The Bohemian Club grew out of a Sunday salon hosted by James F. Bowman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The original gatherings were planned as Sunday breakfasts at Bowman’s home on Russian Hill, though they often lasted through dinner and involved
Aimée Crocker, Queen of Bohemia, chronicles the life and times, adventures and the close circle of heiress Aimée Crocker, who boldly transcended class, culture and gender and made headlines from the 1880s to the 1940s. She was known for her cultural exploration of the Far East, for her extravagant parties in San Francisco, New York and Paris, and for her collections of husbands and lovers, adopted children, Buddhas, pearls, tattoos and snakes. While the American
Today’s heiresses are boring: their idea of adventure is trying to sip a green juice while their lips are still numb from cosmetic surgery. (Oops—dribbled a bit on that Balmain dress!) Aimée Crocker, a San Francisco railroad heiress born in 1864, used her wealth to scandalize prudes and scald the bourgeois palate. Her 1934 memoir, And I’d Do It Again, describes her saturnalian adventures around the globe. Now it’s been reissued, and Libby Purves read it with relish:
Very few women in the late 19th century were fortunate enough to be wealthy enough to hold property in their own names, and those that did, like Aimée Crocker, still had to have the court appoint a personal agent to handle their affairs.