History of San Diego, 1542-1908

PART FIVE: CHAPTER 3: Later Journalism and Literature

From 1860 to 1868, San Diego was without a newspaper or other periodical of any kind. The laying out of Horton’s new addition and the fear that the population might be attracted that way caused the people of Old Town to bestir themselves. In the spring of 1868 Philip Crosthwaite paid a visit to his sister, Mrs. Wm. Jeff Gatewood, at San Andreas, in Calaveras County. Colonel Gatewood was publishing the San Andreas Register, and the desire to have his sister near him and at the same time to do something for Old Town prompted Crosthwaite to propose that he should remove his newspaper plant to San Diego. The proposal interested Gatewood so much that he came to San Diego and investigated the conditions. He found the San Diegans responsive to his desires; they gave him subscriptions and advertising contracts which he felt would justify the venture; and, liking the place, he determined to make the change.

WM. JEFF GATEWOOD. Founder of the Union and a notable lawyer in the early days of the Horton period.

Returning to San Andreas, he formed a partnership with Edward W. Bushyhead, who had been his foreman, and also employed J. N. Briseño. When the paper was issued, however, Briseño’s name appeared as publisher and Bushyhead’s did not appear at all, because Bushyhead, upon his arrival, was not impressed with the town or the prospects of the new venture and was unwilling to have his appear; but the paper was really owned by Gatewood and Bushyhead, and Briseño was only an office boy. Gatewood came on to San Diego overland, leaving Bushyhead to pack up and ship the outfit and follow by steamer. The outfit arrived about the 19th day of September and quarters were found in a frame building belonging to José A. Altamirano, next door to the parsonage, at Old Town. There was an old Washington hand press and a very good assortment of type. By the 3rd of October they were sufficiently settled to be able to issue a prospectus. A copy of this interesting paper follows:

To the Public:


On Saturday next I will issue the first number of The San Diego Union. Those who wish to advertise will confer a favor upon me by sending in their advertisements as early next week as possible. In order to insure an insertion on the first page of the paper, the copy must be handed into the office by next Tuesday night. I presume that the business men of San Diego appreciate the advantages of advertising, and will therefore accept with avidity the opportunity now offered them.


I will be thankful for any local item of general or special importance, and particularly request to be furnished with names of vessels arriving and departing from our harbor, and with all matters of importance to shippers.


From those who purpose farming I will be pleased to learn the character of crop they intend planting and the probable quantity of acres they will cultivate. I respectfully invite from all branches of business such communications as will tend to advance the multifarious interests of San Diego county, and promote the general prosperity of our citizens.


Neither political tirades, nor personal abuse will find place in the columns of the Union. As my object—and such is my agreement with my patrons—is to publish to the world the advantages of the harbor, climate and soil of this vicinity, I hope that no imposition, exaggeration or prevarication will ever be tolerated by those who may afford local information to the Union. In my humble judgment they need no such subterfuges; but the plain, unvarnished truth of our harbor, climate and soil is all that need be told, to insure the wonder and win the admiration of the world.


As the Union is to be politically neutral, I know of no way by which I can prevent the expression of my political predilections except by steering entirely clear of politics, therefore, the Union will maintain politically a wise and masterly silence.


For the many favors I have received at the hands of the citizens of San Diego I return my sincere heartfelt thanks, and only bespeak of them the same kindness, courtesy and consideration for my little pet, to be born on next Saturday.



The first number of the Union came out, as announced, on October 10, 1868. It was a four-page 6-column quarto sheet, contained 15½ columns of reading matter, and was well set up and printed. In his salutatory, Colonel Gatewood said of his paper:

“Its influence shall be used in urging the people to lay aside the animosities engendered within the last few years, and so sedulously fostered by the selfish political aspirants of the present day—to foster and encourage fealty to our political institutions—obedience to the laws of the country, and charity towards all mankind… We …pray that our lives may be spared to see the waters of our bay fretting beneath the burdens of busy commerce—to hear the shrill whistle of the iron horse as it spurns the sand of the desert—toils over the mountains and shoots through the valleys in its flight from the Atlantic, to meet in our harbor the rich cargoes from the ancient Orient—to see our bay surrounded by mammoth manufacturing and mercantile houses, princely residences, domes and spires of churches and schools of learning—the streets teeming with a prosperous and industrious people, and our lovely valleys lifting to our genial skies flowers and fruits, in tints as varied and gorgeous as our incomparable sunsets.”

