The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1972, Volume 18, Number 2
James E Moss, Editor

Book Notes

David J. Weber, Book Review Editor

Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913. By Harris Newmark. Edited by Maurice H. and Marco R. Newmark. Fourth Edition, with introduction and notes by W. W. Robinson. (Los Angeles: Zeitlin & Van Brugge, 1970). Illustrations. Index. Notes. 744 pages. $22.50.

As a young man of twenty, Harris Newmark arrived in Los Angeles in 1853. Sixty years later, at age eighty, he wrote these recollections of his long life in Southern California. Highly accurate and rich in detail and anecdote, these are not the reminiscences that one would expect from an eighty-year-old man. That was due, in part, to the assistance of Newmark’s two sons and to the help of a paid scholar, Perry Worden, who verified Newmark’s facts and added further material from contemporary newspapers. The result was a valuable chronicle, which treats events in Los Angeles year by year, and a source book of enduring value.

First published in 1916, Sixty Years in Southern California has become a California
classic. This fourth edition is a photographic reproduction of the valuable and long-out-of-print third edition of 1930. In the second and third editions Newmark’s sons added more material to the original through the use of appendices. W. W. Robinson has continued that tradition in this latest edition by adding a charming introduction and some explanatory notes. These changes are not of such importance, however, that a small library owning the third edition would need to invest in the newest one. San Diegans may be disappointed that their city does not figure more prominently in the narrative. Such well-known local figures as William Heath Davis and Alonzo Horton are not even mentioned because Southern California, to Newmark, was Los Angeles. Yet, those who study San Diego’s past have found Newmark’s Sixty Years an important first-hand account.