Handwritten Letter Details Child's Experiences Of 1906 Earthquake

The San Francisco Public Library’s San Francisco History Center got a really remarkable donation this week — a handwritten letter from a San Francisco child named Abbie that describes her experiences of the Great 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

I woke up early last Wed. morning thinking of the good time I was going to have with you when all of a sudden my bed started to shake and the globe on the gas jet started to shake…

The letter, addressed to someone named “Julia,” is dated April 25, 1906.

Mama and Papa came running up to get us children then Papa opened up my window…

The fires (she says she counted 18) claimed Abbie’s family’s home, store, and cats, she writes.

If your eyes are good, you can read the three page letter here, or you can visit the San Francisco History Center at the SFPL’s main library branch in Civic Center and view it in person.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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