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A Most Dreadful Earthquake -- A First-Hand Account of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire -- with Glimpses into the Lives of the Phillips-Jones Letter Writers Paperback – February 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


" eyewitness account is always important, especially one that is written with eloquence and clarity...This book is much more..." --Gary F. Kurutz, Executive Director & Curator of Special Collections, California State Library

"Sarah E. Phillips is a superb story teller. Thankfully Dorothy Fowler...a good editor, has let Sarah speak for herself." --William M. Fowler Jr. Massachusetts Historical Society; Consulting Editor, New England Quarterly

"Dorothy Fowler's brilliant detective work in discovering the identities of the letter writers also makes for fascinating reading." --Charles A. Fracchia, Founder and President Emeritus, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society

From the Publisher

This unique book by California Genealogical Society member and long-time volunteer, Dorothy Fowler, is based on the previously unpublished correspondence of a young San Francisco woman during the summer of 1906. Sarah Phillips speaks for herself in letters to her sweetheart back east, describing the devastation in the city which she bravely goes out to explore. Dorothy Fowler uses classic genealogy methods to identify all the mysterious relatives and friends Sarah identified only by their initials.

Founded in February 1898 in San Francisco, California Genealogical Society and Library, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that seeks to aid, educate and encourageresearch in family history, is presently located in Oakland, California.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: California Genealogical Society (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967240972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967240978
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,338,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sally Bender on March 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and have never really known the real impact the 1906 Earthquake had on its people. I really enjoyed reading this book. Things and places are so familiar to me. My daughter loves San Francisco and the History surrounding the City. After I bought the book and read it I told her about it and she wanted to Borrow it from me. I decided I would get her her own copy and surprise her with on my visit to the City for Easter. She will love it as I have and I know she will search out the places mentioned. Thank you CGS for all the hard searching you have done to produce a great book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Smith on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
A Most Dreadful Earthquake offers personal observations and insight into the quake and its aftermath as well as the people involved -- including the young lady who wrote the letters. You will actually see the aftermath through Sarah Phillip's eyes. It's a fascinating, important and timely book that will bring the great San Francisco earthquake and fire back to life 100 years later. The book is a steal just for the letters alone. Fortunately Dorothy Fowler went way beyond that to describe the history and lives these people.

Additionally, if you're interested, you'll find the book includes great research techniques -- this is a model on how to do serious genealogy and historical research. The third section, Lives of the Letter Writers, provides the research into who these folks were and helps create depth in the characters. The reader truly cares about them. But Ms. Fowler also describes her research path. It held some great tips for me.

A Most Dreadful Earthquake is definitely worth reading.
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