“imagining the city

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 Critically discuss one of the unique cultural spaces analyzed in either “Living in the City” or “Playing in the City” in Berglund’s text. Feel free to refer to other texts. Your answer should focus on at least one substantive issue discussed in class (e.g. class, race, commodification, nature, modernity, etc.). Bringing more than one of these issues to bear on your reading is encouraged. Feel free to draw from any additional works you may be interested in. 

Midterm Essay Assignment
HUM 376
Fall 2021
Dr. Thomas, [email protected]
Due Sunday, November 7th @ 11:55PM via TurnItIn

The paper must follow all of the requirements as specified in the course syllabus (including for UD-
C or Segment Three writing requirements). It must be 4 pages, typed, double-spaced, and meet the
definition of critical, college-level, writing. You ARE REQUIRED to include quotes from the
assigned text(s) for each prompt. Include pages numbers for citations of course materials (articles,
books, book chapters). The format should follow basic college style: Use italics for titles of books or
films, e.g. Making San Francisco American. Use quotes for titles of articles or book chapters, e.g.
“Playing in the City” from Making San Francisco American. For quotes longer than three lines you
need to offset: that means indent and single space. Do not use quote marks around offset quotations.
For citation format, you can simply put the page number in parentheses at the end of a quote, e,g,
(17). If you do not indicate the source of your quote before the quote itself, you can include that
information in parentheses with the page number, e.g. (Berglund, 17). If you use any outside
sources, you are required to cite them (with a full citation in a footnote). You are NOT required to
include a formal Bibliography or Works Cited. Again, You ARE REQUIRED to include quotes
from the assigned text(s) for each prompt. (You are free to use quotes from the films, but this does
not substitute for using quotes from the assigned texts.) I want you to teach me what you have
learned in the first half of the semester. You are free to go over the required page length if you feel
you need to in order to fully answer the question(s). I would never penalize someone for doing
additional work. However, if you go under the required page length, I am required to grade you

Everyone is required to answer question 1. Choose and answer one more from among the
remaining essay questions (so your paper answers a total of 2 questions in a 4-page format).
Again, You ARE REQUIRED to include quotes from the relevant text(s) for each answer. Do
not repeat these questions as part of your answers.

1. Using citations from Berglund’s “Imagining the City,” critically discuss the
California Mid-Winter International Exposition of 1894 and what it tells us about
modern San Francisco history and culture. Cite specific examples of how we can think
critically about this fair (e.g. commodification, race, gender, modernity, nature, etc.). You
may also use Olalquiaga’s discussion of the first World’s Fair in her “The Crystal
Palace” as an additional critical source. (Required)

2. Critically discuss one of the unique cultural spaces analyzed in either “Living in the City” or
“Playing in the City” in Berglund’s text. Feel free to refer to other texts. Your answer should
focus on at least one substantive issue discussed in class (e.g. class, race, commodification,
nature, modernity, etc.). Bringing more than one of these issues to bear on your reading is
encouraged. Feel free to draw from any additional works you may be interested in.

3. Critically discuss Ishi: The Last Yahi. What kinds of problems does Ishi’s “capture” as the
“last wild Indian” point to? (You will have to choose a textual source, e.g. Solnit, that may
not specifically be “on” Ishi to provide textual support for your paper)

4. Using Berglund’s chapter on “Playing in the City” as a critical source, discuss Madams of the
Barbary Coast and the history of prostitution in SF. You can include discussions of the
Barbary Coast, Chinatown, etc. Your response should discuss substantial issues (e.g. gender,
race, slavery, etc.).

5. Using Berglund’s “Making Race in the City,” critically discuss Chinatown as a space of
tourism and spectacle. What kinds of critical issues does this bring up (regarding, for
example, commodification, Orientalism, exclusion, and race)? Use specific examples in your

6. Using Celeste Olalquiaga’s “The Crystal Palace” and/or Berglund’s “Playing in the City” as a
critical source, critically discuss Sutro’s Baths as a uniquely “modern” space of amusement.
How was Sutro’s an example of modern architecture, including its Victorian interior, and
what modern practices and relations were bound up with this space?


flirtatious sociability of the promenade created an environment in which the

Mechanics’ Institute’s vision of harmonious class relations linked to a do
mestic ideal might be realized. Just as men were cautioned against being too

Imagining the City:
radical, women were warned not to be too smart, too worldly, too domestic,
or too desirous of equality with men. If, as a result of courtships begun

The California Midwinteraround the fountain, hard-working men married respectable women,
worked in honorable trades, and created stable family units, they laid the International Expositiongroundwork for a society organized around middle-class values and an in
dustrializing economy that provided the foundation for making San Fran
cisco an American place.

The California Midwinter International Exposition—also known as ffie Mid
winter fair—was held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park from January 27to July 4, 1894. Following on the heels of the World’s Columbian Exposition,
it showcased selected exhibits from Chicago’s spectacular commemoration ofthe 4ooth anniversary of Columbus’s journey to America as well as an impressive number of new exhibits at its specially constructed fairground, Sunset
City. The driving force behind this extravaganza was Michael H. de Young,
the publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle, who had also been Commissioner
of California Exhibits at the Chicago Fair. In Chicago, he determined thatSan Francisco could reap economic and social benefits from hosting a similarfair. The city, like the rest of the nation, was reeling from the effects of theeconomic depression of 1893.1

De Young envisioned staging a publicly funded venture that would rein
vigorate the local economy and advertise San Francisco by showcasing
California’s temperate winter climate and agricultural bounty to visitors andpotential migrants alike. He called a meeting of the local businessmen with
him in Chicago, pitched his idea, and despite some skepticism, he extractedpledges totaling over $%o,ooo—enough to get the enterprise off the ground.Although it had taken seven years to bring the Columbian Exposition to fruition, in eight busy months fair organizers set up a corporate-style administrative structure and ran successful local fund-raising and publicity campaigns.They arranged for many of the exhibits from the Chicago Fair to be carriedby rail to San Francisco, developed an impressive number of new exhibits, anddesigned and built Sunset City. While the rush to completion was evident in



areas where landscaping was sparse as well as in the delayed opening of some

exhibits, the Midwinter Fair was nevertheless even more of an economic suc

cess than its promoters had hoped. By the time the fair closed onJuly4, 1894,

nearly two-and-a-half million people had attended (see figure 33).2

As the first American international exposition ever held west of Chicago,

the Midwinter Fair provided San Francisco elites with an opportunity to

present an image of the city to local, national, and international audiences.

While the Mechanics’ Institute fairs were small and local, their long history as

a ritual cultural frontier offered important lessons in how to coordinate an

event like the Midwinter Fair and use it to convey an ordered vision. The

leaders in business, finance, and industry who joined de Young in organizing

the fair pursued their course with the blessings of the mayor, the governor,

and other state and local officials. Although central, northern, and southern

Californians all had their representatives on fair committees, the Midwinter

Fair’s lead.ipg organizers wcpdrawnJrorn San Francis9p]itical,eco-

nomic, and intellectual elite. These men sat at the helm of a city that, al

removed from conquest had become, by 1890, the

largest city on the West Coast and the eighth largest in the country. In plan

nin and desininu Sunset City they created a paean to America’s landed em

pire that showcased San Francisco—the jewel in the crown of western expan

sion and a burgeoning yet still relatively new American place that had its roots

in the formative crucible of the frontier. With the frontier having been

deemed officially closed by the Census Bureau in 1890, many of the fair orga

nizers believed it was time for San Francisco to shake off some of its boom-

town reputation. As banker and civic leader James D. Phelan announced at

the Midwinter Fair’s inaugural ceremonies, “We celebrate to-day this great

fact—a history-making fact in the annals of the world—that the American

people have reached the Pacific Ocean, and that civilization, having sprung in

the remote east and pursued its destined course, has reached the western edge

of the American continent in California . . . ‘The eastern nations sink, their

glory ends, I An empire rises where the sun descends.’ “3

The fair’s displays that exhibited local progress in manufacturing, agricul

ture, industry, and technology captured one component of what the arrival of

civilization meant in California. But another part of what civilization’s pres

ence on the continent’s edge signified were the ways California, and especially

San Francisco, had gone from the social disorder of the gold rush years to a

society organized along lines that were much more in keeping with national

norms. Through this process, this frontier region became recognizable as part
of the nation. Through the fair, tijtes fashioned a story about the city as a dis
tinctive place—with its own history and vision for the future—jplaced
s ihi cQntours of the national story and central to the nation’s
development. On this level, the A’lidwinter Fair—as the elaborate fantasy of

–pjpus ye PQ iIirc—served as a cultural frontier that embodied the
kind of ordering hierarchies that this elite had imagined, and had to some de
gree realized, for the city itself. Despite the fact of continual, stubborn social
disorder, San Francisco in 1894 was not the socially fluid place that it had
been in 1849. And, at the fair, just as in the city itself the elite ordered vision
was at times successful, and at other times disrupted and undermined by peo
ple and forces beyond its control. Four aspects of the Midwinter Fair shed
particular light on the connections between the sociar hierarchies this extrav
aganza represented and the vision of social order it promoted the symbolic


figure The California Midwinter International Exposition, 1894—the first inter
national exposition held west of Chicago, which hosted the 1893 Columbian Exposi
tion. (Robert B. Honevman,Jr. Collection of Early California and Western American
Pictorial Material, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)

I 74 C

significance of its Orientalist architecture, the version
of history articiilajp

is4imng Cp ikithe gender politics of w
omen at the fair as work

ers and as spectacle m the context of commercialized
leisure, nd the economic

tensions disclosed at an event promoted as a balm
for healing class divisions.

Ka1purpose of nineteenth-cennuy expoiioi
was odat

the technological achievements and social hierarchie
s that constituted civil

izatic)n. Although Chicago and San Francisco—and the
eleven other interna

tional expositions held between 1876 and i9,6—shared
a vision of order and

progress grounded in white racial dominance, patriarchal
gender relations,

and industrial class relations, they each chose differen
t styles of architecture

and design that fit with local and regional conditions.
During the planning

stages, San francisco’s Executive Committee operated
under the assumption

“that there was time enough, and artistic energy enough
, for the development

of a marked individuality” in the Midwinter Fair’s arch
itecture. Its members

hoped that the buildings would capture “something o
f the characteristics of

the locality and the people in whose midst the Expos
ition was to be built.” De

Young, as the fair’s Director-General, had suggested
that one way to avoid

“the architectural reminiscences of Chicago” would be
to “make their studies

from the Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Moor
ish, and old Mission

buildings.” ‘vVhen the local architects who competed to
design the buildings

submitted their creations, it was found that de Young’s su
ggestions “had been

kindly received and largely acted upon.” The architecture of
the Chicago Fair

was neoclassical; in San Francisco, it was broadly Orien

The Midwinter Fair’s Orientalist theme was given its mo
st spectacular ex

pression in the five main buildings that formed Sunset C
itys Grand Court of

Honor: Manufactures and Liberal Arts, Mechanical Art
s, Horticulture and

Agriculture, Fine Arts, and Administration. Each of the G
rand Court’s build

ings combined a variety of Oriental styles and each posse
ssed “an interesting

individuality” and “unconventionality.” As a whole, this t
urn toward the Ori

ent presented a marked departure from the emphasi
s placed on balance,

order, and architectural uniformity in Chicago’s White City’s
expression of a

hierarchically organized society in its imposing, symmetrica
l facades. A. Page

Brown, the chief architect of the Midwinter Fair, designed th
e Administration

Building using an eclectic mix that included both Moorish an
d East Indian in

fluences. He was also the architect for the Manufactures
and Liberal Arts

Building, which had “something of the old Mission character
in its architec

ture, with Moorish detail” and featured a much-noted turq
uoise blue dome


and golden cupola. The Horticultural and Agricultural Building, the work of
Samuel Newsom, was “distinctively characteristic of the early Spanish period
in California.” C. C. McDougaJl Fine Arts Building was described as Egyp
tian and “covered with hieroglhs” with “a suggestion of the temples of
India in the pyramidal roof.” The Mechanical Arts Building, the creation of
Edmund R. Swain, was “East Indian in appearance” and was said to bring to
mind “the Jumma Musjid at Delhi” and “the Pearl Mosque at Agra.” Finally,
the buildings of Sunset City were not white but painted colors chosen to
evoke a sunset over the Pacific. Pink, turquoise gold, vermilion, and greenish
gray accents enlivened their creamy ivory facades (see figure 34).5

