Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Television, Radio, Film and Theatre


David Kahn


American West, Archetype, Bohemian Club, California Literature, George Sterling, San Francisco

Subject Areas

American studies; Theater history; American literature


In 1872, a group of San Francisco newspapermen came together to start their own men’s club. This group, which named itself the Bohemian Club, was an outgrowth and a representative of the rapid development of the city of San Francisco at that time. Shortly after its founding, the club began making an annual retreat to the redwood forests north of the city. Eventually, the club began producing elaborate performances of musical dramas, referred to as Grove Plays, written and performed exclusively for club members at these summer retreats. This thesis, which takes its name from a line in one of these plays, makes connections between the regions of San Francisco and the American West, and the early development of the Bohemian Club and its Grove Plays, through an archetypal analysis of the first Grove Plays within the context of Western American literature as established by William Everson. The ultimate purpose of this work is to provide an argument that the early Grove Plays of the Bohemian Club are an important and overlooked part of Western American and Californian theatre history.