of a hundred books, eventually whittled down to eighty. During this process, Cowan died, and his Bibliography of the History of California and the Pacific West was added to the list as a tribute.[5]

The list contains significant works by a number of well-known authors like Mark Twain, John Muir, Bret Harte, and Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as obscure texts concerning geographical exploration and legal matters. Some of the works exist in very few, highly sought after copies, while others were quite common and not particularly valuable, until interest in the list caused their prices to rise.[6] Book dealers often refer to items for sale using their "Zamorano number" or have special sections dedicated to items on the list.

Thomas Streeter was the first collector to assemble a complete collection of first editions of every item on the list. His collection was auctioned between 1966 and 1969.[5] Businessman Frederick William Beinecke was the second. Retired investment counselor Henry H. Clifford completed his collection in 1988 and his collection was auctioned in 1995. The fourth was architect Daniel Volkmann, who completed his collection in 1994, and it was auctioned in 2003.[1][5][4] Many other collectors have pursued this goal, including notorious bibliomane and book thief Stephen Blumberg.[3]

Only one institution, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, possesses a complete collection of the Zamorano 80, donated by Frederick W. Beinecke. Both the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley and the Huntington Library in San Marino, California possess all but one of the volumes.[7]

The rarest book on the list is number 64, the dime novel The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta by John Rollin Ridge writing as "Yellow Bird". Only two first-edition copies are known to exist, each used twice to complete the list.[8] It may be on the list only because Wagner owned a copy, which he sold to Streeter. When Streeter's collection was being periodically auctioned, the auction of this copy was moved up over a year so the elderly Beinecke would be able to complete his Zamorano collection. This copy is now in the Beinecke Library with the rest of Beinecke's Zamorano books.[8][9] Clifford purchased the second copy from a collector in Maine, which in turn was purchased by Volkmann at the auction of Clifford's collection.[6][4] The book has been described with terms like "Holy Grail"[1] and "rara avis"[8] and is highly desired by collectors. Blumberg wanted it so much he and his accomplices planned and researched a potential burglary of Clifford's house when that collector owned the book.[3]

The Zamorano Eighty[edit]

The works on the list are numbered in alphabetical order by author (or title, in the case of numbers 14, 35, and 62) and were not intended to be any sort of ranking of literary or financial value.

