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Book Club of California
Annual Keepsake Collection
Contributed by Ron Weir.
The Book Club of California issued an annual Keepsake Edition for the years 1934-1942 and 1946-2003 (none for 1943, 1944, or 1945). Each was a special tribute to the history of California and the content is centered around the Gold Rush Era. Each annual topic was unique and a work of art or of historical value. Great emphasis was placed on reproduction of the artifacts distributed as part of the keepsakes. From the Book Club itself we get " The annual keepsake series may be The Book Club of California's most innovative publishing concept. The form and content of the keepsakes were initially dictated by the Club's need to emphasize regularly to its members the value of their continued membership. A series of folders in groups of twelve on a common literary or historical theme was envisaged, to be sent to members on a monthly basis and collected in custom slipcases at the end of the year. The series continues exactly as it was initiated, except that the monthly mailings have been abandoned in favor of more efficient distribution. Various authors contribute brief essays on a facet of the annual overall subject. Sometimes, different printers produce each folder. The topics, inspired by the unique format of the series, are delightful, and wholly unsuited to any other form of publication."
The following presents the listing of all the Keepsakes. (L) denotes Leather
Slipcase while (C) stands for blue cloth slipcase. Two widths existed over
the years; (l) indicates 10 3/8 X 9-inch and (s) indicates 10 1/2 X 7 1/4-inch.
1934 California Mining Towns (Ls)
Twelve rare early views of towns and camps of the Gold Rush mounted in individual folders with narrative text, and an introductory pamphlet bearing a copy of a Gold Region Map. Includes Sonora, Sutter's Mill, Auburn, Shasta, Nevada, Jackson, Grass Valley, Angel's Camp, Placerville-El Dorado, Columbia, and Scotts Bar. Each accompanied by a narrative presenting the history of the illustration and the area.
1935 Letters of Western Authors
Twelve facsimile letters, including authors Bret Harte, Frank Norris, Richard Henry Dana, John Muir, Joaquin Miller, Mark Twain and Jack London. Each letter in a folder with appropriate comments by a spouse, friend or editor.
1936 The California Literary Pamphlets (Ll)
Six Individually printed pamphlets, entitled; "Over An Absinthe Bottle", by W.C.Morrow; "Poems", by Nora May French; "Selections From Prattle", by Ambrose Bierce (a widely reknown author of biographies); "An Itinerant House", by Emma Frances Dawson; John Muir's own record of his "Afoot to Yosemite", from 1874; and "A Night At Wingdam" by Bret Harte
1937 Contemporary California Short Stories (Ll)
Six Individually issued short Stories, entitled "The Hold-Up", by Stewart Edward White; "A Murder At The Dome" by Gelett Burgess; "The Crystall Ball", by Charles Dobie; "The Foghorn", by Gertrude Atherton; "Pepe", by James Hopper, and; "His Wife Could Eat No Lean", by R.C.Mitchell.
1938 Coast & Valley Towns of Early California (Ll)
Includes Photographs, broadsides and other pictorial ephemera of San Jose from 1866; San Diego from 1873; Benicia; Cresecent City, 1857; Stockton, 1839; Marysville, 1856; Los Angeles, 1853; Santa Cruz1876; Santa Barbara, c1837; Sacramento City, 1850; Monterey, 1842; and San Francisco 1855 (Panoramic View)
1939 Six California Tales (Ls)
Six individual pamphlets, each containing an original narrative or story; i.e., "The Gentleman in the Barrel" by Chester Fernald; "The Case of Summerfield", by W.H.Rhodes; "Orso", by Henry Sienkiewica; "The Trumpet Comes to Pickeye", Joseph T. Goodman; "The Ape and the Idiot", by W. C. Morrow, and: "My Day In The Wilderness", by Helen Hunt Jackson.
1940 Pacific Adventures (Ls)
Six individual Pamphlets, each bearing excerpts or reproductions of early events, including: Drakes Voyage Round The World; Shelvocke's "Description of the Southermost part of California" from 1719-22, with illustrations; "The Wreck Of The Wager", from John Byron's Narrative of 1768; Peter Corney's "The Sack Of Monterey", published in 1821; Captain James Kings description of "The Death of Captain Cook" from Cook's Third Voyage and; "The Manilla Galleons," a chapter from George Anson's Book, published in 1749.
