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Stock# 94034

Not in Quebedeaux.

Scarce Early San Francisco Directory

A very extensive early San Francisco directory containing a wealth of information, including lists of residents, businesses, organizations, public institutions, and local government. The directory opens with an Historical and Statistical Review of San Francisco as well as a Chronological History of Principal Events (from July 1st 1860 to June 30th 1861). An Appendix near the end of the volume prints the Consolidation Act, which repealed the several Charters of the City of San Francisco and consolidated the local city government. Also notable are the dozens of pages filled with advertisements for local businesses. Many of the ads are illustrated with line drawings or wood engravings, for instance: Washington Market, T.C. Boyd (Designer and Engraver on Wood), Albany Brewery (owned by Spreckles Bros.), Thomas Tennent's Surveying and Navigating Warehouse, East India Tea Company, Blake & Co. Hatters, and many others. The full-page ad for Valentine & Co, Printers (who printed the directory) is printed in red and blue ink and is illustrated with an American flag. There are full-page ads as well for Pacific Mail Steamship Company; California Steam Navigation Company; California and Oregon Steamship Line; Oregon and San Diego Steamship Line.

Among the sea of names herein is that of "Professor" Frederick Coombs, an early San Francisco daguerreotypist and eccentric who affected the title "George Washington the Second," while hawking pictures of himself dressed in Revolutionary War-era clothing. He was known variously as "Uncle Freddy Coombs", "The Matrimonial Promoter" and, though purportedly a temperance advocate, the "Great Champagne Receiver", the latter perhaps to do with his work as marriage facilitator. The directory lists him as a "professor" with an office at 423 Washington Street, though he lived in a rat-infested cellar, where he "lived like a Beggar, in order to give like a Prince." See Palmquist & Kailbourn, Pioneer Photographers of the Far West, pages 181-183, for a detailed biography of Coombs.

An important primary source for the history of San Francisco.


Early Langley San Francisco directories are quite scarce in the market. The present directory is notably lacking from Quebedeaux's otherwise exhaustive bibliography of early directories, Prime Sources of California and Nevada Local History.  Also not in Howell's Catalogue 50, which included a range of early San Francisco directories.

Condition Description
Octavo. Original leather-backed printed boards. Gilt-stamped title on spine. Spine leather with vertical crinkling. Some dampstaining at edges on ads in back. lvi (front cover and front pastedown included in pagination), 575 pages (incl. rear pastedown). Illustrations (mostly in the ads). Lacking map. Old owner's inscription (C. J. Emmes) on pastedowns, and more recent owner's signature on front free endpaper. Except for lacking the map, overall condition is very good.
Greenwood 1540. Norris 3430.