Robert J. Chandler, an Army brat, was born in Utah, and has lived in Hawaii and both Southern and Northern California. Recruited by Dick Olson, Bob joined the San Francisco Corral of the Westerners in 1987. Thirty years later, in 2017, during a moment of weakness, he allowed himself to be persuaded by Brian D. Dillon to also join the Los Angeles Corral. Chandler is the Sheriff of the San Francisco Corral, having served in this capacity in 1992, 2002, 2016 and 2017. He has made over a half-dozen presentations to the San Francisco Corral during the past thirty years, and recently (2016) also has begun to grace the Los Angeles Corral in this regard as well.
Dr. Chandler is an historian of international repute, specializing in California history, political history, economic, monetary and banking history, historical ephemera, printing and lithography, and the history of California minorities. Bob earned his Ph.D. in history in 1978 at U.C. Riverside; his dissertation was entitled, The Press and Civil Liberties in California During the Civil War. Chandler then spent 32 years as Senior Research Historian for Wells Fargo Bank, based in San Francisco. Bob has written more than 60 articles on California during the times of the Gold Rush and the Civil War on civil rights, commerce, finance, gold, journalism, politics, military suppression, numismatics, philately, printing, stagecoaching, steamships, and Wells Fargo generally. He has served as an editorial advisor to the California Territorial Quarterly since 1996 and is one of that journal’s most consistent contributors.
Bob was the co-editor (with Bob Schoeppner) of the first two Brand Books published by the San Francisco Corral (BB 1: 1996; BB 2: 2001). He is also the recipient of three prestigious Westerners International Coke Wood Awards, the first (2001) for California Stagecoaching: The Dusty Reality (Dogtown Territorial Quarterly 47, Fall 2001: 4-24, 34-40); the second (for 2005) for his co-authored article with Steve Potash, The Pacific Mail: Pioneering U.S. Flag Steamship Company (The Argonaut, 16, Summer 2005: 54-106), and the third (for 2010) for his three articles on the Pony Express (California Territorial Quarterly, 81, Spring 2010: 4-27; 28-41; 42-29). Chandler’s books include an Illustrated History of California (2004); Arcadia’s Wells Fargo (2006); Gold, Silk, Pioneers & Mail: The Story of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company (co-authored with Steven J. Potash, 2007); and San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown (University of Oklahoma Press, 2014). Bob’s most recent book, An E. Clampus Vitus Hoax Gone Awry: Sir Francis Drake’s 1579 Plate of Brasse will be published by the Grand Council of the ECV, and is forthcoming in early 2018.
In addition to being one of the most active of all Westerners, Dr. Chandler is a member of the bibliophilic Roxburghe Club of San Francisco. Since 2014, Bob has been on the Council of the Friends of the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also presently the Director of the San Ramon Valley Museum. Chandler is the past President (2003-2011) of the Western Cover [Philatelic] Society and is presently its secretary. He is the past President (2005-2007) of the Book Club of California, and was the long-time (1996-2013) editor of its Quarterly Newsletter. Bob is the past President (1981-82) of the San Francisco Civil War Round Table, an honorary Kentucky Colonel and the past President of the Fighting `49ers Toastmasters (1980, 1982, 1984, 1992). He is the X-Noble Grand Humbug, of Yerba Buena #1, the Mother Lodge, of E. Clampus Vitus, holding this exalted position in 2005-2006. Bob “Clamper” Chandler is the living embodiment of his alter-ego, Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. In his few remaining minutes of spare time over the past four decades, Bob has also been a devoted husband to his long-suffering wife Susan and a loving father to his three adult children, all of them serving out life sentences as his closest relatives without possibility of parole.
In recognition of Dr. Chandler’s exemplary service to the San Francisco Corral of the Westerners, to the advancement of California History, and of his many contributions to Western civilization, especially his valiant efforts towards stemming the rising tide of illiteracy on the Pacific Littoral, we are pleased and proud to nominate him as a Living Legend of the San Francisco Corral. We believe this honor to be richly merited and appropriate since the most recent San Francisco Corral Living Legend, Bob’s good friend, Richard H. Dillon, so designated 14 years ago in 2003, has recently passed on to his reward. We ask most humbly and respectfully that the Home Corral in the Sovereign State of Texas give the present nomination of Dr. Robert J. Chandler its most favorable consideration, so that the San Francisco Corral of the Westerners may count at least one Living Legend amongst the Living.
Brain Dervin Dillon, Ph.D.
Sheriff, Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners
On behalf of the entire San Francisco Corral of the Westerners
(SF Corral members please confirm their approval by e-mail to [email protected] for listing as “co-signers” to the nomination by no later than November 30.)