José M. Narvaes. Carta Esferica de los territorios de la alta y baja Californias y estado de Sonora. Manuscript map, pen and ink and watercolor, 1823 (V4300 1823.N3 TIL Vault). Geography and Map Division.
The route taken by Anza from Tubac to Monterey in 1776 has been enhanced here in green, on one of the few early Spanish maps to record this information. The map also shows the missions, presidios, towns, haciendas, and rancherias hugging the coastline when California was the northernmost territory of the Spanish-Mexican empire in the Americas. Anglo migration to California's Central Valley had not yet occurred.
D. D. Morse. View of San Gabriel, Cal. Bird's-eye view, n.p.,1893? (G4364.S52A3 1893 .M6). Panoramic Maps 39. Geography and Map Division.
Father Pedro Font recorded in his diary on Thursday, January 4, that the Anza expedition arrived at the San Gabriel mission after he had said Mass earlier that morning: "The mission of San Gabriel is situated about eight leagues from the sea in a site of most beautiful qualities, with plentiful water and very fine lands. The site is level and open, and is about two leagues from the Sierra Nevada [San Gabriel mountains] to the north, which from the pass of San Carlos we had on our right as we came along. It appears that here ends the snow . . . ." Maria Feliciana Arballo was married in the church and settled in the vicinity of the mission.
"Jeu des Habitans. de Californie." Lithograph by Norblin after a drawing by Louis [Ludwig Andrevitch] Choris. From Choris, Voyage pittoresque autour du monde, avec des portraits de sauvages d'Amérique. . . (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1822; G420.K84 C5). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
Ludwig Andrevitch Choris, serving as an artist on the Russian Pacific Ocean expedition under Otto von Kotzebue from 1815 to 1818, sketched a group of "Mission Indians" who lived and worked the land at the mission of San Francisco. The women are shown observing a game that may have been played traditionally by California Indian males. Gambling was prohibited by the Franciscans, but some scholars suggest that Indians continued to play these games as a form of resistance to Hispanic authority.
"Eene waterplaats in Neder Californie" [A watering hole in Lower California] and "Eene Serenade in Uppen Californie" [A serenade in Upper California]. Engravings after drawings by William Redmond Ryan from vols. 1 and 2 of Ryan's Aventuren gedurende een tweejarig verblijf in Californie (Haarlem: A. C. Kruseman, 1850; F865.R97). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
Pictured from an Anglo-Saxon point of view, William Redmond Ryan's drawings for his Personal Adventures in Upper and Lower California, 1848-9: With the Author's Experiences at the Mines portray Spanish-Mexican-mestizo life romantically rather than realistically.
"The Winter of 1849." Color engraving by J. H. Baillard after a drawing by Frank Marryat. From Marryat's Mountains and Molehills (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855; F865.M3 1855b). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
Women's accounts of life in San Francisco at the time of the California Gold Rush emphasized the many hardships, including a lengthy rainy season and a great deal of mud. As in most boom towns, the buildings pictured here seem to have been thrown up and some appear to be rooming houses. Many of the women who went to California took in boarders and provided services such as washing laundry, ironing, sewing, and baking pies for sale.
"Emigrant Party on the Road to California." Color engraving. Frontispiece to California: Its Past History, Its Present Position, Its Future Prospects (London, 1850; F865.C14). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
An idealized image of the overland trail shows a level, graded pass through rugged mountains. Here the women's colorful dress closely resembles European clothing of the period. In the foreground, a woman cradles an infant in her arms; another holds her child's hand. Besides performing the many domestic chores that fell to them on the overland trail, women were the primary caregivers for their offspring, who had to be watched closely lest they be injured. The overland journals tell of children's deaths from snake bites, drownings, and falls under the wheels of the heavy wagons.
"Encampment at Sac City, Nov. 1849: My Own Tent." Lithograph by G. W. Lewis after a drawing by G. V. Cooper. From J. M. Letts, California Illustrated including a Description of the Panama and Nicaragua Routes by a Returned Californian (New York: William Holdredge, 1852; F865.L65). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
The discovery of gold in California created interest in accounts and drawings, real and imagined, of camp life and the overland journey. J. M. Letts, a shareholder in a New York mining company, is shown sitting in front of his tent in a mining camp in Sacramento City. Letts describes a family he had met the day before in Sutterville, who "had been wandering about since 1845, without having entered a house . . . The children were all natives of the forest except the eldest. They were encamped under a large oak-tree a short distance from the river. The bed was made up on the ground, the sheets of snowy whiteness, the kitchen furniture was well arranged against the root of the tree, the children were building a playhouse of sticks, while the mother was sitting in a ‘Boston rocker’ reading the Bible, with a Methodist hymn-book in her lap."
Daniel A. Jenks. Camp 100-Humbolt [sic] River.Watercolor and pen-and-ink drawing, 1859. Documentary Drawings. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-8872.
Daniel A. Jenks documented life on the overland trail, basing his drawings on observations that he made as he traveled west in 1859. His views appear much more realistic than the color engraving published in London in 1850, illustrated on page 221. Here the women wear homespun or calico and sunbonnets and the men are not wearing top hats. Instead we see soldiers in uniform cooking their own meals, a modestly dressed young couple engaged in conversation, women tending a cooking fire, a man and woman fetching water from the river, and a man opening his bedroll in a tent. In the background, a man appears to be holding a fishing pole. The drawing depicts the wide variety of activities taking place at the campground along the Humboldt River.
Daniel A. Jenks. North Platte. Watercolor and pen-and-ink drawing, 185?. Documentary Drawings. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-8874.
Jenks's drawing of covered wagons crossing the Platte River illustrates yet another barrier to those traveling west. River crossings were difficult and dangerous even when they were not flooded. The journals of women recount numerous tragedies such as drownings and the loss of draft animals and possessions while crossing the rivers on the overland trail.
George A. Crofutt. American Progress. Chromolithograph, ca. 1873, after an 1872 painting by John Gast. Popular Graphic Arts Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-668.
"American Progress" is depicted as a light-haired woman, classically dressed, who is leading the Americans west. She guides and protects miners, farmers, covered wagons, railroads, and even a stage coach, displacing Indian families and the buffalo of the Great Plains. She is stringing the transcontinental telegraph cable wire with one hand and holds a book in the other. The concept of Manifest Destiny--the idea that American conquest of the west was a sign of progress, taking civilization and prosperity to unenlightened peoples--provided a rationalization to Americans who displaced the Indians and other people of color who had long lived in California and other parts of the country west of the Mississippi River.