California in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the Golden State

By Works Progress Administration | Go to book overview

The Arts

I LEARNED that there were a number of artists in the city who had sought to try Dame Fortune in the gold-fields, but with such scant success that they returned to the harbor … to seek patrons in … gilded temples of chance,” wrote Prince Paul of Wurttemberg in his unpublished account (in the Stuttgart Archives) of his visit to the gambling halls of brawling, new-grown San Francisco in 1850. “Here we were regaled with very good music,” he wrote. “In order to allure the public the owners of these gambling places employed musicians, among these many real orchestral artists and singers.” He found the walls covered with a “great number of copper prints and oil paintings.” And through the open doorways of saloons and public houses he saw “Mexicans dancing old California steps to the tunes of their national airs. The dancers carried out many very different movements and steps, and all with a certain haunting charm of grace and rhythm….”

An earlier visitor to California would have gone to the mission churches to satisfy an interest in the arts, for the mission fathers were the first art patrons, decorating their chapels with paintings, instructing their Indian neophytes in music and church drama, and writing accounts of their missionary labors. But in 1850, Prince Paul mapped the best itinerary for the art lover when he visited San Francisco’s “gilded temples of chance.” If he had come later, he might have visited the cramped newspaper and magazine offices where Bret Harte and Mark Twain worked or the crude gas-lit theaters where Lotta Crabtree and Lola Montez performed. Later still, he might have paid calls to the

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California in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the Golden State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Maps xiii
  • General Information xv
  • Calendar of Events xix
  • A Guide to Recreation xxi
  • Preface 1939 xxix
  • Editorial Staff xxxi
  • Introduction xxxiii
  • Part I - California- From Past to Present 1
  • El Dorado Up to Date 3
  • Natural Setting and Conservation 8
  • The First Californians 33
  • California’s Last Four Centuries 41
  • Riches from the Soil 66
  • Industry and Finance 79
  • From Clipper Ship to Clipper Plane 87
  • Workingmen 95
  • Press and Radio 109
  • The Movies 120
  • Education 131
  • The Arts 139
  • Architecture 167
  • Part II - Signposts to City Scenes 177
  • Berkeley 179
  • Fresno 188
  • Hollywood 192
  • Long Beach 201
  • Los Angeles 206
  • Monterey 230
  • Oakland 237
  • Pasadena 245
  • Sacramento 250
  • San Diego 258
  • San Francisco 265
  • San Jose 298
  • Santa Barbara 304
  • Stockton 311
  • Part III - Up and Down the State 315
  • Tour 1 317
  • Death Valley National Monument 645
  • Sequoia and General Grant National Parks 655
  • Yosemite National Park 667
  • Golden Gate International Exposition 680
  • Part IV - Appendices 685
  • Chronology 687
  • A Select Reading List of California Books 694
  • Index 699
  • Agriculture *
  • Education *
  • Cities I *
  • Cities II *
  • History *
  • Industry; Commerce and Transportation *
  • Architecture *
  • The Natural Setting *
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