Six (of seven) issues of an important early California periodical, which ran for seven issues (from January to July of 1861). After seven issues, it merged with the recently-sold Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine; the combined Magazine and Mountaineer, published by Lawrence and Brooks of the Golden Era, “presented for the next two or three years a monthly collection of Era materials to the smaller towns of the hinterland” (Walker).
Editor Henry Brooks, residing in remote Chinese Camp in Tuolumne County, saw a need to present a general periodical to not only enrich the mind but also to counteract such prevalent leisure time activities in rough and ready California as card playing. In addition, he noticed how in the cities and interior of California the population of children steadily increased. Consequently, each issue included a children’s section. Issue No. 3 features a superb description of the noted printing house of Towne & Bacon.
The Wikipedia entry for Chinese Camp, California describes the early Gold Rush era history of the town:
Chinese Camp is the remnant of a notable California Gold Rush mining town. The settlement was first known as "Camp Washington" or "Washingtonville" and one of the few remaining streets is Washington Street. Some of the very first Chinese laborers arriving in California in 1849 were driven from neighboring Camp Salvado and resettled here, and the area started to become known as "Chinee" or "Chinese Camp" or "Chinese Diggings". At one point, the town was home to an estimated 5,000 Chinese.
The Chinese Camp post office was established in the general store on April 18, 1854. This building is currently vacant, and a post office is in operation on a plot of land rented from a local resident.
An 1892 Tuolumne County history indicates that, in 1856, four of the six Chinese companies (protective associations) had agents here and that the first tong war (between the Sam Yap and Yan Woo tongs) was fought near here when the population of the area totaled several thousand. The actual location is several miles away, past the 'red hills', near the junction of Red Hills Road and J-59.
An 1860 diary says Chinese Camp was the metropolis for the mining district, with many urban comforts. While placer mining had played out in much of the Gold Country by the early 1860s, it was still active here as late as 1870. An 1899 mining bulletin listed the total gold production of the area as near US$2.5 million.
Although missing one issue, runs of the California Mountaineer in original wrappers in good condition are rare. We find no examples on the market since Howell offered a set along with a set of Hutchings’ for $2,500 in 1979.
The Charles Kenny McClatchy Collection.