Long ago the genius of Bret Harte and of Mark Twain, encouraged and nurtured by Anton Roman, founder of the Overland Magazine--the Overland that first printed such poems as "The Heathen Chinee"--made the Golden West famous the world over as the land of romance, the new country that had a kind clasp of the hand for men of literary genius.
Bret Harte and Mark Twain were lured beyond the charm of the Pacific and their careers widened to the proportions of a world-covering activity; and California itself threw off the spirit of the mining-camp, entered railroading, home building and commercial enterprises, and for many seasons the literary industries that throve when things were in their beginning, passed away or lay dormant until other influences should rouse them to activity.
A few years ago a wholesome stimulus was applied to the literary side of society, and soon the rich powers that had long lain hid and expectant, leapt into life and action. Refeence is made to the founding of Sunset Magazine, which from the outset gave evidence that its mission was an important one, and which has steadily grown in scope and earnestness until it is more than "the magazine of the border" which it first assumed to be. It is, in fact, a purposeful periodical of high aims and it is steadily calling to its service men of high literary achievement. Its pages are replete with a wealth of half-forgotten historic lore, with characteristic stories of western life and old Spanish days, as well as with rare accounts of the literary industries, the business activities and the romance of the people of the west.
Though much of what Sunset prints is of vital and practical worth to its growing clientele of readers the world over, its abiding and distinguished quality is that its stories are replete with situations that have the charm of picturesque surroundings in a new land, a land where the poetry of circumstance alone is equivalent to a perpetual romance. Descriptions of haunting scenery and untrodden wilds are frequent in Sunset as are reminiscences of historic events in the building of the west; but a supreme and rare virtue of its well-written pages is the encouragement of civic pride, the up-building of the west, and the development of higher ideals in all departments of life. Familiarity with the higher phases of things gives an added interest to life itself. The sage of Concord has said, "if the stars should appear but once in a thousand years, how men would believe and adore and preserve for many generations the memory of the City of God which had been shown unto them."
In the Emersonian spirit Sunset teaches the inner meaning of beauty, the real glory of mountains and sea, familiarizing the world not alone with the climate and boundless commercial outlook of the west, but likewise with the wonders of Alpine peaks, ancient forests and pulsing tides.
No publication has done for California what Sunset has done. With its brilliant coteric of literary lights, combined with a world-wide circulation, it has brought general attention to the glories of California and its unrivaled resources. Its illustrations are the finest magazine illustrations in the world (a broad statement, but a true one) and the perfection of detail in all departments puts it in a class by itself. California has a worthy sponsor in Sunset, exemplifying as it does not only the present beauties of the Golden State but carrying one back to the romantic period before the Gringo came.
Source: History of the New California - Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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