William Jennings Bryan speaking at Independence Day Celebration, courtesy San Francisco Public Library.

On this day – July 5

On this day in 1915, former United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan gave a pro-peace speech at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The event was attended by more than 120,000 people. The fair, described Bryan’s speech: “He had resigned from President Wilson’s cabinet a little while before, and occupied the position of a sort of itinerant political clergyman, preaching peace in the midst of war and war’s alarms, bravely holding aloft the ensign of human brotherhood when close to fifteen million men in Europe were trying to starve, blast, bayonet, and gas one another to death…” (Ackley, 2014) ... Read More >

The Pacific in California

by Suzanne Fischer

From Boom Spring 2015, Vol 5, No 1

“Facing West from California’s shores, / Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound, / I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar, / Look off the shore of my Western Sea—the circle almost circled…”

Walt Whitman’s searching verses on the Pacific gaze were made concrete at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. The words, inscribed on a piece of monumental didactic sculpture, the Arch of the Setting Sun, in the spectacular Court of the Universe, in the fantastic sudden city, proclaimed that San Francisco, and America, had risen, and was rising. ... Read More >

City Hall and Civic Center Plaza, circa 1915, courtesy, California Historical Society, CHS2015.2010

Reflecting on the Amazing Year 1915

By James W. Haas

San Francisco is celebrating the centennial of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) but there are other dimensions to the amazing year of 1915 which are worth considering. In particular, the Exposition had a profound effect on the politics, built environment and architectural style of San Francisco. ... Read More >

Levi’s Blue Ribbon Innovation

Last week Levi’s announced a new partnership with Google that is generating a lot of excitement about the future of wearable technology. Levi’s has a long history of innovations related to products and process, including two displays at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. ... Read More >