Friday, September 9, 2011

Calling for All Comments

As summer draws to a close, here at the Magazines & Newspapers Center, we would like to take a moment to determine how to best continue delivering useful and timely information to you--our readers. If you have (and currently still are) reading our blog to receive notifications of our various classes, programs, tutorials, and highlights from our collection, we would appreciate it if you can take a moment to post a comment.

We would be most interested in learning about how you generally use the Web to get information offered by the library. Blogs? Facebook? Twitter? What kinds of topics would you be interested in seeing more of? Given the rapid advances in Web 2.0 technologies and social media applications, we are exploring other means of communicating information to you that would best serve your needs and interests.

Also, please look on the SFPL Facebook page for announcements here and there about upcoming Magazine & Newspapers Center events and classes. And you can always stop by the 5th Floor or e-mail with your comments or questions.

So with that being said, please feel free to chime in! Thank you.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Computer Music

Computer Music has been deemed as the “World’s Best Selling Music Software” magazine written to help musicians create great music with a PC or Mac computer. Futuristic music has finally arrived in the “Now” and this cutting-edge magazine offers musicians all the tricks of the trade they’ve been craving for visualizing, creating, developing, and executing their musical genuius.

Hailing from the UK—England since the first issue was introduced to the world of musicians in 1998, Computer Music (‘CM’ is its nickname) “tests the latest computer music products and offers tutorials on the most current software, enabling computer owners to develop their musical interests and expertise.” Each issue includes a DVD-ROM focusing on the current month’s topics. The DVD is a PDF guide offering an “exclusive” library of software, samples, and other materials compiled for “newcomers and rookies” to expose and help them gain basic computer music concepts—allowing them to take their music into another stratosphere.

Ever wonder how or what actually goes into the making and cutting of a musical soundtrack? How can you transform your music with the processing tricks of the pros? How to get big-bass sound from your sound system--and if changes can be made to create the sound you wish to achieve? Well, look no further. CM magazine’s step-by-step guides and illustrations offer answers to your questions. Readers will be guaranteed professional reviews on pricings, equipment and essentials, new sample packs, and applications and recommendations on the how, who, what, and where on the making of today’s worldly music.

Here are some magazine highlights:

• Making stunning vocal tracks without a singer in sight
• How to get Reggae musical sounds
• Making Beats and Basslines/Arrangement and Sound Design/Mixing and Mastering
• Making Laid-back tracks on a Mac or PC
• Guides on Audio/Sampling, Sound playback, Editing/Manipulating music on your computer
• Tips on Re-Sampling music/ Customizing sound and instruments

This is only the “tip-of-the-iceberg” of what you’re treated to in CM magazine. A Web site offers mostly the same information as does the magazine. Furthermore, one can experience listening to live sessions, plugins, software demos, tutorials, free apps for iPhones and iPod touch through the Computer Music magazine Facebook site designed to help you share music tips and ideas with other music afficionados.

The library has a small collection of periodicals on the subject of computer music, and our home page can be accessed at

Go to Books & Materials, click Library Catalog, and run a keyword search for “computer music periodicals.” Notice there are a couple of electronic resources that gives you full-text articles. Of course, you can always visit San Francisco Public Library’s Magazines and Newspapers Center for more assistance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

Hands-on demonstration

Please join us for a digital scanning instruction session that will combine historical research with image-capturing computer technology. The Magazines and Newspapers Center hosts this workshop to demonstrate successful techniques for digitizing archival newspapers and journals from the vast San Francisco Public Library collection.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, 5th Floor, Microfilm Room
- Event Date & Time: Monday, June 27, 2011 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mining Magazines and Journals with MasterFILE Premier

Have you ever wanted to browse through back issues of Consumer Reports or Psychology Today, but had no time to visit your local library? Perhaps you remember an article from Atlantic Monthly or Science News, but couldn't remember in which issue it appeared. In this presentation, learn how to answer some of these types of questions with one of our electronic databases--EbscoHost MasterFILE Premier. Explore popular magazines, journals, and trade publications from over 1700 sources by navigating and searching this periodical database.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room B
- Event Date & Time: Monday, June 20, 2011 (Noon - 1 p.m)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Anime and Manga for Grown-Ups

They occupy the shelves of libraries and bookstores. The film industry has adpated them into feature length movies and TV series appearing in theaters and on DVD. Fans ranging from children and teens to adults and seniors often find themselves indulging in their magical realism conjured up by creative writers and artists from all genres. Anime and manga have swept through the United States like a whirlwind, creating a pop culture phenomenon that continues to proliferate at an astounding rate.