EDWARD BUSHYHEAD. One of the early proprietors of the Union, who also served as sheriff and chief of police.

In the first two years of its existence, the Union had a hard struggle. The subscription list was nearly a thousand, which was very good for the time, but the advertising patronage was entirely local and not very remunerative. In May, 1869, Gatewood sold out to Charles P. Taggart, and the style of the publishers became Taggart & Bushyhead. Mr. Bushyhead says that the prosperity of the paper dates from the time that Taggart came into the establishment. He was a “rustler” and brought in advertising and subscriptions which placed the paper, for the first time, in a fairly prosperous condition. But Taggart had other interests which shared his attention, and he soon dropped the Union. He sold out to Frederick A. Taylor, late of San Francisco, who took charge on January 1, 1870. At the time, it was stated that the Union was prosperous, and this is attested by the fact that on the 20th day of January it was enlarged to seven columns. Another change was announced on May 12th, when William S. Dodge succeeded to Taylor’s interest, and the firm became Dodge & Bushyhead.

By this time, Horton’s Addition was making considerable progress and had begun to threaten the supremacy of the old town. The Bulletin had been started there the preceding August, and was enjoying a large share of the new prosperity—a prosperity from which the Union was excluded by reason of its location. Gatewood had been the attorney for the people of Old Town in the contest over the removal of the county seat, and the Union had supported their side of that contention. But the proprietors concluded the fight was a losing one, and, in the midst of the fray, abandoned the old town and removed to the new. One of the inducements for this change was an agreement on the part of Mr. Horton to give the paper his exclusive advertising patronage, so long as it remained in its new location and helped to build up that part of the town. This was one of the severest blows the friends of Old Town suffered, although it cannot be said that it influenced the final result, as the question was already in the courts awaiting decision.

J.N. BRISENO. Who was employed by Gatewood and whose name appeared as the first publisher of the Union.

The Union announced its intention to move, on June 23, 1870, and the following number, June 30th, was the first one issued in Horton’s Addition. The new office was in a building at the southeast corner of Fourth and D Streets. That location was then thought to be quite out of town, the only other buildings in the neighborhood being the little Methodist church across the street, and the “Era House,” later called the “Occidental.” The foundations of the Horton House were then being laid.

On September 22, 1870, Dodge retired from the Union and was succeeded by Douglas Gunn. Gunn had been employed for some time on the paper as reporter and printer. He was a man of ability, enterprise, and courage, and the effects of his work were soon manifest. On December 8th following his assumption of the editorship, the Union published President Grant’s message in full, having received it by telegraph, and called it “a piece of newspaper enterprise never before attempted by any ‘country paper’ in the United States.” The like had certainly never before been done in San Diego. On March 20, 1871, the Daily Union, the first daily paper in San Diego, was issued. At that time only two daily papers were published in Southern California; these being the News and the Star, of Los Angeles, and the Union was the third. Ten days later, the weekly was enlarged to eight columns, and became the largest weekly paper south of San Francisco. In the latter part of the following April, John P. Young (now editor of the San Francisco Chronicle) was employed as business manager.

JOHN R. BERRY. Who served at different times as editor of the Union and who was colonel of the Seventh Regiment, National Guard, during the Spanish War.

Those were strenuous days for Bushyhead & Gunn. A competent writer says: “We do not believe that two men ever did more intensely hard work, for smaller compensation, than the publishers of the Union. The first year of its existence it [the daily] spent about $1,200 for telegraphic news, the next year about $2,000,” etc. Mr. Bushyhead does not recall that, as a whole, they were poorly paid; he relates that he and Mr. Gunn were able to put away $1,500 each in bank every month at that period. The partnership of Bushyhead & Gunn lasted nearly three of the busiest and most fruitful years of the life of the new town. Circumstances induced the former to retire in June, 1873. He received $5,000 in cash for his half interest, and Mr. Gunn became sole proprietor. A month later, the daily was enlarged to twice its former size. These were in the palmy days of San Diego’s first boom—the “Tom Scott boom”—and the collapse of that excitement, naturally enough, hit the paper hard. The circulation of the daily continued to grow, but its advertising patronage declined and for a few years its struggle was a hard one. In 1877, Mr. Gunn stated that for four years he alone had performed the entire editorial work, local reporting, and news editing. It was one of his gifts to be able to, write rapidly, clearly, and under pressure. Probably few men could have stood the strain under which he labored.

WILLIAM H. GOULD. The pioneer editor and publisher of Horton’s Addition.

