Camarillo CA: (published by the author). Very Good-. 1946. First Edition. Hardcover. (no dust jacket, probably as issued) [light external wear, one-time owner's pencilled name at top of ffep; one photographic plate is detached from the binding]. (B&W photographs, pen and ink drawings) Self-published autobiography/family history by a guy who was born in Michigan in 1875 and ultimately spent most of his life in Southern California (specifically Ventura County). His family headed west in a covered wagon when he was six years old, but somehow he and his father ended up in upstate New York (specifically the town of Honeyo Falls, a few miles south of Rochester), where he passed the remainder of his youth. (Don't ask me how this happened; the book is written in a very anecdotal and digressive style, and the non-linear narrative makes it rather hard to summarize. As the author explains at the end of the book -- not up front, where it might have been a useful cautionary note -- he had written the book "only in my spare time and as the spirit moved me, possibly this accounts for some of my rambling." There's an understatement for you.) Eventually he made his way to California in 1891, first working on a spread called the Patterson Ranch in Simi Valley, about which there is much anecdotal material. He subsequently moved around quite a bit (and bought a lot of land), primarily in Ventura County; there are many mentions of sites in Camarillo, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Calabasas, Santa Paula, the Conejo Valley, etc., and a great deal of information about ranching and agricultural activity in the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the author bought his first car in 1910, he also did a lot of traveling (both by car and train), with a particular affinity for national parks, which in those days were often quite remote and difficult to visit. (His first venture of that type was to Yosemite, a trip he describes in considerable detail.) It's an interesting book, and not badly written despite its disdain for chronological (or any) narrative structure: you might find yourself reading about the author's uncles and other forebears on one page, the mechanics of making maple sugar (back in Michigan) on the next, then an account of the author's first visit to Los Angeles, sometime in the 1890s. An index would have helped, but of course there isn't one. . (Inventory #: 24591)
Unusual, Uncommon and Obscure Books in many (but not all) fields, with particular interest in American Culture (Popular and Unpopular), Art, Literature, Life and People from the 1920s through the 1960s.
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