Who We Are

After 20 years of deep and focused collecting in a very narrow slice of Americana, we are pleased to open a new chapter in our pursuit of old paper. While small in number, the 25 items in our first catalogue–all entirely new to the trade–capture a set of stories that illuminate a broad cross-section of the American experience.  From the reflections of a new mother in colonial New England to the beginnings of a free black community in New Jersey, from the fever dreams of the California Gold Rush to the unfulfilled promise of the Reconstruction South, from the Trail of Tears to the National Forest Service, they all offer surprising new insights into our collective American Story, both its triumphs and its failures.  They come in many different forms: manuscript journals and ledgers, printed pamphlets and broadsides, photograph albums and scrapbooks.  Many are unique or unrecorded, others uniquely annotated.  The name of our business is what they have in common.  They are primary sources, and they are largely uncharted.  Each Fall, we plan to offer a new catalogue, each with 25 similarly unexpected items, all fresh to the trade.  So thank you for browsing.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Featured Content

Beauties of California front cover

Perhaps it would be unfair, so many years after the fact, to label Norman W. Griswold a failure. If nothing else, he was a prolific and very enthusiastic salesman.  In New Orleans in the 1870s, he sold groceries.  Not just any groceries, notes the Times-Picayune of Sept. 14, 1872, but a “Revolution in the Grocery Business,”  with his “old” motto of “Quick sales and small profits.”  After moving to California near the end of the decade, he took a leading role with both the Royal Soap Company and the Celery Beef & Iron Extract Company, the latter keeping patrons healthy with its Celery Cough Wafers and Peptonized Celery, Beef, and Iron.  Griswold’s heart, though, seems to have been in land development, a calling he found in the late 1880s and pursued for the rest of his life. Beauties of California, published in two editions in 1883 and 1884, prefigures his leap into real estate and remains his biggest pitch of all–California itself…

For more details, see Item 18 in Catalogue 1.

Griswold, Norman W. BEAUTIES OF CALIFORNIA.  VIEWS AND DESCRIPTIONS OF YOSEMITE VALLEY, BIG TREES, GEYSERS, LAKE TAHOE, DONNER LAKE, SAN FRANCISCO, ’49 & ’83, LOS ANGELES, AND TOWNS, ORANGE GROVES AND VINEYARDS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.  H. S. Crocker & Co., Printers, Lithographers and Publishers, 1884.  8vo (23 cm).  Complete with all plates, two plates laid in (San Francisco in 1849/in 1883 and Geyer Springs/Vernal Falls).  Old stain to top corner of the first few leaves and the San Francisco plate, not affecting text or image.  Light corner and edge wear, slight loss at base of spine.  Overall very good.  Cowan p. 251 (for the 2nd edition).


Beauties of California back cover