By the year 1878, conditions had so far improved that the Union began to benefit by the reaction. On the first day of June, the office was removed to Sixth Street, one door below where the post office was then located. Several quiet but fairly prosperous years followed, and in July, 1881, the paper was again enlarged and the first steam printing press in San Diego set up for its use. Five years later, it was again enlarged. On August 3, 1886, Mr. Gunn retired and the paper passed into the hands of the San Diego Union Company. The manager of this company was Colonel John R. Berry, and his associates were William Collier, now living at Riverside, and J. Russell Smith. Colonel Berry had been city editor of the Union about two years, and now assumed editorial charge of the paper.

Mr. Gunn retired to devote himself to his business interests. Under his editorial management of almost sixteen years the paper had grown up with the town and had played an important and vital part in its development. Soon after, he built the Express Block, and in 1889 was chosen and served as the first mayor of San Diego under its new charter.

OFFICE OF THE UNION. At Sixth and F Streets in the ’70s.

Three or four months after the new company took charge, Hosmer P. McKoon acquired an interest, and, a little while after that, Bryant Howard and E. W. Morse came in. In February, 1888, there was a white paper famine which now seems amusing. The Union appeared for a time printed on paper of many colors, dirty white, terra cotta, and bright pink. In the following May, cards were issued inviting the friends of the paper to call and witness the operation of its new double-cylinder Hoe printing press and feeders. Whole page descriptions were given, with large cuts of the new press. In June, 1888, John C. Monteith became owner of part of the stock and assumed the business management of the paper. In the fall, Howard M. Kutchin became business manager and a few months later editor, and so continued till June, 1889. In December of the year 1888 the Union company purchased the Daily Bee from Harry A. Howard, Thomas Fitch, and their associates, and merged the two papers under the title of the San Diego Union and Daily Bee. In the following year, Berry parted with his interest in the paper to the Monteiths. Berry went to Ohio and was gone a few months and upon his return took charge of the paper again in association with Andrew Pollock.

In 1890 Colonel Berry was appointed collector of the port, and soon after his appointment sold out to the Messrs. John D. and Adolph B. Spreckels, who were then represented here by E. S. Babcock; and these gentlemen have ever since been the owners and publishers of the Union. August 1, 1890, Thomas Gardiner, one of the founders of the Sacramento Union and of the Los Angeles Times, was appointed manager of the paper, and served in that capacity until his death nine years later. On June 19, 1899, James MacMullen became general manager of the Union Company, and is still its manager. March 8, 1900, the Union purchased the plant of the Morning Call (formerly the Vidette), and on September 27, 1901, it became the owner of the Evening Tribune, which had been established since December 21, 1895. The publication of the latter has been continued. It is one of the two evening papers now published in the city. On the 30th of November, 1901, the editorial, press, and business rooms of the papers were removed to the old Horton bank building, on the southwest corner of Third and D Streets, which has since been known as the Union building. Spreckels Brothers recently purchased land adjoining this building on the south and west, tore down the old building, and erected in its place a large, modern six-story business block, which will provide for the Union company better quarters than any other newspaper south of San Francisco. The papers have also been provided with new presses and up-to-date facilities in every department.

JAMES MACMULLEN. General Manager of the Union and Tribune.

James MacMullen is now general manager of the Union and Tribune. George S. Bates is editor of the Union, as he has been for many years. Walter T. Blake is editor of the Tribune. Edmund F. Parmelee has been advertising manager of the Union since January 1, 1888, a longer continuous service than any other man in San Diego in a similar position. He is thus dean of the newspaper corps.

These two papers support the regular Republican organization. They have been developed into valuable and influential properties with the growth of the city, and afford their patrons a live and satisfactory service. The Union has a complete file of its issues, from the beginning, in a good state of preservation—a mine of inexhaustible interest and value to the historian and writer.

The pioneer editor and publisher of Horton’s Addition was William H. Gould, who began the publication of the San Diego Weekly Bulletin on August 21, 1869. It was a four-page six-column paper. In this first number Mr. Gould expressed the opinion that: “There is nowhere on the globe a finer field for newspaper enterprise and the exercise of newspaper power than exists today in our young and growing city of San Diego.”

EDMUND F. PARMELEE. Advertising Manager of the Union who has been longer in continuous service than an other member of the newspaper.

