The Californian (1860s newspaper)

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The Californian was a San Francisco literary newspaper published weekly from May 28, 1864 until February 1, 1868.[1]


The Californian was started in May 1864 by publishers P.J. Thomas, A.A. Stickney and John Collner.[1] Charles Henry "Inigo" Webb was the first editor, and Fitz Hugh Ludlow was one of the first contributors. The publishers sold the enterprise to Captain Ogden at the beginning of September 1864. Bret Harte was given the post of editor, and Mark Twain was hired at a high salary of $50 per month as a writer, twice as much money than he received for his much more difficult work as a reporter at the Call. Harte contributed articles as well, and the periodical jumped to the fore among its competitors in the San Francisco Bay Area.[2] Further contributions by Twain were his condensed novels Whereas and Lucretia Smith's Soldier.

After a period of rest at Lake Tahoe, Webb resumed editing duties in November 1864. He continued in this role until April 1865.[1] One of Twain's pieces for The Californian was submitted in December 1865, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." This story and others were later published in a book of the same title.[3][4]

By 1866, writer and poet James F. Bowman was serving as de facto editor. Ina Coolbrith submitted several poems to The Californian.

Ambrose Bierce's first contribution to The Californian was in September 1867, a poem entitled "The Basilica." He followed with his first non-fiction essay, "Female Suffrage," in December.[5]

Charles Warren Stoddard was brought on board late in the life of The Californian. Stoddard expected to write articles, but instead kept the books and mailed subscriptions. Stoddard and Bierce became good friends.[6] In 1867, Stoddard wrote a book of poetry entitled Poems. Bowman wrote a grandiose review of Stoddard's work in The Californian, then turned around and savaged both Stoddard and his earlier review, writing anonymously in the de Young paper Dramatic Chronicle.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Library of Congress. Chronicling America. About this Newspaper: The Californian. Retrieved on July 28, 2009.
  2. ^ Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain: a biography; the personal and literary life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Harper & Brothers, 1912, p. 261.
  3. ^ Mark Twain in The Californian, 1864–1867. Retrieved on July 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Taper, Bernard (2003). Mark Twain's San Francisco. Heyday Books. p. 150. ISBN 1-890771-69-4. 
  5. ^ Swaim, Don. Bierce Chronology
  6. ^ a b Austen, Roger; John W. Crowley. The Genteel Pagan: The Double Life of Charles Warren Stoddard, University of Massachusetts Press, 1995, pp. 54, 58. ISBN 0-87023-980-5