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Author Talk: Stephen Barton on J. Stitt Wilson

Thursday, July 22, 2021, 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

Celebrating the launch of his BHS-published biography of Berkeley's Socialist mayor

Author Stephen E. Barton will introduce his new book, published by the Berkeley Historical Society, J. Stitt Wilson: Socialist, Christian, Mayor of Berkeley. Faced with the dramatic extremes of wealth and poverty that characterized Gilded Age America, Wilson (1868-1942) gave up a promising career in the ministry to advocate for “applied Christianity”—a democratic and socialist economy based on caring and cooperation that would embody Jesus’s message of love. His varied efforts included socialist evangelism in the Midwest, California and Great Britain; building an alliance between the Socialist Party and the labor movement in his campaigns for governor, mayor and Congress, and supporting Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California campaign within the Democratic Party. He and his family became an integral part of “Bohemian Berkeley,” and although his sons all died young, his daughters became socialists, feminists and stars of stage and screen.

This will be an online event on Zoom; the link will be sent to those who register with a donation of any amount on Eventbrite. The event is cosponsored by the Institute for Historical Study, an organization of independent scholars and professors of history of which Stephen Barton is a member. (He is also a longtime member of BHS.)

Stephen E. Barton has a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on the history and economics of housing policy. He has served as director of the Housing Department for the City of Berkeley, deputy director of its Rent Stabilization Program, lecturer at San Francisco State University, and is currently president of the Bay Area Community Land Trust.


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