Berkeley 1900: Daily Life at the Turn of the Century, 10th Anniversary Edition

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9780967820446: Berkeley 1900: Daily Life at the Turn of the Century, 10th Anniversary Edition
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Since its initial publication a decade ago, Berkeley 1900: Daily Life at the Turn of the Century has captivated readers with its unprecedented blend of serious history, fascinating images and heartfelt storytelling. Its eyewitness accounts and unique views of Berkeley a hundred years past show how profoundly the landscape, culture, economy and social values of modern Berkeley have been shaped by what came before. In this special tenth anniversary edition, readers will discover a wealth of new source quotes and nearly 200 additional photos, making Berkeley 1900 more than ever the definitive account of a pivotal time in the life of one of America s most beloved cities. 

In recent years, a complete interpretation of our past has come to be defined less in terms of famous people and momentous happenings and more through an examination of ordinary people and everyday events. In his 10th anniversary edition of "Berkeley 1900," Richard Schwartz displays once again a pure gift for taking this interpretation to new heights. From a stack of mouldy and disgarded "Berkeley Daily Gazette" newspapers, he has discovered unmined snippets of history to tell his story. He has rediscovered people and events long lost in the cracks of time. Each page is filled with charming, amusing, factual, poignent and always revealing articles showing how life was, how it has changed, and how it remains the same."

Mary Ellen Jones, UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library, retired

 

 

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From the Author:

For over two decades, I have worked as a building contractor in Berkeley, California. Over the years, having worked on and visited hundreds of houses, I have often blurred my eyes and imagined the crews constructing each house--especially those of the 1800s and of the early 1900s: the carpenters arriving early each day to sharpen their hand saws, their conversation on lunch breaks, the laborers staking barrels of plaster and, finally, Berkeley families of yesterday moving into completed homes with their clothing, toys, photographs and often a goat or goose. Today as I work on these houses, I feel a connection to the builders, their occupants and the times.

In 1976, I worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra fighting fires. We were often in areas that were littered with artifacts from old logging camps or Native American summer villages. As I worked, I sensed the lives of the people who lived there. I returned many times to reexperience the stirrings of the past.

In 1986, I visited a sixty-five-foot circle of roughly piled stones that had originally been in Stampede Valley, north of Truckee,California. The mystery of who built it and why clung to me. I took a year off to research the stone circle's origin. It became my first book, The Circle of Stones.

Almost a decade and a half later, I was led by my curiosity again. At the suggestion of my friend Steve Brett, I visited the Berkeley Historical Society to see a turn-of-the-century film of a streetcar in Berkeley. I was riveted. Later, as I perused the Society's collection of photographs of old Berkeley, I saw fields where there are now entire neighborhoods. The university was rolling grassland crossed by the willows of Strawberry Creek. Through these pictures, I experienced the past of my adopted home.

On my third visit to the Berkeley Historical Society, docent Burl Willes mentioned that someone had donated a two-foot stack of old Berkeley Daily Gazette newspapers from about 1900 to 1909. The Society could not keep them because of the risk of mold spreading to their other collections. I couldn't imagine these papers being thrown away, so I offered to take them. Though I didn't know it, that was the beginning of Berkeley 1900.

In these pages you will learn of much more than just Berkeley's people. Whales still roamed the Bay in 1900. Bears and rattlesnakes could turn up anytime. For the first time horses were having to share Shattuck Avenue with automobiles. Horses caused many more injuries and deaths than the occasional automobiles. Telephones, electric lights, indoor plumbing and automobiles were marching into Berkeley and the nation.

The news articles in the Gazette detailed lives of average Berkeley citizens and their world at the turn of the century. Though the newspapers are now crumbling, this book and all of us might pass their stories on.

It was out of respect for these Berkeley predecessors, the people whose footprints are still under ours somewhere, that I was moved to write this book.

From the Back Cover:

"If Berkeley had the good sense of the Japanese to recognize outstanding citizens as national treasures, Richard Schwartz would get my vote. Professionally a building contractor, Schwartz somehow finds time to explore Berkeley's past via its newspapers, archives, and maps. He has returned from that forgeign land to self-publish gracefully written and handsome books filled with period illustrations of his discoveries. Those books not only reveal to us a place we thought we knew but are testimony to Schwartz's deep love for his adopted town. I am grateful for his generousity in sharing his wealth."
Dr. Gray Brechin, Historical Geographer, University of California, Berkeley

"Mr. Schwartz has put together a must-read book for everyone who loves Berkeley."
Former Mayor Shirley Dean of Berkeley

"A vivid picture...a facinating, botom-up view of Berkeley during the most important decade of its history."
Dr. Charles Wollenberg, Professor of History, Berkeley City College, Berkeley, California

"It was good fortune when Richard Schwartz walked into the Berkeley Historical Society on the day we pondered disposing of these newspaper articles, which we were not able to archive because of their condition. His extracts from that material bring an intriguing picture of how we did things in the past in Berkeley, and may help us to do better in the years of the new century."
Ken Cardwell, President Emeritus, Berkeley Historical Society
Linda Rosen, President Emeritus, Berkeley Historical Society

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