Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Gold Rush Ships

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

The reason I am here today and you are reading this blog is Karl Kortum. Karl was the indefatigable visionary who got this museum up and started. He was a collector, historian, sailor, achiever, and all around bulldog of a man, from what I hear. I never met him, but I run into him every day--his records, his notes, his general mark on this collection is ubiquitous. One of my favorite things in the library is something he put together with Harlan Soeten and Albert Harmon, Notes on the Gold Rush Ships.

This large format (it measures 59 x 42 cm) book is a lovely combination of text, images, maps, newspaper clippings and other delights. It’s one of the most engaging resources we have. There’s all sorts of information on arrivals, departures, wharves, buried ships- knowledge enough to entice the novice and excite the pro.
When I first started here, I thought the Gold Rush would be our most popular topic. It is up there in the top 10, but I don’t have as many chances to bring this out as I would like. I've included some photos below to entice you, but please, do me a favor. Come to the library and ask to see this remarkable piece of history.

views of early San Francisco

map of San Francisco in 1848

map and views of San Francisco with table of Gold Rush storeships

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