“WHERE THE CURTAIN OF CIVILIZATION FIRST AROSE ON THE SHORES OF THE PACIFIC”: WATKINS’ HISTORY OF MONTEREY AND SANTA CRUZ COUNTIES, 1925
WATKINS, Rolin C., editor. History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California: Cradle of California’s History and Romance. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1925. Two volumes. Thick quarto, original green cloth gilt, patterned endpapers, all edges marbled. $900.
First edition of this history of the “cradle” of California, “when it was younger, more sparsely settled, more ‘in the raw’ than it is today,” illustrated with numerous photographs of people and places— Volume II being a biographical dictionary with portraits of the principal figures.
“Let’s leave the world of generalities behind,” Watkins encourages, “and start down El Camino Real, ‘The King’s Highway,’ which leads to Monterey, where the curtain of civilization first arose on the shores of the Pacific.” Watkins’ History dates “from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day.” In 1924 Watkins spearheaded an huge outdoor reenactment of the Serra-Portolá expedition and the establishment of the mission. He was directly responsible for the authenticity of the pilgrimage. As one observer described it, “For an hour this morning Monterey’s past lived again— the glamorous past, when life was high-colored, swift and bold, and hearts throbbed with rich hot blood.” This phrase aptly describes Watkins’ book, in which “pirates of old, adventurers and settlers found an irresistible call” in the quiet waters of Monterey Bay.
Text fine, minor spotting and abrading to original cloth. A near-fine copy.