1941 California On Canvas (Ll)
Twelve individual folders, each containing a color reproduction of early paintings, each displayed on a 16 X 9 1/2-inch format – such as Monterey Custom House; the Steamer "Cornelia"; Telegraph Hill in San Francisco; San Diego Mission; and others
1942 Guardians of the Pacific (Ls)
Three bound booklets, each representing an ally of the United States in World War II. Includes The Romance of the Swag from Australia; Tales and Parables of Old China, translated by Lin Yutang; and Cartagena, by Armando Solano of Colombia.
1946 A Camera In The Gold Rush (Ll)
Twelve individual reproductions of b&w photographs of Gold Rush Era items; each approximately 6 X 8-inch size, mounted in an individual folder with explanatory notes. Includes Sacramento Flood, 1861, American River Mining Camp 1859, Silver City Main Street 1862, Virginia City1862 Parade, Yosemite's Nevada Falls
1947 California Poetry Folios (Ls)
A total of twelve folders, each containing a poem by a California Poet.
1948 Letters of the Gold Discovery (Ll)
Contains twelve folders, each holding one or more reproduction copies of the original letters; i.e., Captain Sutter to Geo McKinstryon 15 and 23 January 1848; Copy of the Sutter-Marshall Lease staking their claim, dated 11 days after the discovery of gold on the American River; Consul Tom Larkin to Secretary of State James Buchanan, dated January 1849; plus others
1949 California Clipper Cards (Ll)
Contains 12 reproductions of early Clipper Ship Posters; each mounted in on a parchment folder with details of the poster and its contents.
1950 Bonanza Banquets (Ls)
Twelve menus from the early cuisine offered at gala events/meals are presented, including: Palace Hotel, San Francisco Dinner Menu, Sep 10, 1879; Banquet for Anson Burlingame and the Chinese Ambassadors at the Lick House, San Francisco, Apr 28, 1868; St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, Jan 19, 1850; Luncheon for Benjamin Harrison, President of US, at Sutro Heights, Apr 27, 1891; Bill of Fare for Pacific Mail Steamship "Tennessee" for Nov 23, 1851; Table D'Hote Menu and Music Program for Blanco's, Nov 7, 1907, San Francisco; plus others
1951 Pioneer Western Playbills (Ll)
Twelve facsimiles of important early western theatre programs. Includes: "Camille" with Julia Dean Hayne, Forrest Theater, Sacramento, Nov 17, 1857; Lotta in "Little Nell and the Marchioness" 1879 at San Francisco's Baldwin Theater; "As You Like It" with Annette Ince and Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. at the Forrest Theater, Sacramento, May 28, 1857; "H.M.S. Pinafore" with Alice Oates at the Bush Street Theater, Dec 23, 1878, San Francisco; Lola Montez in "Lola Montes in Bavaria", American Theater, San Francisco, Jun 2, 1853; plus others
1952 Attention: Pioneers (Cl)
Contains facsimile reproductions of twelve rare California Broadsides or Posters, with explanatory comment by various authorities. Includes Zamorano's Announcement of the First Printing Press in California; Eliza Farnham's Bride-Ship (an 1849 circular inviting young women of the East to go to California); Sacramento Proclamation, organization of the first city government in 1849; Boston Schooner Civilian for the Gold Fields in 1849; "Bargain in Babies", example of uninhibited advertising of the 1850's; and others
1953 Pictorial Humor of the Gold Rush (Ll)
Twelve folders with reproductions of humorous drawings of the period. Includes cartoons, caricatures, topical humor (mostly related to mining and mining towns), etc.
1954 Early Transportation in Southern California (Ll)
Twelve folders depicting early transportation in Southern California during the Gold Rush era. Includes photographs of most along with pertinent details of use, care and such. Includes Camels, Mule Cars, railroads, steamers, carts, stage coachs, and some rather imaginary inventions which never reached practical application.
1955 The Vine In Early California (Ll)
Twelve folders, each containing a reproduction of an early vinous item from California's past. Includes folders on Inglenook, Paul Masson, Nouveau Medoc, San Gabriel, Buena Vista, El Aliso, The Mammoth Vine, Charles Krug, Wente Bros, Stanford-Vina, Korbel, and Italian Swiss Colony.