There is a strong cultural assumption in the U.S. that all animation and comic books are juvenile forms of entertainment. The mediums are actually far richer than that, and nowhere else is this truer than in Japan. The Japanese have developed a rich industry producing thousands of titles both in print and animated. Any genre you are familiar with has been mined and combined with visuals to help tell the story. Don't assume everything is family entertainment or sitcoms. Join us to explore works that range from respectable literature to delightful trash, and everything in between.

Gilles Poitras, the Access Services Librarian at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, is best known for his three books: The Anime Companion, Anime Essentials, and Anime Companion 2, as well as writing for the magazines Newtype USA and Otaku USA. He also sits on the senior board of Mechademia, an annual scholarly anthology of essays on anime, manga, and fan culture.

Mr. Poitras has delivered presentations on anime for Japan for U.S. friendship groups, public libraries, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, conventions, all-day workshops for librarians, introduced anime films at the Smithsonian, and even taught a course on the subject for Pixar staff.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room B
- Event Date & Time: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 (6-7:30 p.m.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Crossing the Pacific with Cross Currents

May heralds the arrival of Asian Pacific American Heritage month. From the collection of the Magazines & Newspapers Center, we are highlighting Cross Currents, a quarterly newsletter that features news from the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California at Los Angeles. This newsletter introduces members of the faculty as well as the students--highlighting their achievements, publications, and research on the Asian American community. New books, symposia, cultural performances, and other related topic populate the pages of Cross Currents.

Throughout May, you can also check out Our Road - A Journey that Goes On Forever--one of the exhibits at the Main Library, featuring works by local Chinese American authors and artists. And on Saturday, May 21, come visit our booth at the annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration by the Main Library.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Journey back in time to the archives of the of the mid-19th century and early 20th century with the Magazines & Newspapers Center on Wednesday, April 20. Learn how to search for and access articles from the San Francisco Chronicle with one of our most popular electronic resources for historical researching--the San Francisco Chronicle Historical. For a sneak peek at how to search and navigate this this database, check out our previous blog posting.

-Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
-Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor Training Center
-Event Date & Time: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 (2 to 3 p.m.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fasten Your Seatbelts for Power Googling

On Saturday, April 9, 2011, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., fasten your seat belts and learn some of the advanced search features of Google. Program is presented by the Magazines & Newspapers Center:

When researching for information on the Web, many people simply “Google it,” but rarely tap into Google’s advanced search options. In this presentation, go beyond the basic search box and learn how to use special operators to fine-tune your search strategies and customize your search results. Unlock some of the hidden features and shortcuts in this popular search engine. Search more precisely, smarter, and faster to unleash the full power of Google.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
- Event Date & Time: Saturday, April 9, 2011 (10:30 a.m. to noon)

Friday, March 18, 2011

ABCs of Digital Scanning Photographs

The Magazines and Newspapers Center once again hosts an introductory hands-on demonstration workshop featuring digital scanning techniques for photographs, film, slides, negatives and more. Beginners are encouraged to attend and learn how to scan, capture, edit and save photographic images. Our workshop will meet in the Fifth Floor Magazines Center microfilm room.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Magazines & Newspapers Center, 5th Floor, Microfilm Room
- Event Date & Time: Monday, March 21, 2011 (Noon to 1 p.m.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Get Ready to Party at the Mardi Gras

Do you know Mardi Gras 2011 falls on Tuesday, March 8? “Fat Tuesday,” as it is known, is the last day of the Carnival season, and it always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent.

Want to explore what life is like in New Orleans, Louisiana, be ‘in the know’ on local issues, traditions, social trends, and fashion, home and garden? Well, you’re in luck because the San Francisco Public library’s Magazines & Newspapers Center has been subscribing to New Orleans Magazine for the past three years--a magazine rich in culture yet somehow fuses its past, present, and future into a history of constant evolvement.

New Orleans, a monthly lifestyle magazine with features and columns on the city of New Orleans, highlights Creole, Cajun, French and multicultural cuisine and dining. Readers will experience the exciting rebirth of this city since the devastating tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans provides information on arts and entertainment (especially music, education, theatre, and its nightlife scene). For the fashion-savvy person, find a guide to tips on what’s hot and where to shop, especially for the ‘quintessential’ Mardi Gras attire.