The paper was enlarged to seven columns in December, and in the following June Major Ben C. Truman purchased a half interest and became editor and business manager. In July, 1871, W. H. Ogden became editor, Truman remaining as business manager. At the end of that year Major Truman’s connection with the paper ceased. On February 13, 1872, the first number of the Daily Bulletin appeared. It was a small sheet of five columns and four pages. In the following month W. W. Bowers became the business manager and D. T. Phillips became editor of the Bulletin in June. The paper was soon after sold to Colonel Gatewood, who took over the entire plant and began issuing a new paper, called The World. The last number of the weekly Bulletin was July 13th, and of the daily, July 23, 1872.

The Bulletin was established by the friends of New San Diego to counterbalance the influence of the Union at the rival town. The Union “coppered” this move, however, by removing to Horton’s Addition, and, having secured Mr. Horton’s exclusive patronage, the Bulletin proved unprofitable and soon languished. It began as a Union Republican paper, but a year later became straight Republican and continued so. There is a complete file of this paper in the public library, presented to it by Mr. Daniel Cleveland.

MAJ. BEN C. TRUMAN AND JOSEPH D. LYNCH. Two journalists identified with San Diego in early Horton days and during the great boom.

Will H. Gould left San Diego in 1874 and had a checkered career afterward. He established papers at San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and other places, none of which lived long, and was connected with the San Diego Bee in 1887-88.

The first number of the Daily World was issued July 25, 1872, and the weekly two days later. The daily was a small quarto sheet, with four pages of five columns each, and the weekly was a large four-page sheet of seven columns. There were elements of fitness in Colonel Gatewood’s being its editor and proprietor. The paper which he had founded (the Union) was now a Republican organ, while he was a Democrat; and many people thought that the time was ripe for an opposition paper. J. N. Briseño, an old employee of Gatewood on the Union, acquired an interest, in August. In October, the daily was enlarged to four full-size quarto pages of six columns each, and in December the office was removed to the south side of D Street, between Second and Third, in what was formerly called the Stockton House.

Joseph D. Lynch succeeded Gatewood as editor, and, in the fall of 1874, the paper was acquired by Jacob M. Julian and N. H. Conklin. Both were newcomers, from Warrensburg, Missouri, where they had been associated in the publication of a weekly paper. They continued to publish The World a year or two and then it was merged with the News, published by Julian & Co.

JACOB M. JULIAN. Associated with N. H. Conklin as editor and proprietor of the San Diego World in 1874; later, editor of the Daily News.

Mr. Julian began the publication of the San Diego Daily News in 1875 and continued it until April 9, 1882, when its purchase by the Sara Company was announced. It absorbed The World, as stated, and was the Democratic organ until succeeded by the Sun. Its office was on D Street, where the News had formerly been.

The establishment of the Sun was due to the initiative of Mrs. Charles P. Taggart (widow of Charles P. Taggart) and Wallace Leach. They planned for the establishment of a Democratic morning paper to be called the Gazette. Mrs. Taggart bought a costly newspaper outfit and made a trip to San Francisco for the purpose of securing an editor and manager. The man selected was Horace Stevens, then city editor of the San Jose Herald, who came to San Diego in June. Before these plans were consummated, Mrs. Taggart’s interest in the plant was acquired by a number of business men, who incorporated themselves as the Sun Publishing Company. These were: A. Wentscher, president; Edwin Parker, treasurer; Horace Stevens, secretary; T. C. Stockton, and C. P. Gerichten. The articles of incorporation were filed July 2, 1881, and the first number of the new paper appeared on July 19, under the title of the Daily Sun, and as an evening paper. The paper was at first published weekly and semi-weekly, and the daily was not issued till some years later. The first office was in a small frame building on the east side of the square, where the Schmitt block now stands. The News was purchased early in April, 1882.

Stevens is said to have been a bright and enterprising newspaper man, but somewhat erratic. He organized the paper and made it a clean newsy publication. Early in 1883, he was succeeded by Fred C. Baur, a young man from San Francisco. Baur was a nephew of A. Wentscher, one of proprietors. The responsible editor during the greater part of Baur’s incumbency was Robert Campion, who had learned the printer’s trade under Julian on the News and under Stevens on the Sun, and was city editor and business manager until 1886.

