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I'm "Sandee"
Feel free to contact me for any information or questions regarding my research.

Latest project: California Sweet: The Life & Legacy of Claus Spreckels 

The hardback version of EMPIRE BUILDER will be released in PAPERBACK - Fall 2022!




This slide show was presented by myself via Zoom to the Gaslamp Historical Foundation on December 5, 2020 as a way to keep their members engaged in San Diego's wonderful and rich history. 

JOHN D. SPRECKELS 1853 - 1924


Just Released November 2020

The BEAUTIFUL Spreckels Theatre

University of Nebraska Press 2020

A little girl was with her father at breakfast one morning at the Hotel del Coronado. The "Spreckels" sugar packet he used to sweeten his coffee aroused her curiosity. She was then told that the profits from that sugar had purchased both the hotel and the island they were presently enjoying.Watching her father reading the San Diego Union, she asked, "Papa, whose newspaper is that?"

"This newspaper is published by Mr. Spreckels, my dear."

"Papa, I am thirsty. May I have a glass of water?"


"Of course. By the way, Mr. Spreckels owns the drinking water."

After breakfast, touring the city on the streetcar, the little girl asked, "Papa, whose   streetcar is this?"

"Mr. Spreckels's."

"Who owns this ferryboat, Papa?"

"Mr. Spreckels."

"Papa! Whose gigantic ship is that?"

"That's from the Spreckels steamship line."

"Papa, what theater is that?"

"That's the Spreckels Theatre."

"Papa, whose skyscraper is that?"

"It's the John D. Spreckels Building."


"Papa, where is that loud whistle coming from?" 

"That's Mr. Spreckels's train, my dear."

"Papa, whose huge outdoor organ is that in Balboa Park?"

"Mr. Spreckels had it built."


Upon returning to Coronado, the little girl looked at the ocean and said, "Papa, who owns the ocean?"

My dear, God owns the ocean."


"Papa, tell me: How did God ever get it away from Mr. Spreckels?"
I smiled when I discovered this witty tale, an earlier, shorter version of which had begun circulating around the country in 1916. This version was lengthier due to the expanding enterprises of Mr. Spreckels. I amused myself by bringing it into the twenty-first century with my own amendments. When I stepped back from the little tale, however, it dawned on me that the enlarged story didn't even begin to describe the empires this man built.



University presses are publishers. At the most basic level that means they perform the same tasks as any other publisher. University presses acquire, develop, design, produce, market and sell books and journals.  But while commercial publishers focus on making money by publishing for popular audiences, the university press's mission is to publish work of scholarly, intellectual, or creative merit. And, they are picky, picky, picky. So, it is an honor to be published by a UP. 



Miss Pope sitting at her desk in 1906 at the Kamehameha School for Girls with Lydia Aholo right behind her.


Light in the Queen's Garden is an historical account of a short, stout, blue eyed feisty teacher from Bucyrus, Ohio who arrived in the Kingdom of Hawaii at the end of the 19th century. Ida Pope's assignment was to teach in Kawaiahao Seminary, a lively boarding school for Hawaiian girls, founded by American missionaries and led by Queen Lili'uokalani.


Bonura uses newly discovered primary source materials to flesh out and enliven the historical account of the 1893 Hawaiian Revolution that happened literally outside the school's windows. Many of the towering personages in Hawai`i's history show up in the story as Ida sheltered Hawaii's daughters through the frightening and turbulent end of their sovereign nation. Ida Pope's firsthand account of the years that brought Hawai`i's daughters into womanhood during the annexation of their kingdom tells an important story about resiliency.

Ida Pope became a source of inspiration for all the school's stakeholders, and with the approval of Queen Lili'uokalani, established the Kamehameha School for Girls. As Hawai`i moved into the twentieth century under a new flag, Ida confronted the effects of industrialization, the growing concentration of outside economic power and worked tirelessly to attain social reforms and give Hawaiian women their rightful place in society But, the male-dominated society and their Victorian view of the female role sought to thwart her efforts. Undaunted, Miss Pope, the pragmatic activist, achieved on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, what other extraordinary women like Jane Addams, Ida Tarbell and Lillian Wald were concurrently doing in her homeland.


Click this link :) (130 KB)

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