The library of the late John C. Broome of Fresno, Calif., consists of key works of early California exploration, settlement and land law, manuscript diseños and land grants, legal briefs, title abstracts, maps both printed and manuscript. Broome devoted much of his life to the study of the ranchos of California, the Mexican land grants made to both native and adopted citizens, which were to form the basis for development in the territory and lead to controversy and disputes during the first half-century of California statehood. In the course of his researches he acquired many rarities, now being sold for his estate.
Among the foundation works of California land law and land ownership is Alfred Wheeler’s Land Titles in San Francisco, with the Laws Affecting the Same, 1852, a rare, early San Francisco imprint which shows all the grants made during the administration of the Mexican government in California to July 9, 1846, and the grants by Alcaldes, complete with the important map of San Francisco. It is expected to sell for between $3,000 and $5,000. Another seminal world in the area of land ownership is Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. June Term, 1853 to June Term, 1858, by Judge Ogden Hoffman, published in San Francisco in 1862. It too has an estimate of $3,000-$5,000. Other books of note in the sale are the first edition in English of The Manifesto, Which the General of the Brigade, Don Jose Figueroa, Commandant-General and Political Chief of U. California, Makes to the Mexican Republic, 1855, a translation of the 1835 first edition which was the first significant book printed in California, $3,000-$5,000; Thomas J. Farnham’s Travels in the Californias, and Scenes in the Pacific Ocean, 1844, with the rare original folding cerographic map, $5,000-$8,000; and Ordenanzas de tierras y aguas, by Mariano Galván Rivera, published in Mexico in 1849, a rare work on surveying and land ownership with sections relating to the area that now comprises Texas, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and parts of Nevada and Colorado, Judge Ogden Hoffman’ s copy, signed by him, with an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.
As well as printed books, there are a number of manuscript items of great significance. These included several tracings of the original land grants and diseños (manuscript survey maps) of the ranchos. These tracings were made in the early 1850s from the archives in possession of the U.S. Surveyor General for California, Samuel D. King, for evidentiary purposes in the confirmation of the grants. Since the original records were nearly all destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, these tracings are in many cases the only records of the grants. Among the tracings are the grant and two diseños of Timothy Murphy’s Rancho San Pedro, Santa Margarita y Las Gallinas in Marin County, a 21,679-acre Mexican land grant given in 1844 by Gov. Manuel Micheltorena. Murphy, an Irishman, arrived in California in the 1830s, working for William Hartnell in Monterey before moving north. The grant and diseño are estimated at $4,000-$6,000. Another important manuscript item is a pen-and-ink and watercolor on linen Plat of the New Helvetia Rancho finally confirmed to John A. Sutter surveyed by A.W. Von Schmidt, in 1859, measuring 128 x 41 cm. (50 1/2 x16 inches). It is expected to sell for between $5,000 and $8,000.
Two of the more interesting lots in the sale relate to the Rancho San Emidio in present Kern County, in which John Charles Fremont acquired a half-interest in one of his on-going schemes to profit from the chaotic situation in the early years of U.S. control of California. The first of these is an archive of deeds, indentures, tax levies and related documents, over 25 items in all covering over 30 years, showing the many transactions and legal entanglements involving the parcel, and including an original 1851 deed signed by Fremont. The second is the original patent deed for Rancho San Emidio, confirming the claim of Francisco Dominguez and John Charles Fremont, with manuscript plat map, circa 1862-. Each of the lots is estimated at $5,000-$8,000.
Rare legal briefs, pamphlets and related material play an important role in the collection as well. Most of these involve the ongoing disputes over land ownership, and provided important precedent that is still relevant today. There are also a number of scarce promotional brochures and booklets for land developments throughout California, from San Diego in the south to Chico in the north. PBA Galleries expects the auction to generate strong interest and great excitement among collectors, rare book, manuscript and map dealers and institutional libraries. For more information, contact Shannon Kennedy email@example.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE