The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Nordhoff, Charles

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NORDHOFF, nôrd'hŏf, Charles, American journalist and author: b. Erwitte, Westphalia, Prussia, 31 Aug. 1830; d. San Francisco, Cal., 15 July 1901. He came to the United States with his parents in 1835, and in 1843 was apprenticed to a printer in Cincinnati. In 1844 he joined the United States navy and served three years, in which time he made a voyage round the world. He continued to go to sea in merchant, whaling and fishing vessels until 1853, and from that time to 1871 (with the exception of four years spent in editorial work in a New York publishing house) was engaged in newspaper work. From 1871 to 1873 he traveled in California and Hawaii, and in 1874 became Washington correspondent for the New York Herald, retiring from journalism in 1890. He has described his experiences as a sailor in his ‘Man-of-War Life’ (1855); ‘The Merchant Vessel’ (1855); ‘Whaling and Fishing’ (1856; new ed., 1903), and ‘Nine Years a Sailor’ (1857). His sociological and political writings include ‘Secession is Rebellion’ (1860); ‘The Freedmen of the South Carolina Sea Islands’ (1863); ‘Politics for Young Americans’ (1875), which was adopted as a school textbook, and ‘The Communistic Societies of the United States’ (1874); this last is a description and history of different communistic colonies, and is a valuable contribution to descriptive sociology. His other works include ‘Stories of the Island World’ (1857); ‘California for Health, Pleasure and Residence (1872); ‘Northern California, Oregon and the Sandwich Islands’ (1874); ‘God and the Future Life’ (1881), and ‘Peninsular California’ (1888).