In 1886, Warren Wilson, of San Bernardino, purchased the Sun and became its editor and proprietor. He had purchased the site of the present Sun block, erected the building, and removed the Sun to its present home, December, 1886. Mr. Wilson continued to edit and publish the Sun until February, 1889, when it was purchased by a new set of stockholders, chief among whom were Walter Gifford Smith and W. Simpson. Mr. Wilson removed to Los Angeles. November 14, 1892, the Sun was consolidated with the San Diegan, under the title of the Daily San Diegan-Sun, and the two papers were acquired by E. W. Scripps. Under this ownership, with a few changes in editorial management, the paper has continued to the present. It is usually the organ of the Democratic party in San Diego, but is somewhat independent in politics. Mr. Scripps has recently acquired a lot on the southeast corner of Seventh and B Streets on which he will erect a building to be used for the Sun office and printing plant. F. D. Waite has been connected with the Sun since 1887, and has filled his present place as editor-in-chief since 1894.

F.D. WAITE. Associate Editor of the San Diego Sun.

The Daily San Diegan was started by Jacob M. Julian, Ed. J. Bacon, and Julian Regan, under the style of Bacon, Julian & Co., in 1885, as a supporter of Cleveland Democracy. The first number was issued April 27th. It had four pages and six columns. In January, 1886, it was enlarged to seven columns, and in May, 1887, to eight pages of six columns each. The boom “busted” soon after this and there was “hard sledding” for the San Diegan; but it clung desperately to its forty-eight columns, even after it became necessary to fill up space with the same “boiler-plate,” used over and over again. February 16, 1889, the paper was sold to Chaffee, Sullivan & Waite and appeared under their auspices, with F. D. Waite as editor and E. N. Sullivan as business manager. Mr. Waite has been continuously connected with the San Diegan and the San Diegan-Sun, ever since that time. The paper was consolidated with the Sun, as related, November 14, 1892.

The next paper established, in point of time, was the Daily and Weekly Bee. The Bee Publishing Company was incorporated in November, 1887, by Wm. F. Hutton, Will H. Gould, Thomas J. McCord, Harry A. Howard, and Thomas L. Fitch. The company had been organized in the spring by Messrs. Benjamin & Cothran, and had for its editors a Mr. Zeigenfuss, and Mrs. Clara S. Foltz. The Bee was a live paper, while it lasted. It was absorbed by the Union, in December, 1888.

WALTER T. BLAKE. Editor of the Tribune.

Thus far this story of the files is that of the papers which are either still in existence, or have been absorbed by other papers yet published. A number of other papers—exactly how many it is really impossible to say—were started at different times, but permanently suspended publication. A list of some of these is given farther on. The most important of these was the San Diego Vidette, a daily and weekly paper established by D. O. McCarthy, August 6, 1892. From December 1, 1894, to March 7, 1895, Harr Wagner leased the paper, after which the founder again became managing editor and J. Harvey McCarthy business manager. In 1899, it was leased for a short time to B. A. Stephens, T. Spears, and Frank Gregg, in succession. In January, 1900, the name was changed to the Morning Call; and in the following March the Call suspended publication and the Union bought its plant. The motto of the Vidette was: “Thrice armed is he whose cause is just.” It was a live and vigilant paper, independent and fearless, which attacked wrong and corruption wherever found.

HARR WAGNER AND MADGE MORRIS (MRS. WAGNER). Who published the Golden Era, a literary magazine, in San Diego from 1887-1895.

In the way of periodical literature, the first ambitious effort was that of Harr Wagner, when he removed the Golden Era monthly magazine from San Francisco to San Diego, during the boom. It was established at San Francisco in 1852. The plant arrived at San Diego early in March, 1887. It was intended to change the name to the Coronado Illustrated Magazine, and public announcement was made of that intention; but, for some reason, the plan fell through, and the magazine continued to be published as the Golden Era. In the fall the Golden Era Company was incorporated, by Harr Wagner, J. D. Wagner, E. C. Thorpe, C. E. Maxwell, and G. C. Berlew.

ROSE HARTWICK THORPE. Author of the famous poem, ‘Curfew Shall not Ring Tonight,’ who resides at La Jolla.

It was a magazine of fiction, travel, and general literature and the oldest illustrated magazine on the Pacific Coast. It was the literary journal of the Southwest and had a number of notable contributors, among whom were Joaquin Miller, Madge Morris (Mrs. Wagner), Rose Hartwick Thorpe, and others. It was published in San Diego until March, 1895, when it was again removed to San Francisco, and soon after changed to the Western Journal of Education, under which name it still continues, with Mr. Wagner as editor-in-chief. While here Mr. Wagner engaged in a variety of activities connected with education—was superintendent of schools, connected with the San Diego College of Letters at Pacific Beach, etc.

