The Book Club of California is pleased to announce the publication of a monumental reference work titled The Klondike and Alaska Gold Rushes: A Descriptive Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets Covering the Years 1896—1905.
Gary Kurutz, the author of the highly acclaimed The California Gold Rush: A Descriptive Bibliography, published by the Book Club in 1997, has produced this essential reference work as a companion to his impressive earlier tome.
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The Klondike and the Alaskan gold rushes covering the years 1896 to 1905 are considered the last of the great gold stampedes driven by individuals when much of the economically depressed world was feverish to head to remote the wilderness of Canada’s Yukon Territory and the Seward Peninsula of Alaska. It is befitting that the Book Club of California is the publisher of this work as many of the gold seekers came from the Golden State and San Francisco ranked as one of the primary outfitting and jumping-off points to this new land of mineral wealth. Ultimately, too, this frenzy solidified the U. S. interest in claiming Alaska as American territory and Canada’s strong effort to ensure that the Yukon, which was dominated by American miners and capitalists, remained as a Dominion province. Moreover, it has been heralded as the last gold rush populated by individual miners rather than corporate mining companies.
The work is devoted to published diaries, journals, collections of letters, reminiscences, guidebooks, reports of mining and transportation companies, regional directories with narrative accounts, and Canadian and U.S. government reports. All routes followed by the gold stampeders are covered ranging from treacherous journeys over the frozen golden stairs of Chilkoot Pass; harrowing trips down the rapids of the Yukon River in fragile, amateurishly made log rafts; and long ocean voyages to the isolated mining town of Nome whose shoreline was awash with golden sand. Never were gold fields more difficult to reach than those bordering the Klondike River and the beaches of Nome and yet it inspired a publication frenzy unlike anything since the “Days of 49.” As so powerfully explained by historian Graham Wilson, “In many ways the greatest riches to come from the Klondike valley were its stories.”
A decade in the making, Kurutz’s bibliography consists of detailed descriptions of 650 titles and an additional 279 editions and issues following the same format as his California Gold Rush bibliography. Each entry features line-by-line transcriptions of title pages; gives the collation, pagination and size; and describes bindings, maps, plates, and illustrations. References to appropriate bibliographies, works of reference, and antiquarian bookseller’s catalogues are given along with library locations. [Except those titles where a large number of copies are preserved in libraries.] A summary of each title includes important information on its publishing history as well as narrating the stampeder’s experiences in the far north. The summaries alone will provide the reader with a sense of the extraordinary challenges endured by the men and women who braved this remote land in search of riches when much of America was mired in an economic depression brought about by the Panic of 1893. Sprinkled throughout the summaries are colorful quotations by the participants, demonstrating their extraordinary eloquence and their awareness of witnessing a time of historical importance.
The standard edition, of 500 copies, is clothbound by universal Bookbindery in San Antonio, Texas, and features a full cloth binding with gold foil stamping on the cover and spine. The book measures 6.75 x 10.5 inches and is 688 pages. PRICE: $285
The deluxe edition, of 25 copies, features a full cloth binding with a gold foil stamped leather label inset on the spine. it has a slipcase with a cloth edge, paper sides, and a foil stamped paper label on the closed side. This edition was bound by Cloverleaf Studio in Austin, Texas. A digitally printed poster and a letterpress printed reproduction of the author’s January 2018 essay from volume LXXXIII of the Book Club’s Quarterly are included. The book measures 6.75 x 10.5 inches and is 688 pages. PRICE: $725
Both editions are set in Adobe Caslon and LTC Caslon 337 and printed on Mohawk Superfine by Bradley Hutchinson at his letterpress workshop in Austin, Texas. Original illustrations on the book cover and title page are by Molly Dedmond. Book Club of California members may pre-order the book until October 18, 2021. After members’ pre-publication orders have been filled, member requests for second copies and non-member requests for first copies will be honored in the order in which
they were received.
Kevin Kosik, Executive Director
(415) 781-7532 x1 | email@example.com