A Collection of 14 Autobiographical Manuscripts of Early California Pioneers Who Became Major Political leaders in the State. These handwritten autobiographies represent the major California politicians, jurists and founders of the state. This unique collection reflects how all of these men began their careers in either the Midwest or Eastern United States but came to California in search of gold. What makes these documents so extraordinary is that in their own prime of political and economic life, they spoke about their search for gold and its attendant riches but instead tell how they rose quickly to leadership within a decade of their arrival. Of course, such documents from original sources are important both for what they include and for what is excluded. They include the following: 1. Cole, Cornelius (1822-1924). (1) page Autographed Letter Signed. One page in his own hand describing his early and political life. Ca. 1864. Served in U.S Congress, 1963-65; U.S. Senator, 1867-1873. Died in Hollywood at age 102. He notes that he was born in "Auburn," New York and "came overland to California". Went to work in the California Gold Mines in 1849 by 1851 "practiced law two years in San Francisco and nine years in Sacramento.…afterwards removed to Santa Cruz.…was editor of [an unnamed] newspaper in California which he says was "the leading Republican" [newspaper] of the time. 2. Broderick, David Colbreth (1820-1859). A unique photograph only. U.S. Senator from California. unmounted large original wet-proof photograph measuring 5 ¾" x 8" by the Brady Studio . U.S Senator from 1857 from a mortal wound in a duel with David S. Terry, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California on September 16, 1859. Note: The engraved image in the California State Library is a different image possibly taken from images that have either have not survived or poorly reproduced by the engraver. 3. Burch, John Chilton (1826-1885). (2) page Autographed Letter Signed. Washington, May 28, 1860. In his letter he emphasizes that his education was abbreviated because of "limited means, I did not graduate." He read law in "Jefferson City", emigrated to California, engaged in mining "was rather successful in 1851", "elected Clerk of Trinity County". He also adds: that in the state assembly he served on "the judiciary and ways and means committees". Also of note he says once elected to State Senate in 1857 "he served there on the judiciary committee and at that time his district included both Trinity and Humboldt counties’" He further notes (not noted in Lanman) he was elected to the 36th Congress and Black Republicans [who] conspired against me [I was] never any other than a Democrat in politics. 4. Denver, James William (1817-1892). (1) page Manuscript letter in the hand of his associate John Dowling, his assistant. Written in third person and adds the following: "in one of the regiments [U.S.-Mexican War], raised a company of 110 men in Missouri and fought through the war to Mexico City, afterwards returned and crossed plains, settled in Weaverville?—"appointed by Gov. Bigler" relief committee for sick and destitute, appointed Secretary of State in California, until taking seat in Congress." 5. Field, Stephen Johnson (1816-1899) First California appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Lincoln and second longest serving Associate Justice in the Court. (2) page autographed letter in his own hand signed, April 12, 1867 with a two page secretarial letter, March 26, 1867, signed by Field. He writes that he is enclosing a copy of the article from the Transcript (not in LOC Newspapers) but since he could not secure an original copy, he is having a copy made. He further writes: "the article contains a great deal of extravagant puffery, but the dates it gives are correct. He goes on to talk about the tenth district which now is the ninth district and he notes the amount he is paid of $1,000 as he travels 13,000 miles each year. The six page document made from the New York Transcript of March 12, 1863: had been carefully transcribed by a secretary but Field has made two marginal corrections in his own hand. First he notes on page one that the precise date was Nov. 4, 1816. On page four he writes: "We received over thirty-six thousand votes more than any one of the opponents for the office and over twenty thousand votes more than his opponents together." [Note: the account that appeared in the May 6, 1863 New York Herald edition of the appointment was significantly abbreviated into one large column, page 2, column 3] This may account for why he chose the New York Transcript which gave the much more extensive biographical sketch notes he came to California in search of gold. The general view is that it was his strong belief in the Union’s sovereignty as the Civil War opened which may have led President Lincoln to put him ahead of other possible candidates. 