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Stock# 94033

Very Rare Early Nevada Directory

Samuel Clemens Listed as "local editor" of Territorial Enterprise

An important historical source for early Nevada, one of the earliest directories for the Territory, issued just a couple of years after the discovery of the Comstock Lode sparked a Nevada "silver rush."  This directory lists approximately 9000 residents of Nevada, twice the number of the first directory issued by Kelly the previous year. The mining camp of Austin appears here for the first time. The volume includes general directories for Aurora, Austin, Carson City, Clifton, Dayton, Empire City, Genoa, Gold Hill, Jacobsville, Palmyra and Como, Silver City, Virginia City, Walker River and Washoe County. Despite the Virginia City imprint, this directory was actually printed by the San Francisco printers Valentine & Co.

Samuel Clemens and the Territorial Enterprise

Of particular note in the present Nevada directory is the entry for Samuel Clemens, on page 183, who is listed herein as "local editor" of the Territorial Enterprise. In February 1862 Clemens began contributing occasional letters to the Virginia City paper. By the fall of the same year he was offered twenty-five dollars a week to become the local city editor of the paper, which he accepted. The first instance in print where Samuel Clemens employed his renowned pen name, Mark Twain, was in an article published on February 3, 1863, in the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada. He signed the piece using the now familiar pseudonym "Mark Twain," derived from a Mississippi River term meaning two fathoms (12 feet) deep, indicating safe water for steamboats. These early Nevada newspaper days marked the beginning of his prolific career under the enduring and iconic name that would become synonymous with his wit, humor, and literary contributions. Orion Clemens, Twain's brother, is also listed herein (on page 97), as Acting Governor, and Secretary of Nevada Territory.

Mormon History in Nevada

This rare directory is listed in Chad Flake's Mormon Bibliography because it includes an account of the Mormons in Nevada (within the larger Historical Sketch), beginning on page 34:

The whole of Utah, prior to its acquisition by the United States, was a portion of the Mexican Department of Alta California, and as such contained scarce any white population at that day. The first settlement made within its limits...was that of the Mormons at Salt Lake. Portions of this people passing back and forth between California and Salt Lake, so early as eighteen hundred and forty-eight, being attracted by the fine lands in Carson Valley and vicinity, stopped, and making homes there, became the pioneer settlers, also, of what is now Nevada Territory... In these remote and quiet valleys, undisturbed by the mandates of the church, and shut out from the world, these simple and deluded, but frugal and industrious, people, continued to live for several years, when in 1857 a command issued from Salt Lake, for the faithful everywhere to repair to that place...Ignorant and superstitious, these poor creatures, hastening to obey the behests of the vile imposter, Brigham Young, sacrificed their property...On reaching Salt Lake...they discovered, what filled them with disgust and alarm, that polygamy...had been ingrafted upon the creed of the church...

According to Quebedeaux, the descriptive material contained in this directory is greatly increased over the first directory. The present volume includes a Table of Distances from San Francisco to Virginia City (pages 6-8); a History of Nevada Territory (pages 33-56), including Mormon history and notes on Indian captivities, and "the Boundary Difficulty" ; a description of Douglas County (pages 70-78), Ormsby County (pages 84-95), Washoe County (pages 123-133), Storey County (pages 152-166), Lyon and Churchill Counties (pages 354-365), Esmeralda County (pages 404-418); Roop, Humboldt and Lander Counties (pages 437-447); and the mining laws of the Virginia, Esmeralda, Reese River, and Nevada mining districts (pages 474-480).

The advertisements, which are often illustrated, are fascinating historical sources in their own right. For instance, there is a full-page ad (on orange paper!) for the Irish Nationalist Printing and Publication Association (San Francisco), "designed by a body of Irishmen and others, the friends of Ireland, in order to establish in the City of San Francisco an organ devoted mainly to the support of the cause of Ireland, the defense of Irish Nationality, Irish Principles and Irish Rights upon the Pacific Coast." Another notable and elaborately printed ad is that for the printer Valentine & Co. (who printed the directory). Printed in red and blue ink it includes calendars for 1863 and 1864, as well as a second page printed in the manner of a mining stock certificate. The full-page ad for Goss & Lambard's Sacramento Iron Works includes a detailed street view showing their premises. And Dr. Smith's Phrenological Office ad includes an illustration of a Phrenological chart. 


This early Nevada directory is very rare in the market. Only a single copy noted in RBH since the Streeter copy sold in 1968. Only five copies overall noted in OCLC. Notably, the mid-20th-century Americana bookseller Wright Howes accorded this directory a "b" rarity rating in his idiosyncratic rating system, suggesting a quite rare item.

Condition Description
Octavo. Original leather-backed printed boards. Leather at joints cracking (but covers still attached). Small tear to leather at head of spine. Boards worn, with soiling and staining. A few gatherings slightly sprung. Previous owner's name on free endpaper, with older ownership name on verso of same sheet; some pencil underscoring and marginalia, otherwise clean internally. xlii, [4], xliii-xliv, [4], viii, 486 pages. Complete, with 51 pages of ads at front and more interspersed in the volume, many on colored paper. Overall a solid good copy of this rare directory.
Quebedeaux 145. Howes K65 ("b"). Streeter Sale 2322. Flake 4566. Paher 1024. Armstrong 156. American Imprints Inventory (Nevada): 442.