The Emperor's Bridge Campaign continues in its quest to name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton, the 19th
century eccentric known to numismatists for his rare scrip notes and "bonds". John Lumea wrote about some curious
(unfortunately lost) Norton material in his Campaign Note No. 13 blog post this week. -Editor
... it was intriguing this week to stumble upon the following record, included in the Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Odd Fellows'
Library Association of the City and County of San Francisco, for 1879-80. The President's, Librarian's and Finance Committee
letters in the report all are dated 5 June 1880 — so, presumably, the report was published sometime that summer.
Emperor Norton had died just a few months earlier, in January 1880.
Notice the second listing, which indicates that an "Original Proclamation of Emperor Norton I," together with the "Seal
Stamp of same," was contributed — donated — to the library of the Odd Fellows of San Francisco by a David Hutchinson.
Those who are up on the finer points of their Norton history will recall that Hutchinson and his wife, Eva, were the Emperor's
landlord and landlady for the last ten of his 17 years at the Eureka Lodgings, on Commercial Street.
Was the document that David Hutchinson donated to the Odd Fellows' library in early 1880 Emperor Norton's final proclamation —
written and sealed, but not yet delivered and published — something that would have offered a clue as to what the Emperor was thinking
about on the last day of his life?
As to the artifacts themselves — the written proclamation and the seal stamp — those probably are lost to time and events.
The Odd Fellows Temple building (1884), which housed the library that received David Hutchinson's donation, was lost in the
earthquake and fire of 1906. In his written response to my query about the Hutchinson items, Peter V. Sellars, an historian of the Odd
Fellows in California who has written two books on the subject, noted that the only parts of the library's collection that had any
chance of surviving were books that had been checked out and were not in the building.
As a numismatist I'm equally intrigued by the listing for the Yosemite Temperance Assembly Medal. Is anyone familiar with these? What
a shame that all this material was lost in the earthquake and fire. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Mr. Hutchinson's Mementos
Wayne Homren, Editor
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