San Francisco: Murdock & Co., 1897. First edition. Original textured wraps with gilt to front. A bit of offsetting and sunning, but pleasing and square. 40 pages. Internally a bright, fresh, and partially unopened copy of this scarce and delicate collection of poetry composed by California journalist, translator, and deaf person Laura Redden Searing. Of the 13 copies reported by OCLC, all but two are located in California; it is currently the only copy on the market.
Searing began her writing career soon after her graduation from the Missouri School for the Deaf, writing articles for The Silent Worker and American Annals of the Deaf. The advent of the Civil War opened up new journalistic possibilities for her; and she was sent as a correspondent to cover the conflict and its aftermath for The New York Times, The New York Evening Mail, and Harper's Magazine. Among her interviewees were President Lincoln and General Grant. Maintaining a lifelong interest in social justice, she covered with dedication "the injustice of unequal pay related to men and women teachers in public schools" (US Deaf History). A polyglot, she was fluent in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Later in life, Searing found her home in California. It is here that she wrote and published Of El Dorado, a series of poems with intimate ties to the California landscape. She writes, for example, in Admission Day: "Native Sons of the Golden West! Daughters dear of the loveliest land That ever sunlight hath caressed, Fresh and fair from the Maker's hand...So young are the years of your Golden State That her children's spirits are still astir!" California functions throughout as a space of opportunity and optimism for a weary traveler recovering from war years. Near Fine (Item #3954)