George Wharton James
George Wharton James
|Born||27 September 1858|
|Occupation||lecturer, photographer, journalist|
|Subject||California and the American Southwest|
George Wharton James (27 September 1858 – 8 November 1923) was an American popular lecturer, photographer, journalist and editor. Born in Lincolnshire, England, he emigrated to the United States as a young man after being ordained as a Methodist minister.
He served in parishes in Nevada and Southern California, gradually beginning his journalism and writing career. An editor of two magazines, he also wrote more than 40 books and many articles and pamphlets on California and the American Southwest.
George Wharton James was born in Lincolnshire, England. He married and was ordained as a Methodist minister. He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1881.
He served in parishes in Nevada and southern California. However, in 1889 his wife sued for divorce, accusing him of committing numerous acts of adultery. He was tried by the Methodist Church, charged with real estate fraud, using faked credentials, and sexual misconduct. He was defrocked, although he was later reinstated.
In addition to writing his own books, James was associate editor of The Craftsman (1904–05), and editor of Out West (1912–14). In the style of the times, he was a popular lecturer in the region. He also lectured at both the Panama-Pacific and Panama-California expositions 1915–16.
James had a long-running feud with Charles Fletcher Lummis, a California writer with similar regional interests. Both men also explored the American Southwest, becoming acquainted with Father Anton Docher, a French-born missionary priest who served at Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico for 34 years.
James's books included the well-received The Wonders of the Colorado Desert (1906), Through Ramona's Country (1909), In and Out of the Old Missions of California (1905), and The Lake of the Sky (1915). Characteristics of his writing included romanticism, an enthusiasm for natural environments, idealization of aboriginal lifeways, and promotion of health fads.
After his divorce, James married again, living in Pasadena, California with his second wife at 1098 North Raymond Avenue. Writer Lawrence Clark Powell later described James's home as serving as "a kind of museum salon in the same way that El Alisal served as the center for his rival booster Lummis' Los Angeles followers. He founded the Pasadena Browning Society, and the Anti-Whispering Society. According to Powell, the Anti-Whispering Society was "devoted to the suppression of (1) talking audiences, (2) peanut fiends, and (3) crying babies."
James was an advocate of outdoor nakedness or nudism.
- His books and pamphlets were collected by the California State Library and the University of California, Berkeley.
- A collection of his photographs is on file at the University of New Mexico.
- The Southwest Museum in Los Angeles has some of his papers and photographs.
- The Wonders of the Colorado Desert. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. 1906. OCLC 3313620. LCC F868.S15 J2 (with illustrations by Carl Eytel)
- Indian basketry. Henry Malkan. 1909. ISBN 0-486-21712-4.
- Through Ramona's Country. Little, Brown. 1909. OCLC 1710960.
- Indian Blankets and Their Makers. A.C. McClurg and Co. 1914. ISBN 0-486-22996-3.
- The Story of Captain, the Horse with the Human Brain. Radiant Life Press, Pasadena. 1917.
- The Old Franciscan Missions of California (Illustrated ed.). The echo library. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4068-2950-1.
- The Lake of the Sky. The echo library. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4068-2952-5.
- The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It. The echo library. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4068-5328-5.
- In and Out of the Old Missions of California. 2003. ISBN 978-0766142237.
- Quit Your Worrying!. The Echo Library. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4068-5330-8.
- Indian Basketry, and How to Make Indian and Other Baskets. BiblioBazaar. 2011. ISBN 978-1-178-58712-8.
- New Mexico, the Land of the Delight Makers. The Page Company. 1929. ASIN B008LH6ZN0.
- The Legend of Tauquitch and Algoot. Forgotten Books. 2008. ISBN 978-1605068480.
- Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). Encyclopedia Americana. .
- Dan L. Thrapp (1 August 1991). Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography: G-O. U of Nebraska Press. p. 720. ISBN 0-8032-9419-0.
- Starr, Kevin (1985). Inventing the Dream: California through the Progressive Era. New York: Oxford University Press.
- OCLC 3687761 and OCLC 702604648
- Adams, Cyrus C. (March 2, 1907). "Wonders of the Far West: George Wharton James's New Book on the Colorado Desert" (PDF). The New York Times Saturday Review of Books. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
...[James] has gifts of observation far above the common and the literary art of vivid and picturesque description.
- Powell, Lawrence (1971). California Classics. Santa Barbara: Calpra Press. pp. 57. ISBN 0-88496-184-2.
- Shrank 2019, p. 2.
- Eytel contributed the color plate Mirage in the Desert (1905) and over 300 drawings – Edwards, Elza Ivan (1962). Desert Harvest. Los Angeles: Westernlore Press. p. 128. OCLC 2022836. LCC Z1251.S8 E3
- Bourdon, Roger Joseph (1966). George Wharton James, Interpreter of the Southwest. Los Angeles, CA: University of California, Los Angeles. Ph.D. thesis. pp. 375. OCLC 28143279, 32290472, 52598780
- Farquhar, Francis Peloubet (1953). The Books of the Colorado River & the Grand Canyon: A Selective Bibliography. Los Angeles: Glen Dawson. p. 54. OCLC 31136472.
- Larson, Roger Keith (1991). Controversial James: An Essay on the Life and Work of George Wharton James. San Francisco, CA: The Book Club of California. p. 90. ASIN B0006EY8AS. OCLC 24570433. LCC F865.J35 L37 1991
- Starr, Kevin (1973 and 1986). Americans and the California Dream, 1850–1915. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 494. ISBN 978-0195016444 (1986) OCLC 641725018, 254930084
- Shrank, Sarah (2019). Free and Natural: Nudity and the American Cult of the Body. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-5142-5.
- Wild, Peter; Chatterton, Wayne; Maguire, James H. (1990). George Wharton James. Boise, ID: Boise State University "Western Writers Series" (#93). p. 52. ISBN 978-0-88430-092-2. OCLC 754890912, 22357424
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Wharton James.|
- Works by George Wharton James at Project Gutenberg
- Works by George Wharton James at Faded Page (Canada)
- Works by or about George Wharton James at Internet Archive
- Works by George Wharton James at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- "An Adventure in Beaver Canyon 1899" at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009)
- "Basket Makers," Sunset 8(1) (1901)
- "A Saboba Origin-Myth" (1902)
- "The Legend of Tauquich and Algoot" (1903)
- The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009) (1910)
- The Old Franciscan Missions Of California by George Wharton James at Project Gutenberg (1913)
- George Wharton James at Find a Grave