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[ ] We still suffer badly from an oversupply of men who learn their stuff from books and an undersupply of men who are building up a science based on observation. —Carl Sauer to Arthur Trowbridge, 1935 4 Berkeley An Insider, 1923 – 1941 When Carl Sauer and his family arrived in Berkeley in 1923 they left behind nearly everything that was familiar. Warrenton, their birthplace and beloved sanctuary from busy urban life, was far away and time-consuming to visit. The extreme heat and cold of the Midwest gave way to the equable climate of California’s Bay Area. He was glad to leave Ann Arbor, of which he “did not ever grow fond”: I never went back to Ann Arbor and its raw fall weather without the feeling of a man going to a prison sentence, that creeping drabness that precedes the Michigan winters. I must have had some ancestors that lived in Mediterranean climes or perhaps this nostalgia with me was just the European’s “Drang nach Süden.” Perhaps then it’s a long pent-up northern blood which makes me content in California or the desert with a greater contentment than I have known elsewhere.1 Also left behind was all the research Sauer had been doing. The Michigan Economic Land Survey, in which he had invested so much, was abandoned , and from then on only two of his publications harked back to his pre-Berkeley time—a short essay on surveys and field studies and the Pennyroyal monograph.2 He was determined not to be tied down either by Berkeley 53 summer school teaching or by a permanent field center, as he had been at Michigan. Settling in was not easy; his growing young children, search for a suitable house in Berkeley, and money worries took much of his time and energy, and he was laden with duties that came with running a department. Sauer was in debt to his mother, his aunt Tilly, and others to the tune of at least $20,000, four times his $5,000 starting salary. He had been buying and improving farmland to add to what he had inherited . But his faith in agricultural investment, likewise inherited from his father, took a battering after the First World War as prices for land and farm produce plummeted.3 Farm production and rental provided almost no profit. Desperate for money, he decided to market the timber on his Canalou and Whitewater properties, whose ash, cypress, and tupelo were in great demand, and then sell the land, but low land prices during the 1920s farming depression stymied his sale plans.4 The farms remained a drain on his finances. He paid dearly for his almost irrational faith in the virtues of the rural life, making his early years in Berkeley one long worry. “I certainly was the prize sucker of all when I took hold of that land” in Canalou, he wrote his mother. “Financially my only hope is to live to see that day when I shall own no more land than will make room for a house.” But he did not get rid of the farms until much later.5 From the vantage point of Berkeley everything Midwest began to feel distant and irrelevant. Not only was he disenchanted with owning land, even his beloved Warrenton seemed less significant, with few of his boyhood neighbors left. He heard periodically of the deaths of those he had known there, and the premature demise at forty-two of Paul Wipperman, “the friend of my boyhood,” struck him forcibly. In 1926 he discontinued his subscription to the Banner. “The population has been replaced by newcomers since we left,” and “the town appears to have grown almost a stranger, as though we had never lived there.” Warrenton was no longer “home,” although he missed seeing his nearest relatives. He hoped they would come to him in Berkeley, since “I don’t get anything out of these trips back to Missouri anyway and I want a good visit with all of you.”6 And then there was his cousin Mary Werweke, whose unbounded kindness had provided him with a “home from home” during those early years in 54 to pass on a good earth Chicago, and whom he cared for most after his immediate family. She was now widowed and suffering from acute anemia. The thought of an ailing, elderly lady alone in very modest circumstances in Chicago was “nothing less than ghastly. . . . It gives me shivers...


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MARC Record
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