Author, Former State Librarian Kevin Starr Dies at 76

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Kevin Starr receives the Robert Kirsch Award at the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Awards. (Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Form California State Librarian Kevin Starr, who wrote rich cultural, economic and political histories on the birth, growth and maturation of the Golden State, died on Saturday. He was 76.

Starr, a professor at USC, died of a heart attack Saturday at a hospital in San Francisco, according to his wife of 53 years, Sheila Starr.

Starr captured the state’s rise in influence, and its singular hold on the public imagination, in his sweeping “Americans and the California Dream,” a series of books that start in the 19th century and go on to focus on the Progressive Era, the 1920s, the Great Depression and other distinct chapters of California’s past.

Throughout his work, Starr showed a familiarity with a vast range of topics central to the state’s development — and its image of itself: architecture, agriculture, literature, water infrastructure and the entertainment industry, among others.

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