Letters

  • CALIFORNIA LETTERS

    Migrant Letters

    - Changing immigration laws, job opportunities, and acclimation to a new culture are captured in these letters from 20th-century Chinese and Mexican immigrants to California.
For many drivers, a common place to see the bells is along California highway 101 or 82, or El Camino Real; this gold-painted bell sits in front of San Bruno City Hall.
CHRIS HARDY
MAIL BAG

Bells Controversy Rings Loud

Alta readers share passionate responses to Marcela Davison Avilés’s article on a onetime tourist campaign that recalls California’s checkered missionary past.

Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), novelist and author of 40 books on life, adventure and love in the Middle Border country.
GEORGE RINHART/GETTY IMAGES
LETTERS

Birth of the California Canon

Hamlin Garland was the author of more than 40 books, including A Son of the Middle Border, an autobiographical narrative of easterners moving West. Here are excerpts from a pair of his letters. 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Atomic Petrifaction

Readers regularly write us with questions, comments and suggestions, and our authors respond — in Alta's Letters to the Editor.

A photo of Bret Harte's fiction chronicled the colorful lives of gamblers and miners during the California Gold Rush.
CALIFORNIA LETTERS

He Left His Harte

Bret Harte (1836-1902) was an important figure in California literature as a chronicler of 19th century life and teller of tales. He wrote these dispatches for The Christian Register in Boston and The Republican in Springfield, Mass.

Thomas O. Larkin
CALIFORNIA LETTERS

San Francisco’s First Boom

Thomas O. Larkin was the Navy’s agent in San Francisco, as well as being a successful businessman himself. His Gold Rush letters to his friends and colleagues tell familiar stories about life amid a financial boom.

Kate Crane Gartz
CALIFORNIA LETTERS

The Socialist Socialite

Kate Crane Gartz (1865-1949) was an epitome of a famous American type: the wealthy progressive firebrand. she railed against injustice in these eloquent, impassioned letters — written from her mansion in Altadena.

John Muir seated on rock with lake and trees in background.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
CALIFORNIA LETTERS

John Muir, Naturally

John Muir's evocative description of Yosemite Valley and the wilds of California

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