Songs From the Golden Gate
Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907. Keith, William. Hardcover. Duodecimo size, 171 pp., inscribed by Ina Coolbrith, with "The Ina Coolbrith Dahlia" leaflet. Very good +. Item #23051801
Ina Donna Coolbrith (1842-1928), California's first state Poet Laureate, lived a life rather unusual for a woman of her days. She moved with her family at the age of 7 years from Illinois to California, in 1868 Bret Harte engaged her as one of his co-editors of the "Overland Monthly", she was an influence on Cincinnatus Heine Miller, to whom she recommended the pseudonym "Joaquin Miller", was the first Poet Laureate of California, and mentored other young writers including Jack London.
In order to support her family she worked for the Oakland Public Library and the San Francisco Mercantile Library, as well as serving as the librarian for the Bohemian Club. She was writing a history/memoir of San Francisco when the manuscript was destroyed by the fire following the earthquake of 1906; she eventually settled with her niece in Berkeley where a portrait of her was taken by Ansel Adams, dying on Leap Day, 1928. After her death it was disclosed to the public that she was the niece of Latter Day Saints movement founder Joseph Smith, Jr.
Number 21 on the Zamorano 80 list, this the third printing. This copy inscribed by Coolbrith thus: "To / Mr. Harry DeWitt Dye, / for "remembrance". / Ina Coolbrith / San Francisco, / February, / 1903." We found little trace of Harry DeWitt Dye (1864-1939) other than his obituary in two California newspapers; one of them referred to him as a "retired stationer" and another as a "San Francisco manufacturer" - it is possible he met Coolbrith through her books being published, but that is, alas, speculation. Loosely laid into the book is a small leaflet noting "The Ina Coolbrith Dahlia", which flower had just been named in her honour, and describing a short ceremony to honor such. Our online search found a digitized version of this leaflet, but no copies available in the online marketplace.
___DESCRIPTION: Green cloth boards with a narrow gilt ruled border, vignette of a lyre and gilt lettering on the front, gilt lettering on the spine, top edge gilt, author inscription and signature on the front free endpaper as referred to above, tissue-guarded frontispiece being a photograph of the author with facsimile signature below, 1907 date on the title page, stated Third Impression on the copyright page, the four black and white illustrations by William Keith interspersed throughout the text; pagination: [i-v] vi-vii ,  2-159. "The Ina Coolbrith Dahlia" is a single sheet folded once to four pages, title on the first page with rubricated initial capital, each of the first letters in red, page two with half-tone the same as the frontis and with facsimile signature beneath, the third page with a short paragraph regarding how the dahlia came to be with a four-stanza poem by Cal O'Chortus, the initial capital of each stanza in red, and page four describing the ceremony "christening" the dahlia.
___CONDITION: Better than very good, the binding clean other than a few light, stray marks, the gilt top edge bright, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright (with several signatures unopened), and it is entirely free of prior owner markings; light bumping to the head and tail of the spine, corners gently bumped with a minimum of rubbing, small abrasion to rear joint (approx. one-quarter inch), and the front endpapers lightly toned. The leaflet near fine, the single fold strong (no tears), clean other than a few small marks on the first page, with exceedingly minor overall wear. A very nice book with the scarce "dahlia" leaflet, inscribed by Coolbrith.
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