San Francisco’s Advantages Outfitting the Klondike, 1898

January 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

A Few Quick Thoughts on Digital History & Digital History Commons:

It has been one of my goals with this blog to present historical information in an innovative way to the cloud. The social media revolution has only intensified the ability to disseminate knowledge and collaborate in any field of study. While digital publishing in theory is little different from traditional print, it provides a platform for reaching a wider audience with little expense and ease. Beginning with this post, I hope to present much of my research for the Gilded Empire online for review and critique.

Digital History is a new frontier in presenting historical material to a much wider audience than traditional print books and journals. Even the traditional symposia and professional conventions have transitioned somewhat into the digital realm. The AHA 2012 convention is a perfect example with panels discussing the digital humanities in general, and digital history specifically. Two examples, Presenting Historical Research Using Digital Media & Crowdsourcing History: Collaborative Online Transcription and Archives, illustrate in a big way the trend’s strength in the historical discipline. For more information, follow #AHA2012 or #twitterstorians on Twitter.

Among other things, the #twitterstorians coverage of the AHA 2012 has inspired me to move forward with these new strategies. Besides presenting my thoughts on San Francisco in the 1890s, I thought I would at some point digitize my research transcriptions of primary sources so that they might be available to others. The advantages of “crowdsourcing” historical knowledge allows for a much more collaborative and in many ways, more productive way to initiate and engage a historical topic. It is in this vein that I hope this new strategy will help facilitate.

In the future I will write more on this new digital movement when time permits.

Below however is the first installment of many primary sources transcription postings. As this strategy matures a more efficient navigational structure will emerge so that a search through my transcriptions will be quick and useful for scholars and the public alike. To begin however, all transcriptions will be listed under the “Source Transcription” Category listed in the sidebar.

And thanks again to all those #twitterstorians who are covering the AHA 2012 convention in Chicago.

San Francisco’s Advantages as an Outfitting Point for the Alaskan Gold Fields ~ “Introduction”

Scanned Image of Titlepage


That the Klondike is going to prove the great drawing card in westward travel for many months to come, and that San Francisco, as the terminus of the great transcontinental railroads, will be the natural base of supplies for all exploring expeditions setting out for the new northern El Dorado, are two facts which recent events have thoroughly impressed on the public mind.

Every batch of news which comes from the golden valley of the Yukon bears still stronger testimony confirmatory of the superlatively rich deposits of auriferous gravel in this wonderful region. Stories of fortunes won in a few short months of labor, which read more like fairy tales, are continually being repeated on the arrival of every steamer from the north, invariably substantiating by precious metal itself a cold, hard, glittering evidence, which cannot be controverted, fresh from the sealed treasure vaults of Nature herself.

Pamphlet image of Steamer on its way to the Klondike

The volume will be found useful, not only as a guide in traveling, but in the matter of the necessary equipment for the sustenance of life in a land where the surroundings will be found entirely different from those encountered in localities unexposed to such climate as that of Alaska and the Northwestern Territory. It is only natural that everything pertaining to these wonderful discoveries should stir the world to its very center with a strange and novel excitement, the like of which has not been before experienced in this generation. In view of this extraordinary interest, the publishers of this book have taken the greatest pains to collate the most reliable and useful information of the Klondike and neighboring districts for the benefit of the American public, and more especially for those who have already turned their faces toward the new Mecca of the gold hunter.

Source iconography

It will also furnish reasons why San Francisco will be found the most convenient and direct point of departure for the Klondike, and the cheapest market in which to procure an appropriate outfit based on the experience derived in trade with the Arctic, dating back for over a quarter of a century. That which is an absolutely new departure to business elsewhere is one on which the merchants of San Francisco are posted in regard to the smallest detail, with an abundance of material on hand of every description to supply every requirement in the way of necessary food, clothing, and equipment for mining operation and transportation.

Full particulars will also be found in these pages of the quickest and most direct routes of travel by land and sea, at the lease expense by rail, connecting with a fleet of swift, commodious ocean steamers sailing from San Francisco for Alaskan ports of entry, together with hints for the traveler, which will save him both time and money.

With the knowledge that nothing has been left undone to make this guide to the Klondike gold fields as full and complete in every particular as experience can suggest, the publishers have no hesitation in commending it as safe and reliable as any which the traveling public will find, invaluable as a [vade mecum], and appreciate it as such.

With these few introductory remarks, the publication is launched, confident that its merits will establish everything that can be said in its favor.


San Francisco, February, 1898


  • San Francisco’s advantages as an outfitting point for the Alaskan gold fields. 1898. San Francisco: Owen Burns.


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