The Stricken City

In the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was often referred to as “the stricken city.” Arthur Welshans’s reporting for the Los Angeles Herald (April 1906) is a good example of the coverage: “The flames have been conquered and the pall of disaster is now lifting from the ruins of San Francisco, leaving bare to the gaze of the world a specter of desolation such as the people of the United States have never before witnessed.” Welshans was not alone, of course. The flames, darkness, destruction, and crime were chronicled in newspapers throughout the country.

On May 20th of that year, national attention took a more musical turn. The Boston American included a piece of sheet music as part of its Sunday supplement. “The Stricken City,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, with music by Prof. F. Fanciulli, was composed “expressly for the Hearst San Francisco Relief Fund.”