The literature of promoters and boosters_taken at face value—offers
one way of reading the symbolic significance of Sunset City Orientalist
architecture. According to The Official History “the marvelous city of towers,
minarets, domes and castles” reflected “the spirit of California.” This was de
fined as encompassing “the individuality of Californians” as well as their
“dash and daring.” This spirit likewise included “the freedom, the liberality,
the open-handed hospitali which are proverbially Californian characteris
tics.” It also embodied “the strangely beautiful blending of the East and the
West.” Taken together, Sunset City exemplified “the most complete expres
sion of a new civilization”o

But just below the surface, there were other less sanguine meanings sug
gested by the Midwinter Fair Orientalist architecture. Although this particu
lar style did not express the mastery of order and balance implied by neoclassi
cism, it nevertheless symbolized an ordered VIsi0n• By choosing Orientalist
architecture, Sunset City’s planners actively looked to the imaginings of a
powerful, imperial Europe to symbolize the new civilization of the United
States in th Pifi West. Sunset City embrace of Orientalist styles was
undergirded by an understanding of the Orient—kjiown as Orientalism_
that developed as Europe extended its imperial control over parts of Asia,
India, and North Africa. Through the selective appropriation of culturalar
tifacts as well as styles of architecture and design, Europeans produced what
came to be recognized as the authoritative representation of the Orient. In
this representation, which was based upn a sense of ownership Europe con
structed “the Orient” as inferior to the “Occident.” In doing so, Europe
strengthened its own identity and reaffinned its dominance over colonized peo
pies and jJaces. Sunset City Orientalism, although founded upon European
precedent, was both more broadly and somewhat differently conceptualized as


a result of local conditions. In addition to encompassing East Indian, Egyp
tian, and Moorish qualities, it also claimed the power to represent Chinese,

TiColumbian Exposition’s 1vVhite City hJTfèred Americans a uto
pian vision of a well-ordered city. It emphasized the consolidation of the
country’s landed empire and displayed the United States as a country ready
to dominate the other nations of the world. If some of the first ideological
steps toward realizing the nation’s nascent overseas imperial ambitions were
taken at Chicago, the second steps were taken at the San Francisco fair. The
Orientalist architecture of Sunset City represented San Francisco as “The
Imperial City of the vVest” and communicated a more aggressive and tar
geted imperial position. Sunset City declared the United States—by way of
San Francisco, its far ‘Vestern commercial, financial, and military outpost—

a force actively reaching out toward and desiring dominance over Asia andLatin America. In this sense, Sunset City looked outward, to order placesand people beyond the city. “It is through this ocean gateway,” TaliesinEvans’s popular guide to the fair reminded its readers, “that the commerceof the nation with the Orient, with the lands of the Pacific, with Australasia,the Russian and Asiatic Possessions, British Columbia, the western coasts ofSouth and Central America and the bulk of the commerce of Mexicopasses.” Just four years later in 1898, the United States annexed Hawaiiwhile troops en route to the Spanish American War—which resulted in further overseas imperial acquisitions—were stationed at San Francisco’s Presidio precisely because of its strategic location as a base for American expansion into the Pacific.8
In extending and adapting Orientalism’s formulation, Sunset City wovetogether a web of outward facing positions that expressed the kinds of relationships that the United States in the Pacific West desired with those beyond its borders and inward looking stances that reaffirmed local power relations. Sunset City’s use of Orientalist architecture represented deepdesires and anxieties connected to the local conditions and imperial ambitions of San Francisco and California vis-à-vis the American ‘West, theAmerican nation, and the XVestern Hemisphere. For example, following thelogic of European Orientalism, the fair’s promotional literature’s renditionsof Mission and Spanish Colonial styles created a “mythical architecturalpast” that echoed an equally mythical social history. The fair’s Official Guideblithely suggested to readers that “whatever this Spanish period may havebeen to the people who actually lived in it, to modern Californians it is aheritage of legend and romance.” Accordingly, the period was representedas one of “old grey Mission churches, with their tiled roofs, pillared corridors and high altars, crumbling into rust and dust;” “low, weather stainedranch houses where the haughty Dons lorded it in feudal fashion, and wherethe sound of the guitar and the castanets still seem to linger;” and “ruinedpresidios where swash-buclder soldiers passed their days in rough, carelessgaiety.” Remnants of this not-so-distant past could be seen “in many a suggestive bit of architecture or display of costume, custom or handiworkwithin the walls of the Midwinter Exposition.” Through these kinds of representations of Mission and Colonial styles—that existed more in the imagination of Americans than they ever had in the reality of Mexican California—the Midwinter Fair, echoing mainstream histories of the region,


figure The Manufactures Building. The Midwinter fair’s architecture was
broadly Orientalist. This building, one of the five that constituted Sunset City’s grand
court of honor, was designed by A. Page Brown to convey both Mission and Moorish
influences. (I. W Taber, photographer. Souvenir of the California Midwinter Interna
tional Exposition 1894, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)



presented conquest a
s an act of generosity

, in which civilized An
glos lifted

the lazy, yet romantic
and colorful Californio

s out of the semi-barba
ric state

in which they had lan
guished. This represen

tation spoke to the po
sition of

Mexicans and Calif
ornios within the state

’s borders as disposs
essed colo

nized peoples and m
anifested a powerful i

mage of Latin Americ
an nations

as decaying and pri
mitive that worked to

justify and encourage
the United

States’ increasingly im
perial and bellicose po


The inward and outw
ard looking ordering vi

sions of the Orientalist

tecture manifested in t
he quadrangle of bui

ldings that formed Sun
set City’s

Grand Court were rein
forced by a number of

concessional structures
and ex

hibits that existed beyo
nd the court’s boundar

ies.10 As the Official H
istoiy ex

plained, the fair’s overa
ll “arrangement assume

d something of the char
acter of

an inner circle of purely
expositional buildings

with an outer concentr
ic circle

of concessional feature
s.” It was along this ou

ter ring that a visitor to
the fair

would find, among oth
er things, the Chinese,

Japanese, Hawaiian, an
d Esqui

maux exhibits. Accord
ing to the Official Souv

enb; the purpose of th
e various

buildings and village s
ettings that made up th

ese displays was purely

tional. “The villages of
Hawaii, Esquimaux, C

hina, Japan and other l

are perfect reproductio
ns of the originals in th

e lands they represent
, and the

whole is an object lesso
n which no book could

teach. . . . a living and

encyclopaedia.” In a se
nse, this was true, as th

e reality these exhibi
ts repre

sented did have a ped
agogical mission. Mor

e often than not, disp
lays of

Asians, Native Americ
ans, and Pacific Island

ers used Orientalist lo
gic to in

struct observers in the
racial difference, strang

eness, and barbarism o
f the ex

hibited groups. Althou
gh some of these exhib

its had appeared at the

bian Exposition, in San
Francisco they were ar

rayed against a differe
nt local

context. The social mea
nings derived from the

exhibition of these peop
les and

cultures arose from th
e confluence of San Fran

cisco’s relatively high

age of residents of Asia
n descent; its equally lo

ng history of anti-Asia
n racism;

the conquest of the re
gion’s Native Americ

an inhabitants; and the

most recent imperial am
bitions that necessitate

d the evaluation of the

tants of the Pacific as p
otential colonial subject


The Chinese and Japan
ese exhibits created rep

resentations of these co

tries that had relevanc
e for how China and Jap

an as distant nations we
re ima

gined as well as for the
ways Chinese and Jap

anese residents in Cal

were perceived. The C
hinese Building, design

ed by a local architectu
ral firm


and financed by the city’s Chinese merchants, allowed visitors to view and
possibly purchase “the deft handiwork of Chinese artisans and the wonderful

products of Chinese ingenuity” and provided “a CUfjOU5 and instructive
object-lesson of the architectural ability of the inhabitants of the great Empire
of the East.” But the positive associations that could be derived from the Chi
nese Building about the achievements of Chinese culture were tempered by
negative associations with Chinatown. Since the Chinese Building contained
a restaurant tea house, joss house, theater, and bazaar it not only replicated
many of the standard sites of Chinatown’s tourist terrain but also the racializ_
ing work done by them.’3 The fair’s promotional literature even told visitors
that all of the “attractive features” of Chinatown could be seen at the
exposition’s Chinese llage “under much pleasanter conditions”_thus play
ing on Prevailing stereoes of the neighbor00 as filthy, malodorous, and
teeming and conjuring up unfavorable images of Chinese immigrants Willing
to live in such an environment 14

sitors to the fair’s elaborate Japanese Tea Garden were told by Taliesin
Evans’s guidebook that with “one step” they would pass from “the grand
plaza of this great achievement of Western civilization into a romantic scene
faithfully depicting life in the ancient, but still semi-barbaric, ‘Land of the
Mikado.” Conceptualized and designed by ardent Orientalist and local
purveyor of Japanese goods George Turner Marsh and built by Japanese

craftsmen, the Midwinter fair’s Tea Garden featured an impressive gateway,
a thatch and wood tea room, and a three_story theater that hosted the per
formances of a troupe of Japanese jugglers. Japanese landscapers filled the
grounds around the Tea Garden with various plants and bonsai trees, tran
quil ponds, bridges, winding paths, restful benches, and colorful lanterns.

Although Evans had initially described Japanese culture as “semi_barbaric,”

lie also noted that the Japanese exhibit illustrated “the great regard of the
Japanese people for cleanliness and fresh air in their homes, and public
places, and their instinctive love for art and fine WorlGnanship” The Mon
arch Souvenir of Sunset and Sunset Scenes took a less charitable view and
emphasized the religious and racial differences of theJapanese that could be
inferred from the exhibit. It explained to readers that the “peculiar style of
Japanese architecture” was “suggestive of all sorts of mysteries, to say noth
ing of idols and heathen rites” that were “a part and parcel of the home life
of the ‘little brown men.” Here, even when the grandeur of a distant Asian


civilization was invok
ed, it was double-edge

d and coupled with

statements designed
to highlight the inferi

or and less than fu
lly civilized

status of the Japanese
and their culture vis-à

-vis the West.15

The Midwinter fair’
s exhibitions of Haw

aiians and Inuits to
ok place

against a backdrop o
f heightened anxieties

about the suitability o
f these colo

nized peoples for in
tegration into the Am

erican nation. The S
an Francisco

?vioniing Call describe
d the Midwinter Fair’s

Hawaiian Village as di
splaying “a

street of ancient Haw
aiian straw cottages”

in which “natives” ma
de “mats,

manufacture leis and p
oi and pursue other v

ocations.” Taliesin Eva
ns’s guide

book noted its cycloram
a that provided a “reali

stic representation of
the burn

ing crater of Kilaue
a.” Visitors were also

treated to an exhibiti
on of “two

empty ‘throne’ chairs
that formerly were ow

ned by Kamehamehali
and Kala

kaua, and that a little o
ver a year ago were wr

ested from the posse
ssion of Li

liukalani by the Prov
isional Government o

f Honolulu.” The fac
t that the

Monarch Souvenir dee
med the Hawaiian V

illage “truly represent
ative” was

identified as being p
articularly important

because “recent even
ts” had

“created a desire in th
e public mind for a mo

re intimate knowledge
of the Ha

waiian people.” “Recen
t events” was a euphem

ism for the United Stat
es’ impe

rial maneuvers on the
islands. As the reporte

r for the Call explaine
d, “in per

mitting the transporta
tion of these idle bau

bles of a deposed dy
nasty to a

foreign land,” the Am
erican sugar plantation

owners who had taken
control of

the island “intended
to give notice that the

se things would neve
r again be

needed at home.” Ho
wever, this account al

so noted that the “nati
ve islanders

who serve as attendants
in the Hawaiian Villa

ge” maintained “a differ
ent view.”

