New York: Alfred A. Knopf [Borzoi Books], 1949. Near Fine in Very Good dust-jacket First Edition. [8.5x6in]; Blue-gray linen cloth covers with gilt lettering, sextant, and rules on spine, blind embossed sextant and divider on front and publisher logo on back, top edge light yellow dye, fore edge untrimmed; Mustard dust jacket with black lettering on front and spine, illustrations of ships at Panama City and broadside advertising passage to Panama on front, advertising of books black lettering on white field on back; xiv, , 286 pp., index i - viii, , [1 fold out facsimile map of the Gold Regions], 39 illustrations; Minimal shelf wear to covers, signed by Lewis on front end paper; Minor soiling and edge wear to dust jacket with small chips to top of spine. Item #13396
Oscar Lewis (1893-1992) was a noted California historian and author that wrote about California and the West. His book, The Big Four, is still the reference work for the California “railroad robber barons (Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker) according to Kevin Starr. Lewis was well known in San Francisco and the secretary of the Book Club of California from 1921 to 1946. This book tells about the mass migration to California between 1849 to 1852 by sea and isthmian crossings at Panama and Nicaragua. The sea and land voyages were advertised as faster, safer and less strenuous than overland travel. In the mid 1840’s, the US Post Office contracted for mail service by steamship and Panama isthmus crossing that until the Gold Rush was highly unprofitable. During the Gold Rush, these and other steamship lines played a critical role.