California, Don’t Let Your Greatest Thinker Die

The Wisdom of 19th-Century Philosopher Josiah Royce Is Needed Now More Than Ever

If you’re a Californian who doesn’t know the name Josiah Royce, shame on you. And shame on the schools, libraries, and intellectuals who have allowed us to forget the greatest thinker the Golden State ever produced.

When he is remembered, Royce—born in 1855 in a Grass Valley mining camp, raised in San Francisco, and educated at UC Berkeley where he was one of the first graduates—is often described as a once-famous philosopher. But that doesn’t do justice to a man whose groundbreaking work ranged over ideas as big and wide as …

Pasadena, California, Was Born in Indiana During the Cold, Damp Winter of 1872 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Pasadena, California, Was Born in Indiana During the Cold, Damp Winter of 1872

The Midwesterners Who Founded the ‘Crown City’ Were Seeking a Colony Where Their Lungs Could Heal

In May 1872, after suffering through another extremely cold, damp winter, a group of 150 middle-class neighbors from Indianapolis, Indiana, decided to leave home. The group included lawyers, doctors, journalists, …

Why California’s Greatest Historian Couldn’t Get Elected in San Francisco

Kevin Starr's Failed Candidacy Exposed the Fault Lines in a Shifting City

Kevin Starr is widely regarded as California’s pre-eminent historian—a prolific author and public intellectual for nearly 50 years—and his death earlier this year generated much writing about his life and …

How William T. Sherman Helped Create California

And How His Golden State Past Influenced the Civil War General’s Most Famous Decision

This month, as California celebrates Admission Day—a legal holiday in honor of our officially joining the United States on September 9, 1850—we should give ourselves an overdue present:

A founding story …

My California

In Novelist Edan Lepucki’s Home State, the History Is Fictional, the Terrain Is Otherworldly, and the Population Is United by Difference

In the story about myself, I was born in Santa Monica, in a rental on Sunset Ave. (yes, Avenue, not Boulevard). Early February, which is a bleak month elsewhere, but …

Schools Aren’t Giving California Kids Enough Screen Time

Movies Like Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and The Joy Luck Club Will Teach Students More About Modern State History Than Textbooks Ever Could

California teachers, you should be showing your students more movies.

And not for babysitting purposes, or to fill holes in your lesson plan. As our state considers new frameworks for the …