The magazine is divided into three major sections:
  • Features - An article about Five Star Hospitals

  • In Every Issue - Read & Spin – latest books

  • Special Section - In this issue, Steppin’ Out: It’s Carnival Time

A special page titled “On The Web,” showcases other Web sites offering valuable information to readers. If you can’t travel to “The Big Easy” then why not journey through the colorful pages of New Orleans Magazine or surf to their Web site:

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools

On Saturday, March 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Magazines & Newspapers Center will present a program designed to help you with your genealogical research.

The One-Step Web site ( started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database. Shortly afterwards it was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census. Over the years it has continued to evolve and today includes about 200 web-based tools divided into 16 separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on e-bay. This presentation will describe the range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

Stephen Morse is the creator of the One-Step Web site for which he has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. He has also earned the Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, first-ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists, and two awards that he cannot pronounce from Polish genealogical societies.

In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He has held various research, development, and teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, written four textbooks, and holds four patents. He is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 (the granddaddy of today's Pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution 30 years ago.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
- Event Date & Time: Saturday, March 5, 2011 (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

The Magazines and Newspapers Center will host our first digital scanning workshop of the year,from Noon to 1 PM on February 28th. This basic beginner session will focus on successful techniques for scanning, capturing, editing and saving archival resources from the 5th Floor microfilm and microfiche collection.

Join us in the Microfilm Room for hands-on demonstrations in digitizing newspapers, magazines and other resources.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date & Time: Monday, February 28, 2011 (Noon to 1 p.m.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Riding While Black 1955....Walking While Black 1999

The African American Interest Committee and the African American Center of the San Francisco Public Library proudly present the social justice program, Riding While Black 1955, Walking While Black 1999. Featuring civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin, activist educator Enid Lee, and author/artist Bryonn Bain, this special event is being produced in association with Awele Makeba and the San Francisco Unified School District.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Auditorium
- Event Date & Time: Sunday, February 6, 2011 (1:30 to 4 p.m.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Edible SF

A common resolution people make at the start of a new year revolves around improving their diets, so what better way to start developing healthy eating habits than exploring Edible San Francisco--a local magazine from the Wallace Environmental Stegner Center?

A publication of Edible Communities--a network of local food publications that focuses on "transform[ing] the way consumers shop for, cook, eat and relate to local food . . . . and connect consumers with local growers, retailers, chefs, and food artisans, enabling those relationships to grow and thrive in a mutually beneficial, healthful and economically viable way." To find back issues of Edible San Francisco, check with the Magazines & Newspapers Center for further assistance.

Finally, to whet your culinary palette through a variety of ongoing library programs and exhibitions, check out the San Francisco Eats events page which showcases "menus, historical photographs, an array of food writers, cookbooks and culinary history, ephemera such as coasters and matchbooks, and San Francisco food inventions, including gadgets and signature dishes."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Out with the old, In with the new . . .

As we launch into the new year, one of our longstanding magazines has recently migrated into the digital world. After over 60 years, U.S. News and World Report has abandoned its print format and gone totally online. Reporting and analyzing current events and issues throughout the United States and worldwide, this magazine covered a wide range of topics in the business and financial fields as well as sociological and technological trends. For more information, check out the New York Times article.

December 2010 marked the last print issue of U.S. News and World Report. You can, however, still browse through the older issues here at the Magazines & Newspapers Center. Also, to find other databases that contain the archived articles to Newsweek online, check Periodical Finder. You will need a San Francisco Public library card to access databases from outside of the library.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

The Magazines & Newspapers Center will host another hands-on demonstration workshop to introduce you to digital scanning techniques for 35MM microfilm and microfiche periodicals found in our collection. Please attend and participate as we scan, capture, edit and save archival images in the microfilm room on the Fifth Floor of the Main Library.

-Address:100 Larkin (at Grove)
-Location:Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
-Event Date and Time:Monday, December 20, 2010 (Noon to 1 pm)

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Bay Citizen - a new SF Bay Area news source

If you have been searching for more coverage of local news, the Bay Citizen may help you with your informational needs.

From the mission statement:

"The mission of The Bay Citizen is to enhance civic and community news coverage in the Bay Area, stimulate innovation in journalism, and foster civic engagement.

Across the nation, the field of journalism and access to local news about civic and cultural issues are in jeopardy.

In the Bay Area, local newspapers have cut their newsrooms by nearly 50% in the last five years. And coverage of civic news topics – including education, government, the environment, science, health, and arts – have been cut dramatically compared to topics such as sports and entertainment.

Professional journalism is worth saving. The Bay Citizen aims to provide unbiased and independent coverage of news, which we believe is critical to a functioning democracy and the information health of our communities."

