Spreading the Word: A History of Information in the California Gold Rush

By Richard T. Stillson | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction

1. I use the term “goldrushers” as a collective noun meaning people who left their homes to travel to California either to mine gold or to make money off the goldminers. Although I concentrate on 1849, I have avoided the term forty-niners because many goldrushers, in the sense I use the term, came in 1850–51. Since I frequently refer to this group, I also call the goldrushers emigrants and travelers. This is done only for the sake of varying the style, and in this study the meaning of the three terms is identical.

2. A good historigraphical essay on the gold rush is in Malcolm Rohrbough, Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 295–308. Since Rohrbough's book, there has been much work published on the gold rush. See for example Kevin Starr and Richard Orsi, Rooted in Barbarous Soil (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); Brian Roberts, American Alchemy: The California Gold Rush and Middle-Class Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); Susan Lee Johnson, Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000); and H. W. Brands, The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream (New York: Doubleday, 2002). The recent studies of the gold rush are framed chronologically in California history by two excellent collections of articles in the “California History Sesquicentennial Series” published by the California Historical Society and the University of California Press. For the period before the gold rush, Ramon Gutierrez and Richard Orsi, Contested Eden: California before the Gold Rush (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); for the period just after the gold rush, John Burns and Richard Orsi, Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

3. The joint product and pricing problem is discussed theoretically in Richard Stillson, “An Analysis of Information and Transactions Services in Financial Institutions,” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 6, no. 4 (1974): 58–34. An historical example of the problem is described and analyzed in Richard Stillson, “The Financing of Malayan Rubber, 1905–1923,” Economic History Review 24, no. 4 (November 1974): 589–98.

4. At times I refer in the text to credibility sources, meaning credibility criteria that are embodied in a source, such as officialdom.

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