The next important venture in this line was the Silver Gate, established in January, 1899, by James A. Jasper. Sixteen numbers in all were issued, the last one being for April, 1900. It was devoted to local statistics, current politics, articles on climate, horticulture, etc., and also contained views, maps, and portraits of value. With the September number, 1899, it absorbed the Mother’s Club Magazine (a monthly started February 1, 1899), and the “Mother’s Club Notes” formed a department of the magazine until it suspended. It also had for a time a department edited by the Woman’s Relief Corps. The back numbers of this magazine are highly prized.

The West American Scientist was established by C. R. Orcutt, December 1, 1884, and he is still the editor and publisher. It is the organ of the San Diego Society of Natural History and was the first scientific publication established on the Pacific Coast. It has at different times absorbed a number of other similar publications and its files contain matter of great value.

The Western Magazine issued three numbers—August, September, and October, 1906. It was the most ambitious example of periodical literature ever undertaken in San Diego, and its early demise was a matter of sincere and widespread regret.

The following is a list of newspapers and other periodicals known to have been started in San Diego from time to time. All these periodicals are now defunct, unless otherwise stated.

In May, 1885, D. P. St. Clair started the San Diego Californian, and published it about two months.

In 1887, the Bennett Brothers established a paper which they call the News (Julian’s paper of the same name having been absorbed by the Sun, five years before). It was issued as a daily for six months, and then removed to Ensenada, in Lower California.

The Deutsche Zeitung, a weekly, was established by Charles F. Kamman, in 1887, and is still published.

The Free Press, a tri-weekly, was published by J. G. Overshiner in 1887.

The Semi-Tropic Planter, devoted to agriculture, was published by Cooke & Hufford, in 1887. C. R. Orcutt afterward became its editor.

The Coronado Evening Mercury was established May 16, 1887. It was an evening daily, published at Coronado by Kimball, White & Co., and later became a weekly issued by F. E. A. Kimball.

The Southern California Information Agency (Augustus Merrill, manager), issued the Southern California Informant in the latter part of 1887. It purported to be “a journal of reliable information and just criticism.”

The first issue of the Echo was December 3, 1887. It was a critical and humorous weekly.

  1. H. Young issued thePacific Beach Magazinein 1888. It was subsidized by the Pacific Beach Company and lived about a year, expiring with the boom.

The Beacon was a small weekly published in 1889 by Sigismund Danielwicz, devoted to the discussion of social ethics.

The Clipper was established in 1889, by the Bayside Publishing Company. It was a weekly, edited by John C. Monteith.

The Great Southwest, edited by R. H. Young and devoted to horticulture, was issued in 1889.

The Dart, a prohibition paper, was first issued August, 1888.

Zoe, a biological journal, was established by Mrs. Katherine Brandegee, in 1890.

The Review, a weekly publication by Birdsall & Van Haren, was started about March, 1890. It was devoted to the interests of the National Guard, “society, current comment, and education.”

May 10, 1890, appeared the San Diego Republic, published every Saturday by Stephens & Harris.

The first number of the Spiritual Times Magazine appeared November 1, 1890. Later, the name was changed to the San Diego Times Magazine. The editor was William Alfred Rugg.

The San Diego Advertiser was founded by E. N. Sullivan, July 25, 1891. It is now the San Diego News, a weekly.

The Seaport News was first issued September 3, 1892, and it was the successor of the Coronado Mercury. It was a weekly journal. At the time of the change, T. D. Beasly assumed a half interest in the paper.

The National Popular Review was first issued, July 1, 1892. It was a monthly magazine devoted to medical subjects, and called An Illustrated Journal of Preventive Medicine. It was published in Chicago and San Diego, by J. Harrison White, and edited by Dr. P. C. Remondino.

In 1893 the South California Farmer was published by J. S. Richardson. It was devoted to horticultural interests.

Out of Doors for Woman was the title of a publication begun in November, 1893, by Dr. Olive L. Eddy Orcutt.

W.H. PORTERFIELD. President and General manager of the San Diego Sun Publishing Company.

The San Diego Real Estate Journal was started in 1895. It was a weekly, edited by R. H. Young and managed by W. H. Porterfield.

The Philosophical Journal was established in 1865 and was formerly issued at Chicago under the name of the Religio Philosophical Journal. It was removed to San Diego in 1896 and remained until December of that year, when it was removed to San Francisco. It was a monthly.

The Weekly Drift was first issued April 17, 1897, by W. A. Rugg, editor.

The San Diego Chieftain was published in 1901 by John A. and Edgar B. Helphingstine. It was a social Democratic weekly.

