Friday, January 30, 2009

Censored 2009

On Saturday, February 7, 2009, the Magazines and Newspapers Center will present a program on some of the outstanding censored stories of 2007-2008.

Join the Project Censored ( media research staff and faculty for a special presentation and discussion on top censored stories of 2007-2008. Learn about news stories that have been distorted, ignored and suppressed by the mainstream press. Find out what your media is missing and why accountability matters.

Project Censored, a Sonoma State University-based media research program composed of faculty, students, and community members, “conducts research on important national news stories that are under-reported, ignored, misrepresented or otherwise censored by the U. S. corporate media.”

CENSORED 2009—a compilation of top censored stories by investigative researchers, reporters, journalists, and first amendment advocates—reports “the news that didn’t make the News.” A book signing will follow the presentation.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room
- Event Date and Time: Saturday, February 7, 2009 (10:30 a.m. to noon)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Take our Blog Survey!

Please take a few moments to take our survey, which can be found by following this link:

As this blog is a relatively new service tool for us, it is *vital* that we hear your feedback. (Especially if you enjoy reading it . . .)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



The Magazines and Newspapers Center of the San Francisco Public Library offers a wealth of archived historical evidence tracing the tumultuous saga of our city – as told in the rough-and-tumble newspapers of the era – in our microfilm collection on the fifth floor.

The living legacy found in the early newspapers of San Francisco provides a one-of-a kind contemporary written record of the origins and development of a city that made itself great, as well as the settlements of Northern California and the entire Bay Area community. These roaring, rousing, and often opinionated publications documented the partisan zeal, political corruption, political demagoguery, lurid headlines, defamatory editorials, partisan feuds, moralistic essays, slanted sermons, heroic tales, stubborn individualism, proud independence, patriotic fervor, and oftentimes libelous pronouncements that galvanized readers and influenced public opinion and civic direction. San Francisco and the gold mines were a point of entry for men and material, a clash of moralities old and new – and the financial center of a rapidly acquired - and very vast, wealth.

Based in Monterey in August 1846, THE CALIFORNIAN claimed the title of being the first California newspaper, yet THE CALIFORNIAN (after relocating in May 1847) became just the second paper published in the village of Yerba Buena.

The first paper in San Francisco was the Sam Brannan-owned CALIFORNIA STAR (published 1847-1848), self-described in the April 1, 1848 issue as “a weekly journal, devoted to the liberties and interests of the people of California, published by Samuel Brannan and edited by Edward C. Kemble.” Brannan and a group of Mormon settlers had arrived in Yerba Buena (now San Francisco) in 1846 with the city’s first printing press, setting up shop on Clay Street, upstairs from a mule-powered grist mill. Kemble had accompanied the Brannan party voyage to Yerba Buena on board the Brooklyn (six months out of New York) on July 31, 1846, and became the (18-year old) boy editor. Brannan and Kemble began their modest enterprise with a No. 4 Washington press Star printing machine. According to Kemble,

“The name of the intended paper had been cut in wood six months before in the city of New York. We had half a dozen pairs of cases of old Long Primer and Brevier type, and two or three small fonts of job type. These, with the press, were set up in the loft of the mill, and the first printing office on the Bay of San Francisco was ready for business.”

The weekly STAR debuted on January 9, 1847. The January 23 and 30 issues of 1847 ran the military government order proclaiming San Francisco as the town name, replacing thereafter Yerba Buena

" all official communications and public documents or records appertaining to the town...."

The January 16, 1847 issue of the STAR detailed the still-unfolding story of

"...a party of emigrants from the United States, who were prevented from crossing the mountains by an early fall of snow...."

The ill-fated travelers, it was revealed on February 13, had traveled overland from the Missouri River, and,

"…After wandering about a number of days bewildered in the snow, their provisions gave out…..”

These first accounts of the Donner party ran even as San Franciscans frantically raised money to purchase supplies for the proposed rescue of the unlucky group of settlers, trapped in the Sierra snows.

