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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Type Tuesday - H.W. Caslon and Co., Ltd.

Initials, printed in one or two colors, and ornamental devices from the type foundry of H.W. Caslon and Co., Ltd. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, April 27, 2015

MS Monday—PPIE Part 5: Industrial peace and the Preparedness Day Bombing

The Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) symbolized a dawning era of industrial peace, class harmony, and economic growth. According to labor historian Michael Kazin, the fair also represented the beginning of the decline of organized labor’s political influence in San Francisco, as the voice of labor was drowned out by a duplicitous message of class cooperation. 

The Preparedness Day Bombing of July 22, 1916 shattered the illusion of class harmony that prevailed in the "Exposition City" with terrible violence. The bombing was the worst attack in the city's history, killing ten people and wounding forty. It was also the final nail in organized labor's coffin, turning public opinion against the unions and providing the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Law and Order Committee with an opportunity to push forward anti-picketing and closed-shop policies. 


Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings were tried and convicted for the attack in what was considered by many to be a frame-up. (Mooney was ultimately pardoned in 1939.) The case bitterly divided the San Francisco labor movement, with the majority of the city’s labor leaders backing San Francisco District Attorney and Mooney prosecutor Charles Fickert.  As the pamphlet above makes clear, Mooney’s defenders believed that he had been betrayed by San Francisco’s politically compromised labor elite. 

These pamphlets can be found in the California Historical Society’s collection of papers pertaining to the Mooney case (MS 3976), which appears to have been collected by San Francisco Chronicle political editor Earl Behrens. The collection includes an extraordinary statement made by sports writer Afred H. Spink implicating German agents in the bombing. Spink had been dispatched to the Bay Area in 1914 to report on the Exposition for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Stay tuned for more on the Spink affidavit next week.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Type Tuesday - Barnhart Brothers & Spindler

Type Tuesday followers have certainly seen plenty of Barnhart Brothers & Spindler specimens but here is yet another example because 1) I am currently cataloging type specimens representing foundries with names starting with "B" and 2) BB&S specimens are wonderful! Enjoy!

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, April 20, 2015

MS Monday—PPIE Part 4: “broke, down and out, looking for work”

The Panama Pacific International Exhibition presented a vision of San Francisco, peaceful, harmonious, and resplendent, that did not always accord with the harsher realities of the day. One of the major social problems associated with the Exhibition was mass unemployment, as waves of migrants flocked to San Francisco during the winters of 1911-1912 and 1913-1914 looking for work. According to Michael Kazin (Barons of Labor: The San Francisco Building Trades and Union Power in the Progressive Era), this “frustrated, incipiently rebellious mass” swelled to perhaps 30,000 in 1914. The following letter, from “a man who wants work” to Mayor James Rolph, Jr., provides a disturbing picture of the rage and desperation of some of these men:

Letter from a man who wants work to Mayor James Rolph, Jr., 1912 March 29, James Rolph, Jr. papers, MS 1818, California Historical Society
The man, after describing his plight as an unemployed migrant from Chicago, concludes the letter by threatening Rolph’s life: “If I do not get a job before next Monday, April 8th, so help me God, I am going to kill you. Now remember, I will run up to you and put four shots into your stomach, and then try to get two more of the family, so you see we won’t all be fooled. Now do not think I am crazy or a fool, I only want to eat.”

Some of San Francisco’s labor unions blamed the city’s business interests for deliberately engaging in “deceptive advertising” in order to lure migrants to San Francisco and undermine union wages. (The “man who wants work” echoes this complaint, writing: “there are thousands of men coming here just the same as I come, on false notices around Chicago about them needing thousands of men.”) The following resolution, submitted to the Mayor by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Millmen’s Union No. 42, protests the allegedly brutal actions of the San Francisco Police Department against the deceived masses of unemployed in San Francisco:
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Millmen's Union, No. 42, letter to Mayor James Rolph, Jr., 1914 January 14, James Rolph, Jr. papers, MS 1818, California Historical Society
These letters can be found in the California Historical Society’s collection of James Rolph, Jr. papers (MS 1818), which contains a trove of manuscript material related to PPIE, unemployment, and organized labor.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Type Tuesday - Bruce's New York Type-Foundry

Supplements of unbound sheets featuring a type foundry's newly available fonts were made available to the foundry's customers, to be inter-leafed into the last published and bound type specimen catalog. The supplement we feature today was first made available in May of 1877 to compliment Bruce's Abridged Specimen Book, originally published in 1869.

 The supplement featured some outstanding types, including the two-line Great-Primer Ornamented No. 1051, seen below in the third line.

Another great is seen below in the fourth line - Double Great-Primer Ornamented, No. 1527.

My personal favorite was featured on the cover of the supplement, which is the first image featured in today's posting. Deserving of a closer look, I present the four-line Pica Ornamented, No. 1055. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, April 13, 2015

Opening of Base Ball Season 1912, Recreation Park, San Francisco, Cal. April 2 1912, Seals vs Oaks.

Opening of Base Ball Season 1912, Recreation Park, San Francisco, Cal. April 2 1912, Seals vs Oaks, Dick Dobbins Collection on the Pacific Coast League, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 4031.020
Opening of Base Ball Season 1912, Recreation Park, San Francisco, Cal. April 2 1912, Seals vs Oaks, Dick Dobbins Collection on the Pacific Coast League, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 4031.020 

MS Monday—PPIE Part 3: The girl who named the fair

Another unexpected gem from the James Rolph, Jr. papers is this letter from Virginia Stephens to then mayor James Rolph, Jr.:

Virginia Stephens letter to Hon. James Rolph, Jr., James Rolph, Jr. papers, MS 1818, California Historical Society

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Carleton Watkins' Yosemite

River View, Cathedral Rock, Yosemite by Carleton Watkins, 1861
For those of you who visited CHS to see our recent exhibit, Yosemite:  A Storied Landscape, and were awed by the spectacular nineteenth century mammoth plate photographs of Carleton Watkins, you might like to know that the handful of images on display were just a small selection of prints by Watkins that are part of CHS’ collections.  Recently, sixty-seven of Watkins’ mammoth plate photographs of Yosemite were processed and cataloged.

Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point by Carleton Watkins, 1879-1881
Watkins made the photographs during several trips to Yosemite over the course of years.  His photographs of 1861 have special significance.  It was in 1861, two years after Charles Leander Weed made the first photographs of Yosemite, that Watkins decided to have a unique camera constructed that could accommodate 18 x 24 inch wet glass-plate negatives (because of their size they are commonly called mammoth plates) and a new type of wide angle lens, which would enable him to capture more of Yosemite’s grandeur in each image.  Watkins photographs of 1861 were exhibited at the Goupil Gallery in New York in December of 1862, and California Senator John Conness is thought to have shown them to Abraham Lincoln the following year.  If this is true, these photographs most surely played a part in Lincoln’s decision to sign the Yosemite Grant Act of 1864, which set aside and protected the land for “public use, resort, and recreation.”

Nevada Fall, Yosemite by Carleton Watkins, 1861
Living in a time when taking a photograph can be accomplished by the split-second push of a button on a cell phone, it’s worthwhile (not to mention, mind-boggling) to stop and think about what amazing effort it took to make photographs such as these.  Using mules, Watkins packed in two thousand pounds of equipment over seventy-five  miles from Mariposa to Yosemite Valley.  Along with the cameras and glass plates, he would have brought a dark tent for developing, tripods, plate holders, lenses, and volatile chemicals.  He would have trekked all these supplies to dizzying and precarious vantage points.  This is to say nothing of the bugs, dirt, and sun that could wreak havoc on the glass plates covered with collodion, a gelatinous liquid made of gun cotton, ether, and alcohol.  The result of this massive endeavor is a body of work that has never been surpassed, though Eadweard Muybridge would soon create his own magnificent mammoth plate prints to stand alongside those of Watkins.

El Capitan, Yosemite by Carleton Watkins, 1861

The California Historical Society holds collections of Yosemite mammoth plate prints and stereographs by Carleton Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge, as well as work by George Fiske, Ansel Adams, Gustav Fagersteen, and many unknown amateur photographers.  These collections are available to researchers for viewing in our library.  We do require advance notice to view the Watkins and Muybridge collections.   Please contact our reference desk to make an appointment:

The finding aid to the Carleton Watkins mammoth plate photographs of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove, 1861-1881 is available on the Online Archive of California:

Additional Yosemite photographs from our collections can be viewed on our Flickr Commons page:

Wendy Welker
Archivist & Librarian

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Type Tuesday - American Type Founders Company Chap-Books

 A recent discovery in our Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing is a short run (1904-1905) of American Type Founders Company Chap-Books. Each of these little books is exquisitely designed and contains writings by Will Bradley, a popular American illustrator and artist who acted as a consultant to American Type Founders Company. In this chapbook from November of 1904, Bradley discusses the use of borders and ornaments in advertising, reminding users that the use of such decorative material must be well considered and not "tacked on or added to a design apparently as an afterthought."

These samples from the November 1904 publications demonstrate correct and effective use of borders and ornaments, all brought to you by the designers of the American Type Founders Company. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, April 6, 2015

MS Monday—PPIE Part 2: Anti-Japanese discrimination and the fair

On April 2nd and 3rd, 1915, the Consul General of Japan, Y. Numano, addressed an unequivocal appeal to PPIE president C. C. Moore and San Francisco mayor James Rolph, Jr., expressing his concerns about anti-Japanese discrimination at and during the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. Although the California Alien Land Law of 1913 (aimed at excluding Japanese immigrants from land ownership) was not explicitly mentioned in the letters, it undoubtedly influenced the Consulate’s concerns about the anti-immigrant and anti-Japanese climate in San Francisco and throughout the state. In the letters, Numano demanded, on behalf of the Japanese government, a “written guarantee or assurance” that:

1) All Japanese “shall be accorded just and impartial treatment,” not only on Exposition grounds, but throughout the entire city.

2) No Japanese “shall be subjected to discriminations [sic] of any character whatsoever,” not only on Exposition grounds, but “in all places and on all occasions,” including “hotels, restaurants, barber shops, places of amusement and other public resorts.”

3) No Japanese shall be harassed or discriminated against by organized labor. In his letter to Moore, Numano went further: the Exposition Company “shall guarantee that it will use its best endeavors to prevent the introduction into the California Legislature of any measures of an anti-Japanese nature, and, further, that it will in case such measures are introduced, use all its power and influence to procure the defeat of same.”

Y. Numano, Acting Consul General of Japan, letter to Hon. James Rolph, Jr., Mayor of San Francisco, 1914 April 3, James Rolph papers, MS 1818, California Historical Society
PPIE President C. C. Moore responded to Numano’s communication the following day, guaranteeing unconditionally that the Administration of the Exposition would do everything in its power to assure that all Japanese be extended “just and impartial treatment,” promising that “every influence, prestige and authority” would be brought to bear not only in the city of San Francisco, but also at the state legislative level.

These extraordinary letters can be found in the California Historical Society’s collection of James Rolph, Jr. records, which includes several boxes of manuscript materials documenting PPIE and Rolph’s role in the exhibition as mayor of San Francisco and vice president of the Exposition Company Board of Directors.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian