Rare Periodical printed from Corte Madera “Castlette”

by Laurie Thompson

Corte Madera “Castlette” built for Morrison Pixley. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection.

The Corte Madera “Castlette”-so-called for the crenellation which originally edged its rooftop- was once home to Morrison F. Pixley, descendant of a pioneer Corte Madera family. Though the crenellation is long gone, the home still stands at 533 Redwood Avenue.

Built in 1902, Pixley used his “Castlette” as a real estate office to sell hillside lots on several tracts above the Corte Madera train station.

There, Pixley also published a limited edition letterpress periodical called the “Golden Hinde” in the style of the Arts & Crafts Movement of the day. According to a 1958 article by Catherine Pixley Robson, “the publication was conceived by Pixley as a plan for earning money for the support of a new-fledged Episcopal church, Holy Innocents.” She goes on to add, however, that the publication never really made a profit.

Cover of June 1902 Golden Hinde newsletter. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection

Morrison Pixley describes his “Castle” and his “Golden Hinde” newsletter in a column in the July 10, 1902 Marin Journal:

Your correspondent is writing now from “The Castle” in which is the office and press-room and cases of the Golden Hinde….”The Castle” is located on one of the high elevations west of the railroad, overlooking the bay and San Quentin and the country from San Rafael on the north to the tunnel on the south. It is only a miniature castle, about 24 feet long and 18 feet wide, including the tower, which is about 12 feet in diameter and only 6 feet above the one-story building. Before the end of the twentieth century it may become the mecca to which the veteran printer will love to make his pilgrimage and rest his weary form.

Corte Madera Railroad Crossing & Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, early 1900s. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection

It seems that only about 10 issues of Pixley’s monthly periodical were ever published, a rare complete collection of which was discovered in Corte Madera in 1958 by Mr. and Mrs. George Cunningham, letterpress printers themselves.

View of Corte Madera, circa 1909. Anne T. Kent Room Collection

The California Room holds four issues of the”Golden Hinde,” all printed on a variety of handmade Chinese papers and each featuring a unique woodcut on the cover, such as the one illustrated here.

Originally published at https://annetkent.kontribune.com.

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