Hittell, Theodore Henry (1830-1917)

Hittell, Theodore Henry (1830-1917)

The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter of California
  • Hittell, Theodore Henry (1830-1917)


    The Adventures of James Capen Adams


    Probably the Most Popular Work of Its Time Issued in California (Cowan)


    “As told by Theodore Hittell, The Adventure of James Capen Adams is the ultimate outdoor adventure story in California history, centering on a man who would have made Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett proud. It is certainly the most famous bear book associated with the Golden State. Bibliographer Robert E. Cowan declared this thrilling story ‘Probably the most popular work of its time issued in California. As a result of the book ‘Grizzly’ Adams and his incredible menagerie of High Sierra beasts became a sensation first in San Francisco and then, under the auspices of P.T. Barnum, in New York City.


    The genesis of this publication is one of the great stories of authorship and is wonderfully recorded by Hittell in the 1911 edition of his book. In October of 1856, Hittell, then a young writer for the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, saw a placard on a basement door on the south side of Clay, near Leidesdorff Street advertising the ‘Mountaineer Museum’….. Between July 1857 and December 1859, the mountain man told the eager journalist his life story concerning his adventures hunting, capturing and taming wild animals in the West and High Sierra. From these notes Hittell turned Adam’s life story into a book-length manuscript in the winter of 1859-60. Interestingly Hittell wrote the story in the first-person as if it were an autobiography by the Mountain Man…The Twelve illustrations created by Gold Rush artist Charles Christian Nahl beautifully complement Hittell’s word pictures…Nahl depicted Adams in a variety of activities ranging from engaging in mortal combat with a towering elk to walking alongside the grizzly Ben Franklin.” (Gary F. Kurutz from Sloan: Volkmann)


    San Francisco: Towne and Bacon, Printers and Publishers, 1860, First Edition, Octavo 378 pages, engraved frontispiece portrait of author and eleven engraved plates by Eastman and Loomis after drawings by Charles Nahl. Original publisher’s blue pebble grain cloth with stamped gilt title to spine. Uniform rubbing and wear to corners.. Exceedingly difficult to find a First Edition that has not been “read to shreds.”


    Zamorano 80: 42


    Dorothy Sloan: Volkmann, Wagner Camp 348, Cowan 1914 p., Howes H543


    Housed in a Beautiful Black Linen Clamshell Case with Leather Label