Instead of happily acce
pting the overthrow

of their queen and agr
eeing that

the chairs they were e
xhibited with symbolize

d her defeat, they look
ed “hope

fully” to the time when
she would “be re-enthr

oned” on one of the ch
airs. Ha

waiians, seen from this
vantage point, did not

appear to be the kind
of willing,

passive subjects that w
ould be easily assimil

able into the America
n national

fold. In fact, the issue o
f the desirability of Ha

waiians as American ci
tizens hov

ered over the subject o
f Hawaiian Annexation,

which was debated at th
e inau

gural meeting of the
Midwinter Fair Cong

resses, on January 25,
1894, two

days before the fair’s
official opening. Altho

ugh the side opposing a

this—according to the
judges—was “de

cided merely on the stre
ngth of the arguments

and did not attempt to
offer any

suggestion in regard to
the solution of the que

stion of annexation.”1


Wile the Hawaiian Village represented many of the ambiguities that

surrounded the issue of Alnerican imperial adventures and conveyed an
image of Hawajians as possibly unwilling and probably undesirable Alneri

cans, the Inuit exhibits represented “Esquirnauxs” as more thoroug11y con

quered, docile, physicalr weakened, and childlike. The Esqui;naux Village

occupied three acres at the fairgrounds and displayed the “mode of homelife”

of Inuit people from both Labrador and Alaska. The exhibit featured igloos
made from plaster staf a lake, canoes, sealsli tents, and sled dogs. It of
fered, according to the Mona,-c/j Souvenir an excellent way to learn about In-
flits, “whose ways of living are so peculiar and whose iace characteristics are
so little known to the civilized nations of the world.” The issue of integration

in the American body politic was not as acute as in the Hawaiian case, in part,

because Inuits at the fair conformed to prevalent understandings of Native

Alnerjcans as, what the hron ic/c termed, a “rapidly diminishing face of peo
pie.” This image was reinforced by a tragically high infant mortality rate
among the Inuits at both the Chicago Fair and the San Francisco Fair. All
five of the children born to Inuits during the tenure of these two fairs died as
infants.17 Moreover, because Inuits were also perceived as childlike and thus

naturally dependent and in need of protectioi resistance to American domi

nance was not expected to be forthcoming. This image was reinforced by

hro 11 ic/c reports oflnuits at the fair, who when left to their own devices were

found “dropping dunes into the cocktail and rum slots of the automatic bar”
and not attending educational exhibits geared more toward “the elevation of
the race.” Accounts in the Chronicle of their shopping trips downtown em

phasized their attraction to shiny, childlike things: “gold watches and toys.”

Within three years, the ondike gold rush would send Americans Pouring
into Alaska and thus add a new dimension to the conquest of the ‘units al
ready well under way (see figure 35).18

Although the representations ofAjans Pacific Islanders and Native Amer
icans that emanated from these concessions were frequently negative, this did
not stop exhibited peopled from partang of aspects of some of these same

Oentalist displays and Participating in both the elaboration and disruption of
the fair ordered vision• On Stmdays when the Esquiinanx Village was closed,

Inuit men explored the fairgrounds tang in all the other shows, and both men
and womei traveled downto on shopping expeditions Special celebration

days, like Chinese Day on June 17 andJapanese Day onJune 9’ complete with

parades and pageants, drew large numbers of Asian patrons to the Midwinter

Fair even though—or perhaps because—people of Asian descent had to stnig

gle harder than other ethnic and fraternal groups to have these days set aside

for them.’9 Numerous accounts drew attention to the wide-ranging participa

tion of Chinese at the Midwinter Fair. The Official History remarked upon the

“liberal patronage accorded the general features of the Exposition by the large

Chinese population of San Francisco.” The Chronicle reported that the young

actors from the Chinese theater roamed the fairgrounds when not working

and were apparently very fond of “the nickel-in-the-slot contrivance in Ma

chinery Hall.” During the fair’s run, Chinese fair-goers regularly attended the

Chinese theater, thoroughly enjoying an experience that many white patrons

found educational but distasteful. On the day that the Chinese Building

opened, a Chronicle report related, “The Chinese themselves took a huge


interest in the exhibit and the place was thronged all day.” This account noted
that the merchants and tourist entrepreneurs “in charge” were “mightily
proud of their building.” They “conducted visitors to the joss house,” while in
the “reception room” a “cultured Chinese. . . explained the hidden meaning
of the wondrous works of art which adorned the walls.” These men aided and
abetted the Midwinter Fair’s Orientalist fantasy by presenting an image of the
Orient that, to non-Asian visitors, likely came across as reinforcing the differ
ence, strangeness, and barbarism of people of Asian descent. However they
also created a space that San Franciscos Chinese could participate in and suc
ceeded in representing Chinese culture in ways that this local community
could respond to with enthusiasm and pride.20

The story of the jinrikishas at Sunset City, however, attests to the fact
that there were limits beyond which people of Asian descent refused to go in
the creation of an Orientalist version of their heritage. In the context of the
Midwinter Fair, a “jirinkisha [sic]” was, according to Taliesin Evans’s guide
book, “a conveyance used for the rapid transportation of visitors around the
Fair grounds.” It was “drawn by a human beast of burden at a fixed rate per
trip or by the hour, at the pleasure of the person hiring the conveyance.” The
jinrikishas at Sunset City were acquired from Japan by George Marsh, the
same Australian Orientalist who commissioned the Japanese Tea Garden.
Mr. Marsh and others had hoped that jinrikishas would be pulled by Asian
men and thus provide a form of transportation for fair-goers that would fit
nicely with the Sunset Cityis Orientalist theme. To their dismay, they discov
ered that the jinrikisha was, as Evans related, “very unpopular with the na
tives of Japan” because it was “regarded as a dreadful degradation to be im
pelled to haul one.” In fact, the Examiner published a portion of a petition
that publicly articulated the extent of the Japanese communityis opposition
to the use of jinrikishas at the Fair. It had been “sent to the Midwinter Fair
Executive Committee, the Supervisors and the Park Commissioners, signed
by the Japanese residents of San Francisco and by M. C. Harris and E. A.
Strong, in charge of the local Japanese missions.” It read:

Gentlemen: We, the undersigned, desire respectfully to call your atten
tion to a minor incident in connection with the Exposition, which is, how
ever, of very considerable interest to the Japanese residents of San Fran
cisco, and is also calculated to excite more or less discussion in Japan. .‘Ve
allude to the contemplated use of the jinrikisha.


figure The Esquimaux Village. The Midwinter Fair’s exhibits of Inuits and Hawai

ians occurred in the context of debates about whether or not such newly colonized

peoples would make suitable citizens. (I. W Taber, photographer. Souvenir of the Cal

ifornia Midwinter International Exposition 1894, Bancroft Library, University of Cal

ifornia, Berkeley)


There can be no valid objection urged to the mere exhibition of the
jinrildsha at the Midwinter fair, but there are other circumstances in this
coimection of which in all probability you are not advised.

The custom of requiring the jinrildsha to be drawn by men instead of
animals is degrading and should not be encouraged in a civilized Christian
country like America.

Ve, consequently, respectfully and earnestly protest against its use in
this manner in the Park or upon public streets during the F air.

“The petition,” the Examiner continued, “then gives as reasons the fact
that the practice is injurious to the health of the men who draw the vehicles;
that it is a disgraceful and inhuman custom; that it is incompatible with the
grand aims of the Midwinter Fair as an elevator of humanity.” for Japanese
immigrants, making such a statement was certainly a bold move. They had
only recently begun to come to the mainland United States, settling primarily
in California. As a group they possessed more education and were better-off
financially than most European immigrants. Perhaps with guidance from
their missionary friends, their use of the petition showed that they were not
only unafraid to register their grievances but that they were politically savvy
enough to do so in a form that smacked of Western traditions and played on
notions of who, the Japanese or the Americans, was truly civilized.11

The petition, combined with the opinion of the Japanese community that
it expressed, succeeded in keeping Japanese from manning the jinrikishas at
Sunset City. It did not, however, dissuade Midwinter fair officials from de
ploying jinrikishas at the Fair. Perhaps this was because jinrildshas were such a
part of their Orientalist fantasy that exposition officials could not part with
them. Maybe it had something to do with the contractual arrangements al
ready made with Mr. Marsh. In any event, Sunset City had its fleet of jinriki
shas and they were pulled by white men of various nationalities costumed in
face-paint and Japanese garb. As the Monarch Souvenir explained, “The feeling
of opposition to the introduction of man-power from Japan was so great that
none except white men could be induced to do the work.” An article in the
Overland Monthly intimated that this was less than effective in achieving its de
sired objective, “At a distance of a half a mile a jinrikisha runner might be
taken, possibly, for a Japanese, but at nearer view disenchantment must fol
low. The broad Hibernian face and the characteristic roll of the large figure
are rendered grotesque by the tiny cap and skin-tight suit.” The decision to

employ white men as jinrikisha drivers also had some unintended conse
quences. On Japanese Day many Japanese women rode in jinrikishas as did
both men and women of Chinese descent on Chinese Day. It “increased the
standing of a swell Mongol,” the Chronicle reported, “to be seen scudding
along through the rain in the vehicle, smoking an Early Grave five-cent
cigar.” Despite the derogatory language, it probably did increase the standing
of Asian men and women—or at least temporarily disrupt the racial hierar
chy—to be pulled along in a hired jinrikisha by a white man dressed like ajap
anese (see figure 36).22

Existing literally and symbolically outside of the Orientalist theme of Sun
set City, the i19 Mining Camp was one of the most popular exhibits at the
i’viidwinter fair. ‘While Sunset City’s Orientalist architecture expressed
dreams of a future filled with imperial grandeur grounded in white racial
dominance, the i Mining Camp transformed thbi t.QLthdisordered
g94,,ushyears into a nostalgic ftas of
past.23 The concession sought to create a replica of a mining camp against a
“well constructed and artistically painted” panorama of Mount Shasta. It fea
tured a gambling saloon, hotel, restaurant, “charming senoritas” dancing the
fandango, old cabins literally hauled down from the Gold Country, stage
coach rides, periodic gunfights, and a frontier press—the Midwinter Appeal
and Journal of y—to name just a few of its attractions. The ip Mining Camp
sat at the far western end of the exposition grounds at the base of Strawberry
Hill. Occupying i 5o,ooo square feet, it was the largest single concession at
the fair. To reach it, visitors could either walk by way of North Drive, or “if
desiring to enter in the proper pioneer frame of mind,” they could travel by a
stagecoach—purportedly the same one ridden in by Horace Greeley on his
visit to the West—which took hourly trips from the Administration Building
(see figure 37).24

A group of journalists and entertainment entrepreneurs created the iç
Mining Camp. A mining mogul provided most of its financing. Together,
these men, along with a few other investors, formed an incorporated company
“to establish the concession on business principles.” One of the journalists
was Sam Davis, the editor of the Carson, Nevada, Appeal. His participation
explained both the name and the existence of the camp’s frontier press. The
“well known theatrical manager and newspaper man” James H. Love, Esq.,
served as the i9 Mining Camp’s manager and another journalist, Eugene
Hahn, assumed the duties of assistant manager and press agent. The president



of the p Mining Camp was F
rank McLaughlin, a noted en

gineer who made

“a fortune” pioneering the d
evelopment of hydraulic mini

ng techniques. He

entered into the Mining Ca
mp project “with his whole he

art and soul, and

with the full power of his purs

At the ç Mining Camp
, promoters, performers, and

visitors mobilized

the refrain from a popular s
ong—”The days of old, I The

days of gold, /

The days of 9”—as a memo
rable, catchy slogan. These li

nes, taken from

The Days of 9, published by F.
Zimmer fl 1876, were repea

ted in associa

tion with the Mining Cam
p in numerous guidebooks

, souvenirs, and

newspaper articles. “A jolly lot
of seasoned miners and gentl

emen of fortune

in woolen shirts and slouch hat
s crowded the swaying coach

inside and out,”

wrote one journalist in his de
scription of the 9 Mining Ca

mp. “There was


an adventurer with a banjo on the coach top, and whenever the procession
halted he struck up a ditty on ‘the days of old and the days of gold, the days
.‘ Miners, gamblers, and the laughing throng joined in the chorus.”