1956 Treasures of California Collections (Ll)
Twelve folders, each with a reproduction of an historical rarity in a California library or museum.
1957 Resorts of California (Ll)
Twelve folders, each extrolling the virtues and pleasantries available in the earlier resorts: includes Lake Tahoe; Calaveras Big Trees Hotel; Yosemite's Cedar Cottage; Napa Soda Springs; Hot Springs Hotel at Calistoga; The Geysers at Sonoma County; the Hotel Del Monte (still the site of the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River); Hotel del Coronado in San Diego; and other favorites of the early wealthy traveller
1958 Gold Rush Steamers (Ll)
Twelve folders, each bearing a tipped-in drawing or sketch of one of the famous steamer ships of the gold rush era along with a description of the physical characteristics and sailing history. Included are: The California; Oregon; Empire City; Brother Jonathan; Golden Gate; Union; Georgia; Hartford; Golden Age;Senator; Goliah;and The Northern Light
1959 Sheet Music Covers (Ll)
Twelve folders, each one either showing the sheet music and/or lyrics; from the first piece of music published in California "The California Pioneers", 1852; through popular favorites such as "The Exhibition Fair", "Pull Away Cheerily! (The Gold Digger's Song)"; the every popular "The Wines of Los Angeles County", c1876; "The San Francisco Quadrilles"; and some other favorites, including "I Don't Want To Be Drowned" (which was dedicated to the survivors of the wreck of the Golden-Gate) by Frank Soule and P.R. Nicholls (yes, that is the same Frank Soule who published "The Annals of San Francisco and the History of California").
1960 Early California Mail Cancellations (Ll)
Twelve folders and a Table of Contents were distributed in this year. Each folder deals with some phase of California mail during the Gold Rush Period and generally contains reproductions of mail "covers" applicable to the subject. Includes folders on "Stampless" mail, Early Mail handling companies, "Sam Langton, considered to be California's Greatest Independent Expressman", Express Companies of the era, Pony Express, The Overland Mail, Wells, Fargo & Co., Outside the Mails (Via Nicaragua--Via Panama, and Ocean Mail
1961 Early California Firehouses and Equipment (Ll)
Twelve folders, prepared by 12 different people. Describes the early history of fire fighting and fire fighting equipment in California. Includes "Old Broderick" First Fire Engine built in California, 1855; "San Francisco's Knickerbocker Engine Company, No 5"; "San Diego Firehouses and Rigs"; "Engine 15 Firehouse, San Francisco" and others describing equipment and details of firefighting, as they were developed.
1962 Portfolio of Book Club Printers (Ll)
12 folders, each printed by or about presses associated with the printing history of The Book Club. Includes Plantin Press, Lawton Kennedy, Windsor Press, Ward Richie Press, L-D Allen Press, and The Grabhorn Press, among others of note.
1963 California Governmental Seals (Ll)
Consists of 12 brochures, each of which presents a duplicate of the seal used by the various governments which ruled over California in the early days, or a bureau of the 1850's. Includes seals from the Spanish and Mexican Periods, as well as Seals of State, Supreme Court, City of Los Angeles, Monterey (California's First Capital), Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Stockton, and Pasadena (apologies to those cities which were not included)
1964 Early West Coast Lighthouses (Ll)
Eight Drawings and Paintings by Hartman Bache (1855-1859); including Alcatraz Island; Point Bonita; Farallon Islands; Cape Disappointment; plus four more
1965 The Panama Canal (Ll)
The Panama Canal: The Evolution of the Isthmian Crossing, as presented in twelve folders, most of which have tipped-in illustrations or reproductions mounted along with the narrative of their background. A very extensive study displayed in period art and extremely well presented.
1966 – Early California Trade Cards (Ll)
A total of nine folders were issued, each commemorating a product or service represented by and example of early california advertising. Includes: "Widow Finke's Champagne"; "A.C. Robison & Co"; "Riverside Land & Irrigating Co"; "Bancroft's"; "Fireman's Fund"; "Levi Strauss & Company"; "Livingston Bros"; and "The Hoffman". Each of these is represented by its calling card listing services, as well as an accompanying narrative setting the stage for the card.