For more information about the Bay Citizen (including the nature of its relationships with the New York Times and the UC Berkeley School of Journalism), take a look at their FAQ page.

Here are some examples of the fascinating articles by the reporters at Bay Citizen:

Bold Ideas Inspire New Life for Magazines by Jeanne Carstensen
The magazine as form being revitalized as evidenced by Longshot (delivered as a print on demand product through MagCloud) and Pop-Up Magazine (magazine as live action theater).

On Gold Coast, a Legacy of Low Taxes by Elizabeth Lesly Stevens
An article describing the discrepancies in the amount of property tax owed on some of the City's most valuable domestic properties. The article includes an interactive graphic that shows a portion of Broadway with pictures of houses together with their estimated current value, their assessed value, and property tax.

In Tough Times, Grandpa Pushes Pills by Shoshana Walter
The economic downturn and the increasing street demand for prescription drugs has broadened the demographics of the "drug dealer" in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco.

Mark Twain, Bay Area Man Around Town by Thalia Gigerenzer
This article gives a brief description of Twain's history and writing while in California (including a stint at the San Francisco Daily Morning Call). Part of a series of articles that celebrates the recent publication of yet another edition of Twain's biography.

Monday, November 15, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Print Documents

Join us as we demonstrate easy digital scanning techniques for legal documents, government records, private papers, historical manuscripts, and more. Bring some materials to scan. See you there!

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date & Time: Monday, November 22, 2010 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reading the Giants

As the San Francisco Giants enters the big leagues to face off the Texas Rangers in the World Series, many baseball fans in the San Francisco Bay Area are already gearing up for the upcoming games, rain or shine. In honor of this rare event, the Magazines & Newspapers Center highlights the Giants magazine devoted to San Francisco's favorite baseball team.

Published quarterly, the Giants magazine contains feature articles about the San Francisco Giants baseball team and its players. In each issue, you'll find full-color profiles on various team members, close-up batting, pitching, and action shots from past games, behind the scenes tidbits, an events calendar for upcoming games and related Giants community activities, and more.

To keep up with latest news on the SF Giants, check out SF Gate's sports news page which highlights new developments as they occur through news feeds, fan forums, blogs, and tweets.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Early San Francisco Newspapers on Microfilm


Part One

An immediate consequence of the discovery of gold on the American River near the village of Coloma in January of 1848, was the insatiable regional and national demand for all manner of topical news emanating from the faraway west and San Francisco - the gateway to the mines. Most of the early San Francisco newspapers were earnest, often threadbare and not a little bit parochial; most actively sought to play ball with the vested interests of the day. Yet there was one paper that was as much a journal as the means to a singular mission, founded with indomitable courage and all the axioms of the righteous.

C. O. Gerberding & Company launched the SAN FRANCISCO DAILY EVENING BULLETIN on October 8, 1855. James King of William, disillusioned banker, ex-prospector and former member of the original Committee of Vigilance, acted as the source of editorial vengeance. He zealously assailed crooked financiers, political opportunists, rioters, gamblers, moneyed influence peddlers, strike goons, houses of prostitution, graft, bribery, corruption and election fraud. The BULLETIN's fervent campaign on behalf of civic reform caused an immediate public sensation, and the daily edition progressively expanded to some 6-7,000 copies in the first six months. King was nothing if not forthright, placing his work ethic and publishing philosophy front and center:

". . . . an editor who cannot stop in the middle of one of the finest trains of thought that he is putting on paper, to minute the dimensions of a huge pumpkin, write an advertisement of a dog lost, enter the name of a new subscriber, or receive pay for an old one, to take a cow hiding for something he has said, and after all resume the thread of his discourse, and carry out the idea in its original force and beauty, is next to no editor at all . . . ."

James King had himself been a witness and victim to corrupt business practices and unscrupulous dealings in the banking industry prior to becoming a journalist, and he utilized the powerof the press and the platform of the BULLETIN for the excoriation of the Palmer, Cook and Company banking house, I. C. Woods (caretaker of the bankrupt Adams & Company), United States Senator David C. Broderick, and other city newspapers thought to be compliant in the city and statewide corruption.

San Franciscans responded wholeheartedly, sensing hope and redress in the defiant language and pugnacious stance of the new DAILY EVENING BULLETIN:

"in California still it may be said, that rogues and villains make their daily bread . . . but who would dare these villains to expose in public print and make so many foes? . . . .Yes, now we have a friend who dare speak out, the BULLETIN explains their whereabouts . . . ."