The song looked back with longing to the gold rush years. It was narrated
by an old pioneer, Tom Moore, who mourned the loss of that earlier time:
“d I often grieve and pine, /“ he confessed “For the days of old, the days
of gold, / The days of i.” The song took the listener through his fond
memories. Part of what “old Tom Moore” missed from his Younger days
were his “comrades. . . a saucy set” who were rough but also “staunch and
brave, as true as steel.” nong the men he identified were the typical gold
rush figures: gamblers, miners, and hard drinkers. “There was Kentuck Bill,
one of the boys, / Who was always in for a game” and “New York Jake, the
butcher boy, / So fond of getting tight.” But another part of what Tom
Moore lamented were social changes that he believed threatened both the
nerican nation and his place in it as a white man. He made his sentiments
clear in the song’s final verse:



Figure 36. White man pulli
ng a jinrikisha at the Midw

inter fair. Despite fair

organizers’ hopes, Japanese m
en refused to pull jinrikishas

at the fair because of the

degrading nature of the work.
White men in Japanese garb

were employed to take on

the task instead. (I. W Taber
photographer. Souvenir of th

e California Midwinter

International Exposition 1894,
Bancroft Library, Universit

y of California, Berkeley)

figure “Hold up” of the stage. The Mining Camp was one of the most popu
lar exhibits at the Midwinter fair. Its stagecoach was one of the features noted for
making Visitors feel that they had aveled tir years back in time. (I. W Taber,
photographer Souvenir of the California Midwinter International Exposition 1894,
Bancroft Librai- University of California, Berkeley)



Since that time how things have ch

In this land of liberty.

Darkies didn’t vote nor plead in cou

Nor nile this country;

But the Chinese question, the worst
of all,

In those days did not shine,

For the country was right and the boy
s all white.

In the days of9.”26

On February 17, 1894, The Mi
dwinter Appeal and Jowfrnl of forty


published an illustration that echo
ed the views expressed by Tom Mo

ore in

“The Days of .“ It featured Ch
inese miners working side-by-side

with what

looked like an Anglo miner. The Chi
nese appeared to have quite a bit of


and a more sophisticated sifting syst
em while the white miner panned

for gold

without, it seemed, much luck. Th
e caption read: “Before Dennis Ke


time.” In the late 187os, Dennis Kea
rney, a leader of the Workingman’

s Party;

fomented support for violence aga
inst San Francisco’s Chinese, and ad


policies prohibiting Chinese imm
igration. This illustration and its ca


symbolized the belief held by some w
hites that before immigratntrictio


and restrictive mining laws, Chines
e miners were getting more than th

eir fair

share. It also is suggestive of ways in
which Chinese immigrants disrupt

ed the

nostalgic image of California as a
white Jacksonian’s paradise. The Ch


enjoyed, like other 9ers, a brief peri
od in the earliest days of the gold ru

sh in

which it was possible for them to
profitably work for themselves. But


also quickly and quite visibly beca
me wage workers in the increasingly


trial enterprises of mining and rail
road building in the West. In this c


the Chinese came to symbolize ind
ustrial capitalism—a system antitheti

cal to

an economy of small producers—
and provided an easy scapegoat for w


many men like Kearney believed the
y had lost.27

In a similar vein but with a differen
t target, the Midwinter Appeal, in on


of its typical pieces in which one of S
an Francisco’s preeminent capital


sugar magnate Claus Spreckels, wa
s spoofed as a Wild V/est Sher

iff re

ported that “Deputy Sheriff Sprec
kels went into Buckskin’s saloon las

t eve

ning and attempted to arrest Johnn
y Smoker while he was killing a M


can.” This action was not greeted w
ith popular approval. Instead, the sh


“was promptly thrown out and seve
ral citizens are talking of a mass me



to ask him to resign his office.” The problem, according to the Midwinte,
Appea4 was that Sheriff Spreckels had “a large idea of his duties, and when
he enters a saloon without being invited and interferes with an nerican
who is putting the quietus on a greaser it’s time to inquire where our boasted
land of freedom is tilting to.” Here the category of American excluded peo
ple of Mexican descent and freedom meant white men’s ability to guard
their position atop the racial hierarchy without interference and with vio
lent means if necessary. On one hand, in its rebuke of the sherif this histor
ical vignette spoke nostalgically about non-elite whites’ entitlement to
democratic, egalitarian processes_even those that veered toward the ex
treme of vigilante justice. On the other, given the fact that the local citi
zenry meted out punishment to the sheriff for attempting to protect “a
Mexican,” this story, like Torn Moore’s song, promoted the notion of a “her
renvolk democracy”_a society born out of fear from labor competition
from below and loss of control from above in which democracy prevails for
the dominant racial group while tyranny and inequality are the order of the
day for subordinate groups.28

these examples reveal, the basic story about the origins of the state of
California that the Mining Camp told is a finiliar one. The primary pur
pose of the Mining Camp was to provide profitable amusement. In con
junction with that, however, it was also in the business of proffering potent
lessons about history, memoi and identity. At its core, the version of history
presented in the i9 Mining Camp took the form of a creation myth that told a
story about the origins of the state of California and its inhabitants that was as
much about the present and the future as it was about the past. This creation
myth was constructed through two distinct yet interwoven and overlapping
stories. The first was a tale of nostalgia for a lost whitç public that contained
within it lessons about race relations in the West. The second was a story that
celebrated the ideals of the independent, self-made man and rugged mascu
linity in the wake of the increasing dominance of bureaucracy and corpora
tions in everyday life. Thus, although the fair as a whole was a celebration of
the coming of civilization to the American West that contrasted San
Francisco’s disordered past to its current civilized state as an urban, industria]
metropolis, the Mining Camp looked back with longing to a romanticized
notion of a less civilized time in California’s history to construct meaningful
identities for the present.


At the heart of this creation m
yth were the hardy pioneer m

iners, gener

ally represented as young, wh
ite Anglo-Saxon Protestant m

en. The majority,

as the Midwinter fair’s Offic
ial Guide told its readers, were

“possessed of nei

ther astonishing virtues or
astonishing vices; they were sim

ply honest, earnest

men who in their own strong
, rough way gradually curbed

the vicious propen

sities of the criminal minor
ity, forced law and order ou

t of the turbulent

chaos, and laid the foundatio
ns of the future State.” These

men were part of a

larger contingent of ninetee
nth-century American expansio

nism embodied in

sturdy, purified yeomanry
spreading out over the access

ible, undeveloped

land of the frontier, supplantin
g savagery with civilization

and blazing a fresh

trail for egalitarian democracy
and individual freedom along

the way. One of

the most coherent expression
s of this ideology had occurred

less than a year

before at the Columbian E
xposition. It was there that F

rederick Jackson

Turner articulated his theory
of the formative role of the W

estern frontier on

Americas character and deve
lopment and effectively marke

d this version of

its history as integral to Americ
a’s national identity29

Despite the complicated mu
lticultural terrain of many

actual mining

camps, this exhibit of Californ
ia’s founding moment made

the white, Ameri

can conquerors—otherwise k
nown as pioneers—the centra

l actors in its tri

umphal, progressive story. Ot
her racial groups, when incl

uded, were rele

gated to the margins. This tac
tic of inclusion at the margins

resonated in both

the past and the present bec
ause it provided a way to incorp

orate yet simulta

neously subordinate nonwhite
groups in the historical record

and, by exten

sion, in California society. Th
is story about California’s origi

ns offered solace

to white Americans looking f
or order in the face of the rac

ialized anxieties of

the 189os. Although the conq
uest of the Californios, India

n genocide, and

Chinese exclusion were already
history, in the 189os issues of

mixture and in

clusion remained fractious in
San Francisco—a city with th

e largest propor

tion of foreign-born residents
in the United States.3°

Although the Midwinter Appe
al did not accord people of Me

xican descent

a place in the American body
politic, an appropriated version

of Mexican cul

ture lived on in the dance hall—
a telling indicator of the sym

bolic centrality

of socially peripheral, racially
subordinate groups to the

Mining Camp’s

representational goals.31 The
dance hail was a place, for bo

th the miner of

yore and the fair-going spect
ator of the 189os, where gend

er and race came

together in powerful ways. A
visit to the dance hail, accordin

g to the IVlonarch

Soirvenh; provided an opport
unity for “the unhappy lot of

the argonautic


goidseekers” to have some much-needed fun, providing “a ray of bright sun
shine athwart the gloom of an existence devoted to hard work, fiapjacks, beans
and bacon.” Its promotional literature was laden with the language of con
quest and dominance. The Official Guide feminized and infantilized Mexicans
as “dark-eyed, soft-voiced children of the South” and contrasted them to “a
tribe of men only, bearded, rough of speech and manner, mighty in strength
and endurance.” A large part of the appeal and popularity of the dance hail re
volved around the prospect of the contact with “charming senoritas.” The fe
male dancers at the i9 Mining Camp allowed white American men to partake
of an exoticized sensuality and to indulge in fantasies of more “primitive”
styles of masculinity Such fantasies permitted white men to both transgress
the constraints of allowable expression of middle_class masculinity and to re
amrm their own sense of gender and racial superiority Some of the dancers,
howeve were men. Desczptions such as— “The pretty Spaniards, girls and
men, were at the prettiest part of one of their graceful dances”_in which men
were described as pretty and thus feminized bolstered the sense of superior
masculinity of the white male spectators. In keeping with the nostalgic thread
present in Tom Moor&s song, here again the Mining Camp represented a
thoroughly conquered California in which white mens dominant racial posi
tion was unquestionably secure (see figure 38).32

Although Native Americans were marginal to the performance of the
white man 4st enacted at the Mining Camp—included only as local
color or as a component of the landscape_they were featured at vo conces

sions located on the same side of the fairgrounds approximately the equiva
lent of a city block away. “One of these,” the Official Histoy explained, “was
an encampment of Sioux Indians, where characteristic dances were given
every day and evening.” The other “was at the Arizona Indian Village, where
a company of Yaqui Indians lived in huts similar to those they occupy at
home, and made baskets and potte” At the Sioux Village, which had also
been exhibited at the Chicago Fair, a report in the Chronicle disclosed that the
Native Americans “live just as they do in their native wilds where Govern
ment rations are given out.” If one got to the fair early enough, the account

continued, one could “gather in the rear of the Southern California Build
ing and watch the whole tribe garnering in oranges which went wrong in
the citrus display the night before.” Descriptions of the Arizona Indian Vil
lage tended to stress its inhabitants’ barbarism, particularly evident in the
descriptions of their dancing and the assumptions made about their gender


relations that, according to observers, positioned wom
en as drudges and men

as loafers. “Three Indians sit cross-legged inside the
dance ring,” an article in

the Overland Monthly related, “their rude voices keepi
ng time to the rubbing

together of sticks and drumming on gourds.. . the b
arbaric play ends with…

a general hubbub of cries and drumming.” In genera
l, when Native Americans

were presented as active, their activities were scripted by
negative stereotypes:

dependent, barbaric, and drunk. When they served as
part of the landscape or

local color, Native Americans were represented as bot
h passive and pacified, no

longer part of the “wild” West. Tellingly, such represen
tations were in keeping

with the recent end of Native American resistance in
the West, symbolized by

the horrific massacre of Sioux men, women, and ch
ildren by the U.S. Army

four years earlier at Wounded Knee. Although these kin
ds of ethnographic


representations of Native Americans obscured this recent history they nev
ertheless succeeded in reinforcing the image of domesticated dependent
Native ericans that spoke to the kind of subordinate staws that govern
ment policies frequently now relegated them.33

While the first part of the story of California origins represented by the
if9 Mining Camp offered lessons about race relations in the West told
through the lens of nostalgia for a iost white republic, the second component
told a story that celebrated the ideals of the self-made man and independent,
rugged masculini At first glance, these o gender identities might appear
to be a swdy in contrasts: the hard-scrabble life of pioneer miner as the epit
olne of independent, rugged masculinj versus the economic and political
success and elite social standing that marked the self-made man. At the
Mining Camp, however, the o were interrelated. Independence and rugged
masculinity were represented as preconditions for self-made manhood and
self-made manhood often had its roots in independent, rugged masculini
These gender identities, moreove undergirded the racial ideoloj at the
heart of the other strand of the Mining Camps creation m—the nostal
gia for a lost white republic. Reinvigorated for the T$90s, they Continued to
link white male power to white racial superiority. In addition, in the figure of
the pioneer miner, Americans found a masculine image that was especially ap
pealing in the wake of the increasing dominance of wage work, bureaucracies,
and corporatiOns_all of which could easily lead to a sense of compromised
independence in everyday life.34