# Author Title Year Cover or title page
1 Atherton, GertrudeGertrude Atherton The Splendid Idle Forties: Stories of Old California 1902 book cover
2 Austin, MaryMary Austin The Land of Little Rain 1903 book cover
3 Bancroft, Hubert HoweHubert Howe Bancroft Works, 39 volumes 1882–90 book cover
4 Beechey, Frederick WilliamFrederick William Beechey Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait, to Co-Operate with the Polar Expeditions: Performed in His Majesty's Ship Blossom, under the Command of Captain F. W. Beechey, 2 volumes 1831 book cover
5 Bell, HoraceHorace Bell Reminiscences of a Ranger: Early Times in Southern California 1881 book cover
6 Bledsoe, Anthony J.Anthony J. Bledsoe Indian Wars of the Northwest: A California Sketch 1885 book cover
7 Bolton, Herbert EugeneHerbert Eugene Bolton Anza's California Expeditions, 5 volumes 1930
8 Borthwick, John DavidJohn David Borthwick Three Years in California 1857 book cover
9 Brewer, William HenryWilliam Henry Brewer Up and Down California in 1860–1864: The Journal of William H. Brewer 1930
10 Brown, John HenryJohn Henry Brown Reminiscences and Incidents of The Early Days of San Francisco 1886 book cover
11 Browne, John RossJohn Ross Browne Report of the Debates in the Convention of California, on the Formation of the State Constitution, in September and October, 1849 1850 book cover
12 Bryant, EdwinEdwin Bryant What I Saw in California: Being the Journal of a Tour, by the Emigrant Route and South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, across the Continent of North America, the Great Desert Basin, and through California, in the Years 1846, 1847 1849 book cover
13 Burnett, Peter HardemanPeter Hardeman Burnett Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer 1880 book cover
14 various authors California and New Mexico: Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting Information in Answer to a Resolution of the House of the 31st of December, 1849, on the Subject of California and New Mexico 1850 book cover
15 Carrillo, Carlos AntonioCarlos Antonio Carrillo Exposicion Dirigida a la Camara de Diputados Del Congreso de la Union 1831 book cover
16 Carson, James H.James H. Carson Early Recollections of the Mines and a Description of the Great Tulare Valley 1852 book cover
17 Clemens, SamuelSamuel Clemens The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches 1867 book cover
18 Clemens, SamuelSamuel Clemens Roughing It 1872 book cover
19 Clyman, JamesJames Clyman James Clyman, American Frontiersman, 1792–1881: The adventures of a trapper and covered wagon emigrant as told in his own reminiscences and diaries 1928
20 Colton, WalterWalter Colton Three Years in California 1850 title page
21 Coolbrith, Ina DonnaIna Donna Coolbrith Songs from the Golden Gate 1895 book cover
22 Costansó, MiguelMiguel Costansó Diario Histórico de los Viages de Mar, y Tierra Hechos al Norte de la California 1770 title page
23 Cowan, Robert ErnestRobert Ernest Cowan Bibliography of the history of California and the Pacific West, 1510–1906 1914 title page
24 Cummins, Ella SterlingElla Sterling Cummins The story of the files; a review of California writers and literature 1893 title page
25 Dale, Harrison CliffordHarrison Clifford Dale The Ashley-Smith explorations and the discovery of a central route to the Pacific, 1822–1829 1918 title page
26 Dana, Richard HenryRichard Henry Dana Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea 1840 book cover
27 Davis, William HeathWilliam Heath Davis Sixty Years in California 1889 title page
28 Davis, Winfield J.Winfield J. Davis History of Political Conventions in California, 1849–1892 1893
29 Delano, AlonzoAlonzo Delano Old Block's sketch-book; or, Tales of California life 1856 book cover
30 Duflot de Mofras, EugèneEugène Duflot de Mofras Exploration du territoire de l’Orégon, des Californies et de la mer Vermeille, exécutée pendant les années 1840, 1841 et 1842 1844
31 Duhaut-Cilly, Auguste BernardAuguste Bernard Duhaut-Cilly Voyage autour du Monde, principalement à la Californie et aux Iles Sandwich, pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, et 1829 1834–35
32 Dwinelle, John W.John W. Dwinelle The colonial history of the city of San Francisco : being a synthetic argument in the District Court of the United States for the northern district of California, for four square leagues of land claimed by that city 1863
33 Emory, William HemsleyWilliam Hemsley Emory Notes of a Military Reconnaissance, from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri, to San Diego, in California including part of the Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers. 1848
34 Engelhardt, ZephyrinZephyrin Engelhardt The Missions and Missionaries of California, 5 volumes 1908–16
35 Portolà, Gaspar deGaspar de Portolà (attributed) Estracto de noticias del puerto de Monterrey, de la missión, y presidio que se han establecido en el con la denominación de San Carlos, y del sucesso de las dos expediciones de mar, y tierra que a este fin se despacharon en el año proximo anterior de 1769 1770 title page
36 Farnham, Thomas J.Thomas J. Farnham Travels in the Californias, and Scenes in the Pacific Ocean 1844 title page
