A Visit to Japan in 1860 on the U.S. Frigate "Hartford"
and a return from China in the U.S.S. frigate "Niagara" to Aden and thence via the Red Sea and Europe to the United States.San Francisco, Women's Co-Operative Printing Union, 1878 Stock Code: 129487
NotesFirst and only edition, uncommon just 11 copies on OCLC, five of these in California, three at the University of California. Blanchard, an early American visitor to Japan, was a U.S. consul in China in the 1850s and was later based in San Francisco working as a merchant with interests in the China trade. This book is a collection of letters to his parents, giving a short but detailed description of his travels in 1860, including a visit to Japan towards the end of the Edo Period. The country had recently been opened up to American trade by the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan, brokered by Townsend Harris. At the time of Blanchard's visit, Harris was serving as American minister in Edo but Blanchard was unable to call on him, claiming that "our minister lives at Jeddo Edo, in a state of inebriety and immorality, which, with the advantage of seclusion from his countrymen, affords him additional ground for refusing to invite or see them" (p. 7). Blanchard writes elsewhere: "No nation are like them. Their streets are clean and neat. Military stations are frequent, and double sword officers are constantly passing by. But the customs of the people are antagonistic to our own as much as possible. For instance, we visited in our walks, public bath-houses, where men and women, old and young, were promiscuously bathing together" (p. 10). From Japan he travelled west to Aden and then to Italy. In the 1870s Blanchard was Henry B. Williams's partner in the San Francisco based "Williams, Blanchard & Co.", shipping and commission merchants in the China Trade and an officer in the San Francisco Port Society. In 1878 he published these letters with the "Women's Co-Operative Printing Union". Established by Agnes Petersen, and later taken over by Emily Pitts, this union was "the first permanent foothold for woman printers in San Francisco" (Levensen, Women in Printing: Northern California, 1857-1890, 1994).
Octavo. Original green cloth, alternative title "At Sea and Ashore" in gilt on front cover within black ornamental frame.
Collector's bookplate, ownership stamp to front free endpaper. Binding a little rubbed, text block lightly toned. A very good copy
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