Auction 165, Lot 207

Features a Nefarious Chinatown Map

"Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco [bound in] San Francisco Municipal Reports for the Fiscal Year 1884-85...",

Subject: San Francisco, California

Period: 1885 (published)


Color: Printed Color

20.9 x 8.2 inches
53.1 x 20.8 cm

This municipal report for the city of San Francisco contains numerous detailed reports concerning all aspects of the city's business and is a comprehensive record of activities for the fiscal year 1884-85. This volume is best known for W.B. Farwell's 70 page "Report of the Special Committee on the Condition of the Chinese Quarter, and the Chinese in San Francisco " and the accompanying Chinatown map which appeared at the peak of the anti-Chinese movement in California.

The map itself is laid out by block and shows the distribution of Chinese gambling houses, opium "resorts", "Joss Houses", prostitution (white prostitution is also noted), and general Chinese occupancy. It is important to note that the map only reports what is on the first floor of each building, and certainly underestimates the actual activities in this vicinity (gambling in the basement, brothels above the ground floor, etc). In his report, Farwell notes that "it had been conceded and was unquestioned that this portion of the city was a standing menace to the health of the community." An excellent summary of the importance of the map can be found online in Susan Schulten's article Mapping Vice in San Francisco on her blog "Mapping the Nation." There are at least two versions of the map: a smaller version included here with the municipal report, and a large-scale, separately issued map (see second Rumsey reference). Both are rare, but the large-scale version is exceedingly so.

Thick octavo, xix, 710, 340 (appendix) pages plus folding color map. Published by the Board of Supervisors and printed by W.M. Hinton & Company in San Francisco. Hardbound in black pebbled cloth with gilt title on spine.

References: Rumsey #5807; PJ Mode Collection #1093; cf. Rumsey #6714.001.

Condition: A

Condition code is for the map, which is clean, colorful, and near fine. Text is very good with light toning along the sheet edges. The spine is sunned and edges are bumped.

Estimate: $700 - $900

Sold for: $600

Closed on 11/15/2017