Upcoming focus on the PPIE

A view of the PPIE from Pacific Heights.
A view of the PPIE from the south.

One hundred years ago on February 20th, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened its doors to the public.  Although it was marketed as a celebration of the newly-opened Panama Canal, its larger purpose was to the show the world that San Francisco had fully recovered from the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire. The fair was huge, constructed on a 635-acre strip of land along San Francisco Bay on what is now the Marina District.

Paul Elder & Company had a booth at the PPIE, and published a number of books on or about the Fair. Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting each of those titles. Watch this space!

The PPIE Bookstore

A small advertising pamphlet about the PPIE booth
Elder’s booth at the PPIE

The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a big deal for Paul Elder & Company. He published eleven books on or about the fair, and he also had a handsome bookstore booth inside the Palace of Liberal Arts. Please follow the above link for photographs and other details!

How many PPIE books did Elder publish?

Paul Elder & Co. published twelve titles directly or indirectly related to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Each title below is preceded by its checklist number.

11. The Architecture & Landscape Gardening of the Exposition
16. The Art of the Exposition
46. California and The Opening of Gateway Between the Atlantic and the Pacific (not published until 1916)
47. California, a Poem
54. Catalogue De Luxe of the Department of Fine Arts, Panama-Pacific International Exposition (two volumes)
106. The Fourth-Dimensional Reaches of the Exposition
109. The Galleries of the Exposition
126. Holland, An Historical Essay
162. Little Bronze Playfellows
197. Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast
227. The Palace of Fine Arts and Lagoon
278. The Sculpture and Mural Decorations of the Exposition

Additionally, Elder published two books for the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, which opened just a few weeks after the PPIE and stayed open a year longer:

12. The Architecture and Gardens of the San Diego Exposition
271. The San Diego Garden Fair


Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast

Cover of "Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast"
Cover of “Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast”

This week’s spotlight, Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast, makes a fine bookend to last week’s A Yosemite Flora. They are the only two pure science books that Paul Elder published, but what wonderful science books they are.

One of Elder’s eleven books on or about the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Nature and Science is a comprehensive natural history of the West Coast, primarily California, with additional articles in the field of literature, fine arts, law, and travel. The list of contributors includes botanist Harvey Monroe Hall (author of A Yosemite Flora), architect John Galen Howard, engineer Joseph LeConte, and astronomer A. O. Leuschner.

Nature Science title
Frontispiece and title page of “Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast”

The editor-in-chief was Joseph Grinnell (1877-1939), director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, and a famous name to any zoology student at the University, including yours truly. Grinnell was the inventor of the “Grinnell System,” a method of meticulous note-taking that is still taught to every UC Berkeley zoology student to this day. Notes must be taken in the field from direct observation, to be followed by a detailed journal entry transcribed from the field notes. Any specimens must include the precise date, location, weather, and if possible, photographs. The method even specifies the quality of notebook (durable), paper (high) and ink (very black, and waterproof). Grinnell’s goal was that the notes could be readable 200 years into the future.

Nature Science JGrinnell1904
Joseph Grinnell in 1904.
Nature Science map2
Fold out map of San Francisco, with the PPIE fairgrounds prominently marked at top middle.

Included in the book are many fold out street maps of the major coastal cities: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and one large coated map of the California “life zones”.

Nature Science p31
Pages 30-31 of “Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast”
Nature Science map1
Large fold out map of California “life zones,” which today we would call “biomes” or “ecosystems”

California — A Poem

Paul Elder published this beautiful booklet during the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It’s a real gem, with striking full-color drawings by Audley B. Wells and a matching envelope.

Perhaps only after admiring the booklet do we notice the poem it contains, California, by Fred Emerson Brooks (1850-1923). Though Brooks and his poetry have been forgotten, he was very popular a century ago as a writer and speaker. Modesty, it would seem, was not one of Brooks’s character flaws. Billed in a promotional flyer as “The Man Who Never Disappoints, Always Smiling, Always There,” his Chicago publisher gushes:

Fred Emerson Brooks is one of the great men in the lyceum world … Phenomenal health, a clean life and a sunny nature give him a remarkable record. Brooks has a marvelous breadth of thought and expression—there is no passion or feeling he does not portray. He is a gifted orator with a voice ranging from that of thunder to the softness of a summer zephyr.

The flyer also includes endorsements from Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt (“I’ve heard Brooks, and he’s bully!”) and Taft.

California, A Poem
California p3
California, page 3
California p5
California, page 5
California p7
California, page 7
California p9
California, page 9
California p11
California, page 11
California p13
California, page 13
California p15
California, page 15
California envelope
matching envelope to "California"