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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

Louise Amelia Smith Clappe - Selected Archive Items

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[1303] Francis Samuel Marryat, The Winter of 1849 (1855),
courtesy of Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
This illustration of residents trying to navigate San Francisco's flooded streets shows how rapidly growing cities and towns suffered from poor planning and local weather conditions.

[5228] Anonymous, Montgomery Street, San Francisco, 1852 (n.d.),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-55762].
Rapid, primarily Euro-American immigration during the Gold Rush brought California to statehood in 1850, as a "free state" that forbade slavery. Yet demand for land and forced labor caused a genocidal-scale population decline among California Indians.

[5841] Currier and Ives, Gold Mining in California (c.1871),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC2-1755].
This Currier and Ives lithograph presents a romantic and sanitized portrayal of life in the gold fields. In actuality, the mining process took an incredible toll on both miners and the surrounding environment.

[5599] Louise Amelia Smith Clappe, letter from The Pioneer, Letters from the Mines (1851),
courtesy of the California History Room, California State Library.
A well-educated woman from New Jersey, Louise Clappe wrote numerous letters to her sister about her experiences in the mining camps of California. In 1850 less than 10 percent of California's inhabitants were female.

[7357] Sarony and Major, View of San Francisco, Taken from the Western Hill at the Foot of Telegraph Hill, Looking Toward Ringon Point and Mission Valley [detail] (c. 1851),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC2-1716].
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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