Big Alma

Big Alma

San Francisco's Alma Spreckels

Book - 2015
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"One of San Francisco's most vivid characters. Born with an unshakeable belief that she was destined for greatness, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels (1881-1968) rose from poverty to become one of San Francisco's most powerful women. Alma's humble beginnings and scandalous lifestyle would alienate her from the cream of San Francisco society: she became an artists' model, befriended European royalty, married sugar magnate Adolph Spreckels, lived in the grandest mansion in San Francisco, and at age fifty-seven chartered a plane and eloped with a cowboy. But that same larger-than-life personality was a fruitful asset in the many pursuits that claimed her passions, the most notable of which still stands high on the Golden Gate headlands. Big Alma celebrates the woman who brought Rodin's works to America and built the Palace of the Legion of Honor to hold them. After six printings, this new edition features new photographs, an updated family tree, and an introduction that adds more recently uncovered information and explores the intermingling of fact and controversy in the telling of Alma's story"--From publisher's website.
Publisher: San Francisco, CA :, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco :, Berkeley, CA :, Heyday,, [2015]
Edition: Revised edition
ISBN: 9781597143295
Characteristics: 383 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm

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Jul 17, 2018

An amazing rags to riches story. I enjoyed this biography about Alma de Bretteville Spreckels and learned a lot of new things about San Francisco. She had a big heart and was one tough broad. She did some notable charitable deeds and contributed greatly to the art world, despite the city's upper crust looking down on her. She didn't play by the rules and was quite an independent woman. I loved how she did her own thing and ruffled society's feathers. The author did a great job researching this book. I especially enjoyed the information she gathered from Alma's family members and friends.


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