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Friday, August 23, 2013

The Eucalyptus in California

While many voices are heard about the future of Eucalyptus trees in urban California, I looked at a book from the time these trees were first planted here. Ellwood Cooper from Santa Barbara published a book in 1876 (“The Only Reliable Work on the Blue Gum Published in the United States”) entitled Forest Culture and Eucalyptus Trees (San Francisco: Cubery & Co.), pictured here:

Cooper grew 50,000 young trees at his home “Ellwood” and lauds their fast growth and height. Cooper calls them “Fever Trees” and suggests they “possess qualities which place it transcendentally above all other plants; … rendering localities healthy in which to sleep a single night was almost certain death. Useful in all the Mechanical Arts and in the industrial purposes of life. Large trees can be grown in a few years.” He seems to subscribe to the miasma theory of disease when proposing Eucalypti as healing agents.

While these trees were found useful by California farmers and ranchers who used them as windbreaks (you can still see them as you drive down Highway 101), perhaps not so much by the Southern Pacific which wanted cheap wood for  railroad ties. Cooper's book has an evangelical tone familiar to American readers in the late nineteenth century when Nature was bent to man’s hand through science. Many such well-intentioned attempts have backfired since those days and left us with present controversies.

Will Murdoch

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Porch Swing

Warm September days beg for evenings on the porch. And what better way to slide from summer into fall than with a porch swing. 

If you get busy now, you can construct your own from these plans and be ready to recline by Labor Day.

Willing to take on this porch swing project or interested in handcrafting your own Mission Furniture? This beautifully illustrated Popular Mechanics handbook will show you how!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

California Art Gallery and Museum Ephemera Collection

Check out the California Historical Society's newest addition to their California ephemera collections - the California Art Gallery and Museum Ephemera Collection!

John Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, The Visitors show, 1961

This collection consists of a variety of ephemera pertaining to California art galleries, art museums and college art museums. The collection comprises advertisements, announcements, brochures, exhibition catalogs, invitations and posters promoting gallery and museum shows primarily in San Francisco, the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Types of art represented include painting, photography, sculpture, ceramic and glass art, textiles and mixed media.

Batman Gallery, San Francisco, Works by Bruce Conner, [1964]

Many 1960s-era contemporary art galleries are represented such as Arleigh Gallery (San Francisco), Batman Gallery (San Francisco), Dilexi Gallery (San Francisco), Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles), Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles), John Bolles Gallery (San Francisco) and Maxwell Galleries (San Francisco) as are the exhibition catalogs of major California museums such as the Oakland Museum and the Palm Springs Desert Museum.

Everett Ellin Gallery, Los Angeles, Clayton Pinkerton show, 1961

View the finding aid to the collection at the Online Archive of California or search the California Historical Society's catalog

Jaime Henderson

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Tube Across the Golden Gate

The history of a city can be imagined in many ways: as an upward trajectory of successful collective endeavor, as a simmering cauldron of bitter class conflict, or as a landfill piled high with abandoned projects, doomed utopias, and broken dreams. Tossed into the dustbin of history (and sometimes deposited in the CHS archives), the record of these failures tells the story of a different city, the city that might have been. Some of these “unbuilt” landscapes are poignant, others are disturbing, still others are simply bizarre, but they all remind us that history—and the view from our window—could have been something very different.

Architect M.G. Bugbee’s 1921 notebook, A tube across the Golden Gate, tells one of these stories, in graceful sketches accompanied by handwritten technical notes. As the need for a transportation link between San Francisco and Marin County became more obvious, Bugbee proposed the construction of an underwater concrete tube reinforced by steel cables, as pictured below:

 A tube across the Golden Gate, 1921, by M.G. Bugbee, MS 251, California Historical Society, MS 251.002.

When we think Golden Gate, the brilliant image of our internationally beloved bridge sweeps into view, emerging from and dominating the natural landscape. It’s hard to imagine the city detached from its man-made, fog-swept icon. Technical questions aside, Bugbee’s plan might suggest an alternate vision of urban planning for the Bay Area, one that is more modest, less triumphalist, and, perhaps, for better or for worse, more twenty-first century.

Marie Silva, Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Salad Days

Experiencing a deluge of tomatoes? Need to find some variety in your lettuce salads? Ever wonder what exactly is a “suspicion of garlic” – is it more or less than a ¼ teaspoon, finely grated?

Enjoy reading (if not actually trying) some recipes of years past from the second edition (1911) of Two Hundred Recipes for Making Salads with Thirty Recipes for Dressings and Sauces by Olive M. Hulse, printed at The Hopewell Press on Jackson St., San Francisco.

Recently reprinted by several publishers in 2009 to 2012, none of the available editions have such lovely covers as the one in our Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing.  

Mayonnaise dressing, anyone?