It’s difficult to believe that at one time, Southern California needed to promote itself to tourists, house hunters, and even those seeking health benefits. The number of posters, pamphlets, and other material generated from the late 1800s through the early twentieth century, however, indicates that capturing the attention of those who lived east of the Rockies was no small feat.

Recently added to Special Collections & Archives is an 1892 pamphlet, titled 
Southern California:  An Authentic Description of Its Natural Features, Resources, and Prospects. 
Published by the, then, newly formed Southern California Bureau of Information, its purpose was just that—to describe and extol this area’s extraordinary climate and soil and the potential for agriculture and commercial endeavors.


Cover art for Southern California: An Authentic Description of Its Natural Features, Resources, and Prospects

Portrayed as the complete guidebook providing “reliable information,” its sections review, among others, the physical geography, climate, commerce, agriculture, and tourist locations in this area. Moreover, synopses of each highlighted county (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Orange) as well as a sizable advertising component for local hotels and businesses contribute to this hefty ninety-eight page marketing piece. “If they could be made to understand all of the advantages of life in Southern California, they would change their residence to this section before the end of the century,” it claims in the preface. Indeed, eventually droves of Easterners relocated to this area of the Golden State looking for all that had been promised by similar literature.

This and many other promotional pamphlets about California are available for research and study in the Reading Room of the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections & Archives on the 4
Floor of the Leatherby Libraries.