Book review: Beginnings of San Francisco 22 Sep 1912

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Book review: Beginnings of San Francisco 22 Sep 1912 - f Ur w r t v t f I r I l l ft 4 - rcjvsuar Tjie...
f Ur w r t v t f I r I l l ft 4 - rcjvsuar Tjie Beginnings of the City by Zoelh Eld - rtdge - A Mans World v - - HB Begin rings of San Francisco by Zoeth 4 1 Skinner Eldredge is the stof y of this city from the expedition of Anza th discoverer of San Francisco - bay in 1774 down to the adoption of Uit - clty charter on April 13 1S50 The work is In two volumes and Is illustrated - with many reproductions reproductions of old rjaps and withspirited drawings or Walter Francis The boc is the reMilt of many years of research among the original Spanish sources The author has the judicial temperament He Is never Jetf astray by the glamour of romance lie demands the facts and when these are ijot forthcoming forthcoming he decides In favor of the tradition which las4 most probability The result is thai here we have the truth about early San Francisco history yet triith so full of glowing romance that in many places it reads llkevflctloiC Certainly the author has done Justice to many fine oid Spanish characters - who have been practically Ignored by other hlif - torlans Such a man was Anza the real discoverer of San Francisco bay and the founder of this city jTo him was entrusted the task of bringing settlers across the Colorado desert and up the coast to establish establish a city on this bay and he carried put this commission commission with a courage and an endurance never surpassed by Cortes or Plzarro They gained fame pj conquering large territories lor the Spanish crown and by sending home millions In treasure but the stout Spanish soldier who first looked on San Francisco bay deserves greater fame for he founded a city that has become one of the wonders of the world It Is a relief to find a historian like Mr Kldredge who is not eager to overdraw the stirring history of early San Francisco Many chroniclers of the pioneers have so mixed fiction and fact that it is hopeless to disentangle them The Age of Gold has passed1 into literature largeiy through Bret Hartes romances which are Infused with poetry but cannot cannot be commended for their historical accuracy This pioneer 1s drawn as a melodramatic figure always ready to draw a gun and to fight at the drop of a hat In fact be is much like the Alfred Jlenry Lewis type of the - cowboy of the plains - something never seen on land or seas a creature of a Vivid imagination The real San Francisco pioneer was a man as daring as Bret Hartes John Oak - hurst the gambler a man who played with death for the mere fun of risking his life but at the same time he had a hard foundation of shrewd common sense and he worked like a galley slave to make the fortune that was frequently swept away by a sudden fine or an equally unexpected turn of trade The pioneers were men of red blood and strong passions but they founded schools and churches and they really believed in many of the conventions that they trampled under foot They founded two great vigilance committees which swept out the Sydney convicts the ballot - box stuffers and other dangerous criminals and made San Francisco a safe and law - abiding place The work of these vigilance committees has remained ever since as a model of what may be accomplished by men of Anglo - Saxon strain in the enforcement of law and order In a primitive community far re - inoved from the strong arm of Federal power When Portola fn 1770 founded the presidio and mission at Monterey Spain took the first actual step to maintain her right of settlement on this Coast This establishment led to the command for the coft - quest of California and one of ttie men who came to the front was Juan Bautlsta de Anza a soldier of the presidio of Tubac in Sonors He offered to outfit a force of twenty picked men and make the Journey through the unknown lands from the Junction of the Gila and the Colorado rivers to meet Portola at Monterey bay His first application was i refused but a second appeal In which he showed the necessity of having good land communication between Spnora and Monterey was successful The King even ordered funds provided for the expedition and it set out on January 8 1774 The story of this Important expedition has been slighted by other historians but Mr Elrfredge Justly regards it of touch Importance because Anza kept a full record of his dangerous trip across the Colorado desert and of his exploration of the country between Monterey and San Francisco The remainder of this - first volume is devoted to a sketch of the Franciscan missions and the Bear Flag episode In handling the latter ihefdent Mr Eldredge does not mince words In describing the achievements of Fremont He givesfrom the records the many Inaccurate statements of Fremont and he shows clearly that the Colonel had no real claim to a place as a hero or as the conqueror of California California WJth Senator Benton of Missouri to champion champion his cause Fremont loomed1 large in all the historical historical records but an examination of the facts shows that he accomplished very little The second volume gives a well - connected story of San Francisco from 1792 to 1830 n Much interest la given to the chapter on the village of Yerba Buena by several old maps one of which shows that Sacramento street was originally named Howard street after W f M Howard one of the most prominent of pioneer merchants and that Sansome street was first called Sloat street after the Commodore Commodore o the Navy who first raised the American flag over old Spanish Monterey Stockton street Is the first street west of Kearny and Dupont occupies the place now held by Stockton street The chapter which covers the period from 1847 to 1850 s of the greatest Interest Mr Eldredge has compressed into siity pages an admirable revieW of the features of the young pioneer city Successive fires swept away most of the historical buildings that be names but a few remained and were familiar to those who knew San Francisco fn the eariy sixties If Mr Eldredge gets put a second edition of this iwork he