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Book/Printed Material Three years in California [1851-54]

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  • Three years in California [1851-54]


  • Edinburgh-born artist John David Borthwick (1825-c.1900) left New York for California in 1851, crossing the Isthmus at Chagres. In 1860 Borthwick returned to Britain, where his paintings were exhibited in several galleries including the Royal Academy. Three years in California (1857) focuses on his experiences mining gold and quartz at Hangtown, Foster's Bar, Downieville, Mississippi Bar, Jacksonville, and Carson's Hill. He devotes much attention to social life in the camps as well as mining techniques, describing crime, the Chinese and French and other ethnic groups, and holidays and public entertainments. Borthwick illustrated the book with eight of his own lithographs which are considered the most realistic of the period for California.


  • Borthwick, John David.

Created / Published

  • Edinburgh, London : W. Blackwood and sons, 1857.


  • -  California--Gold discoveries
  • -  California--Social life and customs
  • -  Ethnic groups--California
  • -  Law--Political aspects--California


  • -  Not by John Douglas Borthwick of Montreal, Can.
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
  • -  LAC ecr 2019-06-05 update (1 card)


  • vi p., 1 l. 384 p. : front., plates. ; 22 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • F865 .B7

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • rc01002730

Rights Advisory

  • No known restrictions on publication.

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf
  • online text

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

"California as I Saw It:" First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900.

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, [appropriate source division as described in the bibliographic record]. For example: Library of Congress, General Collections; or, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Borthwick, John David. Three years in California -54. Edinburgh, London: W. Blackwood and sons, 1857. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Borthwick, J. D. (1857) Three years in California -54. Edinburgh, London: W. Blackwood and sons. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Borthwick, John David. Three years in California -54. Edinburgh, London: W. Blackwood and sons, 1857. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.