The CALIFORNIA STAR attempted a census of the “Statistics of San Francisco” in the August 28th, 1847 edition. Besides noting a total population of 459 hardy souls living in “the town of San Francisco (Yerba Buena),” the STAR described the ethnicity of inhabitants, as well as their occupations (including 26 carpenters, 20 laborers, 13 clerks, 11 agriculturalists, 4 tailors, and 6 printers). The STAR census also mentioned that

"...there are two weekly newspapers printed in this place....THE CALIFORNIA STAR and THE CALIFORNIAN....and though of small size they are deserving of the support and confidence of the community. They are both printed in English with an occasional article and advertisement in Spanish."

News traveled slowly en route to and from Alta California; San Francisco readers waited weeks to learn of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the end of the war with Mexico, and the annexation of California by the United States Government. The STAR was one of the first in San Francisco to fleetingly report on the discovery of gold in California (some two months after it was first found along the American River). On March 25, 1848, the CALIFORNIA STAR reported in a rather obtuse fashion,

“….So great is the quantity of gold taken from the mine recently found at New Helvetia that it has become an article of traffic in that vicinity….”

The short-lived STAR ran a Marine Journal each week, listing Port of San Francisco arrivals and departures. The STAR booster edition (or “Express Extra”) comprised an overland shipment of some 2500 copies, carried by mule train to the Mississippi Valley – a vivid and effective method of attracting settlers from the East – with a first edition date of April 1, 1848. This title ceased publication with the June 14, 1848 issue – after editor Elbert. P. Jones found himself without a staff; the erstwhile members of his newspaper office crew had unceremoniously abandoned journalism for a try at the gold fields. Some months later, Sam Brannan sold his interest in the by-then idle CALIFORNIA STAR. Purchased initially by Robert Semple, the STAR was later combined with rival paper THE CALIFORNIAN in 1849. Publisher, editor, compositor, and printer Edward C. Kemble (Sam Brannan’s former partner) added two new investors and renamed his property the ALTA CALIFORNIA.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Awaiting the 44th Presidential Inauguration

There's been quite a buzz lately about the upcoming Presidential Inauguration for President-Elect Barack Obama. With the recent debates surrounding Obama's decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren as a guest speaker to the inauguration, there's been a flurry of news on the media. So how do you keep up with the latest developing stories?

First, check out our selection of article databases. From this page, you'll find an assortment of periodical databases covering various topics. While the Proquest Newspapers database covers news articles from over 300 national and international news sources, you might want to explore news stories from non-print formats as well.

For example, slide down the list to EbscoHost Newspaper Source:

You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access this database from outside the Library. Next, under Advanced Search, notice that in addition to limiting your search to newspapers and magazines, you can pull up news stories from transcripts and news wires. Let's run a search with the keywords "Obama" and "Rick Warren."

Notice the lower-right hand of the screen. You can limit your search to alternative formats such as news wires and transcripts:

After running your search, you will retrieve a series of results from sources such as CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and more. Select any link from your search results, and you can read the entire transcript of the audio/video news clip as it had originally aired.

The EbscoHost Newspaper Source database covers a wide range of news from over 180 newspapers including full-text transcripts from the radio and television.

Finally, come watch a special viewing of the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday, January, 20 starting at 9 a.m. in the Koret Auditorium of the Main Library. Tickets for this program can be obtained in advance from the General Collections Reference Desk located on the 3rd Floor of the Main Library. Doors will open at 8:45 A.M. to patrons who already have tickets. Seating will be available on a first come, first served basis after 9 A.M. This special program is co-sponsored by the African American Center.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Turbo Charge Your Library Card

In a past posting, we introduced 52 ways for you to use your library card. Now that the new year has arrived, you may wish to try out some or all of these 52 activities throughout each week of the year. Don't have a library card yet? The San Francisco Public Library aims to provide equal access to information and has recently launched its virtual eCard. Any California resident can apply for an eCard online, and from there, explore the library's electronic resources which include perusing many periodicals from the Magazines & Newspapers Center online through subscription databases, reading and listening to eBooks and eAudiobooks, and much more.

If you would like to reserve and check out books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other library materials, you will need to upgrade to a full-access library card. Just bring a photo ID and proof of your current residential address to any San Francisco Public Library location. For more information on registering online for an eCard, check our FAQ.