John Sutter Jr.‘s Acapulco Company

Ordenanza general de aduanas marítimas y fronterizas de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, con su tarifa y vocabulario anexos, dada en virtud de las facultades otorgadas al ejecutivo de la unión por la ley de 11 de diciembre de 1884. [General Maritime and Border Customs Ordinance of the United Mexican States, with its tariff and annexed vocabulary, given by virtue of the powers granted to the executive of the union by the law of December 11, 1884]

Mexico: Roman Araujo, 1885. 200 by 140mm (7¾ by 5½ inches). 8vo. 3 parts in 1. Original red 14 calf, gild spine, over red mottled boards; 164, [42]; [4], 66; [2], lxv, [3] pp. With the final leaf of errata. In Spanish. 

Very good except extremities a bit rubbed, corners bumped, and paper lightly browning throughout.

From John Sutter Jr.‘s Acapulco, Mexico company.

California and the Sutter family are deeply entwined. Sutter Sr. established Sutter’s Fort in the area that would become Sacramento and his eldest son John Augustus Sutter, Jr. (1826–1897) founded the city of Sacramento. In 1850 Sutter Jr. moved to Acapulco, Mexico where he worked for Agustin Dempwolff and Co., which had established a small import-export business under the name of Bazar del Pacifico. Sutter Sr. provided funds to Sutter Jr.‘s wife, who invested the money in the business and Sutter Jr. became a partner. Dempwolff, the prior owner of the business, died in 1886 and Sutter Jr. took over the business entirely. During this time Sutter Jr. was involved in efforts to reduce tariffs between Mexico and the United States and in 1870 became U.S. Consul to Mexico. 

This book deals with Mexican maritime and border customs, including import and export form samples. Although scarce in the trade, the book is held at at least eight institutions in the United States. The true value of the book is its provenance.

First, the book has the ownership signature of Antonio Pintos”, boldly written three times in the book. Pintos was the Consul of Guatemala in Mexico. He and Sutter Jr. knew each other (for example, we were able to find a record of Sutter Jr. and Pintos traveling together on a barge with only 5 other people in 1877). It seems probable that Pintos gifted the book to Sutter Jr., certainly we know that the book went from Pintos to Bazar del Pacifico, the company in which Sutter Jr. was one of two partners. The book bears two ink stamps: Bazar del Pacifico. A. Dempwolff Y Ca. May 27, 1885. Acapulco, Mexico”. Then there is a pastedown where it is written in ink: With compliments from Dempwolff to Mr. A. Merle. San Francisco. Acapulco, May 27, 1885.” There is additional handwriting hidden under the pastedown, that we were not able to identify, except for the name Antonio Pintos”. 

The A. Merle in question here is likely the founder of the San Francisco company A. Merle that manufactured ornamental brass and iron (and at one point also bed frames). Given that Sutter Jr. was only one of two partners in the import-export company and that he oversaw tariffs and customs matters for the company with the United States, it seems very likely that Sutter Jr. was present when this book was gifted to San Francisco businessman A. Merle in Acapulco. 

Sutter, Jr.‘s papers are at the California State Library in Sacramento where Boxes 315 and 316 pertain to business papers and his life in Acapulco. It would be an interesting research project to see exactly what the business relationship with A. Merle Company of San Francisco was. 

For more on Bazar del Pacifico, see Sutter Jr.‘s book The Sutter Family and the Origins of Gold-Rush Sacramento (edited by Allan Ottley and published in 2002). 


In stock

Stock Code: 1067B19 Collection:


For more information or to request additional photographs, please send an e-mail.

Search our Inventory

Stay in Touch

Join our mailing list to be the first to hear about new catalogue relases, upcoming events, and special offers. 
logo of mark funke bookseller with white letters "mf"