should change the arrangement and bring Into greater prominence some of bis best work About half of each volume Ih devoted to whaV he calls notes There lsno index to these notes and no page headings yet - these notes contain the best literary work In the two volumesV In the first volnme the monograph on Fremont Is a model of what such work should bei In the second yolunie the best Jhlrig H the thirty - two - page sketch of the riraer - paitri - fy - vhlcVtherw all the loose ends ofMcGlashanS history and makes 4JU pa InXur episode of incompetency reaIanlvlvloT OTmwir Saaaer ar He avoids any of the hysteria of McGlashan but he brings out clearly that a little decision at the right time would have carried the whole Donner party over the summit before the heavy snow and Ijbat ordinary energy or resources would have found a largesupply of food In the trout of the1 Trucked river The chapter on the origin of the street names of San Francisco Is complete and valuable Mr Eldredge is to be complimented on the sharpness sharpness and clearness of his estimates of the men who were prominent in early California He gives only four pages to Sam Brannan but the - result Is a finished sketch full of truth and vigor It is such work as this which makes The Beginnings of San Francisco noteworthy And throughout the work the reader is Impressed with the fulness of knowledge knowledge of the author as well as with his fairness and his passion for1 accuracy The work Is in two large octavo volumes of over 0 pages each It is published published by Zbeth S Eldredge 2621 Dlvi3adero street price 7 net i A Mans World - does not read like a novel The book Is by Albert Edwards and it is brought put by The Macmillan Company of New York it purports to relate the experiences of Arnold Whitman Whitman brought up in a strict Presbyterian ministers home where no doubts m regard to - any of the accepted religious doctrines were tolerated The boy who is a natural skeptic quarrels with his uncle the preacher and in the middle of his college course is forced to earn his own living After serving as a librarian in New York where he nearly loses his eyesight he takes up work In the Tombs prison as a probation officer and In the end he comes to devote his MM to work among criminals and to social settlement duties It was while he was In a hospital slowly recovering recovering his sight that he formed a strong friendship friendship for a trained nurse named Ann who was a - believer in free love Although he offered to marry her the girl was so much in fear that marriage would hamper her chosen work that she refused The two then entered Upon a life of intimacy - without without any of the usual formalities She had a powerful Influence upon the man and stimulated him to do far more work than he could have accomplished without her aid The story of the reaction of his satisfied love upon his dally work is beautifully doije No man can fall to appreciate the truthrot this picture picture as with most men the moral Influence is so much stronger than the physical Ih his work in the Tomba the hero comes in contact with aiv eccentric millionaire settlement worker Norman Benson who IS one of the best characters In the book This man picks up a wretched girl of the slums who has never had a chance for normal healthy development and actually falls In love with and marties her This Italian Nina is a strange character The efforts made by her former associates to drag her backtp the old life furnish a lurid commentary on recent events in New York as they show the power of these associations In the underworld when thejr have the backing of the pollcV Although thts is a hovel It Impresses one as merely ah elaborated record of personal experience so vivid are the characters and so naturally do the incidents follow one another In the early chapters we see the narrow life of a small community In which no original thotight is tolerated Here also we see - the profound influence of disillusion when the youngljand - sensitive boy is given a glimpse of the hypocrisy of the man and the woman whom he respects the most Ttiat experience kills his religious religious faith and leaves a permanent scar But throughout all his subsequent experiences of vicious life and character he never becomes morbid and the sweetness of his comment on human nature is in striking contrast to that of Mary Austen In her latest novel A Woman of Genius This story Is a good one to read slowly and with care for it is so packed with knowledge of human nature that In a hasty reading one will miss much of ths its most valuable feature Many great questions questions are discussed here but never in a didactic way and always with knowledge of life that serves to convince any skeptic OEORGE HAMLIN FITCH TUB BLACK PRtnU - Mrs Wllaon Woodrow tt MTh XJIack Pearl given om vivid pen pictures of life in a little - settlement In the heart of thColorado desert Tlils place l the lom of the Black Pearl afamouii 8panlh danclnic Klrl - whc - italned fame by har work on a grreat vaude - v11n rlrcalt and then quarreled with her manager and quit hlny between two days The Parr la a raprtcloun beauty and has manr admirers but the - two who neeni to be the most favored - ire Hanson a theatrical manager and Meagrave an Engllihmftn The book In devoted to the teuda of the Pearls over but in the end the Englishman wins CNew York D Appletoq i - Co prleell 30net POEMS OK KEATS One of the latest Issues of the Burlington Library s - the Poems of John Keats Illustrated in color by Avllt Burleigh Th type Is good and the paper eleiir but of th Illustration the - less said the betr te The artist seems to - have1 w great fancji - for the long - neeked wemertVof the Itossettl typoanit Imost - iof - Irtrtictiiren dnr Tiofrrherp - - nnrwrippfrarir TthT poems The yolumeji l very hestly bound and will make good gift bobki Boston i Little Brpwiv fvOJ price t ii net i -

Clipped from
  1. San Francisco Chronicle,
  2. 22 Sep 1912, Sun,
  3. Page [Blank]

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  • Book review: Beginnings of San Francisco 22 Sep 1912

    grnthmbs34 – 31 Mar 2013

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