Publisher: San Francisco: Nahl Bros. Lith., L. Nagel Print, Sept. 20th 1859.
Bibliographical References: Peters, California on Stone, 175; Morland L. Stevens, Charles Christian Nahl, Artist of the Gold Rush, #80.
Condition: Some wear to the paper at the edges, affecting the caption-title banner, but not the pictorial images; light foxing; very good example.
Book ID: 28063
DescriptionBroadside, 66 x 51 cm, lithograph on India paper, backed with a heavier stock of paper at an early stage.
Comments¶ A rare example of the grand certificate of membership in the Society of California Pioneers, the first organization of its kind west of the Mississippi. The Society was founded in 1850 with a membership restricted to those who had arrived in California prior to January 1, 1850. In 1858 the Society contracted the Nahl Brothers, artists and lithographers, to design and print this lavish pictorial certificate. Below the caption-title banner are iconic and romantic California scenes, in vignettes arranged in a manner similar to a mural, depicting miners panning for gold, Sutter's Fort, Yosemite Valley, a vaquero roping a steer, a grove of giant sequoias, a ship entering the Golden Gate, a hunter, a grizzly bear, etc. In the lower part of the multifaceted image are three native California Indians (a man, woman, and child), sitting at the base of a tree, with expressions of sad resignation on their faces at the events unfolding in the scenes above, a subtle and undoubtedly intentional representation by Charles Nahl. This is the earliest version of a certificate of membership in the Society, and an early example of that version, being number 73, dated September 20, 1859, signed by Alexander Abell and William R. Wheaton, president and secretary of the Society.