Early California Writers

According to my aunt Lillian, her father, Royal Rosamond, taught Earle Stanley Gardener the rudiments of writing. In a taped interview Lillian told me she would fall asleep in the Rosamond home in Ventura to the sound of Roy and Earl pecking away on the Royal typewriter. Gardener is the creator of Perry Mason, an old television series about an attorney who never fails to win a case.

According to my mother, Rosemary, Royal used to sail out to the Channel Islands with his friend, Dashiell Hammett, and camp overnight. I found old photographs of my grandmother and Roy camping on one of these islands, and will post them later.

Above is a photograph of Henry Meade Bland, the Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County, with Joaquin Miller ‘The Poet of the Sierras’. Miller would come down from his poet and artist’s retreat called ‘The Heights’ and carry my father on his lap as he rode with my grandmother on the trolley to catch a ferry to San Francisco. My German kinfolk owned a orchard in the city of Fruit Vale that later became incorporated into the city of Oakland where I was born. I assume they sold their fruit to the canneries located in what is now called Jingletown, a community of Bohemians and Artists.


Meade wrote a piece about George James in the same edition of Out West magazine that Royal Rosamond’s story ‘Camping on Ananapa’ is found. Below is Meade’s history written by Eugene T. Sawyers who was titled ‘The King of Dime Novelists’. Eugene authored the Nick Carter series. Hammett was titled “The dean of the hard-boiled’ school of detective fiction”. Royal wrote several love stories for early California Romance magazines. Rosamond’s poems are found next to George Sterling’s and Joaquin Millers. I have yet to find a mystery or detective story authored by my grandfather.

Jon Presco

Poet, Philospher and Teacher


HENRY MEADE BLAND, A.M., Ph.D.–Eminent in the California educational world as probably the best acknowledged authority on English, Dr. Henry Meade Bland of San Jose is fortunate in exerting the most enviable influence in the guiding of tendencies in popular education along the entire Pacific Coast, and in the maintaining of high standards even in secondary school work such as would do credit to any great center throughout the world. As Dean of Literature at the State College, he bears his years and his honors as lightly and as becomingly as a tree bears leaves and fruit. The honors range all the way from recognition for personal attainment in realms of prose and poetry, to discourses on varied themes and on the good and great of earth; for on the doctor’s list of personal friends are the names of poets, philosophers and scientists, glorious in the anthology of human life.

Just what holds the fullest measure of soul-satisfaction for this poet, philosopher and teacher, who has a way of reading only what is best in individuals, it is difficult to determine. But when you know this quiet savant, fond of reading and writing poetry, a nature-loving soul who never misses anything from a drop of dew gleaming on the grass-blade, to a star glowing in the heavenly blue, you learn something altogether delightful. Dr. Bland’s interest in his fellowman is also considerable; and he is fonder than anything else of discovering in somebody else a streak of literary talent well worth the developing. He knew Edwin Markham, and believed in him, long before “The Man With the Hoe” became the enduring monument of the poet’s fame. A close and personal friend of Jack London, Dr. Bland had the greatest admiration for the fearless author, and said of him: “It is impossible for the world of letters to measure the loss suffered when Jack London died, for his tremendous creative ability evidenced by forty-two books was only the beginning of his literary development.” Dr. Bland has also been a close friend of Charles Warren Stoddard, George Sterling, Herbert Bashford, John Muir, William Henry Carruth, Joaquin Miller, David Starr Jordan, and all able literary men who have had great influence in shaping the letters of the West.

A native son of California, Henry Meade Bland was born in Fairfield, Solano County, 1863, the son of Henry James and Annot L. (Steele) Bland. His father was a Methodist minister, while on his mother’s side the family leads back to the days of the American Revolution. Grandfather David Steele fought in the War for Independence, and being wounded in one of the battles by a fracture of the skull, it was found necessary, in order to save his life, to remove a part of the bone and place over the opening a silver plate; and with this clever device of the surgeons of the day, he lived to be an old man,–truly a remarkable result of science in that period. Great-Great-Uncle Richard Steele was a man of considerable literary genius, and conjointly with Addison he edited in England his own periodical, the “Tatler” and the “Spectator.” Mrs. Bland’s father had a fancy for odd names for his children, as will be noted from her own name, Annot. He named his five daughters each after the heroine of a novel. Dr. Bland’s father was also celebrated for his great memory, having memorized the Methodist Hymnal and also the Psalms and the Book of Proverbs, and much of the New Testament.

As a boy, Henry Meade attended the grammar school of his locality, and then he took a course in the then University of the Pacific, from which he was graduated in the class of ’87, with the doctor’s degree in Shakespearean research in 1890. He was also a member of the pioneer class that graduated from Stanford University in 1895; he majored in English, received the degree of Master of Arts in English Philology, and was a fellow-student with Herbert Hoover, also a member of the same class. Later in the nineties he took graduate work for a year in the University of California. His first experience as an educator was in the public schools of Contra Costa County. Then he came to Santa Clara County and established the Los Gatos high school, and later he accepted the principalship of the Grant school in San Jose, where he remained for six years. He then became principal of the Santa Clara high school, which office he continued to fill for two years. He began to come into his own, to find the field for which he is undoubtedly especially equipped, when he became instructor in education at the College of the Pacific.

In 1899, Dr. Bland became a member of the faculty of the State Normal School at San Jose, assuming at once the direction of the English department. In 1905, a committee of seventy men were chosen to revise the school laws of the State of California, and Dr. Bland has the honor of being a member of that committee. For twelve years, also, he has actively served on the Santa Clara County Board of Education where he made a record for both ability and unselfish devotion to the public weal. Twice he has been summer session lecturer on the Literature of the Pacific Coast in the University of California.

The marriage of Dr. Bland occurred in Alameda on July 25, 1888, and united him with Miss Mabel Haskell, who was born in Bangor, Maine, a daughter of Henry H. and Lorinda (Miller) Haskell, and this has proven a very happy union. Mrs. Bland is a woman of very pleasing personality, having been reared in an atmosphere of culture and refinement, and as a charming woman, she presides gracefully over their home. Two children have been born to Professor and Mrs. Bland. Henry Morton, married Miss Pearl Andrews, is engaged in transportation at Stockton, and they have a daughter, Mildred Annot, the wife of Aloysius MacCormack, who reside on their ranch near Cressey, in Merced County, and who are the parents of two sons, Melvin and Loudon MacCormack.

Dr. Bland has also written considerably, among his most noted work being magazine sketches of western literature, treating in particular of many of the greatest literary characters of the West. He also has published a series of entertaining articles entitled “The Literary Women of California,” a really valuable acquisition to the literature of the state. In 1907 he brought out a volume of verse, “Song of Autumn,” and two of his finest lyrics will be found in the State series of readers. A booklet of verse, “In Yosemite,” dedicated to this wonderful valley, is on sale there as a souvenir, and according to Edwin Markham is the most elaborate and musical poem that has ever been written on the beauties and wonders of the great valley. Politically Dr. Bland gives his support to the Republican party, and in all matters tending to advance the public welfare, he is generally found lending a helping hand. His activities have always been of great breadth, and his life has ever been actuated by high and noble principles, the ideals which he entertains prompting him to put for the most practical efforts to bring about their adoption.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers’ History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 479


SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY-The Valley of Heart’s Delight

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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