San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay

San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay

San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay

San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay

Synopsis

"San Francisco has no single landmark by which the world may identify it," according to San Francisco in the 1930s, originally published in 1940. This would surely come as a surprise to the millions who know and love the Golden Gate Bridge or recognize the Transamerica Building's pyramid. This invaluable Depression-era guide to San Francisco relates the city's history from the vantage point of the 1930s, describing its culture and highlighting the important tourist attractions of the time. David Kipen's lively introduction revisits the city's literary heritage--from Bret Harte to Kenneth Rexroth, Jade Snow Wong, and Allen Ginsberg--as well as its most famous landmarks and historic buildings. This rich and evocative volume, resonant with portraits of neighborhoods and districts, allows us a unique opportunity to travel back in time and savor the City by the Bay as it used to be.

Excerpt

So many books have been written about San Francisco and its neighbor cities around San Francisco Bay that the writing of still another may seem to call for explanation. But for all those who have shared in the compilation and editing of this book—research workers, reporters, writers, editors, and supervisors of the Northern California Writers’ Project in San Francisco and Oakland—it needs no apology. All throughout the long labor of preparing it they have realized only too keenly how much remains to be written about a city whose history has been the stuff of legend since its beginning—how much remained before it was written and still remains afterward. For this book, although we have crowded between its covers uncounted thousands of those facts which go to make up the story of a great metropolitan center—names and dates, descriptions of places and people, tales and anecdotes and even some myths—still leaves much of the story untold, as any book must. But the book will have accomplished its purpose if what it leaves unsaid the reader will want to know.

During the preparation of this volume, Margaret Wilkins acted as State Editorial Supervisor, Paul Johnson as State Research Supervisor, and Willis Foster as Oakland District Supervisor. Wallace Boyle, Charles Coppock, S. S. Greenleaf, and Dorothy Wagner served as editors; Juanita Turner and Gordon Williams as research editors. Although virtually the entire San Francisco, Oakland, and San Rafael staffs shared in the compilation of the book, the writing of the final manuscript was done largely by Jackson Barber, Dean Beshlich, Marc Bliss, Madeline Gleason, Gladys Pittman, Thomas Ray, Kenneth Rexroth, and Dorothy Van Ghent of the San Francisco staff and Porter Chaffee, Henry Darnell, Frances Garoutte, Howard Hoffman, Ethel Manning, and Thomas Patterson of the Oakland staff. Much of the section “North of the Bay” is the work of Cora Vernon Lee, Sacramento District Supervisor. We are indebted for the essay “Before the Footlights” to Lawrence Estavan, Supervisor of the History of the San Francisco Theater Project. the index was compiled by Max Loewenthal and the bibliography by W. Stanley. the maps were prepared by . . .

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