New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1872. Very Good. First Edition. [7.75x5.5in] 296 pp.; Orange cloth covers with blind stamp border design, gilt lettering, rules and designs on spine, dark brown clay-coated end papers, all edges trimmed; Shelf wear to edges, corners and surfaces, wear and fraying at bottom of spine, spine faded with rub marks, corners bumped and wear to cloth, some soiling and stains on surfaces, title page split along hinge at bottom, some age toning, stain along top edge and spots in text, prior owner pencil name on first blank page, top edge darken. [Currey-Kruska 399, Farquhar Yosemite #11, Cowan64 p.699, Kruska Hutchings p.117]. Item #14013
Maria Theresa Longworth, Therese Yelverton, Viscountess Avonmore, (1833-1881) was one of the first tourist to visit Yosemite in 1870. She was a British author of travel and fictionalized stories taken from real life experiences. Yelverton spent the summer of 1870 in Yosemite living in the Hutchings House, the only lodging in the Valley. There she met John Muir, along with Hutching's oldest daughter, Florence (the first known non-American Indian born in Yosemite. She spent time with Muir learning about Yosemite Valley and the surrounding area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She turned the notes and observations into a novel, with leading characters styled after Muir, Hutchings, Florence and others. as a romantic literary work set in the Valley. From Farquhar, she ". . . spent the summer of 1870 in Yosemite, where she attached herself to the Hutchings family and made eyes at John Muir. He escaped to the woods, but not before she had noted enough of his conversation and his ways of life to make him over into Kenmuir, the hero of her novel." This novel makes the early Yosemite residents come alive in ways that historical accounts do not. The historical novel was a moderate success of only 2,000 copies printed.
Thirteen years earlier, Yelverton married the Major William Charles Yelverton, Viscount Avonmore, secretly in Ireland (Catholic) and another private ceremony in Scotland (Protestant). William, later married another woman, Theresa found out and William was briefly jailed as a bigamist. Charges were dropped and, in 1861, William requested a court declaration to annul the marriage to Theresa. This became a notorious series of trials on the legitimacy of Irish and Scottish marriage laws. Ultimately, there was an appeal to the House of Lords that was denied and Theresa lost her marriage, but gain some international celebrity.