THE ENLIGHTENER ....

San Francisco: The P.C. D. W., 15 May 1916 through 15 December 1920. Eight issues. Variously four to eight pages, quarto (one issue small folio), some in two colors, some on colored stock. A few small nicks and creased, but generally very good to near fine. Item #WRCLIT85596

A decent sample of issues of the principal organ of the "Perfect Christian Divine Way" (after 1919 a.k.a."Holy City"). Riker established his movement in a building on Hayes Street in San Francisco, cultivating a bizarre blend of simplistic religion, rabid white supremacism, and economic revisionism, offering himself as "The New Pope Who Is To Become the Ruler of the World," and showcasing his latest wife as "Mother Lucille." In 1919, he moved his entourage to a roadside location in the Santa Cruz mountains, which he dubbed "Holy City." Holy City consisted of a few residential cabins, a service station, a restaurant and bakery, a printing shop, a grocery store, and shoe repair shop, all aimed at subsidizing the colony's existence by cultivating the tourist trade. The little roadside oasis drew attention to itself via an enormous display of billboards proclaiming Riker's extravagant claims (including an offer of $25,000 to anyone who could demonstrate a flaw in his scheme) and biblical quotes, and grew to include a peepshow and other odd diversions. Riker's personal life was anything but colorless, including at various times charges or allegations of bigamy, grand larceny, conspiracy, and breach of marital promise. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of California on four occasions, and offered unsolicited advice to FDR on how to revive the economy. In 1942 he was charged with sedition, and his premises were searched by FBI agents, who confiscated a large quantity of material, including letters from Riker to Hitler, whom he proclaimed "a second Martin Luther." Melvin Belli defended him successfully, but then had to sue him for his fees. Holy City and Riker stumbled on through the death of Mother Lucille. internal squabbles and various alliances, including one in the mid-sixties with a man better known for his perennial office-seeking on the nudist ticket. Riker died in 1969, after converting to Catholicism, and the rubble of Holy City decayed by the side of the road for a few more years.

Price: $150.00