From an office on the southeast corner of Merchant and Montgomery, the BULLETIN battled "shoulder-strikers, ballot-box stuffers, and political vagabonds generally in the city", and advocated the formation of chartered banks and oversight regulation by the state legislature - tall demands from a modest, four-page crusading tabloid locked in fierce sales competition with the ALTA CALIFORNIA, the HERALD, the PICTORIAL TOWN TALK, the GLOBE, and the CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE.

The vigorous James King had become, in a very short time, a renowned and fearless champion and folk hero for the law-abiding and the previously fearful; this was a man who labored to expose and throw out politicians who were no better than pirates of the mainland:

"A man, unworthy to serve the humblest citizen in the land, has filled the highest office in the gift of the people. Judges have sat on the bench, whose more appropriate station would have been the prison house. Men, without one particle of claim . . . have filled the posts of Mayor and Councilmen in this city, for the sole purpose of filling their pockets with the ill-gotten gains of their nefarious schemes, their pilfering and dishonesty . . . ."

American-style civic reform, it has been observed, usually stems from a bad societal conscience - in search of a good night's sleep. What the firebrand James King began in the pages of the DAILY EVENING BULLETIN would play out in a firestorm of public outcry and vigilante justice that transformed San Francisco on the eve of the American civil war - and the catalytic event was the murder and martyrdom of James King himself, on May 14, 1856.

To be continued . . .

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Next Reads

So you've already finished reading the San Francisco's One City, One Book selection this year and want to find something else to whet your literary appetite? Look no further, for you can subscribe to Next Reads and read e-newsletters that highlight books from your favorite genres and subject areas. Reviews span across various works including mystery, science fiction, romance, thrillers and suspense, biography and memoir, armchair travel, and more. Even better, find the books right from the library at one of your local branches. To learn about books set in San Francisco, works by local authors, and announcements of selected upcoming literary readings, try San Francisco Interest. Curious about featured events, exhibits, and the latest happenings at the library? Check out Exhibitions and Programming.

And just in time for the literary scene, don't forget to drop by the LitQuake events happening at the library this month. For more resources and activities for the bibliophile in you, check out San Francisco Reader's Corner.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turbo Charge Your Google Searching Skills

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, from 2 to 3:30, turbo charge your Google searching skills from this presentation offered by the Magazines & Newspapers Center.

When searching for information on the Web, many people simply "Google it," but rarely tap into Google's advanced search options. In this presentaion, go beyond the basic search box and learn how to use special operators to fine-tune your search strategies and customize your search results. Unlock some of the hidden features and shortcuts in this popular search engine. Search more precisely, smarter, and faster.

-Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
-Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
-Event Date & Time: Saturday, October 2, 2010 (2 to 3:30 p.m.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Photos

The Magazines and Newspapers Center presents an encore demonstration workshop featuring digital scanning techniques for photographs, slides, negatives and transparencies.

Patrons are encouraged to participate as we digitize images from various media. Our class meets in the microfilm room of the Fifth Floor Magazines and Newspapers Center. Bring family snapshots, slides, negatives!

100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
-Event Date & Time:
Monday, September 27, 2010 (Noon to 1 p.m.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010



Many of the early San Francisco newspapers came into existence and went just as fast - it was the readers who stayed. The denizens of the new city consumed commerce bulletins, compared auctioneers' advertisements, studied steamship schedules and public notices, evaluated price lists for dry goods, posted body, soul and worldly belongings in personal classifieds, and gleaned the latest gold and silver mining news - all of which filled the text-only pages of the pioneer publications of San Francisco in the days of early settlement and statehood. By the end of 1850, San Francisco could boast of no less than five daily newspapers - all competing in cutthroat fashion in a turbulent local economy whose very foundation rested on equal parts ferment, gambling and speculation. The number of dailies rose to eight in early 1851, fell to only two a year later, then expanded to an even dozen by the end of 1853.

The first Pacific coast evening paper, the DAILY EVENING PICAYUNE debuted with the August 3, 1850 issue. Published Monday through Saturday by Dr. John Hancock Gihon & Co., the PICAYUNE was guided editorially by former San Francisco Sub-Prefect P. A. Brinsmade and erstwhile attorney W. W. Shepard. The paper lost no time in championing the miraculous enterprise of lusty pioneers and a city of destiny, rising to a rendezvous with greatness:

"In little more than one year almost the entire town has sprung, like magic, into existence. During that period, too, it has twice been nearly destroyed by fire, but it has each time suddenly arisen, Phoenix-like, from its ashes, with additional strength and beauty. There is unquestionably existing a spirit among our citizens superior to all difficulties, capable of leaping every obstacle, and of achieving any great undertaking . . . ." August 5, 1850

Within three weeks, the PICAYUNE had its first big scoop. On the morning of August 23, 1850, the steamer California docked in the bay, bringing with it news of the death of President Zachary Taylor. That afternoon, black borders framed the front page of the Daily Evening Picayune, detailing a national story the morning papers didn't carry until the next day.

