Roundup: August 10, 2016
Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM
Our Speaker: Dr. Robert Chandler
His Subject: Grafton Tyler Brown: Racial Identity on the California Frontier
Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) lived for art. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he traveled west, and reinvented himself in California. Brown was considered Black in Sacramento in 1860, but managed to pass for White in San Francisco in 1861. Self-confident, talented, and aggressive, Brown seized all opportunities to advance his career as a commercial artist. So proficient that he outshone all of his California competitors, G.T. Brown & Co., Lithographers, produced an incredible amount of top-notch work: city views, maps, sheet music, advertising posters, mining stock certificates, and billheads (invoices) of great variety and consistent artistic excellence. Over a twenty-year period, this uniquely talented artist, who began as a Black man back East while slavery was still the law of the land, became accepted as White out West. Dr. Chandler will introduce us to Brown the man, to his work in many mediums, and will compare it with that of his rivals.
Dr. Robert Chandler is one of the most gifted and productive of all California historians. His 1978 UC Riverside dissertation on “The Press and Civil Liberties in California During the Civil War” was followed by 32 years as Senior Research Historian for Wells Fargo Bank. Bob has published more than 60 articles on California during the Gold Rush and the Civil War, on civil rights, commerce, finance, gold, journalism, politics, the military, numismatics, philately, printing, stage-coaching, steamships, and Wells Fargo Bank. His books include an Illustrated History of California (2004) and Wells Fargo (2006). Dr. Chandler is a member of the Council of the Friends of the Bancroft Library; a Director of the San Ramon Valley Museum; and is a past and the present Sheriff of the San Francisco Corral of Westerners. He is a member of the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels and a very active Clamper, being an X-Noble Grand Humbug of Yerba Buena #1, the Mother Lodge, E Clampus Vitus. Bob’s lifelong fascination with G.T. Brown recently culminated in San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown (University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), the outstanding book his August, 2016, presentation will be based upon.
Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D.