THE EMPEROR IN THE EAST BAY | Chamber Talk #2
The conventional wisdom is that Emperor Norton was solely a San Francisco figure — a creature of the streets, parks, libraries, lecture halls and newspapers of his adopted city.
In fact, the Emperor was a very well-known presence in Oakland and Berkeley, as well, making weekly visits to both places — and sometimes staying for days or weeks at a time.
There are numerous proclamations and other accounts of Emperor Norton's traveling on the ferry between San Francisco and Oakland. Charles Purcell — the chief engineer of the Emperor's bridge between the two cities — called Oakland the Emperor's "summer capital." Indeed, a number of the Emperor's proclamations — including the one (from June 1872) setting out the vision for the Transbay Tube — were datelined "Brooklyn," an independent township annexed to Oakland in 1872 and better known today as East Oakland.
Emperor Norton also regularly attended lectures and reviewed the cadets at the college in Berkeley — both before and after it became the University of California — and was reported to have been much beloved by the students there.
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Please join The Emperor's Bridge Campaign for a special event exploring an overlooked — but important — part of the Emperor's story.
Chamber Talk #2 *
THE EMPEROR IN THE EAST BAY
The Imperial Diplomacy of Norton I in Oakland and Berkeley
Guest speaker: Historian Richard Schwartz, author of the book
Eccentrics, Heroes, and Cutthroats of Old Berkeley (2007)
Tuesday 6 October 2015 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics
518 Valencia Street (near 16th)
Wine and snacks will be served.
Special raffle (see below)
Admission: $10 donation requested
No one will be turned away.
A bonus for the evening...
The Campaign will be raffling a very nice, clean, unmarked "decommissioned" library copy of William Drury's classic 1986 biography, Norton I: Emperor of the United States.
This book — which remains the most authoritative account of the Emperor and his world — is long out of print, with clean copies generally starting at $45 or $50 on Amazon and eBay.
Special thanks to our good friends, Francesca Testen and her dad, Bob, in Frederick, Maryland, for donating our raffle copy. (Click on images for larger views.)
Hope to see you on the 6th!
* Last March, the Campaign held a site-specific event on Commercial Street in San Francisco — a kind of "historical walking tour without the walk" — that we called a "Field Talk." We'll continue to use that general category for our occasional outdoor talks, with our indoor talks flying under the banner of the "Chamber Talk." Although we weren't using the phrase last February, it's fair to say that "Chamber Talk #1" was our presentation on the Emperor's birth date, also at 518 Valencia. Hence, "Chamber Talk #2" for our "return engagement" in October.
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