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California Gold Rush

Views of the California Gold Rush

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Cooper San Francisco

Prints by G.V. Cooper. From John M. Letts' Pictorial View of California....By a Returned Californian. New York: Henry Bill, 1853. Lithographs by J. Cameron. Some with light tint stone. All ca. 4 3/4 x 7 1/2. Very good condition, except at noted. Denver.

A set of rare, contemporary views of California during the Gold Rush, which though not from one of the many official reports of the period, do provide images as accurate and informative as any of the government publications. These charming lithographs were issued in John M. Lett's A Pictorial View of California, which claimed to have "Information and Advice Interesting To All, Particularly Those Who Intend To Visit The Golden Region." The artist, G.V. Cooper, was a painter, cameo cutter and sculptor who went to California with Letts in 1849, making sketches of many of the major sites. These prints provided some of the earliest accurate, first-hand images that those on the East Coast would have had of California during the Gold Rush, and they wonderfully capture this brief yet seminal moment in American history. Some of the prints are of the larger settlements in California, but most are scenes of the gold camps and of prospectors at work. The lithographs were drawn by J. Cameron, better known for his work with Currier & Ives, and Brown & Severin. Given their immediacy and accuracy these are historical artifacts of some note.

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