Always topical, the Picayune took pains to laud the civilizing tendencies of 'virtuous females' in the growing city, offered approval of various public works projects (such as the 'grading and planking of the principal thoroughfares of the city'), saluted the opening of the Union Hotel (and approved its subsequent moratorium on in-house gambling a month later), and alluded toward big dreams of California independent nationhood:

"No people can lay under the uncompensated exactions which have, for the years past, been forced upon us; and the people are with great plausibility, familiarizing their minds with the idea, long entertained and boldly promulgated before the close of the Mexican War, by those now in places of executive power and legislative influence at Washington - that united with Oregon . . . . we may build up here a great western Republic, independent of the world beside."

The Daily Evening Picayune building, plant and editorial team of Shepard and Brinsmade were all effectively lost in the fire of May 4, 1851. Following the resignation of the old regime, the paper resumed later that month ( on May 27th) under the helm of lifelong journalist Andrew C. Russell (Sacramento Union, Los Angeles Star) and political dilettante Charles S. Biden. Though not overtly political journalists or firebrands, Biden and Russell nonetheless expressed devout Whig leanings in many editorials. Russell himself survived two separate duels (pistols and knives)fought with offended parties in 1851-52.

Amongst other interesting features which appeared in the early newspapers published in San Francisco were the special columns and sections devoted to the many non-English immigrant settlers, particularly those toiling in the mines. The DAILY EVENING PICAYUNE ran a regular feature in French by 33-year-old Etienne Derbec, a former contributor to the Journal des Debats. Derbec gained a loyal following, and later published the first-ever French and Spanish newspaper in San Francisco, L'Echo du Pacifique and El Eco del Pacifico.

Operating under a spate of different owners during its final year (which included A. M. Macy, George O'Doherty, Sanford Biden and others), the PICAYUNE experienced financial difficulties severe enough to put it out of business. O'Doherty himself, in the role of proprietor, looked ahead to the time when the gold and silver would someday run out:

"The impression for some time has been steadily gaining ground, that the real basis of prosperity in California is her agriculture; that however great the amount of wealth drawn from her mines, it is her soil which is to make her a state."

The final issue ran on April 17, 1852, and the paper was subsequently absorbed by the SAN FRANCISCO TIMES. Though short-lived, this fascinating journal offers the historian unique, contemporary insights to the early development of the city, from vigilance committees to fire companies to culture and arts.

Visitors to the San Francisco Public Library may view historical issues of the DAILY EVENING PICAYUNE in the Fifth Floor microfilm room, and in the San Francisco History Center.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On Hannibal's Trail: Biking the Alps

The Magazines & Newspapers Center of the San Francisco Public Library presents a program of history, travel, and unforgettable adventure!

Join us as BBC correspondent Danny Wood recounts Hannibal's war against Rome (circa 218 BCE), featuring a 2,000-mile journey of armored men and elephants - a trek that history has never forgotten. Relive the adventure in the modern day as Danny Wood and his two brothers follow the ancient footsteps of Hannibal - from Iberia, across the Pyrenees and the Alps - this time on bicycles!

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
- Event Date and Time: Saturday, September 18 (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Honoring 100 Years of the Filipino American Experience

This month, the Magazines & Newspapers Center highlights two titles--Filipinas and Maganda--two magazines that showcase the historical, cultural, social, and artistic achievements of Filipinos worldwide.

Filipinas – A nationally-circulating monthly magazine written for “Filipinos worldwide,” Filipinas covers Philippine history, culture, community issues, personalities, travel and business, food, and more. This magazine serves as “a venue where Filipino Americans can shed their collective invisibility in mainstream America and finally be recognized.” Each issue covers feature articles on people from the Filipino community, a calendar of events, reflections on Philippine history and culture, and more.

Maganda - An annual student-run publication based at the University of California, Berkeley, this journal features "a vital forum for the presentation of diverse experiences and opinions through all platforms for creativity–including art, prose, poetry, film, music, journalism and scholarly writing." Content includes a pastiche of personal narratives and essays, original poems, photographs, illustrations, paintings, and more.

