El Cajon, CA: Nineteen Hundred Press, 2007. 1/115. Leather bound. 50pp. Octavo [23 cm] 1/2 leather over marbled boards. Fine. Illustrated with four wood engravings by James Horton. Foreword by Gary F. Kurutz. Edited and with an Introduction by Gale Sheldon. Item #31815
Three letters sent from the California Gold Fields in 1857 to a wife and family back East, written in the years after the flush times of the placers had passed, tell a compelling and touching story of the struggles to eke out a living among hardship, greed and personal sacrifice. They are unusual letters in that the author, while a gold seeker, was also a photographer, using ambrotypes which supplemented his meager income in the fields.
The letters illuminate the eternal hope of the gold seekers weighted against the reality of lean pickings with a glimpse of the conflicts within the informal prospecting companies and their determination to garner riches.
The book was designed and hand set in Centaur and Arrighi type faces by Gale Sheldon at the Nineteen Hundred Press in El, Cajon, where slightly less than half the pages were letterpress printed on Rives paper prior to Mr. Sheldon's death. The remaining pages, including the illustrations, were letterpress printed by John Robinson at the Tortoise Press in San Diego, California. This edition was limited to 115 copies, this is copy 35.