The Bulletin was a small “woman’s own” paper, published late in 1901.

The San Diego Open Court, a fortnightly magazine, was established September 1, 1901.

Wealth was published twice a month by Ralph Elliott Field, beginning in November, 1903.

The San Diego Co-operator was the organ of the Rochdale Company; the first issue appeared January 1, 1904.

The San Diego Herald was established October 6, 1905, under the name of the San Diego Tourist Informant, and under the management and editorship of B. J. McDowell. In December, 1905, George H. Hazzard became the editor. In 1907 the paper changed ownership and R. Beers Loos became editor.

The Mirror was established January 1, 1906, and is an illustrated weekly of industrial character. A. G. Stacey is the editor and publisher.

The Harbor Light was published quarterly in the interest of the floating Endeavor work ; Mrs. W. W. Young, editor.

San Diego Bay Region Resources was a monthly published by Burgess, Moore & Co., on lines similar to California Resources, of San Francisco.

C.R. Orcutt has been connected with the publication of quite a number of periodicals. Besides the West American Scientist, which has been mentioned, and which still continues, and the Semi-Tropic Planter, which he took over from Cooke & Hanford, he has established the following publications:

Young Men’s Journal, a religious weekly in the interest of the Y. M. C. A., 1887; San Diego Magazine, April 1, 1888; The Work, October, 1889, also in the interest of the Y. M. C. A.; Old Curiosity Shop, 1881; Science and Horticulture, March, 1891; Golden Hints for California, November, 1891;California Art and Nature, December, 1901; Presbyterian Herald, a weekly church paper, 1901; The Manzanita, or Lower California Magazine; California Trees and Flowers, and Western World.

Besides all these, San Diego has had The Coronado Argus, the Sunday Telegram, the weekly County Reporter, the weekly Neuigkeiten, the weekly Argosy and the weekly Enterprise; and among live periodicals are: the San Diego Weekly News, the New Century Path, and the Raja Yoga Messenger, the two latter being published by the Theosophical headquarters at Point Loma.

In 1883, W. W. Elliott & Co., of San Francisco, published their San Diego County Illustrated. It is a thin quarto with quite a number of views, maps, and portraits, and contains considerable fragmentary information. But its contents are largely of the “write-up” order, and as a history it is scarcely to be taken seriously.

One of the duties of Douglas Gunn, while editing the Union, was to write the annual review of the progress of city and county. In 1885, these articles were gathered up and issued in pamphlet form. A year later the work was revised and enlarged, and more than 35,000 copies sold. This success doubtless had a good deal to do with inducing Mr. Gunn to undertake the preparation of a more ambitious work after his retirement from the Union, in August, 1886. His own tastes would also naturally lead in the same direction. He spent some months collecting and arranging additional material, and in February, 1887, employed Herve Friend, representing the American Photogravure Company, to make the views for his book. October 2, 1887, the Union began the publication of the advance sheets of his new work, and the book itself appeared soon after. It was entitled Picturesque San Diego, with Historical and Descriptive Notes, printed by Knight & Leonard Co., Chicago, and bound in heavy morocco with gilt edges. Although there were but 98 numbered pages of reading matter, there were 72 full-page illustrations of a very superior character, and the whole made a rich volume. The work was not intended, primarily, as a history, but rather to provide an appropriate setting for an up-to-date statement of the resources and advantages of the city and county. Mr. Gunn was a clear and forcible writer and it can fairly be said that he achieved his chief object. His historical outline, too, although brief, is painstaking and shows wide reading and information. The venture proved a heavy loss to Mr. Gunn, however.

WALTER GIFFORD SMITH. Author of Story of San Diego, an interesting historical sketch.

In early days, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce turned out a large number of descriptive pamphlets, some of which were prepared by competent men and are quite valuable. In 1880, this body varied its program by employing Theodore S. Van Dyke to prepare a more ambitious work, containing a more complete statement than had generally been attempted of the county’s resources, together with an historical outline. The results of his labors were published in the same year, under the title of The City and County of San Diego, and the eighty pages for which he was responsible justified the confidence reposed in the author. The historical outline, though brief, was accurate; and no man has ever described the county’s characteristics and summed up its advantages and disadvantages more accurately or brilliantly. The latter part of the book was devoted to biographies, for which the publishers, Leberthon & Taylor, were responsible.