Also, the Filipino American Center at the Main Library launches Singgalot (The Ties That Bind)--an exhibition and series of programs focusing on Philippine and Filipino American culture and history. This exhibit and its related programs runs from August 14 to October 24 in the Jewett Gallery located at the Main Library, Lower Level. A coinciding exhibit--Baha--showcases the stylized paintings of artist Brent Bataclan depicting a flood that struck Manila and other islands in the Philippines in September 2009. This exhibit, currently running until October 28, portrays the "heroism, resilience and compassion of the Filipino people during this seemingly insurmountable ordeal."

Learn about the thriving Filipino community through a series of diverse educational and literary programs featuring artists, educators, musical performers, poets, and scholars as Singgalot (The Ties That Bind) makes it way to the San Francisco Public Library over the next two months.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Book on Henry R. Luce

Alan Brinkley has recently written a biography on Henry R. Luce, founder of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines entitled The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century.

Here is an excerpt from Bill Keller's April 22, 2010 review in the New York Times that illustrates why the life of Luce can be seen as a fascinating and relevent topic to anyone with an interest in journalism and the role of mass media:

"Of all the arguments under way these days at the noisy crossroads of the news business, none is quite so basic as the debate over journalistic authority — who has it, and what it is worth.

On one side . . . is a view that the democratizing power of the Internet has rendered traditional forms and values of journalism obsolete, and with them, not incidentally, the idea that people should pay for news. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian of London, observed recently that the old world in which journalists were trusted to filter and prioritize the news is now in tension with 'a world in which many (but not all) readers want to have the ability to make their own judgments; express their own priorities; create their own content; articulate their own views; learn from peers as much as from traditional sources of authority.' Among the more utopian partisans of this wisdom-of-the-crowd view, the reliance on professional journalists is seen as elitist and stifling.

On the other side is a conviction that a significant population of serious people feel the need for someone with training, experience and standards — reporters and editors — to help them dig up and sort through the news, identify what’s important and make sense of it. That in no way precludes enlisting the audience as commentators, as contributors and as collaborators . . . But in this view . . . the authority of professional journalists is both a valuable convenience for readers without the time or inclination to manage a tsunami of information on their own, and a civic good, in that a democracy needs a shared base of trustworthy information upon which to make its judgments.

Henry R. Luce can be considered a founding father of the authority school — for better and for worse."

Considering the role these magazines have played in documenting history and remembering events, it may be insightful to consider the man and his aims and how they may have manifested themselves in our collective memory through these pages.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Underground Newspapers on Microfilm


In contrast to the commercial press, the underground tabloids and broadsheets of the 1960s openly addressed relevant local issues such as racial segregation, police and government repression, graft, metropolitan corruption and middle class complacency. Few were as deliberately subjective as the controversial OPEN CITY, or as non-objective as an active participant in the very news it covered in and around the streets of Los Angeles.

First published May 6, 1967, OPEN CITY was subtitled, "Weekly Review of the Los Angeles Renaissance." As conceived by the brilliant editor/publisher (and self-described loose cannon) John Bryan, who financed the paper out of his own pocket,

"OPEN CITY will not write just for an underground readership. We are very much interested in what happens within the greater community and intend to report issues which affect everyone . . . . we are especially interested in covering those areas of conflict which the sell-out daily press so nervously ignores, those areas where angry and determined minorities continue to challenge the worst contemporary madness and injustice."

John Bryan's OPEN CITY opposed the persecution and discrimination of all minority groups, including African Americans, Chicanos, homosexuals, hippies, young people, feminists, war protesters, and more. Indeed, the paper viewed diverse minorities as a constituency readership. Coverage of sexual topics was frank and graphic; the paper made extensive use of colored inks and used uninhibited language in presenting a wide range of combative topics on the order of entertainment, drugs, the draft, the police, and sex in all its forms. As the title indicated, OPEN CITY celebrated diversity as the highest expression of freedom within a paradigm pitting an oppressive mainstream against an embattled underground.

Associate editor Robert Garcia penned an outstanding series dealing with the skid row area of South Main Street in Los Angeles. A special issue (September 14-20, 1967) devoted to marijuana and drug issues was reprinted throughout the United States. Robert Igriega produced a three-part series on race, including a groundbreaking report on jailhouse rape. OPEN CITY employed John Bryan's wife Joan Barr Bryan (Philadelphia Museum School alumni) as art director (teaming with Larry Gaynor for some far-out and uninhibited graphic illustration); she also authored the Supermother's "Cooking With Grass" feature, which provided culinary recipes for marijuana. The "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" column was Charles Bukowski's prose column; he also wrote numerous other OPEN CITY feature stories.

