David J. Weber, Book Review Editor
The California Coast: A Bilingual Edition of Documents From the Sutro Collection. Edited by Donald C. Cutter, originally edited and translated in 1891 by George Butler Griffin. (Norman, Okla., University of Oklahoma Press, 1969). Notes. Illustrations. 278
The title of this volume tells nearly all. Donald C. Cutter, Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, has re-edited nineteen documents which originally appeared in
1891 as one of the annual Publications of the Historical Society of Southern California. Cutter has re-worked the original translation, and added a new preface and annotations which reflect the research and writing that has occurred over the nearly eighty years since the original volume appeared. The result, then, is not merely a quick and easy reprint, but a substantially more useful book.
The first fifteen documents, some only a paragraph in length, essentially treat the expeditions of Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeño (1595) and Sebastian Vizcaíno (1602-03). The final four documents are dated 1774 and include a lengthy letter from Junipero Serra to Viceroy Bucareli and a journal of Juan Crespi. The book is handsomely printed and highly readable in both languages, and suffers from lack of an index and a modern map. Interestingly, Cutter has found that the first fourteen items in this volume were originally published in Spanish in 1882. Hence, the copies of these documents which the San Francisco philanthropist Adolph Sutro acquired in 1883-1884 were not as rare as Sutro believed, and may even have been transcriptions of the published documents!