Victorian San Francisco Stories – Facts 1

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This first novella takes place in February 8, 1878. There are a few references about the period.

Mr and Mrs Steiner mention Victoria Woodhull as an example of a liberated woman. Victoria Claflin Woodhull, later Victoria Woodhull Martin (September 23, 1838 – June 9, 1927) was an American leader of the woman’s suffrage movement. In 1872, Woodhull ran for President of the United States. While many historians and authors agree that Woodhull was the first woman to run for President of the United States, some have questioned that priority given issues with the legality of her run.

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When Mr Voss visits Madam Sybill, they talk about the Panic of 1873 when he lost much of his money. The Panic of 1873 was a financial crisis that triggered a depression in Europe and North America that lasted from 1873 until 1879, and even longer in some countries.

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Mr Voss mentions William Ralston, owner of the Palace Hotel, who committed suicide after the financial crisis.William “Billy” Chapman Ralston (January 12, 1826 – August 27, 1875) was a San Francisco, California businessman and financier, and was the founder of the Bank of California. In 1875, his financial empire collapsed as a result of the combination of the expense of building the Palace Hotel, the failure of his attempt to buy and then resell the Spring Valley Water Company, the after-effects of the Panic of 1873, and a crash in the stock value of the Bank of California. The crash occurred just weeks before the opening of the Palace Hotel. The day after the collapse, his body was found in the San Francisco Bay. He was the victim of either a stroke during his regular swim or suicide.

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Another man who is mentioned is Josph C. Duncan, who embezzled money from the Pioneer Land Bank. Joseph Duncan embezzled over $100,000 from the Pioneer Land and Loan Bank and other financial institutions.  He then went into hiding, hoping to sneak onto a ship bound for Nicaragua.  He was captured by legendary detective Isaiah Lees and indicted.  After four trials the jury could not agree on a verdict and Duncan was freed.  He disappeared later at sea.

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