Editor’s note: Few to none have done a better job of defining the “sense of place” in California.
“Former California State Librarian Kevin Starr, who produced rich social, cultural and political histories that chronicled the origins and rapid transformation of the Golden State, has died,” the Los Angeles Times is reporting. “He was 76.
“Starr, a professor at USC, died of a heart attack Saturday at a hospital in San Francisco, according to his wife of 53 years, Sheila Starr.
“Starr captured the state’s rise in influence, and its singular hold on the public imagination, in ‘Americans and the California Dream,’ a sweeping series of books that start with the Gold Rush and go on to focus on the Progressive Era, the 1920s, the Great Depression and other distinct chapters of California’s past.
“Throughout his work, Starr celebrated the state’s creativity, its innovation and openness to ideas. And he demonstrated a familiarity with a vast range of topics central to the state’s development and its image of itself: architecture, agriculture, literature, water infrastructure and the entertainment industry, among others.
“’He was the greatest historian Los Angeles and California ever had and ever will have,’ said former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who hosts a book club that counted Starr as one of its original members.
The rest of the article is here.