In the T89os, middle_class Americans_especiallr those who were white
and male—began to react against the constraints of both ctorian and indus
trial America: time discipline, carefully controlled emotions, parlor culwre,
urban lhng, and sewal restraint. One outcome of this reaction was the devel
opment of a new gender ideoloa rugged masculinity oriented around the
ideal of the “strenuous life.” This was set in contrast to what some viewed as
the artificiality and effeteness of a different gender ideolomanljness_
that had held sway since mid-cenmry Manliness was associated with posses
sion of a solid character and exercising masterful control over one interior
and exterior self. The emergence of rugged masculinity was accompanied by
an increased interest in sports and wilderness experiences; the elevation ofsci
ence, business, and realism; and a desire for “authentic” experiences that
sometimes drew upon premodern symbols such as the medieval craftsman,

Figure 38. The dance hail at the Mining Camp. Here,
in the dancing of the fan

dango, argonauts mingled with charming sefiorit
as, and an appropriated, racialized

version of Mexican culture thrived. (I. W Taber, photo
grapher. Souvenir of the Cali

fornia Midwinter International Exposition 1894, Ba
ncroft Library, University of Cali

fornia, Berkeley)


warrior and saint. Theodore Roosevelt—the im
perialist, capitalist, cowboy,

athlete, and politician who feared “race suicide
”—became the embodiment of

this new construction of powerful white mascu
linity via the strenuous life.35

Displays at the r9 Mining Camp venera
ted the independent, rugged mas

culinity of the heroic pioneer miner. Its exhibits s
ought to capture “the rough-

and-ready scenes when men were reckless and d
aring.” Visitors to the office

of the Midwinter Appeal and the Journal of w
ere “invited to come into the

sanctum, make free use of our corncob pipe, spit o
n the floor, and utilize the

copy hook as they see fit.” “If the gatekeeper gi
ves you any palaver,” they were

told, “knock him down and walk in.” At the barb
ershop customers could “in

dulge their inclination or have their whiskers e
ither shot off or shaved off,”

and the saloons were “fitted up as saloons were
when men were as likely to

shoot the bartender as to take a drink.” Even the fo
od was tough. “After look

ing at the food of the ancients,” wrote one ac
count, “one need be told no

more that the Argonauts were hardy people; the flap
jacks show j.”36

These miners were not only ruggedly masculine, t
hey were also indepen

dent—free from wage work, bureaucracy, and the
corporation. By choosing to

represent a mining camp in the earliest days of the
gold rush, the 9 Mining

Camp focused its exhibit of life in the diggings on
the very short span of time

in which placer rather than hydraulic mining p
redominated. The exhibit

proudly showcased “a placer mine showing the me
thod of washing gold from

gravel with sluice boxes, rockers, and all the prim
itive paraphernalia of the

early prospector. . . in hill operation.” During the
placer mining period, men

could and did work independently, as the image o
f the lone miner with pan,

pick, and shovel would suggest. For many of the m
en who flocked to Califor

nia after gold was found at Sutter’s Mill, mining o
ffered a chance to return to

an economy of small producers. It presented an o
pportunity to escape wage

work in the industrial Northeast or farm work on t
he prairie. The halcyon

days of placer mining, however, were quickly supe
rseded by hydraulic mining,

which came with a very different set of relations
of production. Using the

force of water to get at the gold deposits that the pa
n, pick, and shovel method

could not reach, hydraulic mining required a large a
mount of start-up capital

and large numbers of wage workers. It also conc
entrated the profits in the

hands of the few and wreaked havoc on the natur
al environment. Ironically,

the capital behind the representation of placer min
ing at the 9 Mining Camp

came from Frank McLaughlin, renowned for de
veloping the techniques of

hydraulic mining on the feather River.37

T 95

The i Mining Camp also mobilized the rugged masculine histories of
numerous self-made men to challenge the commonplace associations of
wealth and elite status with effeminacy and overcivjljzatjon these men had
become increasingly successful_often amassing fortunes, political powe
and social Position_they also became increasingly removed from their roots
in rugged masculinity. By emphasizing rugged pasts of these elites, the right
ness and desirability of their economic, political, and social Position_increas
ingly challenged not only by their effeteness but also by their capitalistic ex
cesses_could be reaffirmed. One way rugged masculinity and self-made
manhood were idealized and linked was through the displays of a number of
cabins which “had actually been occupied in those ‘days of gold” by men
“who, years ago, were unknown and poo but who to-day are rich and power-
hi from their success in the mines.” One was the cabin John W Mackay had
used “for six years as a home at Mlegheny, Sierra Coun in his huthbje min
ing days” long “before he became a bonanza ng.” iotlier cabin was that in
which the U.S. senator from California, George C. Perns, had been able “to
make himself comfortable nearly forty years before he represented the State
at 4shington.” The cabin of Major Downie, the founder of Downieville
whose name, one account declared, was “familiar in eve ning camp on the
Pacific Coast from the lower California line to Bering Strait” stood “in a re
cess in the hillside.” The Mining Camp also exhibited the cabins of some
other men who had become “more than locally prominent”_ Senator James
G. faifl SenatorJ P Jones of Nevada, Mvinza Haard, and the early homes
of writers Mark Twain and Bret Harte and John W Marshall, the discoverer
of gold at Sutrer Mill. Through these displays, the i Mining Camp pro
vided a way for these elites to frame their biographies within California crea
tion myth.38

The Mining Camp also functioned as a playground for numerous
prominent men to indulge in fantasies of participation in the mythic Wild
West. The Midwinte- Appeal and the Journal of filled its pages with jovial
yet fantastic spoofs on their supposed frontier antics. For example, not only
did the paper report on Claus Spreckels as a racially misguided sugar mag
nate, it also reported thatJames G. fair was the new Presbyterian minister at
Jackass Hill, minerJohn Mackay wandered into Grizzly Gulch “half staed”
and “dead broke,” and “Adolph Sutro, a boy from gel Camp was in town
Yesterday on a big jag with Billy Sharon, one of the boys from Bobtail Can
yon.” In reality, James G. Fair was a railroad tycoon and a Comstock Lode


millionaire. John Mackay was also a Comstock Lode
millionaire. William

Sharon was a banker, the owner of the Palace Hotel,
and the U.S. senator

from Nevada. Adolph Sutro was a mining engineer o
n the Comstock Lode

who built Sutro baths in 1893 and would be elected m
ayor of San Francisco

later in I894.3
Self-made men—many of them the epitome of corpo

rate, elite man

hood—also readily partook of the 9 Mining Camp ex
hibit. At one o’clock on

the exhibit’s opening day, Director General de Young, t
he members of the Ex

ecutive Committee, and a few invited guests boarded the
old stagecoach at the

Administration Building. “There was little ceremony abo
ut it,” the Chronicle

reported, “as they have none in connection with the camp
. The driver cracked

his whip and the coach was off to the camp. It rumble
d down the street and

stopped at the dance hail.” In early February, the Chro
nicle reported another

visit: “Notice having been given that the pack train had go
t in, forty-two days

from ‘frisco, and that there was plenty of grub in the cam
p, the Director-

General, the executive committee and members of the p
ress responded yes

terday to an invitation to take lunch with Old Man Peake
s at the Forty-nine

Mining Camp.” They dined at the Rest for the Weary
Hotel, where “Papa

Peakes and his assistants dispensed beans and other thin
gs.” “Everything con

nected with the banquet,” the reporter assured his readers,
“was conducted in

the spirit which prevailed in the days of 9.” Interestin
gly, much of what

passed for authenticity involved flagrant disregard for

middle-class notions of proper etiquette and good manne
rs—to some, sure-

fire markers of feminization and overcivilization. “The g
uests kept their hats

on at table and the waiters wore pistols with which to res
ent criticisms on the

menu. Brown paper served as table-cloths and all the pl
ate and china was of

tin” (see figure 39).40

A reporter for the Chronicle made clear the didactic inte
nt of these dis

plays. “The child of an investigating mind,” he wrote, “w
ill take much inter

est in the old cabins of the men who, since they lived in
them, have become

famous.” He explained that “these gentlemen attended
strictly to business

when they went to sleep forty years ago” and “did not care
whether the pil

low had been aired or the mattress had been turned.” I
nstead, “they went

right to off to sleep, as soon as they laid down.” The re
sult, he told readers,

was that “to-day they are rich and famous.” The report
er further advised

good conduct and a little endurance at home as a recipe for
prosperity in the

future: “Let little boys learn a moral from this and go to sl
eep just as soon as

they get into bed. If they do, they will live long and prosper. There can be no
hope, though, for the boy or girl who rolls around and always wants a drink
of water. The Argonauts never asked for water. See the result—most of them
are rich to-day and able to vote at the annual election of the Society of Cali
fornia Pioneers “4

While the didacticism presented above may appear a little silly, chuldren_
“the rising generations of the ‘st”—were some of the primary consumers of
the vision of social order served up at the Mining Camp. The Midwinter
Fair hosted a number of Chuldren Days on which youngsters were admitted
without charge. On Febma 2, 1894, the Examiner reported, “Good news
from the Mining Camp. They cannot do enough for the children there!
They were the first to throw open their concession to the children and they


Figure 39. The Mining Camp with the Rest for the ar Hotel and Restaurant onthe left. sitors, including elite businessmen and journalists, partook of flapjac1,
beans, and bad manners herein order to capmre the experience of the wild west. (I.Tabe photographer. Souvenir of the California Midwinter Internadonal fxposion
1894, Bancroft Library University of California, Berkeley)

198 CHA

seem to have spent every minute since try
ing to think up new kinds of fun.”

On one such special day at the 9 Mining C
amp, children were given “a bag

of candy and an orange apiece.” In late Ma
rch, “the sixty girls of the Maria

Kip Orphanage were special guests of th
e Forty-nine Mining Camp.” They

“were conveyed to the fair Grounds and b
ack in the old-fashioned coaches”

that were a “feature of the camp” and wh
ile there, a “nice repast was spread

for them in the big private dining room of th
e manager.” Moreover, it was the

belief of one journalist that: “A child can lea
rn more about the. . . magnificent

life of the Argonauts by visiting this camp th
an his father, provided he is a pio

neer, would ever tell him.” In many respect
s, the 9 Mining Camp spoke for

itself but on these special days, children an
d the adults that accompanied

them were “shown around by guides who wi
ll tell the ‘tales of old, the days of

gold, the days of 9.’ “

Another audience viewed as particularly sui
ted to visit the çi Mining

Camp were the old pioneer miners themse
lves. “For the old pioneer who

spent a good portion of his life in just such a
scene as this depicts, the camp

will arouse stirring memories,” declared th
e Official Guide. “It is the Mecca

toward which every man who has at any tim
e in his life been engaged in the

seductive occupation of gold-mining turns hi
s footsteps,” announced Taliesin

Evans’s guide to the fair. With even greater c
larity of the kind of memories the

9 Mining Camp sought t
o evoke, it continued, “Here, the visitor fin

ds him

self in reality transported to a scene so re
alistic that, if he has at any time

mined, he lives over again the experiences of
the free and independent life of

the past, all its trials and triumphs, all its h
opes and pleasures being arrayed

before his mental vision.”

Visitors from the East or from abroad were als
o target audiences of the 9

Mining Camp. One of the camps self-proc
laimed goals was “to show visitors

from the East and elsewhere how the hardy C
alifornia miner worked and lived.”

