VII. The World Rushed In: Part I

La Californie — Quadrille Brillant

Paris: J. Meissonier fils, Editeurs, c. 1850.

Hand-colored lithograph.

Gold fever gripped much of Paris as documented by this colorful and satirical sheet music cover. A rather portly woman clutches bags of gold ingots to her breast while in the background a group of destitute-looking people are entering and exiting a California mine. The cover and music no doubt satirize the Parisian lotteries that awarded gold ingots in order to sell stock in French gold mining companies headed for California.

Travail en Californie


c. 1850.

Hand-colored lithograph.

8 × 11 in.

"Work in California" is one of a series of three beautifully colored French prints in the collection concerning the Gold Rush. The caption reads: "landing on this ground, all the workers seize their tools and search the soil in all directions; here, the rocks raised by the pickaxe, yield ingots of gold." The French may have been somewhat confused by the Sierra's vegetation as demonstrated by the tropical plants and trees in the print.

Voyage aux Pays Aurifères Afrique, Mexique, Californie, Pérou, Chile, Nouvelle-Calédonies, Australie, Russie

A. C. de la Carrières

Paris: Libraire de A. Courcier, [1855].

328 p.

The French author toured Northern California cities, towns, and mines. He described the various ethnic groups, told of the high prices, and when in San Francisco, commented on the hotels and the general violence that beset the Gold Rush port. The beautiful gold-stamped front cover depicts a Chinese and an American miner in the diggings.

La Californie Dévoilée


Paris: Chez tous les Libraires, 1850.


64 p.

Trény produced this pamphlet on behalf of the Paris-organized California Mining Company. The publication featured translations from English and American newspapers about the diggings, letters from French observers in California, and statutes of the mining company.

Le Jeune Voyageur en Californie

Récits Instructifs et Moraux Offrant des Détails Curieux sur Cette Région de L'Amérique et Sur les Coûtumes, Usages et Mours de Ses Habitants

Jean Baptiste Joseph Champagnac

Paris: Librairie de l'Enfance et de la Jeunesse, 1852.

248 p.

Champagnac, in writing this novel with a California setting, included descriptions of the terrain, gold mining, and the region's diverse inhabitants. The novel is illustrated with several exquisite hand-tinted plates.

De la Découerte des Mines D'or en Australie et en Californie

Patrick J. Stirling

Paris: Librairie de Guillaumin et Cie, 1853.


269 p.

Stirling's discourse on the history gold and the impact of the gold discovery on California and Australia was translated into French from the English language edition.

Signed letter of William B. Peter to Mademoiselle Emile Holland

San Francisco.

January 1, 1851.

Included with this pictorial letter sheet view of San Francisco is this fascinating French letter describing gambling. A translation of one paragraph reads as follows:

A sailor came back from the mines just a while ago with $6,000 piasters in gold. He ran to a gambling hall, threw his bag of gold on a Monte table shouting "Here's for Panama or back to the mines!", thus gambling on one card the fruit of his labor for the year — fortunately, luck smiled on him. He returned to N. York with $12,000.

Voyage en Californie

Description de Son Sol, de Son Climat, de Ses Mines D'or

Edwin Bryant



210 p.

Spurred by the gold discovery, Bryant's text was translated into several languages and published in several countries including Belgium, France, Sweden, and Australia. His What I Saw in California received praise as one of the best authorities on California. The author wrote his text prior to the gold discovery; later editions included information on the diggings culled from other sources.

Voyage Médical en Californie

Dr. Pierre Garnier

Paris: Chez l'Auteur, 1854.


43 p.

Dr. Garnier left for California from France on October 3, 1850, sailed around Cape Horn, and arrived at Monterey on April 7, 1851. The physician then went to San Francisco and toured the mines not to seek gold but to observe the health of the miners. He wrote of medical conditions and services in the cities, towns, and mining camps.

Californien's Gold — Reichthum

Verlag von Gustav Thenau



32 p.

Gustav Thenau began this effusive guidebook with these optimistic words: "Weg zum reichthum!" or, "Paths to riches!" He provided a detailed description of the country and the little-worked gold fields. Inexhaustible treasures, he contended, awaited the hands of man in California.

Kaliforniens Gold — U. Quecksilber-District

Friedrich Gerstäcker

Leipzig: Verlag v. Wilhelm Jurany, 1849.

32 p.

Gerstäcker's slender guide is open to a beautiful untitled map of Northern California showing the gold district. The German traveler gave information on recommended routes and what to expect upon arriving in San Francisco and the mines.

Mining & Miners, and Diggers & Priggers, by a Shareholder



28 p.

This satirical piece is based on the experiences of the English who invested in California and Australian mines. "The Great Doo and Diddle, Gold, Silver, Copper, and Brass — Smash, Dash, & Crash Company" is the featured subject. It is embellished with 13 plates which presented a rather humorous view of gold mania.