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In 1967, when Elisabeth Sussman and I began our research into the sources of early California architecture, we joined a small group of pioneers whose work was effectively carving out a new field of American architectural history. Esther McCoy's groundbreaking Five California Architects, Harold Kirker's significant and classic California's Architectural Frontier, David Gebhard's exhibition catalogue Architecture in California 1868-1968, Sally Woodbridge's Buildings of the Bay Region Area, and Roger Olmsted and T. H. Watkins' Here Today-these became the seminal texts in the field. Their precursor, Elisabeth Kendall Thompson's significant article "The Early Domestic Architecture of the San Francisco Bay Region" (1951-52), turned out to be prophetic for us, as Thompson alerted us to the possibility that Reverend Joseph Worcester of the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco may have played a major role in the architectural development of the region from 1876 to 1915.
It has been enormously gratifying to note the outpouring of further research in the field since we published Building with Nature: Roots of the San Francisco Bay Region Tradition in 1974. Numerous articles and books have advanced the impressive augmentation to our understanding of California's architecture and its role in the Arts & Crafts movement, moving a relatively obscure area of interest into the mainstream of American architectural, intellectual, and social history.
This book contains many new photographs that did not appear in the 1974 book, some of which have not been published since 1902. For example, we have included a view of Joseph Worcester's Russian Hill living room, showing the end with the bay windows that looked over the Golden Gate; Charles F. Lummis published the photograph with an incorrect caption (although he labeled the back of the photo itself properly) so that it remained unrecognized until William Kostura kindly drew my attention to it.