Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1872. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 298 pp. Near fine. Item #19101218
Clarence Rivers King (1842-1901) was by education and training a geologist. Having been born, raised, and educated in the East, he rode across the continent on horseback in the summer of 1863 in the hopes of being accepted as a member of Josiah Whitney's Geological Survey of California - which he was. This position led him to envision a cross-country geological survey, which idea was agreed to by Congress in early 1867; his work on that project would last through 1872, and his "Systematic Geology", published in 1878, is part of the seven volume "Report of the Fortieth Parallel Survey".
However, it is this work, "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada" which would bring King lasting literary credit. "Concerning it, the writer William Dean Howells remarked to President Hayes in 1879 that his sole complaint against King was 'that a man who can give us such literature should be content to be merely a great scientist' (n.b., quote from the online Dictionary of American Biography).
All of the bibliographical sources are united in their chorus of praise for this work; per Neate, "[h]is book is the great mountain classic of the U.S.A.".
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full green cloth over boards, blind ruled debossed border on both boards, gilt lettering and publisher's device on the spine, bevelled edges, top edge gilt, brown coated endpapers, private library label (Masonic Library, Frederick, Maryland) on the front pastedown, publisher's device on title page; octavo size (8 1/8" by 5 3/4"), pagination: [i-vi] 1-292; first edition, first issue per Wright-Howes and Currey & Kruska with the publisher's monogram on the title page and correct printer's statement on copyright and final pages.
___CONDITION: Near fine, the green cloth binding clean (other than a few exceedingly small, light spots) and unworn, the unrubbed corners very gently bumped, the gilt lettering and top edge all bright, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean (other than a few light, stray marks), and other than the private library label free of prior owner markings; faint evidence of (likely) prior bookseller pencil markings on the verso of the front free endpaper at the top fore-edge corner, the head and tail of the spine bumped but unworn, a few light marks on the front free endpaper (transferred from a paper laid in at some point?), and a few pages were dog-eared at some point in the past; even with its few (exceedingly minor) faults, still an outstanding copy of one of the best mountain books ever written.
___CITATIONS: Cowan (1933) p. 328; Currey & Kruska no. 224; Farquhar no. 12a; Neate no. 420; Wright-Howes (1994) no. K148; Zamorano Eighty no. 47.
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