1967 Homes of California Authors (Ll)
A collection of 12 folders printed at the Greenwood Press showing homes of distinguished California authors; including Jack London, John Muir, Bret Harte, J. Ross Browne, Gertrude Atherton, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Austin and George Derby, among others.
1968 The Pleasure of Your Company~RSVP (Ll)
Twelve folders plus introduction; invitations (reproduced) to Balls and Events celebrating "Admission of California into the Union", October 21, 1850, San Francisco; "First Annual Ball, San Francisco Blues", 1854; "Washington Ball", Orleans Hotel, Placerville, Feb 22nd, 1856; "Calico Party", Mokelumne Hill, 4 Feb, 1858; and eight others
1969 Central Pacific Life & Times (Ll)
Twelve separate brochures, each one covering a different of the Central Pacific RR; from finance (copy of initial bond offering), to posters, ships sailings keyed to railroad arrivals (for Australia, China and Japan); even down to Time Tables and famous hold-ups of the RR; Dining Car menu of 1869
1970 West Coast Expositions and Galas (Ll)
This is one of the most colorful of the whole series, containing ten brochures, each bearing a replica of the sourvenir post card, playbill or announcement; all in full color and each mounted in its brochure and accompanied by full text describing such events as: "California Midwinter International Expo" of 1894; "Lewis and Clark Expo" of 1905 (Portland, Oregon); Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo" of 1909, Seattle; "Portola Celebration" San Francisco, 1909; Panama-Pacific of 1915; "Tournament of Roses", 1911; The Mid-Pacific Carnival" in Hawaii, 1915; among others
1971 – Historical Mining Certificates (Ll)
A total of 10 separate brochures, each containing a mounted reproduction of an early mining stock certificate and a narrative of the offering. Includes such notables as "Gold Hill and Virginia Tunnel and Mining Company"; "The Skidoo Mines Company", and "Sutro Tunnel", among others
1972 Cathay In El Dorado (Ll)
12 folders, each describing the influence the Chinese made in the respective locations; includes Weaverville, Sacramento, China Camp, Stockton, Central Pacific R.R., and Tolumne County, among others
1973 Indians of California (Ll)
12 folders describing the tribes of California and their beliefs; includes The Mission Indians, Luisenos and Dieguenosthe Miwok, The Nisenan; Maidue and Konkow; Wintun; Pomo; Modoc; the Yurok, Karok, and Hupa; as well as Mechoopda Legends and Myths, The Indian Basketry, and others.
1974 Early California Theaters (Ll)
Includes12 folders, each specializing in a particular early Opera House or Theater and the events that it engendered; includes Introduction; Nevada Theatre, Nevada City; Woodland Opera House, Woodland; Stockton Theatre, Stockton; Fallon House, Columbia; San Francisco's American Theatre; Maguire's Opera House; and Grand Opera House; First Theatre, Monterey and the Merced Theatre in Los Angeles
1975 California Magazines (Ll)
Includes descriptions and playbills from such as the "Land of Sunshine", published in Los Angeles in 1895; "The New San Francisco Magazine" of 1900,"Le Petit Journal des Refusees" of 1896 (San Francisco); "The Dry Bombshell" for abstinance readers, 1914, San Francisco; and others
1976-1977 Vignettes in California Medicine (Ll)
Reviews the medical practicioner of early California from the Indian Shaman through Herb Doctors and medical hospitals, including dentistry. Twelve different brochures, each devoted to a particular speciality of the topic.
1978 Early California Stock Certificates (Ll)
Ten brochures, each reproducing an early stock certificate and including a narrative of the offering. Includes Hotels, Turnpikes, An Ice Company, L.A. Pioneer Oil Co., and others
1979 California Trails and Mountain Passes (Ll)
Twelve brochures plus a map locating Beckwourth, CajonDeath Valley, Fandango,Pacheco, San Marcos, Siskiyou, Sonora, Tejon and Tioga Pass' plus the Lawley Toll Road and Death Valley Trails
1980-1982 Early California Printing (Ll)
Three larger bound volumes describing early printing houses, type faces, printers, printing methods and examples of many of the better publications
1983 Seventy Years: A Checklist 1914-1983 (Ll)
Provides a complete listing of the Book Club publications offered over the years, as well as a complete listing of the Keepsake issues up to the year of issue.
