Those who were lucky enough to enjoy the stimulus and hospitality of San Francisco during the 1995 IMCoS symposium were all presented with a copy of Glen McLaughlin’s insular California checklist. This was a welcome acquisition because R.V. Tooley’s “California as an Island” which appeared in The Mapping of America lists only a hundred maps and John Leighly’s California as an Island includes but 172 entries. Mr. McLaughlin has found 249 maps showing the island of California, with an additional six appearances in celestial charts, seventeen on title pages, and a single medal.
Although the spirit of the hunt probably energizes the scholarly sleuth, for now, this checklist will provide the collector and the dealer with as definitive a reference as is needed to uniquely identify an example of California as and Island. It is indexed by title, by name, including cartographers, engravers, draftsmen, sellers, and some publishers, by dedication, and by place of publication. And further, the entries are cross-referenced by number to those in the works of Tooley and Leighly. We counted 183 full map photographs, plus illustrations of cartouches and decoration.
This welcome updating of the insular California saga fallacy stirs muted criticism insofar as the enumeration begins anew in the small sections on celestial charts, title pages, and the medal. In other words, reference to a “McLaughlin” number lower than 17 does not unambiguously identify the example. Second, as a paperback, the value and utility of the contents may well outlast the book itself. While it is printed on heavy paper, it deserved a hard cover. Nevertheless, it is complete, it’s available and the price is right. We will be using it as the citation of choice in the Price Record. It is a major contribution to the record of the legendary California fallacy.
Jon K. Rosenthal, 1996
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