California and Alaska and over the Canadian Pacific Railway by William Seward Webb, Second edition[.] Illustrated. New York ... London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1891. 22.7x15.3 cm, pp. [i-iv] v-xi [xii] xiii-xiv [xv-xvi] 1-268, fly leaves at front and rear, 12 inserted plates, other illustrations in the text, original pictorial brown cloth, front and spine panels stamped in black and gold, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed, floral patterned endpapers. First trade edition. "Popular edition" at head of title. This trade edition was preceded by a 500-copy deluxe edition published in 1890 (advertised with a lengthy description on page [ii] of this edition). An account of trip across the continent to the Pacific Coast with his family and a few friends by William Seward Webb (1851-1926), a New York capitalist and railroad builder. Webb married Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt, daughter of railroad magnate William H. Vanderbilt in 1883. He established Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, one of the finest country estates in America (now a National Historic Landmark), where he raised prize-winning hackneys, and built NeHaSane, an Adirondack Great Camp surrounded by a 200,000 acre game preserve in the Adirondacks (now part of the Adirondack Park). The trip, which began in the first week of April of 1888, was by "special" train "from start to finish" with private cars consisting of a baggage car (for baggage and staff), a dinning car, and two special cars (one a "sitting-room for the gentlemen," with a Chickering piano at one end, a desk at the other, a "complete library and proper compartments for guns, fishing rods and sporting paraphernalia"). On 24 April 1888 the party arrived in Brenda about four o'clock in the morning and then took the branch line to Raymond, arriving about three hours later. The party traveled to Yosemite Valley by way of Clark's (Wawona) where some members of the party went to see the Big Trees in the Mariposa Grove. Webb's familiarity with horses makes his account of the trip from Raymond to Clark's of considerable interest. "After breakfast we took a four-horse stage and started for Wawona, which is sometimes called Clark's. We had dinner at a halfway station called Grant's. The drive was exceedingly interesting from the manner in which the driver managed his horses, and also on account of the kind of horses used for this work. We changed horses seven times between Raymond and Wawona, each change consisting of four horses. It was surprising to see what wiry beasts they were, and what an immense amount of work they could accomplish. Our shortest drive between the changes was six miles. On this we had four half-wild, wiry, Nevada ponies, roans, and they literally ran all the distance. Their speed was so great that we were very much concerned least they should run away entirely; but we were fortunate in having an expert driver to go over the route with us. The manner in which the stage would whirl around corners and dash down hills was quite appalling, and made the remembrance of past experiences in the Catskills and the White Mountains seem tame, almost uninteresting. But all this rapid driving was done with good judgment. The brakes were tightly applied to the wheels when occasion required, the effect being to bind the running-gear and the body of the vehicle together, thus preventing any swaying motion and any possibility of upsetting." The trip to Yosemite comprises pages 79-102. Slight spine lean, some soiling and spotting to cloth, tissue guard foxed, a very good copy. (#166383).
No statement of printing.