New Year’s Brew

New Years Brew
Robert Howell's "New Year's Brew", with artwork by Spencer Wright

Before continuing on, stop and read the text of Robert B. Howell’s “New Year’s Brew.” I’ll wait.

Now, read it a second time, keeping in mind the devastating 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, which happened just seven months before.  It does not sound like the work of someone wailing in despair over the still-ruined city. Instead it is full of hope and good cheer. Paul Elder and John Henry Nash had moved to New York City in an attempt to revitalize the business in the nerve center of American publishing. John Howell was put in charge of the new bookshop at Van Ness and Bush, designed by Bernard Maybeck.

I’m guessing that Robert Howell was related to John Howell, does anyone have more information on him?

May these words of good cheer follow us into the new year. Happy 2011 to all!

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