Sutro Baths, Cliff House, Sutro Heights [wrapper title: Sutro Baths, Heights and Cliff House]
[San Francisco]: [Engravings made by S.F. Photo Engraving Co., Sacramento], c. 1895. Taber, [Isaiah West]. Wraps. Oblong octavo, 96 pp. Very good. Item #22020201
Isaiah West Taber (1830-1912), a native of New Bedford, Massachusetts, came to California shortly after the gold rush began on the ship "Friendship". After trying his hand at mining, ranching, and dentistry, he found his vocation as a photographer, opening "I.W. Taber & Company" around 1875. For the next thirty years he "produced a wide variety of large format images of scenes in Chinatown, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alaska, Oregon, Yosemite Valley, and portraits of prominent people..." (n.b., information and quote from "Biographies of Western Photographers" by Carl Mautz, p. 147).
This book focuses on Adolph Sutro (1830-1898), then the Mayor of San Francisco, and his "Sutro Baths", "Sutro Heights" (his home), and the "Cliff House". Some are aware that Mr. Sutro was an avid collector of rare books: "by the time of his death in 1898 [Sutro] had amassed a collection of 300,000 to 500,000 rare books including 4,000 incunabula (the first printed books), which according to contemporary news accounts was the seventh largest in the world." This library would be the only private library to survive the great earthquake of 1906 and is now the core of the library of San Francisco State University (n.b., info and quote from the web site of the California State Library).
Much more can be found in this book: included are forty-three reproductions of Taber photographs; in addition there are other photographs (mostly of personages) not credited to Taber. Most of the Taber photographs are full-page, found on the right-hand side of the opened book (rectos); en face are either vintage advertisements or text with other photographs. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the San Francisco of 1895 through its photos, text, and advertisements.
Truly a delight and uncommon in the marketplace: as of this writing we see only one other copy online, three auction records (RBH), and we find five institutional holdings in OCLC (not counting digital copies).
___DESCRIPTION: Ivory cardstock covers with embossed gold lettering and decorations on the front, brown linen spine, replete with reproductions of black-and-white photographs (see above); oblong octavo (7 3/4" tall by 11" wide), pagination: [1-2] 3-96.
___CONDITION: Very good; we had a professional (name available upon request) strengthen the spine and joints, the binding is now solid, the interior is clean and bright, and the book is entirely free of prior owner markings; some light overall soil and edgewear to the cardstock covers and the title page, the corners very gently bent. Still a very good example of a somewhat scarce item.
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