San Francisco: The Private Press of Thomas C. Russell, 1926. Near Fine. First Edition. #20 of 260 copies, Signed by Russell, [10x7in]; xii, 104 pp., frontispiece illustration of Rezanov and 4 color illustrations with tissue guards; Light blue paper covers with tan linen backstrip, black lettering on bordered paper label on spine, top edge trimmed and all others untrimmed; Mild shelf wear to covers and spine with typical rubbing and age toning to edges, spine label darken, rubbed, and chipped at edges, extra spine label tipped in rear free end paper, bookplate of Robert Watt Miller on front end paper; [Hill 1447, Cowan64 p. 530]. Item #13688
Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov (1764-1807) was a Russian nobleman and statesman, and explorer that promoted Russian settlement of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Alta California. He organized the Russian-American Company to develop settlements. Rezanov was named as the Russian Ambassador to Japan and traveled their as part of a circumnavigation exploration (1803-06) led by Iurii Lisyansky. After concluding treaties with Japan, Rezanov separated from the expedition in 1805 at Kamchatka, along with Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff (1774-1852), a German naturalist and physician accompanying the expedition. They traveled to Alaska to review the Russian-American company's operations in Sitka and New Archangel. In 1806, they traveled to Yerba Buena (San Francisco) for supplies and for Rezanov to negotiate a treaty establishing Russian-American colonies in California (Fort Ross) and the Pacific Northwest. Rezanov was smitten by Dona Concepcion, daughter of the Commandante Jose Arguello, and the romance lead to an engagement. Rezanov had to return the needed supplies to New Archangel and then on to St. Petersburg to report on the treaties. Once his mission was complete, he was to send for Dona Concepcion to join him and be married. Unfortunately, he died of fever while crossing Siberia. From Hill, "Dona Concepcion's long wait for him and her later entry into a convent made her a sympathetic figure in the most poignant romance of Hispanic Alta California. Langsdorff's writings on the his six week visit to California with Rezanov were one of the first published in Europe and London.
Robert Watt Miller (1899-1970) was a 3rd generation San Franciscan and involved in business and civic associations, such as the San Francisco Opera. He is the son of Christian O. G. Miller, whom this book is dedicated. The C.O.G. Miller was a San Francisco businessman and very involved in the public Utilities and founded the Pacific Lighting Corporation.
Russell was a long standing printer, publisher and author in San Francisco from the mid-1880's to his death in 1931. This book and his many other books are beautifully written, designed and printed. His research has added to the history of California and the exploration of the Pacific Northwest. The printing were always limited and the early books were numbered, signed with handwritten annotations by Russell. Later books were haphazardly numbered and/or signed by others that acquired his stock after his death.