1984 Breadbasket of the World (Ll)
Ten folders which each typify the contributions made by California's lush growing season on the responsibility of providing wheat to our nation and the world. Individual presentations encompass: Dr. Glenn, "Wheat King"; Planting Time; The Harvest; The Journey Begins; Transfer Point; Port Costa; The Grain Fleet; Isaac Friedlander, Wheat Merchant; and, The Octopus
1985 Views of California Towns (Ll)
Generally devoted to the smaller (San Jose??) towns of California and her past, such as: Red Bluff, NapaCity, Healdsburg, Santa Cruz, Merced, San Buenaventura, Redlands and San Diego(??)
1986 Sports in California (Ll)
California is "outdoors" and the sports of California are particular to that style of living. Though sharing their sport with many other states, the California approach is unique. Examples shown in the twelve individual presentations are: Introduction; Ski racing from the California Gold Rush; baseball; boxing and "the Benicia Boy"; Football and The Big Game (University of California at Berkeley and Stanford); Tug-Of-War; Tournament of Roses Chariot Races; Ballooning, The Jumping Frog Contest; Bull and Bear Fights; Polo; the Great Los Angeles-Phoenix Road Race, 1908-1914.
1987 Portfolio of Book Club Printers II 1962-1987 (Ll)
This is perhaps the most ambitious of the Keepsake series, being comprised on individual representative presentations from twelve very distinguished publishing houses which flourish in California's history. Each example is distinctive of the style (both in type face, size of presentation, and subject matter) of that printer's shop. As such, the collection represents what is best in the printer's art self-expression. An excellent presentation.
1988 California Wayside Inns (Ll
It mostly started with stage coach overnight stays and slowly grew into an industry that flourishes in present day California--Wayside Inns. Twelve Inns, each famous for some aspect of it's services, are presented along with text to describe the facility and an illustration of such place names as: Cisco, Washoe House, Yank's Station, Station on the Washoe Road, Sportsman's Hall, Olema Inn, Toll House at St. Helena, San Mateo House, Rancho Los Coches, Mattei's Tavern of Los Olivos, Knox Hotel in El Cajon and Rubottom's Hotel.
1989 Chinese Book Arts & California (Ll)
Early Chinese art was expressed in many ways in California as the population grew to partake in the settling of the state. Newspapers, cookbooks, advertisements, drawings and prints, as well as the more sordid examples of chinese art are presented in these twelve folders, including the construction of chinese paper.
1990 California Avifauna (Ll)
The birds of California are presented in eleven separate folders. They are: Bushtit, Peregine Falcon, Great Horned Owl, Green-backed Heron, Anna's Hummingbird, White-crowned Sparrow, Acorn Woodpecker, California Condor, Red-tailed Hawk, California Quail, and the Socorro Dove. Each is presented, along with a tipped-in full color rendition and very comprehensive description.
1991 Early California Trade Catalogs (Ll)
Very few things indicate the state of health and conditions at large as well as the trade catalog. In this twelve folder presentation, the wares and services of some of the more outstanding companies are displayed by examples of their trade publications. Among them are Bancroft (how I'd love to be able to those titles at that price now), Main & Winchester (leather purveyors), Wm. Hatteroth's Surgical House (how ornate), Pacific Manufacturing co (distributor of wooden, cloth and metallic burial cases and caskets), or Ajax Cycles (featuring a new line )
1992 California and the Civil War 1861-1865 (Ll
California's part in the Civil War was largely as an observer and as a financial backer. Wanting urgently to be connected with the East Coast, the struggle for the creation of a through railroad occupied most of the state's energies. Though sentiments ranged across political lines, the Republican majority prevailled. The conflicting views and interests are presented very fairly in this 12-folder presentation.
1993 A San Francisco House Builder (Ll)
The City of San Francisco is often touted as the mecca of the Victorian Style Home. The architect and builder who was at the heart of this industry was William F. Lewis and this entire bound book is dedicated to the story of his life and his accomplishments. Of special interest is the complete listing of homes in the area which were accomplished by his hand.