6. Higby, William (1813-188?). U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-1865. ( 2) page Autographed Letter. January 17, 1865, Washington, D.C. Signed with 1 page handwritten secretarial letter correcting errors that appeared in early copies of what appears to be an 1864 edition. The initial letter indicates that Lanman had written him regarding these errors and he was informed only a few copies had been printed before revisions began to take place. He corrects the errors which appear in the 1864 corrected edition. Since the error had him being born in Essex County, Vermont instead of New York, he jokingly writes: "It is not very agreeable to be born away from home." The page correcting the errors and followed the rest of the description (unlike some of the others almost word for word as submitted). Unmounted positive proof from the Brady Studio  Measures 2 " x 3" 7. McRuer, Donald C. (1826-1898) (1) page Autograph letter, April 17, 1865. San Francisco. The briefest of the notes: "I reply for our query. I was born in 1826, educated at public schools and academies—a merchant, have filled the office of State Harbor Commissioner in this state. (California). In a later edition, Lanman adds that in 1864 he was elected a representative to the Thirty-ninth Congress, and served on Committees on Public Lands, and the Post Office and Post Roads. Unmounted proof photograph identified by Lanman on back. Attributed to Brady Studio, 186-? Measures 2" x 3" 8. Gwin, William McKendree (1805-1898). (1) page printed questionnaire filled out by Gwin. Member of California Constitutional Convention and first U.S. Senator from the state. Also (1) secretarial history of Gwin not in his hand. Lanman in final version says studied medicine, Gwin identifies himself as "a physician", member of the California Constitutional Convention and one of the first U.S. Senators from California] served six years and [resigned?] on March 3, 1861. Lanman adds "During the Rebellion he was arrested and imprisoned for his opposition to the Federal Government but was released on his parole by President Johnson in 1866. An unusually large wet-plate collodium photograph (8" x 5 1/8") an unrecorded copy, obviously taken before his March 3, 1861 departure. Brady Studio, 1859? (Note: there is a slightly different image in the Library of Congress Collection http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c10003 Compare the hair and eyes of the two images. The Bancroft has a much later image: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf2h4nb2vk 9. Sargent, Aaron Augustus (1827-1887). Engraved letterhead 37th Congress. Washington, D.C. 186-? One page submitted by him but unsigned. Notes he emigrated to California in 1849, elected to Congress in 1861, Lanman notes Sargent served on the Select Committee on the Pacific Railroad; however, he writes: "Inaugerated the legislation of Congress upon the Pacific Railroad by introduction of a bill and speech in March 1862. Labored for and secured its final passage." 10. Flanders, Alvin (1825-1884). (2) page Autographed Letter on Engraved Letterhead 40th Congress. Washington, D.C., December 2, 1867. Lanman notes machinist in Boston, he adds employ of "S & S Adams". He further notes that it was "in connection with Charles A. Washburn that he started the San Francisco Daily Times, was connected it until the election of Mr. Lincoln..he was a member of the California Legislature from San Francisco in 1861." Spent two years in U.S. Mint (he adds: "appointed by Mr. Lincoln’s " Registrar in the U.S. Branch Land Office. Resigned and moved to Walla Walla, W[ashington] T[erritory] until election to Congress. 11. Scott, Charles L. (1827-1899) House of Representatives, ca. 1858. Handwritten letter After noting his education and William and Mary [he notes: "graduated with high honors" and entering into the practice of law "with his father at Richmond". Lanman notes only that he came to California in 1849, he notes that he made the trip "around the Horn" in partnership with the Madison Mining and Trading Company, says: "his love for adventure caused him to abandon & seek his fortune in the mines" resumed practice of law in Tuolumne county, elected to 35th Congress and here he notes "he was serving out his first term" (hence, the dates above). Original photograph by the Brady Studio [ca. 1858] unmounted proof, Collodium process (measures 6" x 8". Biographical letter identified as in the hand of Charles L. Scott by Lanman. While this seems likely, we can only confirm it came from the Lanman collection. (We were unable to find other images of Charles L. Scott in our research) 12.Shannon, Thomas Bowles (1827-1897). Ca. 1863. One page with his signature. Lanman did not include that "he settled in Plumas county" notes he was "elected to the Union Party to Congress in 1863." In a later Lanman edition, he notes that Shannon was a member of the National Committee appointed to accompany the remains of President Lincoln to Illinois. 13. Axtell, Samuel Beach (1819-1891). U.S. House of Representatives, 1867-1871. Engraved on letterhead of 40th Congress, dated November 22, 1867. Notes: "entered coll[ege] but did not graduate. Lanman notes he attended Western Reserve College. 14. Taylor, Nelson (1821-1894) One Autographed Letter signed to Charles Lanman, New York, April 12, 1865. He gives address as 16 Wall Street. Lanman omits that "he was commissioned a Captain by Gov. Wright in 1846" in the U.S-Mexican War. After election to the state senate in California in 1849 (just before statehood was approved), he became President of the Board of Trustees for the State Hospitals of California which became the State Insane Asylum. Served as Colonel of the 72nd Regiment of the New York Volunteers from 1861, rose to Brigadier-General in 1862, returned to New York, served in 39th Congress. (our note: unlike others who came to California in the Gold Rush, he returned to his eastern roots for the last four decades of his life). 15. Bidwell, John (1819-1900). One page Autograph Letter, April 21st, 1865, Chico, California. A brief note that encloses a long article from the Solano Herald "which though too partial, contains the points you desire." April 19, 1865 printed alongside a lament for loss of President Lincoln.