The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

Filtering by Category: Tributes

An Empire of the Heart

A portion of remarks offered by Emperor's Bridge Campaign founder and president John Lumea at the Campaign's inaugural celebration of Empire Day in San Francisco's Redwood Park on 17 September 2015. The event was held to mark the 156th anniversary of Joshua Norton's declaration of himself as "Emperor of these United States" on 17 September 1859 and to welcome the 157th year of the Nortonian realm and reign.

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The Original Public Advocate

In the current San Francisco mayoral election, one of the challengers to sitting mayor Ed Lee has offered an anti-corruption plan that includes a proposal that San Francisco create a new elected office for a Public Advocate.

Other major cities already have Public Advocates; the level of authority depends on the city.

But the general idea is that the Public Advocate is a kind of official watchdog — someone who helps to ensure that the citizens are being treated fairly; that government agencies and private companies are properly maintaining basic utilities and services like streets, public transit, water, electricity and gas (and not gouging the people in the process); and that corruption that affects the general populace is called out wherever it is found.

Sound familiar? It should.

The original Public Advocate is Emperor Norton.

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A Plaque for the Emperor (With His Birth Date in Bronze)

On a beautiful if blustery afternoon yesterday in Colma, about 40 friends of Emperor Norton gathered for the laying of a special historical plaque for the Emperor at Home of Peace — the cemetery of Congregation Emanu-El, where the Emperor attended synagogue every Saturday.

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Mr. Hutchinson's Mementos

It long has been known that, upon Emperor Norton's death in January 1880, many of his personal effects — including his regimentals, a hat, his sword and his treasured Serpent Scepter, an elaborate walking stick given him by his subjects in Oregon — went to the Society of California Pioneers (only to be lost 26 years later in the earthquake and fire). 

Many, but not all. This week, we discovered archival traces of an early 1880 donation to the Odd Fellows' Library Association of San Francisco. The donation  by David Hutchinson, Emperor Norton's longtime landlord at the Eureka Lodgings  included the stamp the Emperor used to place his seal on his proclamations. It might also have included the Emperor's final proclamation: written and sealed, but not yet delivered and published.  

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The Emperor & His Widow

On 15 February 2015, a number of us from The Emperor's Bridge Campaign attended the 40th anniversary of the International Court's annual pilgrimage to the graves of Emperor Norton and José Sarria, the Widow Norton. Rev. Lyle Beckman of San Francisco Night Ministry offered especially touching keynote remarks drawing parallels between the Emperor and his widow.  

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Emperor Norton's Hunch

Written in 1944 by Lu Watters, "Emperor Norton's Hunch" became a signature song for Watters and his Yerba Buena Jazz Band. In this video, a recording of the song by the band is the musical setting for a quick look at answers to the two questions raised by the song's title: Who was Emperor Norton? and What was his hunch?

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