37 Figueroa, JoséJosé Figueroa Manifiesto á la República Mejicana que hace el General de Brigada José Figueroa, Comandante General y Gefe Político de la Alta California, sobre su conducta y de los Señores D. José María de Híjar y D. José María Padrés, como Directores de Colonización en 1834 y 1835 1835
38 Forbes, AlexanderAlexander Forbes California: A History of Upper and Lower California from Their First Discovery to the Present Time, Comprising an Account of the Climate, Soil, Natural Productions, Agriculture, Commerce &c. A Full View of the Missionary Establishments and Condition of the Free and Domesticated Indians. With an Appendix Relating to Steam Navigation in the Pacific. Illustrated with a New Map, Plans of the Harbours, and Numerous Engravings 1839
39 Frémont, John CharlesJohn Charles Frémont Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843–'44 1845
40 Harte, BretBret Harte The Luck of Roaring Camp, and Other Sketches 1870
41 Hastings, Lansford W.Lansford W. Hastings The Emigrants' Guide, to Oregon and California, Containing Scenes and Incidents of a Party of Oregon Emigrants; a Description of Oregon; Scenes and Incidents of a Party of California Emigrants; and a Description of California; with a Description of the Different Routes to Those Countries; and All Necessary Information Relative to the Equipment, Supplies, and the Method of Traveling 1845 book cover
42 Hittell, Theodore HenryTheodore Henry Hittell The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter, of California 1860 book cover
43 Hittell, Theodore HenryTheodore Henry Hittell History of California, 4 volumes 1885–97
44 Hoffman, OgdenOgden Hoffman Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. June Term, 1853, to June Term, 1858, Inclusive 1862
45 Ide, SimeonSimeon Ide A Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide: With a Minute and Interesting Account of One of the Largest Emigrating Companies (3000 Miles Over Land), from the East to the Pacific Coast. And What Is Claimed As the Most Authentic and Reliable Account of “The Virtual Conquest of California, in June, 1846, by the Bear Flag Party,” As Given by Its Leader, the Late Hon. William Brown Ide 1880
46 Jackson, Helen HuntHelen Hunt Jackson Ramona 1884 book cover
47 King, ClarenceClarence King Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada 1872
48 Kotzebue, Otto vonOtto von Kotzebue Entdeckungs-Reise in die Süd-See und nach der Berings-Strasse zur Erforschung einer nordöstlichen Durchfahrt. Unternommen in den Jahren 1815, 1816, 1817 und 1818 1821 title page
49 Lapérouse, Jean-François de Galaup, comte deJean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse Voyage de La Pérouse Autour du Monde, Publié Conformément au Décret du 22 Avril 1791, et Rédigé par M. L. A. Milet-Mureau, Général de Brigade dans le Corps du Génie, Directeur des Fortifications, Ex-Constituent, Membre de Plusieurs Sociétés Littéraires de Paris, 4 volumes 1797
50 Leonard, ZenasZenas Leonard Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard, a Native of Clearfield County, Pa. Who Spent Five Years in Trapping for Furs, Trading with the Indians &c. &c., of the Rocky Mountains: Written by Himself 1839
51 Manly, William LewisWilliam Lewis Manly Death Valley in '49. Important Chapter of California Pioneer History. The Autobiography of a Pioneer, Detailing His Life from a Humble Home in the Green Mountains to the Gold Mines of California; and Particularly Reciting the Sufferings of the Band of Men, Women, and Children Who Gave "Death Valley" Its Name 1894 book cover
52 Marryat, FrankFrank Marryat Mountains and Molehills; or, Recollections of a Burnt Journal 1855 book cover
53 McGlashan, Charles FayetteCharles Fayette McGlashan History of the Donner Party: A Tragedy of the Sierras 1879
54 McGowan, EdwardEdward McGowan Narrative of Edward McGowan, Including a Full Account of the Author’s Adventures and Perils while Persecuted by the San Francisco Vigilance Committee of 1856 1857 book cover
55 Miller, JoaquinJoaquin Miller Life amongst the Modocs: Unwritten History 1873 book cover
56 Muir, JohnJohn Muir The Mountains of California 1894
57 Newmark, HarrisHarris Newmark Sixty Years in Southern California 1853–1913. Containing the Reminiscences of Harris Newmark 1916
58 Norris, FrankFrank Norris McTeague: A Story of San Francisco 1899 book cover
59 Palóu, FranciscoFrancisco Palóu 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 de Monterey 1787
60 Pattie, James O.James O. Pattie The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, of Kentucky, during an Expedition from St. Louis, through the Vast Regions between That Place and the Pacific Ocean, and Thence Back through the City of Mexico to Vera Cruz, during Journeyings of Six Years; in Which He and His Father, Who Accompanied Him, Suffered Unheard of Hardships and Dangers, Had Various Conflicts with the Indians, and Were Made Captives, in Which Captivity His Father Died; Together with a Description of the Country, and the Various Nations through Which They Passed 1831
