Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

John Steven McGroarty

Pennsylvania & California

[Photo made available and used with the permission of Ed Stephan]

Poet Laureate of California

John Steven McGroarty was born on August 20, 1862, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His parents were both natives of Donegal, Ireland. He was educated in the public schools and published his first poem at the age of 10. He completed his education at the Harry Willman Academy (Wilkes-Barre). McGroarty studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1894 at the age of 32. He began the practice of law in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, then moved in 1896 to Montana, to serve on the legal staff of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. When his investments in a Mexican mining venture failed, he moved, in November, 1891, with his wife, Ida, to Los Angeles, California.

A poem submitted to the Los Angeles Times lead to a friendship with its publisher, Harrison Gray Otis, and to work as a journalist and editorial writer for the Times. In 1906 he became editor of West Coast Magazine which he edited until 1914.

McGroarty was the author of several dramas, served in the California legislature and in Congress from 1935 through 1938. He died in 1944. [Source: Ed Stephan, John Steven McGroarty, A Biographical Sketch]

John Steven McGroarty: A Homepage for my Godfather

John Steven McGroarty
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

John S. McGroarty

John Steven McGroarty: From The Green Verdugo Hills
Journal of San Diego History



A Selection of Poems
John Steven McGroarty, "Just California" and Other Poems
(Los Angeles: Times-Mirror, 1933)


John Steven McGroarty, Just California and Songs Along the Way (Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Company, 1903)

__________________, Wander Songs (Los Angeles: Grafton Publishing Co., 1908) [online text]

__________________, The King's Highway (Los Angeles: Grafton, 1909)(pictures by Langdon Smith)

__________________, Five California Poems (South Pasadena, California: W.A. Abbott, Mailing ed., 1918)

__________________, 'Just California' and Other Poems (Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Press, 1933)


John Steven McGroarty, California, Its History and Romance (Los Angeles: Grafton Publishing Company, 1911) [online text] (10th ed., 1924)

__________________, Southern California: Comprising the Counties of Imprial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riversid, San Bernadion, San Diego, Ventura (Southern California Panama Expositions Commission, 1914)

__________________, The Endless Miracle of California (Chula Vista, California: Denrich Press, 192-?)

__________________, Los Angeles, From the Mountains to the Sea (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1921)(3 vols.) [vol.2 :: online text] (Special Limited ed.)

__________________ (ed.), History of Los Angeles County (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923)(3 vols.)

__________________, The Mission Play (Los Angeles: Smith- Barnes Corp., 1923?)

__________________, Mission Memories (Los Angeles: Neuner Corporation, 1929)(illustrated by Frederick V. Carpenter) [online text]

__________________, The Mass (Los Angeles: Michael J. Halloran Printing Co., 1932)

__________________ (ed.), Little Flowers of St. Francis (Los Angeles: U.S. Library Association, 1932)

__________________, California of the South: A History (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1933)(5 vols.)

__________________ (ed.), The California Plutarch (Los Angeles: J.R. Finnell, 1935)

My thanks to Truman Price at Columbia Basin Books, Monmouth, Oregon, for directing my attention to the fact that James Steven McGroarty was a lawyer-poet.