George Wharton James was an American popular lecturer, photographer, journalist and editor.
James he emigrated to the United States in 1881 as a young man after being ordained as a Methodist minister. He served in parishes in Nevada and southern California. However, in 1889 his wife sued for divorce, accusing him of committing numerous acts of adultery. He was tried by the Methodist Church, charged with real estate fraud, using faked credentials, and sexual misconduct. He was defrocked, although he was later reinstated.
James served as associate editor of The Craftsman (1904–05), and editor of Out West (1912–14), and was a sought after speaker, lecturing at both the Panama-Pacific and Panama-California expositions.
James had a long-running feud with Southern California author Charles Fletcher Lummis, both of whom explored the American Southwest. He was also a friend of Father Anton Docher, a French-born missionary priest who served at Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico for 34 years.
James's books included
- The Wonders of the Colorado Desert (1906)
- Through Ramona's Country (1909)
- In and Out of the Old Missions of California (1905)
- The Lake of the Sky (1915)
James spent the last decades of his life in Pasadena. Author Lawrence Clark Powell described James's home as serving as "a kind of museum salon in the same way that El Alisal served as the center for his rival booster Lummis' Los Angeles followers.