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“Room for Millions of Immigrants” – railroad pamphlet from 1883 shows how American life has changed


“Room for Millions of Immigrants”

A scarce 1883 pamphlet promoting California as a destination for immigrants has been listed for sale on AbeBooks.com. It show how immigrants were once courted in the US.

“California, the Cornucopia of the World” was written by I.N. Hoag for the Southern Pacific Railroad, and was distributed to immigrants who had already reached the East Coast of the United States.

The front cover boldly proclaims “Room for Millions of Immigrants. 43,795,000 Acres of Government Lands Untaken. Railroad & Private Land for a Million Farmers. A Climate for Health & Wealth Without Cyclones or Blizzards.”

Yosemite Falls is one of the attractions described in the pamphlet

Hoag was the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Immigration Commissioner. The word ‘cornucopia’ refers to a place of abundance.

The pamphlet is listed for sale by Mill Race Books in Millheim, Pennsylvania for $600.

“It was designed to bring people onto the railroad and get them to California,” said bookseller Mike Bathrick of Mill Race Books. “The pamphlet was probably distributed from Chicago eastwards. It shows how wonderful California is and contains details on agriculture, geography, animal husbandry and maps. It shows the fruit and vegetables that can be grown. It’s a very fragile thing now and scarce too, as they were thrown away after being read. I suspect people may also have cut up copies because the cover is so eye-catching.”

Bathrick discovered the pamphlet in an antique mall along with a similar pamphlet promoting Colorado Springs.

Founded in San Francisco in 1865, Southern Pacific was a major railroad company that spanned the country with rail systems in California, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana and numerous other states. It had extensive routes across California.

No other copies of “California, the Cornucopia of the World” are listed for sale on AbeBooks.com, which is an indication that this is a scarce example of ephemera from second half of the 19th century.

See the pamphlet.

Agricultural opportunities are illustrated in the pamphlet

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