Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America
Image from ZPub's
Emperor Norton page.
Joshua Abraham Norton (1819-1880)
Emperor Norton - Live Like Him
Joshua Norton, or as he preferred to be called, Norton I, proclaimed himself
Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in 1859.
Althought a pauper, he was fed free in San Francisco's best restaurants.
Although a madman, he had all his state proclamations published in San
While rational reformers elsewhere failed to crack the national bank
monopoly with alternate currency plans, Norton I had own private currency
accepted throughout San Francisco.
When the Vigilantes decide to have a pogrom against the Chinese, and
sane men would have tried to stop them, Norton I did nothing but stand
in the street, head bowed, praying. The Vigilantes dispersed.
"When the proper man does nothing (wu-wei), his thought is felt
ten thousand miles." - Lao Tse
Although a fool, Norton I wrote letters which were seriously considered
by Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria.
"You must take the bull by the tail and look the facts in the face."
- W.C. Fields
Although a charlatan, Norton I was so beloved that 30,000 people turned
out for his funeral in 1880.
"Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Hermann Hesse.
Hardly anybody understands Einstein. And nobody understands Emperor Norton."
- Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C.
- Emperor Norton's Ghost by Dianne Day (1998) Doubleday Book - fiction
- A Rush of Dreamers - Being the remarkable story of Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico by John Cech (1997) Marlowe & Company - fiction
- Norton I, Emperor of the United States by William Drury (1986) Dodd, Mead & Co. Inc.
- Emperor Norton of San Francisco by William M. Kramer (1974) Norton B. Stern
- The Forgotten Characters of Old San Francisco by Robert E. Cowan, Anne Bancroft & Addie L. Ballou (1965) The Ward Ritchie Press - much expanded edition of the 1938 book
- Emperor Norton, Mad Monarch of America by Allen Stanley Lane (1939) Caxton Printers
- San Francisco's Emperor Norton by David Warren Ryder (1939) Ryder
- The Emperor of the United States and Other Magnificent British Eccentrics by Catherine Caufield (1981) Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd
- Strange Stories Amazing Facts (1976) Readers Digest Publications
- The Last Days of the Late Great State of California (1968) by Curt Gentry
- Square Pegs by Irving Wallice
- Humbugs and Heros by Richard Dillon
- San Francisco is Your Home by Samuel Dickson (1947) Stanford University Press
- The Forgotten Characters of Old San Francisco by Robert E. Cowan (1938) The Ward Ritchie Press
- The Fairy Tales from the Gold Lands by Mary Wentworth (1868) Anton Roman & Co. - fictional story "Emperor Norton"
- Ishmael by Barbara Hambly (1985) - Star Trek Novel - Spock meets Emperor Norton
- The Barbary Coast by Herbert Asbury
- The Wrecker by Robert Lewis Stevenson
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Character of the King is based off of Norton
- The Big Book of Weirdos, Carl Posey & Kieron Dwyer, 205-206, (1995) Paradox Press
- Sandman #31 "Three Septembers and a January", Neil Gaiman, (1993?) DC Comics
- Emperor Norton I, J. Parker, American Heritage, 28:84-85, December 1976
- Emperor Norton I, P.E. Carr, American History Illustrated, 10:14-20, July 1975
- Square Pegs by I. Wallace, Review, Newsweek, 50:90-91, July 22, 1957
- Strange Story of Emperor Norton, D.W. Ryder, Saturday Evening Post, 218:35+, August 11, 1945
- Norton I, Emperor of America, D.W. Ryder, Readers Digest 28:23-27, Febuary 1936
- Monument for Emperor Norton, Newsweek, 4:9, July 7, 1934
- Norton I, Emperor of America, D.W. Ryder, Plain Talk Magazine, January 1928
- Emperor Norton I; poem, F.E. Brooks, Overland Monthly, 66:114, August 1915
- Reminiscences of Emperor Norton, D. Miller, Overland Monthly, 72:586-7, December 1918
- "No more through the crowded street he goes"; poem, G. Chrismore, Overland Monthly, 19:453, May 1892
- The New York Times, December 9th, 1990 "Coins" - information about Norton notes
- San Francisco what?, June 30th, 1934 -> Grave moved
- San Francisco Bulletin, December 20th, 1913, "Norton I, Emperor of California", page 22
- The New York Times, January 10th, 1880 -> Norton's obituary
- San Francisco Chronicle, January 8th, 1880, "LE ROI EST MORT"-> Death
- San Francisco Pacific Appeal, March 23rd, 1872, Proclamation about Bay Bridge
- Oakland Daily News, August 18th, 1869, Fake proclamation about Bay Bridge
- San Francisco (Evening) Bulletin, September 17th, 1859, First Proclamation
- San Francisco Alta, when?, what?
If you have any additions or corrects, please send them to Mike.
This Emperor Norton's Ring site is owned by Mike Knauer.
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Last updated April 17, 2000.