San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Company, Publishers; The History Company, 1883-1890. Leather bound. Thirty-nine Volume Set. Octavo [23.5 cm] Original calf with black leather labels on the backstrips. Marbled text block edges. This set belonged to the Gusdorf family. The original contemporary owner's name, Alex Gusdorf, is stamped in gilt on matching leather labels at the foot of the backstrips. Alex Gusdorf, Sr., was a flour mill owner, mercantile businessman, and Bank President (First State Bank of Taos), active in New Mexico during the latter part of the 19th century. He is mentioned in "The History of the Jews in New Mexico" by Henry J. Tobias.
Volume 17 has had expert restoration work done to the front joint, and the hinges. This volume has a short Gusdorf family member notation in pen at the head of p. 785. One of the volumes has some moisture damage to the cover and the very top margins of half the pages, and 3 volumes have minor dark, thin stains along the fore-edges of the covers. Overall, the condition of the set is far superior to what we usually see. Volume 1 (7 maps - 1 double page, 6 fold-outs); Volume 2 (1 large fold-out map, 1 large fold-out table); Volume 4 (1 large fold-out map); Volume 5 (2 fold-out maps; the left margin of the second map is chipped, with no loss to the map image); Volume 6 (1 fold-out map); Volume 9 (1 fold-out map); Volume 10 (1 fold-out map); Volume 11 (1 fold-out map); Volume 13 (1 fold-out map); Volume 15 (1 fold-out map); Volume 17 (1 fold-out map); Volume 27 (1 fold-out map); Volume 29 (1 fold-out map); Volume 32 (1 fold-out map); Volume 33 (1 fold-out map); Volume 36 (1 fold-out map).
The titles in this set include:
Volume I: The Native Races, v1: Wild Tribes; Volume II: The Native Races, v2: Civilized Nations; Volume III: The Native Races, v3: Myths and Languages; Volume IV: The Native Races, v4: Antiquities Volume V: The Native Races, v5: Primitive History; Volume VI: History of Central America, v1: 1501-1530; Volume VII: History of Central America, v2: 1530-1800; Volume VIII: History of Central America, v3: 1801-1887; Volume IX: History of Mexico, v1: 1516-1521; Volume X: History of Mexico, v2: 1521-1600; Volume XI: History of Mexico, v3: 1600-1803; Volume XII: History of Mexico, v4: 1804-1824; Volume XIII: History of Mexico, v5: 1824-1861; Volume XIV: History of Mexico, v6: 1861-1887; Volume XV: History of the North Mexican States, v1: 1531-1800; Volume XVI: History of the North Mexican States and Texas, v2: 1801-1889Volume XVII: History of Arizona and New Mexico, 1530-1888Volume XVIII: History of California, v1: 1542-1800Volume XIX: California, v2: 1801-1824; Volume XX: History of California, v3: 1825-1840; Volume XXI: History of California, v4: 1840-1845; Volume XXII: History of California, v5: 1846-1848; Volume XXIII: History of California, v6: 1848-1859; Volume XXIV: History of California, v7: 1860-1890; Volume XXV: History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, 1540-1888; Volume XXVI: History of Utah, 1540-1886; Volume XXVII: History of the Northwest Coast, v1: 1543-1800; Volume XXVIII: History of the Northwest Coast, v2: 1800-1846; Volume XXIX: History of Oregon, v1: 1834-1848; Volume XXX: History of Oregon, v2: 1848-1888; Volume XXXI: History of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889; Volume XXXII: History of British Columbia, 1792-1887; Volume XXXIII: History of Alaska, 1730-1885; Volume XXXIV: California Pastoral, 1769-1848; Volume XXXV: California Inter Pocula; Volume XXXVI: Popular Tribunals, v1; Volume XXXVII: Popular Tribunals, v2; Volume XXXVIII: Essays and Miscellany; Volume XXXIX: Literary Industries. Item #56506
Monumental collection of Western history. This set, in remarkable condition, covers the history and to some extent the anthropology of Central America, Mexico, and the American West of the United States. Bancroft had formed a large collection of source materials on the history of the American West and decided to write the definitive work on the subject. He employed assistants to prepare statements of the facts for large sections of the proposed history. Originally, he intended to use these statements as the basis of a narrative from his own hand, but as the work progressed he came to use them with slight changes. We have his own word that the assistants were capable investigators and there is independent evidence to show that some of them deserved his confidence. Bancroft considered himself the author of the series. According to Howes: "Colossal co-operative undertaking; nothing approaching it has ever been attempted in this country". Flake/Draper 282, 283, 284, 286, 289, 290, 291, 292. Howes B87.