At the pre-emptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these
United States, I Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and
now for the last nine years and ten months past of San Fransisco, California,
declare and proclaim myself the Emperor of These United States.
- September 17, 1859
To Sign or
View the Emperor Norton Guestbook
from the Emperor's reign ...
||Born in London, England on February
14 to John and Sarah Norton [John and Sarah married at Epping Essex
u.k. June 30, 1793 and immigrated to s.africa in 1820.had two sons--Philip
and Joshua - Source: Jos Driver, a decendent of Philip Norton] The
Norton Family Tree
|| Arrived in San Francisco from
South Africa with US$40,000
Lost the considerable fortune he had built up in real-estate speculation by trying to corner the rice market in San Francisco
September 17 - Issued the first of his now famous proclamations by proclaiming himself the Emperor of the United States
|| He continued to make proclamations
throughout his reign. These included commanding that the Golden
Gate bridge be built and one about the name of the city, "Whoever
after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abdominal
word 'Frisco,' which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be
deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor." Penalty for noncompliance
was $25. Newspapers of the day printed his proclamations (and even
made some up which were not from Norton!) See the Norton
Archive for more.
Many of the “decrees” attributed to Norton I were fakes; written
in jest by newspaper editors at the time for amusement, or for
political purposes. Those “decrees” listed here were, we believe,
actually issued by Norton. - Norton
I, Emperor of the United States [sfmuseum.org]
An Exhibit of the Emperor's notes -
In order to pay his bills he issued paper notes, mostly in 50 cent denominations but some $5 and $10 notes exist. Today they are worth far more than the face value (if they can be found).
In 1869 he abolished both the Democratic and Republican parties, declaring "Being desirous of allaying the dissension's of party strife now existing within our realm, [I] do hereby dissolve and
abolish the Democratic and Republican parties, and also do hereby degree the disfranchisement and imprisonment, for
not more than ten, nor less than five years, to all persons leading to any violation of this our imperial decree."
--San Francisco Herald, August 4, 1869
Another time he called upon the other leaders of the world to join him in forming a League of Nations where disputes between nations
could be resolved peacefully.
|| Died January 8, on California
St. On January 10, he was buried in the Masonic Cemetery. The funeral
cortege was two miles long - Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were
reported to have attended. See: Le Roi Est
||Grave moved to Colma Cemetery.
Articles About the Emperor
Abraham Norton (1819-1880) - a proper Bibliography worthy
of the Emperor
An Emperor Norton Bibliography at
Archives [at notfrisco.com]
During his daily patrol of the streets of San Francisco Norton made certain that all sidewalks were unobstructed. He reviewed the police to see that they were on duty. He checked on the progress of needed street repairs, inspected buildings under construction, and in general saw to it that all office city's ordinances were enforced.
"During one of the typical anti-Chinese demonstrations so common at the time, the emperor gave the local
populace a lesson in the practical application of civics - and prayer. Sensing the dangerously heated tone of one particular
meeting, Norton is reported to have stood up before the group, bowed his head and begun reciting the Lord's Prayer. within a
few minutes the agitators retreated in shame without putting any of their threats into cruel action." (Source: temporarily unavailable. )
- The King
in Mark Twain's Huckleberry
Finn is reportedly modeled from the character of Norton I. Also mentioned
in The Barbary Coast by Herbert Asbury and The Wrecker by Robert
- The Principia
Discordia - JOSHUA NORTON CABAL - Surrealists, Harlequinists, Absurdists
and Zonked Artists Melee
- A patron saint of the Cacophony Society
- Discordian Saint Second Class - being Saints who, by their existence, are
ineligible for higher levels of Sainthood, which are reserved for nonexistent
saints.- Discordian Saints
- Emperor Norton is the subject of the story _Sandman: Three Septembers and
a January_, by Neil Gaiman. Historical fact in this story comes from Herbert
Asbury's _The Barbary Coast_ and William Drury's _Norton I, Emperor
of the United States_. It was inspired by Catherine Caufield's The
Emperor of the United States of America and Other Magnificent British Eccentrics.
- The Madness
of Joshua Norton by Joel GAzis-SAx ... The members of E. Clampus Vitus
come to Colma every year to rededicate themselves to absurdity. "If it is
absurd, I believe it" is the Clamper motto.
toast Emperor Norton History buffs honor lunatic of old-time San Francisco
- by Matthew B. Stannard, SF Chronicle, January 13, 2002 ... And for much
of their existence -- at least since the society's rebirth in the 1930s --
the Clamper year has unofficially begun with a pilgrimage to the grave of
the Emperor Norton I, held around the date of his death, Jan. 8.
- about > emperor
norton [at emperornorton.com / Emperor Norton Records]
Norton's Palace Registry
05 Mar 2008 - I came across your site while scouting for mentions
of Joshua Norton. I became acquainted with his story, as many modern readers
have, in the Sandman books by Neil Gaiman. I am a lyricist in Pennsylvania,
and had long wanted to write a lyric inspired by, and partially about, Emperor
Norton. The song can be heard (and the lyrics read) on my
San Francisco History Index