The managers of the Mining Camp hosted
out-of-town journalists, many of

them from Chicago, and arranged special fest
ivities for their benefit. “The life

of the camp was at its height when the guests o
f the day arrived in the old stage

coach,” one account reported. “The keno gam
e was in progress and the dance

ball presented its customary scene of rough gay
ety with its pretty girls, miners,

gamblers, and Spaniards all in the hearty enjo
yment of the fandango. . . . The

newspapermen enjoyed it all immensely. It wa
s all new and strange to them.”14 A

writer for the Chronicle delineated at length the k
ind of coverage the Mining

Camp was getting across the country and arou
nd the world:


The leading dailies, weeklies and monthly magazines in every country
have for months past published extensive and profusely illustrated ac
counts of the quaint, unique, and realistic representations of early life in
the mines to be found in the Midwinter Fair Forty-nine Mining Camp.
Harpers Weekly, Frank Leslie, the New York Sun, the New York
Herald, the Chicago Record, the Chicago Herald, and papers of Cincin
nati, New Orleans, St. Louis, Omaha, Philadelphia and of nearly every
other Eastern city of note have printed columns after columns about the
forty-nine Mining Camp, and the English, French and German ex
changes, in mentioning the Midwinter fa1i never fail to speak of this spe
cial feature To a Californian, this universal approval of a novel enterprise
is more than a passing significance It shows the great and mighty interest
the people abroad take in the land of gold, immortalized by Mark Twain,
Bret Harte, and Joaquin Miller and many others.45

In the literature generated to promote and commemorate the Midwinter
Fai the Mining Camp was repeatedly praised for faithfully and literally
capturing historical reality. Visitors, informed the IVlonarch Souveni,; “see pre
sented the real life as it was in the first days of gold feve and an exact repro
duction of the surroundings of a pioneer mining camp.” “The picture will be
realistic to the last degree,” the Chronicle assured its readers, “The life of al
most years ago will be lived again.”46 This notion of reconstituted reality
persisted even as promotional material explicitly acknowledged that the exhibit
was shaping its representation of history to mesh with literary fiction. Like the
writer for the Chronicle quoted above, the Official Guide blatantly told its read
ers that the exhibition would be of particular interest to those “who have in
imagination lost themselves in the Sierras with Bret Harte, crossed the Plains
with Joaquin Miller or roughed it on the Comstock with Mark Twain.”47

Joaquin MiJlei Bret Harte, and Mark Twain were some of the most popu
lar nineteenth_century ‘nh-makers of the American West. Their stories
brought to life by the p Mining Camp_told the familiar tale of Ca1ifornja
origins that revolved around nostalgia for a lost white republic and indepen
dent, rugged masdulini48 the Popularity of the p Mining Camp exhibit
attested its version of history_ that echoed the mythological fiction of Mille
Harte, and Twain_possessed the cultural power it did because it represented
the “reality” of a past that had incredible resonance in the present. In fact, in
the 1890s, the relevance of this history had begun to take on a new intensi It


was during this decade that children of Califo
rnia pioneers—often organized

in chapters of the Native Sons and Daughters o
f the Golden West, often hav

ing grown up on the work of Twain, Harte, and
Miller, and often fearing that

their forebears’ history would be lost as the re
maining material artifacts disap

peared with time—began serious efforts to both
revisit and preserve places as

sociated with the California Gold Rush.49

While rugged, independent, white manhood w
as literally and symboli

cally displayed at the g Mining Camp, wom
en workers constituted a signifi

cant part of the overall spectacle presented at
the Midwinter Fair. As writer

Elisabeth Bates put it in an article for the Ov
erland Monthly, “Two distinct

streams of people flow side by side at the fair, n
amely, those who go to spend

money and those who go to earn it.”50 Thousan
ds of women in San Francisco

faced unemployment and “destitute circumstanc
es” during the five-year eco

nomic depression precipitated by the Panic of
1893. Nationally, this financial

crisis devastated broad sectors of the economy a
nd an unprecedented 15,252

American businesses went into receivership. B
y the winter of 1893, approxi

mately i8 percent of the national workforce wa
s without work while those

who remained employed found their wages cut
by an average of nearly io per

cent. The economic crisis hit the western Un
ited States especially hard. As

eastern money receded, the already cash-star
ved banks of the debtor West

collapsed. Of the national bank failures in 1893, o
nly three institutions in the

Northeast suspended operations while i 15 ban
ks went into receivership in

the West. Of these, sixty-six were in the Pacifi
c states and western territories.

Since private charities and relief efforts largely ig
nored the plight of working

women, many “suffered severely for food and clo
thing” during these years.51

Within this context, many women hoped that e
mployment at the Midwinter

Fair would at least temporarily cure their econo
mic troubles. The Examiner

reported that “in every department” of the fair
there was “the same story to

tell.” There was “a constant stream of applican
ts for work” with “girls not

over twenty-two” making up “four out of every te
n applicants.” They seemed

“to be pouring into the city from all over the coast”
as well as “from the East.”

This, according to the journalist, was “a terrib
le mistake” as the city was

“overrun with women and girls looking for work

The luclw few who found jobs at the Midwint
er fair formed a workforce

of women that spread all over the fairgrounds. Gum g
irls, dressed in blue uni

forms with scandalously short skirts, traversed the g
rounds—smiling, singing,

and selling chewing gum. Exposition cash-girls co
llected the admission fees


for various concessions and young women staffed booths in the fair five main
buildings. Other women found emplonent in the fair management systemof “paternal espionage” in which “real nice girls, with a kiowledge of business
methods” were “sent among the different concessions to keep tabs on the cash
taken in.” Mmost all the exhibits of foreign nations and people of color em
ployed women. Native American Hawaiian Samoan, and Dahomean women
staffed living dioramas. At the Japanese Tea Garden, “Japanese maidens in
their kimonos” served visitors “tea and sweetmeats” At the Vienna Prater,
waiter girls served liquor and Austrian dishes. In the German Village, visitors
found “a concert hail, a dancing hall, a restaurant, and, of course, Culmbacher
and kVurzburger and other ‘braus’ and Proper German girls to curtsy and
serve it.” At the Hungarian Csarda, one encountered “other girls and other
beer and other things to eat,” giving the impressions that all Austro_Hungary
was “a vast eating place with feminine and drinkable incidents and an occa
sional park to give you exercise when you want to change your beer.” Womenof Mexican as well as Euro_American descent worked as dancers at the
Mining Camp while the Oriental Village maintained a troupe of young
women as muscle-dancing Turkish Dancers. At the Tamale Cottage, the Offi
cial Catalogue informed its readers that “handsome, dark-eyed senoritas”
could “be seen busily engaged in the manufacture of the delicious tamale”
while “other equally charming beauties” worked “as serving maids.”53

Since the Midwinter Fair brought men and women together in novel,
sometimes promiscuous ways, it—like the promenades of the Mechanics’
Institutes fairs_provided an arena in which emerging gender identities could
be expressed and critiqued. Working women at the fair became vehicles
through which various observers registered anxieties about womnen more
public roles and the fairs working women experienced for themselves both
the perils and the pleasures of increased leisure time and new work-based peer
groups. Nationally, during the final quarter of the nineteenth century, in
creasing numbers of middle-class women pushed into the public sphere and
against the constraints of Victorian cul Wre dominant gender ideolo7 that
prescribed pie puri submissiveness and domesticity At the same time,
many young workingclass women shifted from working at various es of
piecework in their own homes, in domestic service in other people homes,or in small, paternalistic factories to working in the more anonymous settingsof large factories, offices, and retail stores. With a littie money in their pockets in good economic times and new places to go for n, some of these young




women began to rebel against the
gender ideologies of parents and soci


and to explore new identities and for
ms of sexual expression in part made


sible by new, unchaperoned commer
cial spaces for heterosocial encount


The turn of a significant propor
tion of middle-class men away from


Victorian culture and their embrace
of a new rugged masculinity—as see

n in

the Mining Camp—was, in part, a
response to anxiety aroused by wome


more public identities.54

All women who worked at the fair we
re essentially on display and avail

able for appraisal, fantasy, and flirta
tion in the exposition’s climate of pr


miscuous mingling. As some of the
stories that circulated around the fair


gum girls reveal, this public, sexuali
zed persona treaded a thin line betw


representing a welcome freedom fro
m social constraints and confirming


subordinate position vis-ã-vis men fo
r the women involved. That the f


was a place where men could gaze u
pon an international array of women


made clear from numerous articles t
hat related the pleasant sights that o


men had seen. Some of these even p
rovided details of heterosocial encou


ters that perhaps their readers could h
ope for as well. An article published


the Examiner titled “Flirtations at th
e Fair: How Love Is Made and Unm


at Sunset City” advised male fair-g
oers that “for really enjoyable and p


miscuous flirtations . . . the gum gir
ls, so called, are better equipped tha


any other class of individuals as re
gards their duties, their skirts and t


generally genial disposition.” Not on
ly could they roam the fairgrounds a


will but “they may stop and talk pret
ty things with anybody under the p


text of vending gum.”55

Sometimes flirtations were a source o
f heterosocial fun for the gum girls

and their patrons. But with this kind o
f fun also came a certain amount of s


ual danger. Giving one possible expla
nation for why they traveled in pairs


one gum girl said, “You see, there are
two of us, and if you get badly gone on

me and I don’t want you to get too a
ffectionate, Sally here stays close aroun


all the time, and you don’t have a show
to tell a girl how much you love her or

any of that sort of nonsense. But t
hen, of course, if I give her a wink


understands and goes off to sell some
gum.” Sometimes, however, flirtations

were anything but fun. One gum girl,
Miss Violet Filids, warded off the ad

vances of a souvenir-machine man by
deploying “her fists in a scientific man

ner.” After he “sought to toy familiarl
y with Miss Eilids’s necktie” while she

was trying to sell him some gum, she p
unched him squarely in the nose, leav

lug him with “a barked proboscis.” Th
e paper that covered the story reported


that, “She as well as the rest of the girls have to stand a great deal of guying
from a class of men who think that because a girl peddles chewing gum she
can endure all sorts of nonsense.” Violet had learned bong from her brother
and after seeing how well it seed liefl the rest of the gum girls were “think
ing of taking an immediate course in the manly art as a means of self

Although ostensibly from Algeria, Morocco, Persia, and Et, the so-
called Tursh Dancing Girls at the Midwinter Fair’s Oriental Village pre
sented even more of a sexually charged sensation than the gum girls. ‘Vhile
undoubtedly alluring in their own right, the press definitely had a hand in the
construction of the dancers’ highly sexualized image that was based, in part,
on notions of the heightened sensual appetites and sexual availability of colo
nized women of color that were part and parcel of Orientalist thinking. The
Examiner described “the Oriental dames and damsels” as a “desperate class of
flirts . . . who cast reciprocally amorous glances through ebony lashes” and
make “callow youths feel the fire of those langorous looks and brag to one an
other about their conquests.” These dancers had performed at the Chicago
Fair to rave reviews. There they faced fewer questions about the morality of
their dancing than in San Francisco where they were besieged by the Society
for the Suppression of Vice as early as mid-December 1893. On January


1894, the Examiner reported that “Catherina Dhaved and Marietta, the two
dark-eyed daughters of Turkey who were compelled to desist from giving
public dancing performances on Market street a few weeks ago by the Society
for the Suppression of Vice, visited the officers of the society yesterday “57

Secretary Kane, who had witnessed the women’s dancing, had no doubt
of its “rank immorality.” Nevertheless, the dancers had to endure a wait of
several days before the society’s directors could manage to convene for a
viewing of their dances to determine if they were in fact immoral. The “sam
ple dances” were performed in one of the rooms occupied by the women in
the Ahlborn House on Grant Avenue The “all-male audience,” according to
the Exarniimer “was small, compact but interested from the start.” It consisted
of the five directors and Secretary Kane of the Society for the Suppression of
Vice, two members of the Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Chil
dren and Animals, and Captain Holland of the Police Department “We can
judge better the morality or immorality of the dance by seeing it all, I think,”
said Director Morris, with no recognition that such private viewings might
raise questions about the prurient interests of the audience. “The Directors,”


reported the Examinei; “leaned forward and watched the
excited dancer with

scrupulous interest. Unconscious of them the beautiful
Catherina pirouetted

in a dizzy circle, and falling to her knees bent far bac
kwards half a dozen

times. Her whole form quivered with the excitement of t
he moment.” Direc

tor Goodkind concluded that the dance was “very pic
turesque but. . . hardly

the thing for ladies and children to see,” leaving unre
marked upon the effect

of such a performance on male audience members
or the fact that such a

spectacle may have been designed to be more appealing
to male viewers to

begin with.58

An earnest desire to rid the city of indecency—which in
cluded safeguard

ing the ordered environment created by Midwinter Fair o
rganizers and crack

ing down on the Barbary Coast—motivated the Society
for the Suppression

of Vice. For the Turkish dancers, however, the Society’s
decree that deemed

their dances to be beyond the bounds of respectability an
d prohibited their

performance meant a disruption in their capacity to earn a
living. “In Chicago

everybody liked us,” Catherina Dhaved told the Examinei
; “We made a big hit

in the Midway Plaisance; thirty-five an’ forty dollar week;
plenty to eat, plenty

sleep, plenty everything—plenty money.” Since coming
to San Francisco,

however, the girls had experienced “perilous times.” By early
January they had

earned about $i,ooo ill the employ of two different leisure
entrepreneurs in

the weeks before the fair opened but had not “received a
cent of it.” “First an

Armenian man hired us,” Catherina continued, “Twenty-
five dollars a week,

on Market street. We work one, two three weeks, no money
. Then an Ameri

can man, Crosby, hired us. We work one, two, or three
weeks more, no

money. We owe plenty money at the hotel, and now we cann
ot dance and can

not pay what we owe.” During the time they waited for th
e directors to con

vene in early January, the women lived on “short rations.” W
hen the dancers

finally performed for the Society for the Suppression of V
ice, the proprietor

of their hotel was also present as “an interested witness.” A
ccording to the Ex

aminel; “He told the Directors that the girls owed him abo
ut $ioo for back

board and he did not propose to keep them any longer unle
ss he was assured

that they wollld be allowed to dance and make some money

Several days later after the “sample dances” at the Alhorn H
otel, on Janu

ary 7, 1894, the Society for the Suppression of Vice pa
id a visit to the Turkish

