Peregrine flight

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dr. Kevin Starr

I think that it is important to note the recent passing of the preeminent writer and California historian, Dr. Kevin Starr. His magnificent volumes on the history of my native state should be required reading. The last one I read was Endangered dreams: The Great Depression in California and the scholarship was thorough and superb.

Starr served as California State Librarian from 1994 to 2004 and was appointed State Librarian Emeritus. He died of a heart attack last Saturday. The following is an annotated list of his authorship.

Americans and the California Dream, 1850–1915. (1973 and 1986) New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 494. ISBN 978-0195016444 (1986) OCLC 641725018, 254930084
Land's End (a novel) (1979) ISBN 0-07-060880-6
Inventing the Dream: California through the Progressive Era (1985) ISBN 0-19-503489-9
"Sunset Magazine and the Phenomenon of the Far West". Sunset magazine: a century of Western living, 1898-1998. Stanford University Libraries. 1998. ISBN 978-0-911221-17-6.
Material Dreams: Southern California through the 1920s (1990) ISBN 0-19-504487-8
Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California (1996) ISBN 0-19-510080-8
The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s (1997) ISBN 0-19-510079-4
Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950 (2002) ISBN 0-19-512437-5
Coast Of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2002 (2004) ISBN 0-679-41288-3
California: a history. Random House. 2005. ISBN 978-0-679-64240-4.
Golden dreams: California in an age of abundance, 1950-1963. Oxford University Press US. July 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-515377-4.
Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 9781596915343.

Speaking of librarians, I was saddened to read the saga of the Florida librarians who concocted a fake persona "Chuck Finley" to check out books that they didn't want the library to lose. You see, if a book isn't checked out in a one to two year period, it is generally pulled from circulation. They managed to save 2361 titles before their scam was discovered.

Books are like old friends to me. It pains me to see the glaring omissions at my local library, the wonderful writers who have not made the cut in today's world. Stout, Upfield, Forester, Simenon, the list is endless and tragic.

I feel sorry for the people in Florida. I hope that no one loses their job. We need people to love the sad and lonely old books that have lost favor in an age when people mostly can't see beyond their own noses.

A hover of steelhead, Sespe Creek 1911
Just finished a book by another great historian, Robert Glass Cleland's 1957 book The place called Sespe, The History of a California Ranch. Interesting history of a land grant in the area near present day Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Evidently the Dons remembered who they owed money to and who owed money to them very well, keeping meticulous records in their wills, one of which is recorded in this book.

Cleland wrote the epic book The Cattle on a thousand hills, a must read for any aspiring Californio.

I got this note yesterday from the Friends of the Fallbrook Library. I snuck in and looked at the show yesterday and it is truly wonderful.

Two outstanding art exhibits are on display in the library. On the Reading Patio Fallbrook artist and businessman, Merrill Everett, exhibits tall, colorful, blown glass “Totems”.  In the Community Room, “Women Who Print” features eleven women printmakers.  Curated by Denise Kraemer, Riverside college printmaking instructor, the show includes striking themes and a wide variety of techniques including monoprints, chine colle, woodcuts, lithography and etching.
You are invited to the reception for the artists this Friday, January 20th from 6 to 8 pm. Live music and refreshments will be served and you will have the opportunity to view some great art!

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