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Books and images are also throughout the site under various topics.

Early San Francisco

The following are reproductions published prior to 1923

Reprints from San Francisco's own writers

Favorites through the years

Beyond the Golden Gate.

Beyond the Golden Gate:
A Maritime History of California
Beyond the Golden Gate.
Timothy G. Lynch
Beyond the Golden Gate: A Maritime History of California is the first book-length treatment of California's connection to the sea. Here, noted maritime historian Timothy Lynch looks at the history of the Golden State through the prism of the maritime world: we see how the region developed and how indigenous persons interacted with the marine ecosystem. We see how they and others-Spanish, English, Russian, American-interpreted and constructed the oceans, lakes and river networks of the region.

The waterways served as highways, protective barriers, invasion routes, cultural inspiration, zones of recreation, sources of sustenance: much as they do today. We see how the Gold Rush transformed the region, wreaking havoc on the marine environment,and how the scale and scope of maritime operations waxed and waned in the decades after that event. In all, the delicate balance between protection and utilization is paramount. Written as part of a project with the National Park Service and the Organization of American Historians, Beyond the Golden Gate is an immersive look at the maritime history of California that will inspire additional scholarship in this overlooked but critically important field. Benefitting from hundreds of primary sources, dozens of captivating images and reflective of the latest trends in the field, Beyond the Golden Gate is sure to satisfy the curious reader, the serious historian, and the maritime aficionado.

Annals of San Francisco.

The Annals of San FranciscoSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.

Authors M.D. Gihon, Frank Soule, James Nisbet

If you purchase only one book about San Francisco's early days, consider this: it was compiled at the time from newspapers, documents, quotes, etc. It is about as direct as you can get of stories of San Francisco's history told though the eyes of the people that were there. That is not to say it isn't "tainted," but it is closer to the source than almost anything else you can find.

San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.Gold Rush Port:
The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront
San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.

James P. Delgado

Described as a "forest of masts," San Francisco's Gold Rush waterfront was a floating economy of ships and wharves, where a dazzling array of global goods was traded and transported. Drawing on excavations in buried ships and collapsed buildings from this period, James P. Delgado re-creates San Francisco's unique maritime landscape, shedding new light on the city's remarkable rise from a small village to a boomtown of thousands in the three short years from 1848 to 1851. Gleaning history from artifacts--preserves and liquors in bottles, leather boots and jackets, hulls of ships, even crocks of butter lying alongside discarded guns--Gold Rush Port paints a fascinating picture of how ships and global connections created the port and the city of San Francisco.

The Barbary Coast by Herbert Asbury.

The Barbary Coast:
An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Herbert Asbury
The author begins his narrative with the Gold Rush and writes about the influx of "gold-seekers, gamblers, thieves, harlots, politicians and other felonious parasites . . . "

Cannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San Francisco.

Cannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San FranciscoCannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San Francisco.
Hilton Obenzinger
A collection of stories from diaries, memoirs, interviews and other firsthand accounts of San Francisco history from 1776 to the earthquake and fire of 1906. Includes "The Demented Grin of Father Fernandez"; "Belle Cora and the Vigilantes"; a tale about "Charles Crocker, His Fence, and the Troubles of 1877". Mercury House, San Francisco, 1993

Gold, Silk, Pioneers and Mail.

Gold, Silk, Pioneers & Mail: The Story of the Pacific Mail Steamship CompanySan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Robert J. Chandler, Ph.D. and Stephen J. Potash; Forward by James P. Delgado, Ph.D.
The California Gold Rush of 1849 assured the fortunes of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Based in San Francisco, its wooden steamers carried gold, passengers, mail and high-value freight, forever changing the city, the Pacific Coast and the nation. Chandler is a graduate of the University of California. Stephen J. Potash is a graduate of Pomona College and a public relations consultant to the international trade and freight transportation sectors. (This beautifully illustrated book is a numbered limited edition.)

Imperial San Francisco.

Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly RuinSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
With a new preface (California Studies in Critical Human Geography
Gray Brechin
"Every age has some ostentatious system to excuse the havoc it commits."

Gold and silver drove San Francisco's real estate values. While some financiers may have worked as miners, they readily gave that up for the money to be made in the city they were building.

San Francisco Almanac by Gladys Hansen.

San Francisco AlmanacSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Everything You Want to Know About Everyone's Favorite City
Gladys Hansen

Gladys Hansen was the city archivist at the San Francisco Public Library for 47 years. Everything from Accolades, Arts and Entertainment, Bridges and Tunnels, Chinese, Churches, Cemeteries, Culture, Earthquakes, Flags, Lakes, Legends, Maritime, to Streets, Transportation, Vital Statistics, Water and Weather (Printed 1995)

Old Tales of San Francisco.

Old Tales of San Francisco
2nd Edition
San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Arthur Chandler
The book gathers fine writing from and about the city from the last decades of the 18th through the first years of the 20th century. San Francisco's literary heritage is rich and much is out of print. This book contains a sampling of the abundant treasures tucked away in libraries and historical societies. The author divided it into 1775-1848; 1849-1869; 1870-1906. Each author's work is briefly prefaced to set the scene.

