Charles Nordhoff (journalist)

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Charles Nordhoff

Charles Nordhoff (31 August 1830 - 14 July 1901[1]) was an American journalist, descriptive and miscellaneous writer.


He was born in Erwitte, Germany (Prussia) in 1830, and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1835. He was educated in Cincinnati, and apprenticed to a printer in 1843. In 1844, he went to Philadelphia where he worked for a short time in a newspaper office, but then joined the United States Navy, where he served three years and made a voyage around the world. After his Navy service, he remained at sea in the whaling, mackerel fishery and merchant service until 1853.

From 1853 to 1857, he worked in various newspaper offices, first in Philadelphia, then in Indianapolis. He was then employed editorially by Harpers until 1861, when he went to work the next ten years on the staff of the New York Evening Post, and he later contributed to the New York Tribune.

From 1871 to 1873 Nordhoff traveled in California and visited Hawaii. He then became Washington correspondent of the New York Herald. Nordhoff died in San Francisco, California.[2]


He was the father of Walter Nordhoff, author of The Journey of the Flame, penned under the name "Antonio de Fierro Blanco".

He was the grandfather of Charles Bernard Nordhoff, co-author of Mutiny on the Bounty.


The town of Ojai, California, was named for him originally. It was changed due to anti-German sentiment of the World War I era.

Nordhoff Street, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, is named in his honor.


His most widely known books are Communistic Societies of The United States, and California for Health, Pleasure and Residence.

  • Kern, Practical Landscape Gardening, editor (Cincinnati, 1855)
  • Man-of-War Life: a Boy's Experience in the U. S. Navy, largely autobiographical (Cincinnati, 1855)
  • The Merchant Vessel (1855)
  • Whaling and Fishing (1855; new edition, 1903)
  • Nine Years as a Sailor (1857)
  • Stories from the Island World (New York, 1857)
  • Secession Is Rebellion: the Union Indissoluble (1860)
  • The Freedmen of South Carolina: Some Account of their Appearance, Character, Condition, and Customs (1863)
  • America for Free Working Men! (1865)
  • Cape Cod and All Along Shore, a collection of stories (1868)
  • California: For Health, Pleasure, and Residence (1873)
  • Northern California, Oregon, and the Sandwich Islands (1874)
  • Politics for Young Americans (1875) This was adopted as a school textbook.[2]
  • The Communistic Societies of the United States (1875)
  • The Cotton States in the Spring and Summer of 1875 (1876)
  • God and the Future Life (1881)
  • Peninsular California (1888)


  1. ^ "Subjects of Biographies". Dictionary of American Biography. Comprehensive Index. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1990. 
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Nordhoff, Charles". Encyclopedia Americana. 


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