Chasing the Sun’s Medicinal Rays

At the Turn of the 20th Century, Southern California Became a Testing Ground for Healthy Living

Southern California has long attracted those seeking a mild climate, a healthy lifestyle, and sunshine. According to Lyra Kilston, author of Sun Seekers: The Cure of California, the origins of the modern, healthy-living regime we associate with the Golden State has its roots in 19th-century Europe. When the Industrial Revolution had polluted many European cities and the spread of tuberculosis was rampant, open-air asylums, water and sunbathing clinics, and the like began popping up. These institutions stressed the medicinal benefits of fresh air, exercise, and the natural elements at a …

California, Don’t Let Your Greatest Thinker Die | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

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 …

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 …