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Sixth Plate


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SKU: D12-111 Category:

“WILLIS . . . Daguerreein artist 1851 Pontiac MI residence” was scratched into the reverse of the elderly woman’s archivally taped sixth plate. On the table under her knitting needles and skein of wool was: “Frost’s Pictorial History of California” printed in 1852. I saw the title page with that date, yet the year written on the dag was earlier. A real conundrum don’t you think? BUT it gets even better folks! Why is the old lady holding the lens cap to a daguerreian camera? An Internet description tells about that book, “This detailed book provides an early look at California’s statehood. The title continues “From the period of the conquest by Spain, to her occupation by the United States of America. Containing an account of the discovery of the immense gold mines and placers, the enormous population of gold-seekers, the quantity of gold already obtained. A description of her mineral and agricultural resources, with thrilling accounts of adventures among the miners. Also, advice to emigrants on the best routes, and the preparations necessary to get there to which is added a brief account of the formation of the government and constitution of the said state. Published in the same year that California joined the union, it describes the geography, geology, wildlife and settlement of the state. Featured are sixteen views that are printed on pink paper, and numerous woodblock prints of native wildlife including the Pronghorn Antelope, Bison, Long-Tailed Deer, and California Condor. The frontispiece shows one of the Old Spanish House, San Francisco. The views include Monterrey, The Principal Street in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacremento City, Gold mining views and tools, and more. Much of the book is dedicated to the Gold Rush, and includes chapters that describe the major cities before and after the discovery of gold, and the routes for travelers to find these cities. Another chapter provides information on the mineralogical characteristics of gold, how to distinguish it from other minerals and how to process it when found.” What possible connection did granny have with the California gold rush? Was she a retired 49er who returned home after making an early strike? Okay, so I am enjoying this caption. Unfortunately, as you can plainly see in my scan, another hand wiped the surface. Both Erin and I completely missed the slight to the silver as we admired her pluck and holographic depth through filthy glass. A leather case is in two pieces.