61 Powers, StephenStephen Powers Afoot and Alone: A Walk from Sea to Sea by the Southern Route. Adventures and Observations in Southern California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, etc. 1872 book cover
62 unknown Reglamento para el gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S. M. en Real Órden de 24. de octubre de 1781 1784
63 Revere, Joseph WarrenJoseph Warren Revere A Tour of Duty in California; Including a Description of the Gold Region: And an Account of the Voyage around Cape Horn; with Notices of Lower California, the Gulf and Pacific Coasts, and the Principal Events Attending the Conquest of the Californias 1849
64 Ridge, John RollinJohn Rollin Ridge The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit. By Yellow Bird 1854 book cover
65 Robinson, AlfredAlfred Robinson Life in California: During a Residence of Several Years in That Territory, Comprising a Description of the Country and the Missionary Establishments, with Incidents, Observations, Etc., Etc. 1846
66 Royce, JosiahJosiah Royce California from the Conquest in 1846 to the Second Vigilance Committee in San Francisco: A Study of American Character 1886
67 Sabin, Edwin L.Edwin L. Sabin Kit Carson Days (1809–1868) 1914 book cover
68 Shinn, Charles HowardCharles Howard Shinn Mining Camps: A Study in American Frontier Government 1885
69 Shirley, DameDame Shirley "California, in 1851" and "California, in 1852" in The Pioneer; or, California Monthly Magazine [The "Shirley Letters"] 1854–55
70 Soulé, FrankFrank Soulé, John H. Gigon, and James Nisbet The Annals of San Francisco; Containing a Summary of the History of the First Discovery, Settlement, Progress, and Present Condition of California, and a Complete History of All the Important Events Connected with Its Great City: To Which Are Added, Biographical Memoirs of Some Prominent Citizens 1855
71 Stevenson, Robert LouisRobert Louis Stevenson The Silverado Squatters 1883 book cover
72 Swasey, William F.William F. Swasey The Early Days and Men of California 1891 book cover
73 Taylor, BayardBayard Taylor Eldorado; or, Adventures in the Path of Empire: Comprising a Voyage to California, via Panama; Life in San Francisco and Monterey; Pictures of the Gold Region, and Experiences of Mexican Travel, 2 volumes 1850
74 Thornton, J. QuinnJ. Quinn Thornton Oregon and California in 1848...with an Appendix, Including Recent and Authentic Information on the Subject of the Gold Mines of California, and Other Valuable Matter of Interest to the Emigrant, 2 volumes 1849
75 Tyler, DanielDaniel Tyler A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War. 1846–1847 1881
76 Upham, Samuel CurtisSamuel Curtis Upham Notes of a Voyage to California via Cape Horn, Together with Scenes in El Dorado, in the Years 1849–'50. With an Appendix Containing Reminiscences of Pioneer Journalism in California 1878
77 Vancouver, GeorgeGeorge Vancouver A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and round the World; in Which the Coast of North-West America Has Been Carefully Examined and Accurately Surveyed. Undertaken by His Majesty’s Command, Principally with a View to Ascertain the Existence of Any Navigable Communication between the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans; and Performed in the Years 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, and 1795, in the Discovery Sloop of War, and Armed Tender Chatham, 4 volumes 1798
78 Venegas, MiguelMiguel Venegas Noticia de la California, y de su conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. Sacada de la historia manuscrita, formada en Mexico año de 1739, 3 volumes 1757 title page
79 Wierzbicki, Felix PaulFelix Paul Wierzbicki California As It Is, and As It May Be; or, A Guide to the Gold Region 1849 title page
80 Woods, Daniel BatesDaniel Bates Woods Sixteen Months at the Gold Diggings 1851 title page


  1. ^ a b c Tucker, Jill (May 7, 2009). "Dan Volkmann, collector of rare books, dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ Nunis, Doyce B., Jr. "History of the Zamorano Club". The Zamorano Club. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Basbanes, Nicholas A. (March 15, 1999). A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 492–6. ISBN 978-0-8050-6176-5. 
  4. ^ a b c Soble, Ronald L. (September 18, 1988). "An Exclusive Club of Many Chapters". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Zamorano 80". The Zamorano Club. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Gordon J. Water (April 16, 2010). The Zamorano 80 Revisited: A Collector's Update of a Classic Work. Xlibris Corporation. p. xi. ISBN 978-1-4628-1868-6. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Sloan, Dorothy. "The Zamorano 80". Dorothy Sloan Books. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Auction 12: The Zamorano 80 Collection of Daniel G. Volkmann Jr. Lots 64 & 64A Item 64. The exceedingly rare Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta". Dorothy Sloan Books. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ Wilkie, Everett. "The Elusive Zamorano 80 Captured Again: The Volkmann Zamorano 80 under the Hammer in February". Americana Exchange Monthly. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 

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