Story of the Earthquake and Fire

SAN FRANCISCO   |   Wilbur Gleason ZEIGLER

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(SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE) ZEIGLER, Wilbur Gleason. Story of the Earthquake and Fire. (San Francisco and Vicinity. The Story of the Great Disaster). San Francisco: Leon C. Osteyee, Murdock, 1906. Oblong quarto (7 by 10-1/4 inches), original black-lettered russet cloth, photographic print (measures 2-1/2 by 3 inches) affixed to front board.

First edition of journalist Zeigler’s riveting eyewitness chronicle of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, published in San Francisco the same year, featuring long folding photographic panorama of the city (6-3/4 by 42-inches), with two full-page maps and 93 full-page half-tones from photographs by Strohmeier, Blumberg and others, including two folding panoramas showing the Business District before and after the fire, a splendid copy in original cloth.

In this dramatic eyewitness account of the San Fransciso earthquake and the massive ruin caused by the fire that followed, journalist Zweigler recalls "a tremendous and continuous crashing of glass… an all-powerful force to loosen the firm foundations of the earth." Criss-crossing the city, he writes: "the sight of the wreck of the City Hall almost took my breath… an irreparable ruin." Soon he spots "fire-engines entering Market Street from all directions" as residents fleeing from the quick-spreading fire tell him, "The Grand Opera House is gone… the Call Building, the Rialto." Zeigler continues: "St. Ignatius church, a million-dollar structure, was ablaze by noon, its many spires pointing like torches into the sky… Westward spread the flames… sweeping on with uplifted lances of flame and banners of white smoke." Confronted with the terrible devastation, he tells of residents bravely facing the task of rebuilding, where "work immediately became the order of the day." With long folding photographer panorama of the city (6-3/4 by 42 inches), often missing, along with 93 full-page half-tones from photographs by Strohmeier, Blumberg and others, including two before-and-after folding panoramas of the Business District, (each 6-3/4 by 8 inches), together with two full-page maps of San Francisco outlining the burned areas of the city.

Text and plates fine, inner hinges expertly reinforced.

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