RSB Books

RSB Books

Richard Schwartz

Writer, Historian


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RSB Books

The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty

Eccentrics, Heroes, and Cutthroats of Old Berkeley

Earthquake Exodus, 1906

Berkeley 1900

Circle of Stones


Earthquake Exodus, 1906
Berkeley Responds to the San Francisco Refugees

RSB Books 510-524-1683

December, 2005

Now available in bookstores around the Bay Area

Earthquake Exodus, 1906, Berkeley Responds to the San Francisco Refugees,  by Richard Schwartz is a book that tells the story of the ten-week relief effort in the East Bay after the 1906 Earthquake and fire.

"A beautiful gem... and I know what goes into making a book."  Malcolm Margolin, Heyday Books

"Supurb..." Phil Wood, owner Ten Speed Press

"An amazing new book... literally brought to life again the people whose stories capture their moment... a remarkable job of research and it takes one who has done it, to know how truly remarkable it is."  Burl Willis, author, historian, winner of the Governor's History Book Award

Earthquake Exodus, 1906, celebrates a largely unknown chapter from the aftermath of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Containing many breathtaking photos and illustrations never before published or unseen in nearly 100 years, this new visual history is breathtaking.  

Berkeley Voice  columnist Martin Snapp writes, "even more compelling than the photos are the hundreds of stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things."   In the story of the relief effort, instigated within hours of the earthquake, the ordinary and extraordinary people of Berkeley began to organize a committee, knowing that terrified masses of stricken refugees would be pouring into their town within hours.  As author Schwartz says, "They didn't wait for government.  They didn't wait for money.  They didn't wait for instructions."  


• that many people fled to the Berkeley hills the first night of the quake and a number of women died there giving birth?  

• that Asian refugees were segregated in their own camps and sections of town and that even the embassy of China inspected their plight and did not complain? 

• smallpox erupted in Berkeley during the relief effort? 

•industrial West Berkeley, filled with a working class immigrant population, actually caught fire after the earthquake?

"Schwartz explains how Berkeleyans generously responded by setting up temporary camps, dispensing food, listing jobs, and even taking in the homeless. He details the measures taken to ensure public order and health as city and university officials struggled to deal with thousands of disoriented, impoverished, and sometimes dangerous strangers, many separated from their loved ones&emdash; everyday details long forgotten but worth study by those who wish to better prepare for the next great shake."  Dr. Gray Brechin, author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin.  (Dr. Brechin wrote the forward to Schwartz's book).    


Earthquake Exodus, 1906

Berkeley Responds to the San Francisco Refugees

by Richard Schwartz

146 pages, over 200 photos and illustrations, bibliog., index, 10x9

Trade paperback, $24.95  ISBN: 0-9678204-1-3

Published November, 2005 by RSB Books

Distributors: Partners West; American West

Date of release: November 11, 2005