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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

5. Masculine

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Activities: Author Activities

Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton - Selected Archive Items

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[1891] Rand McNally and Co., New and Enlarged Scale Railroad and County Map of California Showing Every Railroad Station and Post Office in the State (1883),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division [LC Railroad maps, 189].
The expansion of railroads plays a key role in the overturning of Californio culture in Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's novel The Squatter and the Don. Later maps like this one redefined territory through industrial transportation, political units, and government communications outposts, guiding investment and commerce.

[5240] Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona manuscript page (c. 1883),
courtesy of Colorado College, Tutt Library Special Collections.
Jackson wrote Ramona hoping that the novel would call attention to the mistreatment of California's Indians much as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin had to the plight of slaves.

[5761] N. Currier, The Battle of Sacramento (1847),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC2-1966].
Americans charge against Mexicans during the battle near Rancho Sacramento, just north of Chihuahua, Mexico, on February 28, 1847. The heroism of the American soldiers contrasts with the limpness of the Mexican forces and reflects American biases.

[6856] Oriana Day, Mission San Gabriel Arcangel [Oil on canvas 20 x 30 in.] (late 19th century),
courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; gift of Mrs. Eleanor Martin, 37556.
As Ruiz de Burton makes clear, Mexican society was well established in California before the era of the Gold Rush. Missions often maintained large herds of cattle to provide their residents with a reliable source of meat.

[7264] William S. Smith, The New Ship "Mechanic's Own," Built for the Mechanics' Mining Association by Messrs. Bishop & Simonson, Sailed from New York, Augt. 14th, 1849, for California (1849),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-114923].
Ships like the Mechanic's Own provided the crucial link between the United States and the western territories of California and Oregon. Writers such as Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, John Rollin Ridge, and Louise Amelia Smith Clappe wrote of the arrival of Euro-Americans in what had been Mexican American territory.

[7359] Fanny F. Palmer, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (1868),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC2-3757].
Less than two years after the Gold Rush began, San Francisco had become a sprawling boom town that drew people from all over the world. This illustration shows both a busy city and a very active harbor crowded with ships.

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