Wednesday, December 19, 2012

California Wine Association Records, 1894-1936


Lackman & Jacobi business card, circa 1885, California Business Ephemera Collection.

With our vast viticultural districts and varied regional climates, California is known as an exceptional place to grow wine. Lesser known, however, is that the history of the state’s early wine production is largely connected to the history of the California Wine Association (1894-1936). With this in mind, the California Historical Society is pleased to announce that the California Wine Association records have been reprocessed with a finding aid available on the Online Archive of California.

The 1890s were a turning point for viticulture in California. The State’s wine industry was in a seemingly perilous position. California’s 200,000 acres of vineyard were overproductive, the country was in the middle of a depression, and California wines were sold cheaply without much regard to quality. In 1894, in an attempt to secure favorable options from grape growers and winemakers, and to raise prices and stimulate trade, seven leading wine firms joined together to form the California Wine Association. Their action, however, had an unintended consequence: winegrowers formed their own interest groups, which, in turn, led to the wine wars of the 1890s. In order to successfully negotiate grape and wine prices, the two factions came to agree upon standards for terms such as “hill grapes” and “valley grapes,” and stabilized the quality of California wine in the process. The C.W.A. would eventually control over eighty percent of wine manufactured in the State.

The California Wine Association records chronicle this fascinating history. Bound volumes of meeting minutes contain contract negotiations and correspondence between growers and firms, and document internal conflicts within the Association, responses to Prohibition, and, finally, the litigious dissolution of the Association itself.

The new guide to the collection can be found on the Online Archive of California at http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf667nb130

Megan Hickey Nespeco 
Library Volunteer

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I See Beauty in this Life Curator's Walkthrough


Thursday, December 13, 2012 (Timed entry, Reservation required)
Walk through our exhibition I See Beauty in this Life: A Photographer looks at 100 years of Rural California with curator Lisa M. Hamilton. She will give you insight into how she chose the historic images for the show from the extensive collections of the California Historical Society and share some of the stories behind her own photographs.
Over the past two years, writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton has been telling the stories of these rural communities in her multimedia work Real Rural. For this exhibition she has delved into the collections of the California Historical Society to connect these present-day stories with the past. Featuring roughly 150 photographs, I See Beauty in This Life is a combination of large-scale color prints by Hamilton and her selections from California Historical Society's vast photography collections—material dating from the 1880s through the mid-twentieth century, much of which has never been exhibited before. Led through CHS's vast collection of historic photographs by the Director of Library & Archives Mary Morganti, Hamilton has selected images that are not predictable views of pastoral windmills or heroic mule teams, but rather images that reflect her own keen interest in revealing the unexpected. Her approach to the Historical Society's collections is different from that of an historian in that her first priority was to choose images that are outstanding for aesthetic reasons. Taken by amateur and mostly unknown photographers, the photographs are remarkable for their beauty and unusual perspective. These press prints, snapshots, and publicity stills are also intimate records of struggle, celebration, community, and the endless work required to wrest a livelihood from the land. Together, they tell a complex—and sometimes humorous—story of the many different individual lives and landscapes comprising the vast mosaic that is the Golden State.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New CHS audio and film recordings digitized by the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP)






Thanks to the California Audiovisual Preservation Project and the tireless efforts of Pamela Jean Vadakan, ten additional oral histories and two films have been digitized and are available freely on the Internet Archive:


These recordings include oral history interviews with California labor activists and printers, including Louise Lambert, Elaine Black Yoneda, and Amadeo R. Tommassini. The jewel in the crown, however, may be the beautifully digitized Tanker (pictured above), a 47-minute color film made for Marinship corporation in 1944 and 1945 documenting (and promoting) the Sausalito shipyard’s wartime operations. Tanker includes historic footage of shipyard workers, their newly built community in Marin City, spectacular launchings, shipbuilding processes and technologies, and a visit from Prince Faisal and other Saudi dignitaries.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why the Richmond?


When people find out that I desire to live not in the Mission district or Hayes Valley, but someplace much further away—someplace that is cloudy every morning and evening—the first thing they ask is why?
The concern is understandable. Though, to understand why the Richmond District is so great you need to immerse yourself in its fascinating history.

Here are my primary reasons for living on the West side of San Francisco:

Number One:  Golden Gate Park.  A five minute walk takes me from my doorstep to a peaceful wooded oasis. Of course this cultural landscape didn’t come to be naturally. It took much work to transform the land from sand dunes into what is one of California’s most beloved and notorious outdoor spaces.
Before 1865, the area of Golden Gate Park, along with the Richmond and Sunset Districts, was known as Outside Lands. It was not part of the city of San Francisco for a reason: It was an undesirable and unruly landscape of sand dunes and scrub. Though, in order for San Francisco to satisfy its growing population Outside Lands was annexed in 1866.

