Report Upon Certain Investigations Relating to the Planting of Oysters in Southern California


Investigating Southern California for possible commercial oyster beds.

1 in stock

A high-resolution image is available for purchase. Email me for inquiries.

“The coast of southern California contains few harbors or mouths of rivers suitable for the cultivation of oysters. The proximity of the Coast Range of mountains and the limited rain-fall conspire to produce small rivers, which are dry during the greater part of the year, and at other times commonly reach the sea by filtering through the sands thrown up across their mouths by the waves. Two of the most promising estuaries, Alamitos Bay and Newport Bay, were visited in January, 1889, accompanied by Mr. N.B. Miller of the Fish Commission steamer Albatross.”

The brevity of this report on oyster cultivation is reflective of the scant economic opportunities suggested by its contents. In addition to the four pages of text, three maps show the area around Alamitos Bay, Newport Bay, and the western coast of Mexico, and a lithographed image shows a large bed of dead oyster shells. The vast majority of commercial production in 19th century California occurred in and around San Francisco Bay, though they didn’t prevent entrepreneurial or inquisitive spirits from exploring other options.

Charles Henry Gilbert (1859-1928), the report’s author, was most certainly the latter. A pioneering ichthyologist (fish scientist) of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Gilbert studied numerous species in their native environments throughout the Midwest, the Pacific Coast, and Alaska. He taught at Indiana University and the University of Cincinnati before becoming one of the twenty-two founding faculty at Stanford University, where his career spanned nearly 37 years.


Map Details

Publication Date: 1891

Author: Charles Gilbert

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: A

Condition Description: 4 pp. printed report with three maps (two folding) and one photographic plate, rescued from a busted and incomplete Congressional volume. Totally loose with a ragged left edge where previously bound, but otherwise in near fine condition overall.


1 in stock