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1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance

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A Most Dreadful Earthquake: A First-Hand Account of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire...

California Genealogical Society

The letters forming the foundation of this new book--primarily those written by Sarah E. Phillips--are fresh and vivid, offering insight into the daily lives of regular people as they made do and moved on after the 1906 disaster.

In presenting this collection of previously unpublished letters from the spring and summer of 1906, Ms. Fowler makes it possible for 21st century readers to learn something of the reality of four correspondents' daily lives in tumultuous 1906 San Francisco. Further, she pursues the few facts about the writers that turn up in the letters, solves the mystery of their identities and finds their families.

A review of the book:
"Sarah E. Philips was there. She lived at 1007 Bush Street. Even as the aftershocks were still shaking her home and the fires were raging, she chronicled the events she witnessed in a series of incredible letters to George W. Jones in Schenectady, New York. Like most chroniclers of contemporary events, even those as important as the 1906 earthquake, neither Sarah nor George had an inkling to their historic importance. Kept in their original envelopes these letters remained relatively unnoticed until in the course of moving their office members of the California Genealogical Society 'rediscovered' this treasure in their own midst. Sarah E. Philips is superb storyteller. Thankfully Dorothy Fowler, as a good editor, has let Sarah speak for herself."

Reviewer: William M Fowler Jr., Professor of History at Northeastern University, past Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society and Consulting Editor of the New England Quarterly, noted historian and author.

Published January 2006. The book is a laminated paperback with perfect binding, 190 pages.

Selling for $15, the book is available from the California Genealogical Society.

More information »


Author Dorothy Fowler:

Meet the Authors, CGS Library - March 11, 2006
Guest of KGO 810 AM John Rothmann Program - April 16, 2006 at 5 am
Pardee Home, Oakland - April 30, 2006 2-4 p.m.


1906 Earthquake Centennial Book Reading and Signing, Sunday afternoon, April 30, 2006, 2 to 4 p.m. at Pardee Home Museum, historic home of Dr. George C. Pardee, governor of California during the 1906 earthquake, located at 672 Eleventh Street in downtown Oakland. On-street parking is plentiful on Sundays. Call (510) 444-2187 for additional information.


This collection of contemporaneous reports is a most fitting commemoration of the hardy survivors of April 1906.


General public. History/Genealogy enthusiasts.


Kathryn Doyle, Publicity Volunteer, (510) 530-9220

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