Exploring the Gilded Age in California and its Reverberations Today


Wednesday, May 15, 2019 6:00PM

Exploring the Gilded Age in California and its Reverberations Today
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Please reserve prior to the event. Our space has limited capacity.

Where: California Historical Society Headquarters, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost: $10 General Admission, Free for CHS Members, plus one guest per membership.

The term "Gilded Age" is used to describe the United States in the years between the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century. During this time, there was unprecedented growth in industry, technology, and wealth (for some). It's also the era during which the nation's transcontinental railroads were born, connecting the country's east and west coasts, making it easier to transport goods over long distances, and leading to rapid settlement of the west. But the railroads brought other changes with them as well, including the exploitation of immigrant labor, corrupt business practices and government lobbying, and the displacement and genocide of Native Americans.

Join us for a panel discussion moderated by William Francis Deverell (USC), alongside panelists Richard White (Stanford University), Marguerite Shaffer (Miami University), Barbara Berglund Sokolov (Presidio Trust), and author and historian Jack Kelly. The panel will explore the unique qualities of the Gilded Age in California and reverberations from that time which can still be felt today.

About our Speakers:

Richard White is Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University. He is the author of numerous prize-winning books, including Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, his newest book The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 (Oxford History of the United States), and "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West. He is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Mellon Distinguished Scholar Award, among other awards.

Marguerite S. Shaffer is Professor of History and Global & Intercultural Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her work focuses on U.S. environmental and cultural history with an emphasis on popular environmentalism. She is affiliated with the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability and coordinator of the Institute for Food at Miami. She is the author of See America First: Tourism and National Identity, 1880-1940, editor of Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, and co-editor of Rendering Nature: Animals, Bodies, Places, Politics with Phoebe S. K. Young. She also serves as series editor for the Nature and Culture Series at University of Pennsylvania Press.

Most recently, in her role as coordinator for the Institute for Food, she has helped to develop EducatingFromtheGroundUp.org, a collaborative digital humanities project that explores rural-urban intersections in Southwest Ohio. She is also working on a book entitled Animal Encounters: The Strange History of Tourists and Wildlife in 20th Century America.

Barbara Berglund Sokolov is the Historian for the Presidio Trust where she works to make the history of the Presidio of San Francisco accessible, relevant, and engaging to a diverse public audience. Prior to coming to work for the Trust she was a tenured history professor at the University of South Florida, specializing in the social and cultural history of the nineteenth-century United States and the American West. She is the author of Making San Francisco American: Cultural Frontiers in the Urban West, 1846-1906 (University Press of Kansas, 2007).

Jack Kelly is a journalist, novelist, and historian. He’s the author of the recent book The Edge of Anarchy: The Railroad Barons, the Gilded Age, and the Greatest Labor Uprising in America (St. Martin’s Press). Kelly has also written books about the Revolutionary War, the Erie Canal, and the history of explosives. The New York Times described The Edge of Anarchy as “timely and urgent.” The author lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Learn more about the author/speaker at his website.

About our Moderator:

William Francis Deverell is an American historian with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century American West. He has written works on political, social, ethnic, and environmental history. He is currently at work on a book exploring the history of the post-Civil War American West (Bloomsbury, forthcoming). With David Igler of UC Irvine, he recently published the Blackwell Companion to California, and with Greg Hise of USC, He edited the recently published Blackwell Companion to Los Angeles. David Igler and Professor Deverell are co-editing the Encyclopedia of California for UC Press. He directs the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.

Citation for Image: George A. Crofutt and Company, frontispiece for Great Trans-continental Tourist's Guide, 1871, California Historical Society