This book is an attempt to present the history of California in so simple and interesting a way that children may read it with pleasure. It does not confine itself to the history of one section or period, but tells the story of all the principal events from the Indian occupancy through the Spanish and Mission days, the excitement of the gold discovery, the birth of the state, down to the latest events of yesterday and to-day. Several chapters, also, are devoted to the development of California's great industries. The work is designed not only for children, but also for older people interested in the story of California, including the tourists who visit the state by the thousand every year.
For her information the writer has depended almost entirely upon source material, seldom making use of a secondary work. Her connection with the old Spanish families has opened to her unusual advantages for the study of old manuscripts and for the gathering of recollections of historical events which she has taken from the lips of aged Spanish residents, always verifying a statement before using it. She has, also, from long familiarity with the Spanish-speaking people, been able to interpret truly the life of the Spanish and Mission period.
The illustrator of the history, Mr. Roy J. Warren, has made a careful study of the manuscript, chapter by chapter. He has also been a faithful student of California and her conditions; his illustrations are, therefore, in perfect touch with the text and are as true to facts as the history itself.
The thanks of the author are due not only to a host of writers from whom she has gained valuable assistance, and some of whose names are among those in the references at the end of the book, but to others to whom further acknowledgment is due. First of these is Professor H. Morse Stephens, whose suggestions from the inception of the work until its completion have been of incalculable advantage, and whose generous offer to read the proof sheets crowns long months of friendly interest. Secondly, the author is indebted to the faithful and constant supervision of her sister, Miss Agnes Elliott of the Los Angeles State Normal School, without whose wide experience as a teacher of history and economics the work could never have reached its present plane. The author also offers her thanks to Mr. Charles F. Lummis, to whom not only she but all students of California history must ever be indebted; to Mrs. Mary M. Coman, Miss Isabel Frazee, to the officers of the various state departments, especially Mr. Lewis E. Aubrey, State Mineralogist, and Mr. Thomas J. Kirk and his assistant Mr. Job Wood of the educational department; to Miss Nellie Rust, Librarian of the Pasadena City Library, and her corps of accommodating and intelligent assistants, and to the librarians of the Los Angeles City Library and State Normal School.
The passages from the Century Magazine quoted in Chapters V-IX are inserted by express permission of the publishers, the Century Company. Acknowledgment is due, also, to the publishers of the Overland Monthly for courtesy in permitting the use of copyright material; and to D. Appleton &Co. for permission to insert selections from Sherman's Memoirs.