George Wharton James

George Wharton James books and biography

George Wharton James

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George Wharton James (1858-1923) was a prolific popular lecturer and journalist, writing more than 40 books and many articles and pamphlets on California and the American Southwest.

James was born in Lincolnshire, England. He was ordained as a Methodist minister and came to the United States in 1881, serving in parishes in Nevada and southern California. However, in 1889 he was sued for divorce, accused by his wife with commiting numerous acts of adultery. He subsequently underwent an ecclesiastical trial, charged with real estate fraud, using faked credentials, and sexual misconduct. He was defrocked, although he was later reinstated.

James' books included The Wonders of the Colorado Desert (1906), Through Ramona's Country (1909), and The Lake of the Sky (1915). Characteristics of his writing included romanticism, an enthusiasm for natural environments, idealization of aboriginal lifeways, and health faddism. He had a long-running feud with Charles Fletcher Lummis, another writer with similar regional interests.

The California State Library and the University of California, Berkeley have collections of James' books and pamphlets. A collection of his photographs is on file at the University of New Mexico.

On-Line Writings

  • Works by George Wharton James at Project Gutenberg
  • "An Adventure in Beaver Canyon 1899"
  • "A Saboba Origin-Myth" (1902)
  • "The Legend of Tauquich and Algoot" (1903)
  • The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It (1910)
  • The Old Franciscan Missions of California (1913)

[edit References

  • Bourdon, Roger Joseph. 1966. George Wharton James, Interpreter of the Southwest. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Larson, Roger Keith. 1991. Controversial James: An Essay on the Life and Work of George Wharton James. Book Club of California, San Francisco.
  • Starr, Kevin. 1973. Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915. Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Starr, Kevin. 1985. Inventing the Dream: California through the Progressive Era. Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Wild, Peter. 1990. George Wharton James. Boise State University, Boise, Idaho.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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