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Stock# 101618

The Most Spectacular Lithographic View Book of 19th-Century Los Angeles

A rare and wonderful lithographic view book of early Los Angeles. With 87 full-page lithograph plates depicting public buildings, prominent residences, businesses, vineyards and wine cellars, vast tracts of orange groves, bird's-eye town views, railroads, and the like. The text presents a historical survey of Los Angeles County, with much statistical information. Covers Mexican period, the Mexican-American War, and some account of Indian tribes. A collection of interesting biographical sketches of prominent citizens of Los Angeles County at end.

The publishing firm of Thomson & West was headed by Thomas H. Thompson, an engineer, map-maker and book publisher and Albert Augustus West, a specialist in biography and history. Together they produced a series of visually spectacular histories of California counties from 1872 through 1892. History of Los Aneles County, California was written in 1880 under the able direction of J. Albert Wilson... [The book captures] an impressive array of information relating to both the city and county of Los Angeles prior to the boom of the 1880s. Much of this local information might have been lost had it not been for Wilson's diligent and careful work.  - Dawson 80.

The lithographs represent an unparalleled visual record of Los Angeles on the cusp of the boom years of the 1880s.

Also encompasses parts of present day Orange County, including Anaheim.

The color map, dated 1878, is by H. H. Lloyd & Co. (New York), and is titled: Map of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

A selection of the plates here follows:

  • Baker Block
  • Residence and Orange Groves of Jos. W. Wolfskill (double-page).
  • Downey Block
  • Residence of Ex-Gov. John G. Downey
  • Views in Washington Gardens, corner of Main & Washington Sts. D.V. Waldron, proprietor.
  • L. Lichtenberger, manufacturer of Carriages and Buggies, Wagons, etc.
  • Commercial Bank, J. E. Hollenbeck.
  • Residence of O.W. Childs
  • Residence of R. Nadeau (small repaired tear to upper margin, image unaffected).
  • Eucalyptus Grove, residence of Mrs. Phineas Banning, Wilmington.
  • Portion of the Town of Newhall, on the San Francisquito Rancho.
  • Residence of Henry Kroeger, Anaheim.
  • Wine Cellars and Residence of F.A. Korn, Anaheim.
  • San Pedro Ranch. Residence of Don Manuel Dominguez, Wilmington.


Very rare in the market, especially in such nice condition. In 1979 Howell listed an example in his Catalogue 50 for $850. Glen Dawson's copy fetched $5462 in 2007.




Condition Description
Oblong quarto. Original leather-backed publisher's cloth, stamped in blind and gilt, expertly rebacked. Gilt title on spine. Corners a bit frayed. Extremities of board edges showing a bit of wear. Endpapers renewed. Slight vertical crease to left side of title page (as in most copies of this book, per Glen Dawson). Internally very clean. With early bookseller ticket of Dawsons Book Shop, the legendary Los Angeles bibliophilic establishment. Small neat oval blindstamp of D. Hicks & Co., Bookbinders, 545 Clay Street, to outer corner of front free endpaper. vi,[11]-192 pages. Color map. 87 full-page lithograph plates (1 double-page). Complete.
Howes W531 ("b"). Dawson 80:78. Rocq 2657. Howell 50:610A. Layne, Books of the Los Angeles District 53.