1994 Hand Bookbinding In California (Ll)
A beautifully conceived and executed twelve part display that covers hand bookbinding from the standpoint of the teacher, the artist, the materials, the scene selection, the viewer and the presentation.
1995 California Flora (Ll)
Twelve native California blooming flowers are featured in a single bound edition. Presented for display are the California Poppy, the Pitcher Plant, Shooting Star, California-Fuchsia, Farewell-to-Spring, Tidy Tips, Columbine, Locoweek, Mariposa Tulip, Sand Verbna, Baby Blue-eyes, and the Gilia. Each illustrated from a wood engraving by John DePol and text by Elizabeth McClintock.
1996 California Book Illustrators (Ll)
Fourteen parts comprise the Book Clubs tribute to the famous illustrators of the Gold rush era and to their craft. Each three or four page folder centers on a different illustrator and contains examples of his work and narrative descriptions of his methods. Includes J. Ross Browne, Grafton Tyler Brown, Maynard Dixon, Carl Oscar Borg, H. Mallette Dean, among others
1997 Twelve Treasures from the Library (Ll)
A selection of twelve folders, each dedicated to a different aspect of the Book Club and it's holdings. Includes photos of the Reading Room and a large number of especially cared for volumes with historical significance held there.
1998 California Gold Rush Camps (Ll)
A total of fourteen folders were issued to commemorate the illustrious mining camps of California. Many are accompanied by tipped-in illustrations of the venues of the 1849 prospector, from Bidwell's Bar, Timbuctoo, Agua Fria, Whiskey Hill, Michigan City, Knight's Ferry, Jamestown, Negro Hill, Rich Bar, Greenwood, Cave City, Big Oak Flat, and Gibsonville Ridge. Together, they form an extremely wide and varied description of the life of the Miner of California's Gold Rush.
1999 BiCentennial of Lithography (Ll)
A single wrapper bound volume presents a wealth of information on the history and achievements in Lithography. Aided by a wealth of examples of early stone lithography and progressing through the fields of playbills, calling cards and other examples of this beautiful craft which makes the world of books so vivid.
2000 Treasures of the Book Club Library, Part II (Ll)
Twelve famous volumes, mostly collected by Albert Sperisen on behalf of the Book Club over many years, are presented with photographs and narrative text. Covers volumes from 1559 to the early 20th century and over a diverse range of subjects.
2001 Fine Hand Bindings for Book Club of California Publications (Ll)
Contains a single illustrated volume of over 30-pages displaying examples of fine bookbinding as relates to scrolls, rare books, unusual binding materials and elaborate examples.
2002 Up The River (Ll)
A single bound booklet of 58 pages illuminates "Steam Navigation Above Carquinez Strait" Individual articles include topics such as the first steamer to navigate San Francisco Bay, up-river sidewheel steamships, famous craft servicing the gold diggings on the American River and many more on the topic.
2003 Historic California Trees (Ll)
Thirteen folders, commemorating famous trees from the Joseph Hooker Oak in Chico to the famous Tunnel Trees from the Sequoia Grove. Each with a narrative and an illustration, generally contained on 3 pages of a 4 page folder.
Each Keepsake Annual was issued in limited runs and subscribed by the membership of the Club (which was limited to a maximum 1000 patrons) for their private collections. Most of the earlier years Keepsake issues were limited to fewer than 550 total copies.
Each Annual was built around a different theme of California and her past.
The initial issue was composed of monthly supplements which were sent to the members. The members then bought slipcases which were made up to hold the monthly supplements for one year each. As time went on, the number of supplements was widely varied from a single book to as many as 13 supplements in one year. It was clearly a case of California celebrating California, but always done in the finest of taste and always prepared by a premier printing establishment and executed with great care. Each of the individual supplements was a work of fine printing.
Housed in their own individual slipcases, these Keepsakes gained a reputation of their own and came to be widely collected. Prepared with great care and using the finest techniques to create or reproduce the selected topic, they were individually presented as unique pieces of history.
Description and Images Courtesy of Ron Weir, Collector's Cache, 2265 Moorea Dr., Roseburg, Oregon, 97470.