David J. Weber, Book Review Editor
A Select Bibliography: The California Missions, 1765-1972. Compiled and annotated by Rev. Francis J. Weber. Preface by Ray Allen Billington. Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1972. Notes. 86 pages. $10.00.
This little book should be in every serious collection of Californiana for it is a useful guide to five hundred works on the California missions. Each item is carefully annotated, with Father Weber drawing on his own extensive knowledge as well as quoting liberally from contemporary book reviews. The researcher is able at a glance to distinguish a serious work from a popular account or a children’s book.
Father Weber would have made this volume more complete had he, or his publisher, chosen to include periodical literature. A reader in search of a book on a specific mission or padre will also be inconvenienced by the lack of an index. For example, a student in search of the writings of Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén will draw a blank by looking under L for Lasuén in this bibliography. The student needs to know that Lasuén’s writings were edited by Finbar Kenneally and only then can he find Lasuén’s work under K. The inconvenience is even greater in the case of Father Francisco Palóu. Looking under Palóu we find reference only to a rare 1787 edition of his work, in Spanish. The student is not led to Miguel León-Portilla’s modern edition in Spanish (1970), or to Maynard Geiger’s English translation (1955). Weber’s bibliography, then, is a useful contribution which could have been rendered more useful.