Dancing Girls performing at the Midwinter Fair. Although the
fair did not of

ficially open until later in the month, by early January so ma
ny concessions

were open that thousands of people were paying to pass within
its gates. Once


again Secretary Kane expressed displeasure at what he sa especially since
“the dancers had received strict instructions to tone down their performance to
suit Western audiences.” A “sample” of the entire dance was again presented
that same day for “the edification of the secretair.” To guard against errors in
either leniency or severi two other agents of the society accompanied Secre
tary Kane as well as “a newspaperman or two, a company of Turks, and a few
chosen friends.” The Examiner reported Kane findings onJanuaiy 10, “In the
muscular contortions of the majority of the ladies he found nothing to object
to seriously; but in the Closing measures of the danse dii ventiv, as rendered by
the dus Egyptian Hamede, he found grievous cause for complaint.” Kane re
mained steadfast in his judgment even though the press cited the chief of the
Midwinter Fair police as one among many admirers of the dance who did not
object to it. The Evamine, reporter captured the way that Hamede ations
left Kane unnened to the point of scrambling for words to describe what he
had seen. “The muscular dances and the spinning exercises of the majori7 of
the ladies can go on,” he was reported as saying, “but the -er-er-er- the eccen
tflc Convolutions of the little brown lady must be curtailed.”60

Three months latei on April
, 1894, the Tur1sh Dancing Girls had

their day in court. As the Call reported, “Under the glare of the gaslights
and in the suffocating heat ofJudge Conlan courtroom the muscle-dancers
of the Cairo village last night illustrated their peculiar dance for the benefit
of the jury impaneled Friday last.” Secretary Kane testimony about the
dance demonstrated that he “had studied it pretty thoroughly” and the de
scription provided by Frank D. Gibson, a hardware clerk, likewise “showed
keen powers of obsen’ation and perception, and that he had the dance down
finer than even Secretary Kane.” Nevertheless, despite the fact that the
dance had been made familiar to officials through two sample performances
as well as shows on Market Street and at the fair, the dancers’ attorney re
quested that one of the dancers, Belle Baya, “give a representation of the
dance.” She agreed to perform to the packed courtroom despite the fact that
she was not outfitted in her dancing costume but in a “lilac silk dress, lace
fichu and white straw hat with green and white ostrich feathers.” As the Call
described, “Belle Baya followed in her dance, talng a silk handkerchief in
each hand and the castanets on her fingers. The Solitary fiddler mangled ‘La
Palorna’ with frightful barbarity as an accompaniment As the handsome
Baya went through her dance the auditors went wild with excitement and a
clapping of hands was sternly rebuked by the court.” Order was restored in


the court in the wake of Belle Ba
ya’s dancing and proceedings in th


dancers’ case came to a close soon
after. Her performance had apparently

satisfied the jury that there was truly
nothing immoral in her dance. “The

case was submitted without argument
,” reported the Call, “and the jury r


tired at seven minutes past i i, retur
ning five minutes later with a verdict


‘not guilty.” The jury, it seems, had a
much different opinion than the Soci

ety of what constituted the kind
of indecency that would mar the cit


image or detract from the glory of th
e fair.6’

The Society for the Suppression of V
ice’s policing—combined with the

dishonesty of a couple of leisure entre
preneurs—was more successful in im

peding the Turkish dancers’ ability to e
arn a living than in protecting them or

their audiences from danger or immor
ality. Clearly, however, both the Tu


ish dancers and the gum girls were vul
nerable to various forms of harassment

as women working in the world of co
mmercialized leisure. In July’, the socie


turned its attention to another Midwin
ter fair scandal that involved a woman

worker who was so egregiously exploi
ted by her male employers that she w


actually in need of their efforts. On Jul
y 9, the &aminer reported that “th

e in

decency of the danse du ventre and
the grossness of the hula-hula were

eclipsed last evening by an exhibition a
t the close of the Midwinter fair which

it is not permitted in the columns of a
daily newspaper to describe further

than by saying that the dancer was a
nude woman.”62

More than five hundred men had witness
ed two such performances at Al

exander Badlam’s Aquarium on the M
idway. The first evening the admission

price was set at twenty-five cents “but
there wasn’t room in the Badlam build

ing for the crowd that was willing to pay
that price.” As a result, the price on

the second night was doubled “but th
e four-bit rate made little difference


the patronage.” Spielers on the Midwa
y had openly announced the upcoming

events and apparently fair officials not o
nly knew about the performances, but

a number of them, including Colonel
T. P. Robinson, the director of amuse

ments, were in attendance. In fact, at th
e performances, “every class was rep

resented. The majority of those on th
e benches were well-dressed attorneys,

merchants and clerks.” Also present we
re “concessionaires, sports, hoodlums,

and men about town.” While the press
reported that the “room was dirty and

the atmosphere stifling,” the arena wa
s also strategically equipped with an

emergency door and a number of porth
oles that allowed for all but a few of

the men present to escape arrest when th
e show was raided.63


Moreover the Exam iner account ofJennjeJolinson dance and her subse
quent arrest suggests that she was not operating under her own free will but
was coerced by the manager of the event, Al Morris. “The somd of a violin
drew attention. . . to the curtain which at the same moment was pulled aside
revealing a woman seated in a chair enveloped in a dark cloak,” the newspaper
explained. “At the Sound of the music she sprang to her feet revealing herself
perfectiy nude. Her head and face were veiled in a black scarf. She thus dis
played herself for a few moments. Suddenly the sound of the violin ceased and
the ‘dancer’ sank into her chair.” As this account suggested and the press later
confirmed,JeflflieJohnson was not a professional dancer. Her performance did
not even involve anything that could really be considered dancing. That she
veiled her head and face with a dark scarf suggests she was ashamed enough of
what she was doing that she did not want to be recognized It is likely that she
was also fearful of the arrest that might follow if she revealed her identi64

Soon after Jennie Johnson returned to her chai she was arrested by an of
ficer of the Society for the Suppression of Vice who “sprang upon the stage.”
Although initially quite calm, Soon, amid a flood of tears, she exclaimed, “i
was forced into it. The man said I would be arrested if I did not give this
dance.” Apparently, the manager of the show’, Al Morris, had convinced Jen
nie Johnson that if she did not perform she would be arrested for breach of
contract. He had also “made her drink a liquor” before her performance
Morris also had refused to be specific about how much he would pay her,
promising only “to make it all right with her” after she “danced.”Jeflniejohn
son was about twenty years old and a resident of the Tenderloin district, one
of San Francisco rougher and poorer neighborli005 It is possible that she
was one of the many workingclass and poor women facing exceptionally dire
straits as a result of the economic depression. In such circumstances, the
threat of a lawsuit might have been especially terriring to her and maybe
whatever Morris was willing to pay her was better than nothing. It is also pos
sible than Jennie Johnson worked as a prostitute and perhaps she felt that dis
playing herself nude was a better job than having sex for money. Whatever the
answers to these questions might have been, Jennie Johnson confessed that
she had been “duped by an enterprising spieler that his Promise was as de
ceptive as any fake on the Midway.”65

The same confluence of economic conditions that paved the way for
JennieJohnso plight and sent women flocking to the fair to find work also



affected men. The financial panic
of 1893 and the economic upheav

al that

followed had made it clear that th
e economy of ruggedly masculin

e small

producers idealized in the ij M
ining Camp was truly a thing of

the past.

The rampant economic ruin, un
employment, and class conflict tha

t ravaged

the city and the nation presented a
n ironic, mocking contrast to the


tions of capitalist progress and im
perial grandiosity at the center of b

oth the

Columbian Exposition and the M
idwinter fair. Cognizant of this th

e Exam

iner had noted that “starvation w
ould not be an agreeable Midw

inter fair

exhibit.” Yet at the same time, the
economic crisis emphasized the ce


of manufacturing, finance cap
italism, and business consolidati

on to the

American economy. These devel
opments—part of the transition f

rom an

agricultural to an industrial econ
omy—had far-reaching conseque

nces for

the growing number of America
ns—male and female—who made

a living

working for wages. By the end o
f the nineteenth centuiw, the Unite

d States

may have been the world’s leading
industrial power as well as its riche

st, but

it was also a place where a few be
nefited from the labor of many. As


rate strength grew through cons
olidation and novel managerial tec


not only did worker control over p
roduction decrease but workers, bu


along by the ebb and flow of the
industrial business cycle, found the


in increasingly insecure economi
c straits. The panic’s impact in San


cisco signaled the city’s ties to the
national economy. Its effects force

d resi

dents to confront conditions at ho
me. While the Midwinter Fair put

forth a

carefully constructed image of San
Francisco suitable for outside cons


tion, the fair itself had been launc
hed, in part, to generate jobs and


for a city in economic trouble.66

Organizers heralded San Francisco’s
Midwinter Fair as an event that

would revive the local economy by
creating jobs and heal growing class


sions by providing a unifying civic p
roject for all of the city’s residents. “


were hard times,” WH.L. Barnes
told the crowd that packed Metro


Hall at a “monster mass-meeting”
held to promote the fair on July 27,


‘We shall build no souphouses,” he
declared, “no beggars shall be drive

n from

house to house. But out on the silve
r sands fringing the Pacific will be

built at

a cost, I believe, of over a million d
ollars, buildings that will be the de


ries of the hope of the world.” The
fair did provide work for some, altho


as was the case for many women, th
e number of male applicants quickly


ran the available jobs. Promoters
were faced with the fact that the mig


of the unemployed from other are
as would on1y aggravate the condit

ion of


the thousands of worklngmen Iooklng for emploneit in San Francisco.
Many unemployed men did flock to Golden Gate Park but not always in
search of work at the fair. Not far from the Midwinter Fair, a coalition of
workiugmen, merchants ministers and rabbis_sown as the Citizens’ Ex
ecutive Committee for the Relief of the Unemp1oyedl launched a huge,
city-wide relief project that raised money to pay out-of-work men to labor in
the park. Just as this visible reminder of economic upheaval existed in the
same geographic space as the Midwinter Fair’s celebration of economic prog
ress, coverage of this story in the press was often placed adjacent to coverage
of the fair. Moreove while the community support necessary for both of
these efforts_the Midwinter Fair and the Citizens’ Executive Committee
was the result of cross_class alliances, at the same time these projects actually
made class divisions more visible. Coverage in local newspapers of how the
fair and the relief committee fared in face of the social fallout of the economic
crisis provided a vehicle for the representation of class identities that stood in
stark contrast to the images of independent self-made men depicted at the
Mining Camp and served to highlight how far the nation had moved from
that ideal by Presenting images that graphically showcased the conditions of
everyday life in the nation’s new industrial economy.67

One of the ways both the Midwinter Fair and The Citizens’ Executive
Committee for the Relief of the Unemployed generated representations of
the working classes was by requiring the registration and enumeration of local
unemployed. These people, dependent upon employers and wages, were the
antithesis ofJackionian producers. At the Midwinter Faii this deplo)ent of
scrutinizing practices_akin to those associated with new scientific manage
ment techniques used by employers to keep a watchful eye over employees_
was ostensibly instituted to insure that unemployed residents of the city were
given work before outsiders.68 It is likely that it was also used as a way to exert
some control over large numbers of disgruntled and desperate men. “for the
protection of the unemployed among the inhabitants of San Francisco, their
names are being registered in the order in which they make application for
work,” the Call announced “Only those mechanics and laborers who now re
side here will be given emploent in connection with the exposition.” But
press coverage of the numbers and characteristics of the unemployed seeking
work at the Midwinter Fair that reporters garnered from registration rosters
also disclosed infoation about the composition and condition of the work
ing classes to a city-wide readership. By Aust 2, 1893, the press reported


that from 300 to oo employment applications w
ere being received daily at

the Midwinter Fair’s headquarters and the total
had already reached 4,ooo.

