Charles P. Kimball’s San Francisco City Directory (1850)

Last week I met with the librarian at the Society of California Pioneers. While mainly doing research for a piece I’m working on, I received more info on Charles P. Kimball as well. Likewise, I was given the opportunity to handle and take photographs of Kimball’s copy of his San Francisco City Directory from 1850, i.e. the first city directory of San Francisco.

Photos taken by permission of the Society of California Pioneers.
Photos taken with the permission of and by the courtesy of the Society of California Pioneers.

The book is quite small, about the height of an iPhone, though wider: perfect for slipping into a coat pocket. Along with the directory itself, I was shown Kimball’s business card, as well as a letter written by his daughter, Rebecca, certifying that this copy of the directory was indeed his. While an auction in 2006 valued a copy of this directory at $80,000 – 120,000 (noting the survival of only about 4 or 5 copies of this printing),* being that this was Kimball’s personal copy, I’d imagine it’d probably be considered even more valuable. That said, its worth to San Francisco historians is insurmountable.

Charles Kimball's business card after the incorporation of Noisy Carrier's.
Charles Kimball’s business card after the incorporation of Noisy Carrier’s.
First page of directory with Kimball's signature.
First page of directory with Kimball’s signature.
Rebecca Kimball's certification that this copy was indeed her father's personal copy.
Rebecca Kimball’s certification from 1915 that this copy was indeed her father’s personal copy.

______________________________________________________

* Fine Books and Manuscripts including Western Americana: Tuesday June 27, 2006 at 10am Simulcast auction Los Angeles and San Francisco, (San Francisco: Bonhams & Butterfields, 2006), p. 120.

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