In 1890 the Lewis Publishing Company, of Chicago, issued their Illustrated History of Southern California, which contained 390 pages devoted to San Diego County, 102 of which are historical and the rest biographical. The historical section of the work was largely performed by J. M. Guinn, secretary of the Historical Society of Southern California, Los Angeles. The book is an immense one, prepared for sale by subscription, and covers too large a field to give the city of San Diego the setting to which its importance entitles it. The historical work was competently done and of considerable value.

The first attempt to write a history of the city of San Diego, apart from commercial features, was that of Walter Gifford Smith, in his Story of San Diego, published in 1892. It is a book of 163 pages, and undertakes to deal seriously, though briefly, with the city’s history. Mr. Smith had had considerable training as a newspaper writer, and, considering the limited time training as a newspaper writer, and his book was written in a charming style.

WILL H. HOLCOMB. Who has touched the life of San Diego at so many points–political religious, legal, fraternal, business, and financial–that it is difficult to classify him. A man of marked literary gifts, he came originally with the purpose of writing a history of the city and region. He contributed extensively to descriptive literature concerning San Diego County.

A number of newspaper writers and other bright men and women have studied the history of San Diego with fascinated interest and written sketches about it which have appeared in periodicals all over the land. Ben C. Truman was one of the earliest and brightest of these, and all the others—Will H. Gould, Thomas Fitch, Theodore S. Van Dyke, Douglas Gunn, Walter Gifford Smith, and so on—have tried it at one time or another. Will H. Holcomb came to San Diego with the intention and expectation of writing a history of the place, and went so far as to collect a large quantity of materials. Probably it was only the accident of his having a satchel full of these papers stolen which prevented his carrying out the plan. As it is, he has contented himself with writing the Rhymes of the Missions and a number of historical sketches for the newspapers. L. A. Wright is another writer from whose published sketches considerable information has been collected.

During his residence of six years in this city, William E. Smythe has written Constructive Democracy and the History of San Diego, revised and largely rewritten his Conquest of Arid America (new edition), and contributed extensively to magazines and newspapers. In the same period he has written several elaborate government reports and prepared many formal public addresses, which have also been published.

Return to Books.


Main Page
Author’s Foreword
Introduction: The Historical Pre-Eminence of San Diego

PART ONE:   Period of Discovery and Mission Rule

  1. The Spanish Explorers
  2. Beginning of the Mission Epoch
  3. The Taming of the Indian
  4. The Day of Mission Greatness
  5. The End of Franciscan Rule
    Priests of San Diego Mission

PART TWO:   When Old Town Was San Diego

  1. Life on Presidio Hill Under the Spanish Flag
    List of Spanish and Mexican commandants
  2. Beginnings of Agriculture and Commerce
    List of Ranchos in San Diego County
  3. Political Life in Mexican Days
  4. Early Homes, Visitors and Families
  5. Pleasant Memories of Social Life
  6. Prominent Spanish Families
  7. The Indians’ Relations With the Settlers
    List of Mission Indian Lands
  8. San Diego in the Mexican War
  9. Public Affairs After the War
  10. Accounts of Early Visitors and Settlers
  11. Annals of the Close of Old San Diego
  12. American Families of the Early Time
  13. The Journalism of Old San Diego
  14. Abortive Attempt to Establish New San Diego

PART THREE:   The Horton Period

  1. The Founder of the Modern City
  2. Horton’s Own Story
  3. Early Railroad Efforts, Including the Texas and Pacific
  4. San Diego’s First Boom
  5. Some Aspects of Social Life

PART FOUR:   Period of “The Great Boom”

  1. Coming of the Santa Fe
  2. Phenomena of the The Great Boom
  3. Growth of Public Utilities
  4. Water Development

PART FIVE:   The Last Two Decades

  1. Local Annals, After the Boom
  2. Political Affairs and Municipal Campaigns
  3. Later Journalism and Literature [new material in second edition]
  4. The Disaster to the Bennington
  5. The Twentieth Century Days
  6. John D. Spreckels Solves the Railroad Problem

PART SIX:   Institutions of Civic Life

  1. Churches and Religious Life
  2. Schools and Education
  3. Records of the Bench and Bar
  4. Growth of the Medical Profession
  5. The Public Library
  6. Story of the City Parks
  7. The Chamber of Commerce
  8. Banks and Banking
  9. Secret, Fraternal and Other Societies
  10. Account of the Fire Department

PART SEVEN:   Miscellaneous Topics

  1. History of the San Diego Climate
  2. San Diego Bay, Harbor and River
  3. Governmental Activities
  4. The Suburbs of San Diego

Political Roster, City of San Diego
Political Roster, San Diego County