Event by The Bibliographical Society of America

The Zamorano Press and Printing in Mexican California

The Zamorano Press and Printing in Mexican California

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM (EST)
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What do print histories of the U.S. look like when seen from the nation’s Pacific edge? This panel explores that question through the lens of the first print shop established in California. Agustín Zamorano imported a Ramage press from Boston to Monterey, the provincial capital, in 1834. Although Zamorano left California a few years later, anonymous printers continued to use the press throughout the following decade to produce Spanish-language broadsides, tracts, and textbooks. Later, the same equipment produced the state’s first newspaper, the bilingual Californian, before being transported to the gold fields. Early twentieth-century bibliophiles recognized this pre-statehood print tradition in the name of the Zamorano Club, which established a canon of rare Californiana as the “Zamorano 80.” The complex relationships between private and library collectors come to light in the story of the most ambitious and significant product of the Zamorano Press: the Manifiesto a la Republica Mejicana (1834), a 186-page book defending the actions taken by governor José Figueroa against a group of insurgent colonists. 

This panel will demonstrate how narrowly monolingual and national frameworks have generated incomplete and misleading bibliographical records about this imprint and its dissemination outside California. Expanding outward from this example, it suggests how the tools of analytical bibliography can create more inclusive narratives of national belonging that acknowledge the longstanding presence of Latina/o/x people within its borders.

Moderator: Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Professor of Literature, University of California Santa Cruz

Object: The Newberry Library copy of Jose Figueroa, Manifiesto a la Republica Mejicana que hace el general de brigada Jose Figueroa. Monterrey Calif. : Agustin V. Zamorano, 1835. See also the Bancroft Library copy, and the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León copy.


  • Gerald W. Cloud, antiquarian bookseller and bibliographer
  • Gary F. Kurutz, Executive Director & Curator of Special Collections, California State Library
  • Theresa Salazar, Curator of Western Americana, the Bancroft Library

Co-Sponsored by viaLibri and Getman's Virtual Book Fair


English & Spanish Subtitles Courtesy of

Event hosted by

The Bibliographical Society of America
67 West Street, Suite 401 Unit C17
Brooklyn, NY, 11222
Erin McGuirl, Executive Director

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