history of SF social milieu 1933-49

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For a fictional recreation of life in San Francisco circa 1933-49 I would like recommendation of books, articles, etc. relating to the social ambience of that time.

-- Martha Wilson (PSW@sirius.com), February 16, 1998


I was looking recently for info. on my grandfather, exec. vice-pres. chamber of commerce S.F. l930-34, a prominent lawyer here whose death was headlined on the front pag. of the bus. sect. of SF Chron, l934--wonderful headline I might add! But point being that just going through those papers gave me a sense of the whole SF culture, the era, and particularly SF society--I had been looking in the Calfornia Information Index at SFPL and the blurbs referring to news and mag. articles are all pretty much based on prominent people--you know, Dr. so and so and the Mrs. out to din. and in next frame(on microfilm) he's been arrested--ref. to lots of the true bigwigs too. Sutro. has stuff. There's a "blue book," which is listing of people in the social registry--often these same folks have citations in that Calif. Info. index and can lead you to a sense of the mileu in general. What a great idea! Wish I'd thought of it myself. V.E.

so and so and

Mrs. out to din. and the next ref. to article is he's being arrested.

Other sources: Sutro. lib. of course, there's a "blue book" which

contains names of those in old S.F. social registry and from there you might go to the news articles, mag. articles on them to get a sense of the mileu. What a swank time. What a great idea! Wish I'd thought of it myself.

-- Virginia Elliott (Bttrfld8@aol. com), January 24, 1999.

In the vein you're pursuing, a reading of Frances Moffat's "Dancing on the Brink of the World, The Rise and Fall of San Francisco Society" should prove valuable. It's the only book I've seen which treats S.F. history as a SOCIAL history, and spans the period between the Gold Rush and the 1970s. Pretty interesting. I should add the caveat that this is primarily dealing with the doings of the aristocratic classes. (an ancient historical bias if ever there was one....)

-- Chris Dichtel (cyberiad@earthlink.net), February 01, 1999.

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