Document Type


Publication Date



This article analyzes the memories of pre-1848 Alta California recounted in the 1870s to Hubert Howe Bancroft’s agent Thomas Savage by a multiethnic group of men and women. The narrators, regardless of ethnic origin, overwhelmingly told stories that insisted on continuity between Alta California in the 1830s and 1840s and the US state birthed in the late 1840s. Even if they had been on opposing sides of political upheavals, they all insisted that their altruistic efforts had helped to transition California peacefully from Mexican rule to home rule and from home rule to US control while preserving both California’s people and California’s culture. This multicultural memory of continuity was later supplanted by rupture-based Anglo Californian creation myths.


Originally published in the Southern California Quarterly by University of California Press