San Francisco: H. Tibbitts, c. 1910.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 9.75" x 11.5", oblong, in original flexible morocco with "Hon. Ben Johnson" stamped in gilt; 29 leaves printed rectos only on thick stock, 25 with gelatin silver photographs (image size 6 x 8 in.) of San Francisco, the Bay Area, and other parts of California. Some marginal foxing, first image faded, pages curling at top and bottom edges, slightly musty; but a presentable copy of an uncommon item. A marketing tool designed to stimulate interest in the Exposition, this book was produced in a very limited run and distributed to people of influence. The recipient of this copy, Ben Johnson, was a United States Representative from Kentucky (1907-1927) who served on the House Appropriations Committee. The brief text touts San Francisco as "naturally the one fitting point where a great celebration of this world event [completion of the Panama Canal] should be held," owing to its "superb harbor and growing Oriental trade." It notes that great investment has been made since the earthquake of 1906, so that now one finds "block after block of business buildings, hotels, apartment houses, and private residences, all new, substantial and artistic, with every modern equipment [and]..ample accommodations for fully 100,000 visitors." The photographs are presumably by H.C. Tibbitts, a San Francisco photographer who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and traveled extensively in the American west, documenting local scenes to help promote the railroad through its magazine, Sunset. Each image is captioned in the lower margin. In addition to many scenes from San Francisco (Post & Kearny, Lotta's Fountain, Hotel St. Francis, Market St, Golden Gate Park, Bank of California, Chinatown, Powell & Geary, Union Square, etc), there are views of Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Shasta, Lake Tahoe, Mission San Miguel, and the California State Capitol.