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George Wharton James at a Cahuilla village, ca. 1900.

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George Wharton James

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George Wharton James (1858–1923) was a prolific popular lecturer and journalist, writing more than 40 books and many articles and pamphlets on California and the American Southwest. His books include: Link to the books here

How I Eliminated Fear
Quit Your Worrying
Living The Radiant Life

Born in Lincolnshire, England, James was an ordained Methodist minister who came to the United States in 1881. He served in several parishes in Nevada and southern California. In 1889 his experiences became more colorful and presaged much of today's modern lifestyles so delighted upon by the public, when he was sued for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

He subsequently underwent an extrajudicial trial by ecclesiastical inquisition. During this non-state trial, he was accused variously of real estate fraud, using faked credentials, and sexual misconduct with a number of wild women who were "known for their loose and lascivious conduct." The results of the inquisition was that he was defrocked, although he was later reinstated. It should be noted that he was never convicted of anything in an actual court of law.

James' books include The Wonders of the Colorado Desert (1906), Through Ramona's Country (1909), In & Out of the Old Missions of California (1912), and The Lake of the Sky (1915).

His work was characterized by an intelligent and compassionate insight into Native American Life and a prescient understanding of nutrition that prefigured much of today's mind/body research.

The California State Library and the University of California, Berkeley have collections of James' books and pamphlets. A collection of his photographs is on file at the University of New Mexico. The Southwest Museum in Los Angeles also has some of his papers and photographs.


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