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11th December
2019
written by Richard

Much of what we know about San Diego’s first decade as an American town is found in the files of our first newspaper, the San Diego Herald. Original copies of the Herald are exceedingly rare but a complete file is preserved in Special Collections at the San Diego Public Library. We owe that complete file to the foresight of Ephraim W. Morse, who preserved a whole run and sold it to the library for $100 in 1901. The letter below documents that important transaction. The library’s run of the Herald was microfilmed many years ago and can be viewed at the San Diego Central Library. The newspaper has also been digitized and is available for research at the Internet site of the California Digital Newspaper Collection: https://cdnc.ucr.edu/

24th June
2019
written by Richard

Eyewitness accounts of early San Diego are a treasure. The 1872 diary of J. A. Shepherd, the quiet bookkeeper of city founder Alonzo E. Horton, provides a fascinating first-hand look at “poor, isolated San Diego,” as the young town struggled to find success in its obscure corner of the United States.

Jesse A. Shepherd

9th May
2019
written by Richard

On Friday afternoon, May 17, I’ll be at the San Carlos Branch Library for an illustrated lecture on the history of the San Diego Public Library. Join us at 2:00. Here’s a flyer for the talk:

14th December
2018
written by Richard

Here’s a quick stocking idea that’s in stock at Barnes & Noble, or just a click away on AMAZON. Each book has 38 stories originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Topics include San Diego people, military, schools, water, sports, crime, scandal, and more–all illustrated with historic photographs. Both books contain a complete index and a helpful bibliography.

10th September
2018
written by Richard

18th May
2018
written by Richard

Back in July 2017, I did a talk on San Diego founder Alonzo Horton for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. Attached here is the video recording of that lecture. Audio is sometimes iffy but overall, a nice production done by Bill Keller, a docent at the Gaslamp Foundation.

2nd January
2018
written by Richard

In the matter of requiring prisoners in the county jail to perform labor, a resolution … to compel prisoners to work on the roads and streets was adopted. In the matter of the getting balls and chains for chain gang …the Sheriff was authorized to secure six balls with the necessary chains, for a chain gang.  – San Diego Union, January 18, 1883.

The story of the chain gangs in 19th century San Diego: Read: Back on the Chain Gang

San Diego Union, Mar. 21, 1888

26th December
2017
written by Richard

Here’s a new listing of favorite San Diego titles that circulate from the Public Library. It’s a highly subjective list but these are all good books, many written by good friends. There’s a few websites here too, including this one.

https://sandiego.bibliocommons.com/list/share/542055787_sdpl_special_collections/1107259277_san_diego_history

 

 

 

23rd August
2017
written by Richard

D. C. Collier had his new automobile on the streets yesterday for the first time and the vehicle, when it was not speeding up and down the street, was the center of an admiring throng. . . He has the distinction of being the first San Diegan to own an automobile. –San Diego Union, Feb. 13, 1900

San Diegans marveled at the sight of Charlie Collier’s automobile in 1900. His three-wheeled “French design” vehicle could speed up to 25 miles per hour and go 50 miles on three quarts of gasoline. For most San Diegans, it was the first automobile they had ever seen.

Read the story of how San Diego Discovers the Automobile.

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