With: Rossiyskogo Kuptsa Grigorya Shelekhova Prodolzheniye Stranstvovaniyya po Vostochnomu Okeanu k Amerikanskim beregam v 1788 godu... [i.e. Continuation of the Russian Merchant Grigory Shelekhov’ Voyage in the Eastern Ocean to the American Shores in 1788...]. St. Petersburg: Published on account of V[asily] S[opikov], 1793 and 1792. Two parts bound together. 17,5x10 cm. Second enlarged edition of part  and first edition of part . , 172, ; , 95,  pp. With a copper engraved frontispiece and a copper engraved folding map atrear. Full leather; spine with gilt tooled ornaments and a maroon sheep gilt lettered title label with a colour stamped title on the spine. Book is expertly rebound using period materials and style. Title page and frontispiece with some minor expert repair, otherwise a very good copy of this extremely rare work.
Very rare Russian imprint, with only one paper copy of this second enlarged and BEST edition found in Worldcat (British Library, also bound with the 1792 supplement). First edition (1791) was found in three copies (Newberry Library, New York Public Library, Yale University Library; all bound together with the 1792 supplement), no copies of the third edition (1812) were found.
A beautiful copy containing the earliest editions of Grigory Shelekhov’s exploratory voyages to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska in 1783-1788, which comprise the full collection of printed accounts of his voyages, complete with the copper engraved frontispiece and a map of Shelekhov’s discoveries. The copy contains the second enlarged edition of the account of Shelekhov’s voyage in 1783-1787, published in 1793, which includes the account proper titled “Shelekhov’s voyage from Okhotsk to the American shores” (same text as in the first edition of 1791, pp. 1-86), and the first publication of the extensive chapter “Historical and Geographical Description of the Kuril, Aleutian, Andreanof, and Fox Islands, stretched over the Eastern Ocean from Kamchatka to America” (pp. 87-172; sup-chapters: Kurile Islands, Aleutian Islands, Fox Islands). The second part of the book is a separately published “Continuation” to Shelekhov’s account, containing the description of the voyage of the “Three Hierarchs” galliot under command of navigators Izmailov and Bocharov in 1788. The continuation was published in 1792 and was never reissued separately. This copy contains the complete collection of accounts of the voyages by Shelekhov or under his command and thus the enlarged account of the 1793 edition of the first part, and the 1792 edition of the “Continuation” with the frontispiece and map is the most complete and desirable collection of Shelekhov’s voyages.
Both parts were issued on account of a noted bookseller and publisher Vasily Sopikov (1765-1818); on the last page of the 1792 “Continuation” there are the bookseller’s prices for each part of Shelekhov’s account, which proves that they were published and sold separately.
The frontispiece is “a fanciful picture of Shelekhov and three natives, one of the latter tendering to Shelekhov a fur skin, the second smoking a pipe, and the third witnessing the trade which is about to take place over the barrel top. In the sky the Mercury floats as an indication that trade, not a gift, is involved. Below the picture there are four lines of laudatory verses, referring to the Russian Columbuses (sic!) who extended the frontiers of the Russian Empire to America. <...> a folding map entitled “Map of Shelekhov’s journey” shows the North Pacific, both the American and the Asiatic sides, including Kamchatka, Bering Strait, the Aleutian Islands, and the mainland of Alaska down to about 55° N.L.” (Lada-Mocarski, 49).
Track of Shelekhov’s voyages is shown in dotted lines from Okhotsk to Kodiak and back. Russian and native Alaskan names define the landmarks of the Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan coast; a dot north- east of the mouth of the Koyuk River (Norton Sound) is supplemented with a note “Faithful farmstead where Russian people live;” another note near Cape “Krestovy” (Yakobi Island, Alexander Archipelago) reads “Navigator Dementyev stayed here with 12 people in 1741” (relates to Bering’s voyages; the party from Alexey Chirikov’s “St. Paul” landed there in July 1741, but never returned, apparently all members perished);the copper engraved vignette in the right lower corner depicts a man travelling on a dog sled with a smoking volcano in the background.
“Bancroft considered these two narratives as “one of the chief authorities for this period [1783-1787] of Alaskan history.” The first editions are extremely rare; even the subsequent editions are difficult to find, and they command a high price” (Lada-Mocarski).
Within five years after the first publication, Shelekhov’s account was translated into German (SPb., 1793), and English (London, 1795). The 4th Russian edition was not published until 1971.
Lada-Mocarski 49 (first edition); Sabin [77539 for the German edition of 1793]; Sopikov 11566 (Part II erroneously indicated the year 1795 as the date of the 1st edition). Wickersham 6284 (incorrect attribution of the 1793 edition as the 1st edition of part I; it should be 1791). The most complete and scholarly study of different editions is that of Avrahm Yarmolinsky (Yarmolinsky, A. Shelekov’s voyage to Alaska // Bulletin of the New York Public Lib., March 1932, p. 141-148).
Grigory Shelekhov (1747-1795), Russian seafarer and merchant, started organizing commercial fur hunting voyages of Russian ships from Okhotsk to the North Pacific (Kuril and Aleutian Islands) and Alaska since 1775. In 1783 he organized and took part in the voyage along the Aleutian Islands, during which he proved that Kodiak was an island, and discovered several islands of the Kodiak Archipelago, including Afognak Island. In 1784 Shelekhov founded the first permanent Russian settlement on Kodiak Island which was to become the centre of the Russian America for the next 20 years. In 1785-86 a party of navigators was sent by him and described the Kenai Peninsula, islands in the Gulf of Alaska, and the Alaskan shore up to the Cape Saint Elias on the Kayak Island. On Shelekhov’s assignment Gavriil Pribylov went to the Pacific north of the Aleutian Islands in 1786 and discovered a group of islands named after him (Pribilof Islands). In 1788 Shelekhov organized exploratory voyage of the Alaskan coast: the ship “Three Hierarchs” under command of navigators Dmitry Bocharov and Gerasim Izmailov explored and mapped about 800 km of the Alaskan coast from the Kenai Peninsula to the Lituya Bay, including the Yakutat Bay. The State funded Russian American Company was founded on the basis of Shelekhov’s fur trading company (owned together with merchant Ivan Golikov) in 1799.