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by Gage McKinney

Grandson of a 49er, mining engineer Errol MacBoyle chose to resurrect the “worked out” Idaho Maryland gold mine. He and his beautiful wife Glendolyn scraped by in a leaky cottage in the woods, but after he located a lost vein and made it the richest mine in California, they lived a fabulous life of private planes, thoroughbred racing horses, and expensive jewels, and “Glen” MacBoyle hobnobbed with San Francisco’s glamorous and eccentric “Big Alma” Spreckels. Then World War II shut down their Santa Rosa winery, closed America’s gold mines, and halted work on his incredible state-of-the-art hospital at Grass Valley. When MacBoyle suffered a paralytic stroke, no one imagined he could salvage his broken empire . . . but they were wrong.


472 pp, 67 illus; paperback

THE 1930s:


by Gage McKinney

The astonishing story of how a depressed rural region was transformed by the Crash of 1929 into a scene of vibrant activity and record employment. Gold from its mines made boom towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City while the rest of America staggered under the burdens of unemployment and financial failure. Author Gage McKinney interviewed dozens of survivors of the terrible thirties and most assured him there was “no Depression here.” In fact, many octogenarians spoke nostalgically about the “good times” they experienced before World War II. Refugees from the cities and the Dust Bowl found jobs that paid living wages, and the newcomers soon were buying homes and automobiles and appliances, further spurring the local economy. The population of the area doubled between 1930 and 1940 and benefited from President Roosevelt’s work relief programs that renewed the local infrastructure.


632 pp, 150 illus, 3 maps; paperback


The Grass Valley Carol Choir

by Gage McKinney

When Cornish miners immigrated to America they brought with them a unique tradition of glee clubs and carol singing. This music had its public premiere at Grass Valley in 1875, and Cornish-inspired carol choirs have been performing ever since. This is a history of how and where this music began, and who wrote, directed and performed it, explaining how carols contributed to the continuity of an immigrant community and identity of a foothill town and region.

300 pp. illus. maps; paperback


A Life and Selected Poems of Clarence Thomas Urmy

by Gage McKinney

Clarence Urmy wrote poems in the Sierra Nevada beside the Yuba River, and settled in San Jose by the banks of the Guadalupe. In the late 1890s and early 1900s his work appeared in the pages of The Atlantic Monthly, Overland Monthly, The Century, Munsey’s, Cosmopolitan, Sunset, The Smart Set, The Independent, Lippincott’s, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Youth’s Companion. The author says, “Even when a poet must earn a living (which Urmy did as musician and teacher and eventually as critic and professor) his first thought in the morning and last at night is about his chosen work.” In the offices of the San Jose Mercury Herald hardened newspapermen who had known him were capable of reciting Clarence Urmy's poems from memory.

148 pp. 18 illus; paperback


A Mining Camp Church at New Almaden

by Gage McKinney

Through the portals of the mine shaft and up the wooden steps of the church, the Cornish immigrants entered America. By their Methodist discipline they became people of determination, men and women who could speak up and assume leadership, parents who could stress the value of education to their children.


So writes Gage McKinney in A High and Holy Place, an account of the church at New Almaden's English Camp settlement. The story adds a new dimension to the history of California's first, and perhaps richest, mine. Drawing on untapped sources, McKinney tells the story of a community and its inner strength.


". . . impressive, important and highly readable" - Arthur Cecil Todd, author of The Cornish Miner in America.


"Gage's careful research produced a story that I wished I had written"

- Clyde Arbuckle, San Jose City historian and author of Clyde Arbuckle's History of San Jose.

96 pp.

Out of print, but available second-hand through Abebooks, Amazon and other sites.

CROSSES IN A GOLD FIELD: A 150-year history of Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Grass Valley 

by Gage McKinney

Preface by Orlo K. Steele

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Grass Valley, CA

Emmanuel Church in Grass Valley was built atop a gold mine, a key to understanding the character of this community. McKinney links the church, town, and industry by writing what is simultaneously a parish and community his­tory. The book also treats music, which the parish’s Cornish-Americans produced enthusiastically, and changes in Episcopal worship and practice. Throughout, the continual transit between the history of the local church, the national Church, and the social and economic life of this northern California mining town flows smoothly. The book is well-illustrated and is bound in glossy soft covers with images of the handsome carpenter Gothic church featured on each side.

“. . . a model piece of parish history and should interest a broader audience than the Grass Valley Episcopalians who commissioned it.”Peter W. Williams, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

 To Buy:   Contact The Book Seller, 107 Mill St., Grass Valley, CA 95945

phone: 530/272-2131                                               email:


A Reader in Global Cornish Literature, 100 - 2000

Edited by Alan M. Kent and Gage McKinney

This Reader compiles the best of Global Cornish Literature, written about lands where the Cornish travelled, emigrated and worked, including North and South America, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The editors trawled around the globe to represent the way the Cornish saw themselves overseas. This is a major compilation of Cousin Jack narratives and excerpts from novels, short stories, poetry, journals, letters, songs and journalism, documenting the global migration of a Celtic people. Hard rock mining, folk music, food-ways, Cornish language and dialect, domestic life and spirituality all come under scrutiny in this unique collection of literature.

Out of print, but available second-hand through Abebooks, Amazon and other sites.

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