San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
San Francisco's Lost LandmarksSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
James R. Smith
This collection showcases the once-familiar sites that have faded into dim memories and hazy legends. Not just a list of places, facts, and dates, this pictorial history shows why San Francisco has been a legendary travel destination and one of the world s finest places to live and work for more than 150 years.

Lost LandmarksSan Francisco: Port of GoldLost Landmarks
William Martin Camp
Camp was a waterfront reporter in San Francisco in 1938, when he worked for the San Francisco Examiner briefly, and again in the 40s when he returned to the city. Finely researched, with stories of waterfront places and characters not often told, and written in a journalistic style (which, to me, means very easy to read).Museum. 1947, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York. 1947

Shanghaied in San Francisco.San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.

Shanghaied in San Francisco
(Maritime History)
San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Bill Pickelhaupt
Stories of waterfront characters, crimps, Whitehall boats, and the origins of the word "shanghaied." Recently reprinted.

San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.

This Is San Francisco: A Classic Portrait of the CitySan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Robert O'Brien
O'Brien, a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote these stories of characters not often written about during the 40s.
Reprinted by Chronicle Books, 1994

San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.

A Selection of Books by Mark TwainSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.

including Autobiography, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, How to Tell a Story and Other Essays, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Mysterious Stranger, The Innocents Abroad . . .

Mark Twain's San Francisco
(California Legacy)
San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Edited by Bernard Taper
A selection of Mark Twain's stories between 1863 and 1866. Among Twain's counterparts during these literary years were Bret Harte, Ambrose Bierce, Henry George, the flamboyant Joaquin Miller, and Ina Coolbrith. They loosened the stricture of "proper" English by writing freely of the lusty life surrounding them in the raw West. Twain wrote his witty pieces for the "Call, Golden Era, Californian, Sacramento Union" and the "Daily Dramatic Chronicle," which was the original name of the "San Francisco Chronicle" when it was founded in 1865. 1963. 264 pages, illustrated.

Daniel Bacon Walking San Francisco.

Walking San Francisco on the Barbary Coast TrailSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Daniel Bacon
A colorful view and walking guide of the City for historians and tourists. Well-researched and written by a native San Franciscan. Bacon located the sites of many of the ships that were sunk after being abandoned along the waterfront when crew left for the gold fields.
Quicksilver Press, 1997

Historic Photos of San Francisco.

Historic Photos of San FranciscoSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
Rebecca Schall
From the 1906 earthquake to cable cars, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge, Historic Photos of San Francisco is a photographic history collected from the area's top archives. With around 200 photographs, many of which have never been published, this beautiful coffee table book highlights the historical growth from the mid 1800s to the late 1900s of the City by the Bay in stunning black and white photography. The book captures people, places, and events important to the history of this unique city, accompanied by historical analysis. Whether you live in The City or are visiting, you will value this work.

Wire Cable Railways and Cable Cars.

1887 Prospectus for San Francisco's Wire Cable Railways and Cable CarsSan Francisco Gold Rush Stories.
Pacific Cable Railway Company
In 1873, the first cable railway in the United States began operation in San Francisco. In subsequent years, the Clay Street Railroad was joined by many other operators throughout the U.S.A., including systems in New York and Los Angeles. The rise of the electric trolley made most cable car systems obsolete. Today, the only street cable car system in operation is the historic San Francisco Municipal Railway. Originally published in 1887, this prospectus was prepared by patent holders in hopes of attracting additional operators and investors. The document describes the cable car system and its operation in text, diagrams and photographs, and presents a detailed list of patents. This reprint is presented in a format that is slightly larger than the original. However, care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the text.

More: Selection of Historic San Francisco San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories.
  • Theatres in San Francisco
  • San Francisco A Brief History with Audio and Video.Historic San Francisco, Rand Richards
  • San Francisco: A Cultural and Literary by Mick Sinclair
  • Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture
    (A City Lights Anthology)
  • Reprints include: Recollections of the San Francisco Waterfront, History of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance, Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco, Pioneer Urbanites: A Social and Cultural History of Black San Francisco, Port O'Gold: A History Romance of The San Francisco Argonauts . . .
Novels Set in San Francisco (Historical and Current), including:
  • City of Secrets. San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories. Kelli Stanley.
    Miranda Corbie is back in this sequel to City of Dragons. "Impressive . . . Stanley's hard-boiled, strong female sleuth stalks Hammett's San Francisco and does the job with all the panache of Sam Spade."

    When Pandora Blake is murdered at San Francisco''s 1940 World Fair and her body marked with an anti-Semitic slur, Miranda is soon entangled in a web of deceit and betrayal that is only overshadowed by the threat of impending war. With a strong female protagonist more steel than silk and a mystery that will grip you until the last page, this sequel to the critically-acclaimed "City of Dragons" will appeal to fans of noir and historical mysteries.

  • Dark Ladies: 'Conjure Wife' and 'Our Lady of Darkness'San Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories. Fritz Leiber
  • DragonwingsSan Francisco Fiction and Gold Rush Stories. Lawrence Yep. Children's Book.
  • Edgar Allan Poe's San Francisco: Terror Tales of the City Joseph Covino, Jr.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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