pp. including self-wrappers, a few of them blank. 34x21.5 cm (13¼x8½"). Set in modern custom folding cloth box with leather cover label.
The original manuscript personal accounting ledger of William Alexander Leidesdorff, merchant captain and West Coast pioneer, son of a Danish sugar plantation manager and his common-law wife of African and Spanish descent. Leidesdorff migrated to Alta California in 1841, then under Mexican rule, settling in Yerba Buena (now San Francisco). One of the earliest mixed race, African-European citizens of California under both Mexican and United States rule, Leidesdorff was also one of its most successful – he received a land grant from the Mexican government of eight Spanish leagues, or 35,500 acres, south of the American River, known as Rancho Rio de los Americanos. He served as U.S. Vice Consul to Mexico at the Port of San Francisco beginning in 1845. By the time his estate was auctioned off in 1856, it was worth more than $1,445,000, not including vast quantities of gold mined upon his land. The account ledger covers his expenses in 1843 and 1844, most for the schooner Julia Ann, including food and drink: smoked and fresh salmon, fresh vegetables, beef, gin, and grog. Other expenses were for salaries, ship’s maintenance, and clothing. The ship docked primarily at the west coast cities of Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and “the pueblo of Los Angeles.” The ledger is a rare and important artifact of an early African-American in California, and major figure in California history at the end of Mexican control regardless of race.