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[William Taylor et al], CALIFORNIA Pledge. We the undersigned do pledge ourselves by Divine assistance to abstain from the use and sale of all intoxicating liquors as a beverage while, while in California. [San Francisco, 1851-1854.]

An extraordinary artifact of the California Gold Rush and the Temperance movement

An extraordinary San Francisco Gold Rush-era “temperance pledge” in the form of an eight-foot scroll bearing the signatures of pioneering Methodist missionary William Taylor and 199 other residents. The scroll begins with the declaration, “We the undersigned do pledge ourselves by Divine assistance to abstain from the use and sale of all intoxicating liquors as […]

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1928 San Francisco street railway persuasive map

Persuasive map advocating reform of San Francisco’s street railway system

A scarce 1928 political broadsheet, including a persuasive map of San Francisco, arguing for the approval of a charter amendment that would consolidate the street railway system under city control. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I take the liberty of quoting at length from P.J. Mode’s excellent description, with only minor edits: “This poster urges […]

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BRITTON & REY’S MAP OF GREATER SAN FRANCISCO SHOWING BURNED DISTRICT. San Francisco: Britton & Rey, 1906.

Unrecorded map of the destruction following the San Francisco Earthquake

Unrecorded map of San Francisco highlighting the “burned district” following the 1906 earthquake and fire. The San Francisco Earthquake struck Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906 with an estimated magnitude of 7.9. Devastating fires soon broke out in the city and lasted for days. As many as 3000 people died, more […]

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HAIGHT-ASHBURY SAN FRANCISCO. [San Francisco, late 1967-mid 1968.]

An unrecorded psychedelic map of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District

The only known example of this separately-published, psychedelic map of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. The map shows the neighborhood extending along Haight Street between Schraeder and Masonic, centered on the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. Nearly 40 businesses and other venues are labeled, some—such as Bank of America—solidly mainstream but others reflecting […]

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NEVILLE & CO. 31 & 33 CALIFORNIA ST. SAN FRANCISCO. MANUFACTURERS, IMPORTERS, & WHOLESALE COMMISSION MERCHANTS. [San Francisco, ca. 1880-1900?]

Chromolithographic promotional for Neville and Company of San Francisco

  A spectacular chromolithographic promotional broadside for the San Francisco firm of Neville & Company, a manufacturer and distributor of bags, tents, canvas, cotton, and other cloth products.  The earliest mention I find for Neville & Company is an ad for “White Pine Tents” offered at Neville & Co.’s Flour Bag Depot, 113 Clay Street. […]

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Sparta Graphics San Francisco

Psychedelic image of San Francisco by Sparta Graphics

An iconic 1967 San Francisco image by Dave Schiller and Jim Michaelson of Sparta Graphics, pioneers of the pscychedelic posters that adorned the Bay Area music scene in the 1960s. This exciting graphic poster shows San Francisco as if viewed from across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito. The city is portrayed with its hilly terrain […]

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J. Clark Henley, ALLIGATOR OZ [:] TAILS OF THE CITY [:] THE LAND OF MAKE-BELIEVE. San Francisco: J. Clark Henley, 1976.

Pictorial map of gay life in San Francisco

An unrecorded 1976 insider’s pictorial map of gay life in San Francisco, documenting, celebrating and even in places mocking the interests, haunts, and habits of the city’s vibrant homosexual community. Much as the Green Books had catered to African-American travelers of the 1930s to 1960s, so did Guy Strait’s The Lavender Baedeker and the many […]

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W. M. Eddy, County Surveyor / Lith. by Alex. Zakreski & Co., A TOPOGRAPHICAL & complete Map of SAN FRANCISCO. 1852.

An essential early Map of San Francisco, printed on linen

One of the most important of the great early maps of San Francisco, and one of the first maps of the city published locally. Very rare, and this example unusual for being printed on linen. Unlike some other important early maps of San Francisco, this map was wholly a product of the city itself. The map was […]

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[ Nuclear materials ] NUCLEAR THREATS TO THE BAY AREA. Point Reyes Station: Pelican Alliance for Safe Energy, 1981.

Nuclear materials threaten the Bay Area

A rare 1981 persuasive map highlighting the pervasive presence of nuclear materials in civilian and military facilities around the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was published by the Pelican Alliance for Safe Energy, an anti-nuclear group based in Point Reyes and active from the late 1970s into the mid-1980s. “If you live in the Bay […]

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