First Women’s Narrative of Yosemite

98 [Women] [Van Schaack, Alice] A Familiar Letter from a Daughter to Her Mother,
Describing a Few Days Spent at the Big Trees and Yo-Semite. Chicago: Horton & Leonard,
Printers, 1871. 8vo, original limp green wrappers, brown endpapers, 21 pp. + 3 blank
pp., folding frontis-view plate: “The Yo-Semite Valley,” woodcut measuring 5 ½ x 8 inches, plus 2 additional woodcut views, showing a title-page view, and another showing tourists dancing on the stump of a big tree; early female owner’s signature.”

Quite rare; not in Chicago Ante-Fire Imprints. Part of the rarity may be due to the statement on the verso of the title page by the printers: “Our preface is our apology for putting in type with her knowledge.” OCLC finds 3 locations only (Chicago History Museum, Penn and Huntington). Currey & Krushka 374. Eberstadt 124, Yosemite and the Big Tree, 28: “Apparently unrecorded.” Not in Graff or Streeter. Apparently only six copies of this original edition are known to exist. Van Schaack is an observant and intelligent reporter of the journey – for example, she writes “Thursday evening we heard that a Digger Indian, at Murphy’s had cut the throats of two of another tribe, who had attempted to rob him.” Among other details, she also describes a visit with Hutchings at his cabin in Yosemite, and even his shelf of books. One of the earliest visitor’s account of Yosemite, and the first by a woman.

Comments are closed.