The upbeat "Making It" feature was by Jerry Hopkins. Additional contributors included James Anderson, Harry Weber, Derek Taylor, Richard Whitehall, Ralph Gleason, Antonia Lamb, and photographer Al Gillen. The bi-weekly OPEN CITY peaked with a circulation close to 35,000 copies. Contemporaneous with DISTANT DRUMMER and ROLLING STONE, OPEN CITY was noted for its coverage of rock music and psychedelic culture. The paper met a premature death following the arrest of John Bryan on obscenity charges, and the resultant $1000 fine all but finished off this bold publication venture, effectively shutting OPEN CITY down in mid-March of 1968. Ironically, Bryan and the paper found vindication in a later high court ruling. In requiem, the underground LOS ANGELES FREE PRESS noted in an editorial,

"The establishment didn't like OPEN CITY. It saw too much and said too much. It performed a very vital function while it lived. It let voices be heard which too often were smothered in the press and hurry up of everyday. Where OPEN CITY died another must spring up. There's room in this town and this society for more than one alternate voice paper."

This is the third in a series spotlighting the hip and radical specialized literature of the 1960s. Visit the Magazines and Newspapers Center on the fifth floor and the San Francisco History Center (on the sixth floor of the Main) for a look at our comprehensive Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Centennial Celebration of a Historical San Francisco Landmark

Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

From which village in China did you come? How many houses are there in your row? Which direction does your house face? How many steps lead up to your house? How many windows are there in your house? Imagine if you were a Chinese immigrant, detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station in the early 20th century. These are the types of questions you would be expected to answer--one right after the next--and if you happened to pause, stutter, or forget, you could be instantly deported back to China.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Angel Island Immigration Station. You can read articles from that time period in the San Francisco Chronicle Historical database. To access this electronic resource:

1. Go to the SFPL home page, and under the eLibrary tab, select "Articles & Databases." You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access databases from outside of the library.

2. Scroll down the list and select San Francisco Chronicle Historical.

3. In the search boxes, enter keywords such as "angel island" and "chinese."

4. You will see a list of headlines whose articles contain the keywords entered in step 3. To read the article, simply click on the headline. Or, if you wish, click "Abstract" to read a summary of the article along with its citation, "Page map" to see the entire page on which the article appears," or "Article page - PDF" to get a clipping of the article.

The San Francisco Chronicle Historical archives digitized articles from the San Francisco Chronicle dating from approximately 1865 to 1922. This searchable database offers a wide range of news articles capturing the social, political, and current events during the late 19th and early 20th century in San Francisco.

Finally, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Angel Island, the Chinese Center of the San Francisco Public Library in association with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation will present "Angel Island: the Shanghai Connection" on Wednesday, July 21, at 6 p.m. at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

San Francisco City Directories on SF Genealogy


Some time ago, the Internet Archive digitized a substantial portion of the San Francisco city directories online. In our previous posting, the collection ranged from 1850 to 1953. Since then, even more directories up to 1982 have been scanned and uploaded to the Web. For quick access to a listing of these city directories, follow these steps:

1. Point your browser to SF Genealogy.

2. Select San Francisco County.

3. Select Quicklinks.

4. Select Directories (online).

5. Scroll down the screen to "" to find a chronological listing of San Francisco city directories in digitized format.

Founded and maintained by Pamela Storm and Ron Filion, SF Genealogy strives to provide "free Internet access to genealogical and historical information for San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the State of California." Includes birth, death, and marriage records transcribed from historic newspapers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Following World Cup 2010

Held this time in the country of South Africa, the World Cup football tournament of 2010 will be on the minds of many in the months of June and July. This year SFPL patrons will have a couple of unique options to follow the action.

Particularly exciting for visitors to the Main Library is the prospect of watching the games via large projection screens in the City's Civic Center Plaza. It is likely, depending on how the screens are set up, that one could watch the game from the Library's cubicles facing the Plaza. This could be an important fact to know when planning a work time trip to the library for "research." A schedule of the games shown can be found here.

Another keen way of keeping informed about the tournament is to use the Library's PressDisplay newspaper database to read the current day's newspapers. This database contains the newspapers of 24 of the 32 countries represented so you can see how the folks at home are responding to their team's performance. This is a perfect opportunity to get a really good grasp of how much the world lives (and dies) by its soccer.

Games begin on June 11 with the final match being contested a month later on July 11.