“About io per cent are carpenters,” the Call in
formed its readers, “as many

more are other mechanics, including engineers
, gardeners, teamsters, paint

ers, watchmen and timekeepers. The majority are
laborers, although a num

ber are clerks and salesmen out of work and willin
g to take a pick and shovel

and commence grading for the buildings.” By Aug
ust 9, 1893, the registration

of applicants for work at the Midwinter fair ground
s was closed. Within five

weeks, 5,ooo men had registered their applicat
ions for employment. “The

committee will not be able to use the services of h
alf that number,” the same

paper disclosed, “and it was decided that it would
be unfair to the applicants

to still further increase their number.” Press cover
age of the registration pro

cess at the Midwinter Fair had made it unquestio
nably clear to city residents

that ordinary men, many from respectable trades
, were out of work in stag

gering numbers.69

The Citizens’ Executive Committee for the Reli
ef of the Unemployed en

gaged in similar registration practices when it b
egan putting men to work in

Golden Gate Park on January 4, i8ç. At a meeting
held in the rooms of the

Merchants’ Club on January 2, “It was unanim
ously agreed that the funds

raised by the citizens for the aid of the unemployed sh
ould be used to improve

and beautify Golden Gate Park.” “vVhile trees will
be put out, plants placed in

beds, lawns spaded up and sown, no experience in ga
rdening will be needed by

the unemployed,” an article in the Examiner infor
med its readers, “as most of

them will be given work in grading and preparing n
ew grounds.” Although

Park Commissioner Stow initially assured the comm
ittee that “there was vir

tually no limit to the work to be done in the Park and
that he would put to

work all the men the committee would send to him” by
the end of the month

the number of men had to be pared back from a h
igh of 2,800 to between

1,200 and 1,400. In part this was due to the rapid dep
letion of funds needed to

pay so many workers, but it was also motivated by t
he concern that the park

was becoming crowded with “more men than cou
ld be made useful by the

Park Commission.” Each employed man was assigned
a ticket that entitled

him to ten days of work for which he was paid one doll
ar per day. Throughout

the period of relief, men who had worked more than t
en days were often re

quired to relinquish their jobs so that other unemp
loyed men could work.7°

Registration of the unemployed for park work wa
s systematic and in

volved careful examination and evaluation of the men w
ho applied. The relief


committee scrutinized men to screen out “the burn element” and to make sure
employment was given “only to those considered worthy.” Married men withwives and families were also generally given preference over single men without dependents was the case with workers at the Midwinter faifl SanFrancisco residents were given priority over the unemployed from outside thecity. In fact, enough people in search of work were arriving in the city thatafter January 10, work tickets were only given to men who presented “lettersfrom former employers or from business men stating that the applicant isknown to be deserving and has resided in this city for some time.” OnJanuary

4, 1894, the Examiner described the registration process for the 1,100 unemployed men who had gathered on Leidesdorif Street on the morning of theprevious day. In groups they were “escorted by a special Policeman throughthe side entrance of the Merchants’ Exchange to be examined as to their eligibility for employment” “Detachments of fourteen men each were broughtup the stairs and one by one examined by the selecting committee consistingof Father Montgomery and M. P Jones, while a third member of the executive committee kept a list and a fourth made out the employment cards.” Therecipient of the first work ticket was Jerry Sullivan, a San Francisco residentfor twenty_one years who “had a wife and six children” and was described as“utterly without means and hungry.”71
The press, in its coverage of the Citizens’ Executive Committee activities, also described and ran stories about the Unemployed men. Most often, itrepresented the Unemployed as ordinary but hardworking and dutiful menfacing Poverty despite their best efforts. Reports also tended to stress the diversity of the wororce in the Parkshong like the Midwinter Fair coverage, that economic hard times did not discriminate when it can to age, ethnic_or the respectability or sll level of one occupation. “Jewelers,piano-makers, cooks, drug clerl, book canvassers and sewing machine agentswork side by side with the commonest of laborers glad to get an Opportunityto earn Si a day,” one account in the Chronicle reported. “The men were of a]lnationalities ages and physical conditions Some were mere youths, whileothers were gray and bent with age,” informed another. 72

Some newspaper accounts profiled individual members of the unemployed. One of these related the story of a man “who asked that his name beWithheld” because lie did not “want all his rnends to know that he has becomeone of the eat army of unemployed.” The abstract for the Story read: “Aman who had been standing in Pauper alley all night waiting for a chance for













donations from these grou
ps had slowed, the relief fu

nd for the unemployed

was being “rapidly exhaus
ted,” and the committee’s r

esolution suggested that

they did not believe it wou
ld quicken without conside

rable prodding.77 Ferdi

nand Haber, head of the
Viticulture Department at t

he Midwinter Fair told

the Call that “the real sup
ports of the exhibition are

the middle classes—retail

merchants, mechanics, and
laboring classes.” “The ca

pitalists and large real

estate owners have done co
mparatively nothing. Some

of these big men don’t

look beyond the threshold
of their own doors.”78

Within this context of eco
nomic crisis and disparate d

onation, the charita

ble acts of the poorest me
mbers of society were deeme

d especially impressive.

The generosity of newsbo
ys—working children ofte

n described as “ragged

urchins”—received particu
lar attention. On Februa

ry , the Chronic
le re

ported that Jimmy Colli
ns, a newsboy, had paid a

visit to treasurer Daniel

Meyer’s office shortly befo
re two o’clock. He “saunte

red into the place” and

shouted, “Hey, dere, there
’s dat dime.” Ever since

the Citizen’s Executive

Committee had begun co
llecting subscriptions, Jimm

y Collins had made it a

practice to contribute ten
cents a day, and usually h

e was accompanied by

three other newsboys who
did the same. He’d confid

ed to one of the clerks

who worked in the office
that the reason he made

this donation was that

“when he was a few years
younger his father was out

of work for a long time

and consequently he knew
just what it was to be hard

up.” Also newsworthy

were the charitable efforts
of the citys newsboys on b

ehalf of the Midwinter

Fair. Abe Bienkowski—”
a plain everyday newsboy

, cast upon the world

alone”—put out a call to “
every newsboy in San Fran

cisco” that several fund-

raising meetings for the M
idwinter Fair were to be held

at the Irish-American

Hall. He was also “furnishe
d with a subscription pape

r and authorized to col

lect from all newsboys w
ho desired to contribute.”

Donations ranged from

five to fifty cents. By Augus
t 9, the contribu

tion of the newsboys was

$12 and on August io th
e subscription list publish

ed in the Call indicated

“newsboys subscribed (ad
ditional) $3.70.” One exp

lanation offered for the

charitable acts of the poor
was that they gave because

they knew what it was

like to be in want while the
elite and the middle classe

s needed to be educated

about the poor in order to
be motivated to generosity


In fact, as a form of exposé j
ournalism, the press covera

ge of these two fund-

raising efforts did a consid
erable amount of public ed

ucation and service in a

time of crisis. In its routine
chastisement of capitalists fo

r their stinginess, it not

only presented a stark contr
ast to the virtue of capitalis

t entrepreneurs lauded at



the Mining Camp, but also safely channeled and gave voice to local anger at
owing social inequities Its depictions of the worthy poor may very well have
been a way to molli readers who could identi with such a plight at the same
time that they sened to educate the middle and Upper classes about the less for
umate. Through its coverage, local newspapers allowed middle_class readers to
“how” the poor. The press also reported stories of middle_class “discovery” of
the poor. kile these generally occurred in “real life” and were reported in the
pages of the press, they mirrored the nd of experien5 and charitable actions
such stories were desigued to inspire in their readers.

The Examiner generated this nd of tale in its coverage of the Lincoln
School boys who Provided lunches for over 2,300 men in the park in mid-
January. “A lady who noticed the scene from a carriage beckoned to one of the
boys. ‘I’ll make up a box of lunches for to-morrow’ she said. ‘I never dreamed
such things could est here in San Francisco . I have been driving around
after these wagons all morning and I have seen these men eating like stanring
animals To-morrow i shall do what little I can to help.” The idea of having
the children from various schools rotate the responsibility for Providing
lunches to the men in the park actually originated with one middle_class
fifteen-yearold girl from Golden Gate Avenue, Lillie Meye in a moment of
middlecjass “discovery” of the poor. Upon their return from a buggy ride in
Golden Gate Park, Lillie older sister and little brother related that in the
course of their ride they had came upon some of the park workers toiling on
the roadways. It was lunch time but the men had nothing to eat. Well-Stocked
with cooes, the two Meyer children offered them to the men and they were
gratefully received er hearing this stoi Liflie Meyer had an idea that
“solved a question that had puzzled a lot of older heads.” She said, “I’ll speak
to Miss Strauss, our teache and ask her to speak to all the scholars and we’ll
each one of us bring a lunch and send them out to the poor men in the Park.”
4Thile this episode conveniently confornied to images of children that
stressed their innocence and viewed them as especially appropriate vehicles of
chari it also launched a huge community effort to help the less fortunate.
The Chroizicle even went so far as to encourage its readers to go out to the park
and see the work of the unemployed men rst hand, “If the hundreds who
drive out to the Park to-day, before or after visiting the Midwinter Faii will
Continue their journey a few yards beyond the fenced inclosure either on the
north or the south, they will obtain some idea of the extent and value of the
work which the dollaraday men are doing.”SO


But even as the depictions of the poor in the press ma
de them visible and

constructed them as worthy, hardworking, appropriat
ely grateful, and honor

able, this ostensibly favorable image designed to pro
voke charity also con

tained within it less savory elements. The poor did no
t represent themselves

and stepping outside the image constructed for them
meant risking being la

beled unworthy and therefore undeserving of charity.
Throughout the fund-

raising effort, concerns were raised about “bummers” an
d “loafers” receiving

aid, that the poor would become dependent upon relief
and that the wage of

one dollar a day was too much of a luxury for some. Mo
reover, a flyer circu

lated by the United Brotherhood of Labor in early Se
ptember 1893 titled

“facts Concerning the Midwinter fair” urged the public to
refuse to fund the

Midwinter Fair because it had failed to uphold its promise t
o give work to the

unemployed. This flyer also made reference to the fact t
hat the unemployed

had “camped upon the Postoffice site nearly two month
s, and have had nu

merous street parades” yet were still waiting for their situa
tion to be openly

discussed in the Chronicle, Michael de Young’s newspaper.
These rumblings of

discontent suggest that the citys widespread efforts to aid
the unemployed

emerged, in part, from the need for some gesture of app
easement to keep an

increasingly volatile situation under control. Through
the provision of

work and a little direct aid, combined with press coverag
e that channeled

working-class anger and taught middle-class San Francisc
ans about the less

fortunate in their midst at the same time that it moved them
to charity, elites

successfully weathered a crisis that had the potential to disrupt
order not only

at the fair but in the city at large.

In July 1893, when the Midwinter fair was still just a spar
kle in de Young’s

eye, Clara S. Fefiz had told a crowd assembled at a mass m
eeting to generate

enthusiasm for the exposition that it would “attract the atte
ntion of the civil

ized world.” After such a display, she explained “people e
lsewhere” would

“not look at you as if you carried a pistol in your belt and a
bowie-knife in

your boot when you tell them you come from California.”82
For its six-month

duration, the Midwinter fair served as a cultural frontier on
which San Fran

cisco elites presented an image of the city to “the civilized
world” that re

vealed a carefully ordered vision. Fair organizers packaged m
any of the these

things that made San Francisco its own unique place—its gold
rush history, its

disorderly Wild West legacy, its diversity, and its position
on the Pacific

Rim—within an overarching framework that stressed the c
ontainment of

class, race, and gender-based disorder in the city and the asc
endance of locally


inflected forms of nationally dominant social hierarchies. Sunset City offered
to the world a picture of San Francisco as a civilized, conquered, and thus hilly
erican place. Claiming this mantle reflected the city position as a far-
western urban center that, having gotten its own house in order, was not only
ready for incorporation into the fabric of the nation, but was poised to be in
strumental in furthering the nation’s growing imperial goals.

  • Playing in the City-incomplete
  • playing in the city-missing

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