A Los Angeles pioneer

A new book just came in from the printer, and I’m very excited about it. George Carson: Los Angeles Pioneer, by Judson A. Grenier, is another collaboration with the Historical Society of Southern California. Grenier’s association with the Carson family began in 1972, so the book has been a long time coming! The result of his years of labor is an easy read, with a lot of photos that put faces to the many Carson family members discussed in the biography.

From the back cover:

Among the pioneers who shaped the county of Los Angeles in the nineteenth century, few men played a more decisive role than George Carson. Although a city of more than ninety thousand people bears his name, history books offer little mention of him and his accomplishments.

Born along the Erie Canal in central New York, Carson was reared near Chicago, enlisted as a drummer boy during the war with Mexico and marched west to the Spanish settlement of Santa Fe, where, after discharge, he began a career supplying American outposts in the West. In 1853, he drove a flock of sheep from Mexico to Los Angeles and settled in the central city as hardware store owner and livery stable operator. Carson’s business and fraternal connections won him a seat on the town council and soon thereafter, the elected office of County Public Administrator. In 1857 he married Victoria Dominguez, daughter of Manuel Dominguez, longtime owner of Rancho San Pedro, the first Spanish land grant. Carson assumed management of the ranch and introduced large-scale sheep raising and diversified agriculture and later participated in one of the most intensive land surveys ever attempted in the county. He led the development of Redondo Beach, Terminal Island with its rail lines, the port of Los Angeles, and other communities, all from land once part of the Rancho San Pedro. At Carson’s funeral in 1901, he was celebrated as one of the most influential pioneers in local history. This biography aims to restore his place in the annals of his adopted homeland.

I copyedited and designed the text, which turned out beautifully, but the covers are the part that I am particularly proud of.

The paperback cover, shown above, has a matte cover with a shiny gloss on the white border and title. It is subtle, but I like how it highlights the signature used for the title. Because Carson has not been included in history books, I wanted his name to be very prominent in this one.

For the hardcover, we used gold stock for the end papers, which echoes the brilliant gold stamping on the front cover. As with the paperback, the George Carson signature is the focus–the subtitle and author name are blind stamped in the leather binding. It was hard to simulate in a file what the blind stamping would look like, but Pat Adler-Ingram, the head of HSSC, took the leap with me and was very pleased with the result.


George Carson: Los Angeles Pioneer by Judson A. Grenier · Los Angeles: Historical Society of Southern California, 2014 · 208 pages · 56 maps and illus. · index · 7 x 10 · ISBN 978-0-914421-35-1 (hardcover); ISBN 978-0-914421-34-4 (paperback)

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