Golden Gate Park, 1910

 In 1870 William Hammond Hill—field engineer and project commissioner—began working on the topographic map of the 1,017 acre park. By 1875 there were 60,000 trees planted, including the most notable Blue Gum Eucalyptus and Monterey Pine. Four additional years added another 155,000 trees.
Not only is the landscape architecture and the habitats it has nurtured beautifully luscious, there are also endless activities to enjoy in the park. The Encyclopedia of San Francisco eloquently states that many people visit the park, “but only a few know of all the rich nuggets that it harbors.” The big attractions consist of the Japanese Tea Gardens (presented for the California Midwinter International Exposition in 1894); San Francisco Botanical Garden (completed in 1937); De Young Museum (opened in 1921 and rebuilt after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in 2005); the Academy of Sciences (established in 1853 and rebuilt in 2008); and my favorite—the rose garden (added in 1961). Golden Gate Park once had tremendous wildlife roaming its lands, including moose, caribou, antelope, zebras, elephants, kangaroos, ostriches and peacocks. In 1927 those animals were moved into the San Francisco Zoo, but the buffalo still remain!


The Conservatory of Flowers, 1910

The park also hosted tent refuge for thousands of misplaced people after the 1906 earthquake. By witnessing the open space Outside Lands provided, many of those citizens decided to remain and make a home for themselves. From then on the Sunset and Richmond district communities developed their distinct identities as we know them today.

Number Two: New Chinatown. Housed in the Inner Richmond, it is a San Francisco gem. Near 6th and Clement Street the neighborhood is filled with Chinese markets, restaurants and cafes. However it is not just a Chinese hub. The chances of finding Thai, Russian, Indian, Italian, Irish, Burmese, French and American cuisine all on one street are highly probable. Some of my favorite places include the literary-wonderland Green Apple Books, Toy Boat dessert café, Burma Superstar, and the Blue Danube coffee house. 
But just how did the Richmond district develop into what it is today—a place that is full of mini neighborhoods with culturally vibrant identities? We can attribute its character to Australian George Turner Marsh, who was a man captivated by Japanese culture. When he moved to San Francisco around 1876 he opened a shop named G.T. Marsh and Company: Japanese Art Repository in the Palace Hotel off of Market Street. It was one of the first Asian-art galleries in the United States. With the success of his business, Marsh built his home at 12th and Clement Street. He named it the “Richmond House” after his birthplace in Richmond, Australia. His home was of a fashion unlike anything at the time. The Western Neighborhoods Project describes it as such:

The residence was large and elegant, and on the land around it Marsh installed a garden and ornamental stream, orchard, carriage house, stables, quarters for servants, and chicken pens. Marsh raised carrier pigeons, and would always carry a couple with him when he rode on horseback to work downtown. In the late afternoon he would send a bird home with a message for his wife about when he'd be home, and if he planned to bring guests for dinner.

George Turner Marsh

Given the prosperity and respectability of Mr. Marsh, a vote in 1890 brought the Richmond District name into existence, yet it remained unofficial. It was thought that naming it after Marsh’s prominent estate would entice more well-to-do investors into the newly graced district. The name was used throughout the 20th century but it was not until 2009 that the official title changed from Park Presidio District to the recognized Richmond District. 

Marsh's home on 12th Avenue & Clement Street

To learn more about how the Richmond District’s name came to be, the Western Neighborhoods Project has a detailed article you can read here.

Number Three: Ocean Beach. Its wonder is found in its simplicity. “Picture a 3.5-mile stretch of white beach with few tourists and no highrises. It's just you and the waves and the seabirds at Ocean Beach.” The National Parks Conservancy does not falsely advertise these facts. Though, there was a time past when people made the trek out to Ocean Beach for more than just its natural beauty; it was a land filled with abundant amusements and sweet pleasures.   



Ocean Beach prior to the construction of Playland Amusement Park, 1900

Surely you’ve heard of the Cliff House? Built in 1863 by Senator John Buckley and C. C. Butler, the original Cliff House was not as grand as its predecessors. It began as a residence but by 1868 a restaurant was added and renovations made it a place for high society. Later it became a tourist oasis.
The Cliff House has been through some rough times. In 1887 it was damaged by an abandoned schooner filled with dynamite that met its fate upon the tumultuous coastal rocks beneath. The blast was large enough to be heard across the Bay Area. The Cliff House remained thereafter with only minor repairs, but a chimney fire in 1894 ultimately burned it down.

In 1896 Aldoph Sutro spent $75,000 to rebuild the Cliff House into a Victorian eight-story mansion. Though not a hotel, it did boast much entertainment space. After Sutro’s death in 1898 the Cliff House was leased to John Tait and partners. Tait made many extensive renovations.  However, that same year the beloved Cliff House once again burned to the ground.

The third Cliff House was built in 1909 by Sutro’s daughter, Dr. Emma Merritt, as well as John Tait and his investors. They spent $75,000 in memory of the past Sutro Cliff House, but instead of making it equally grandiose they chose neo-classical. 

Cliff House, 1900

During prohibition the Cliff House was closed for several years.  In 1946 the Camera Obscura--known as San Francisco’s Giant Camera--was added onto the Cliff House property. Built by Floyd Jennings, the camera is placed “as far west as you can go in San Francisco,” according to the Western Neighborhoods Project. (It is now one of the few relics left from the Playland-at-the-Beach Amusement Park.) In 1977 the Golden Gate National Recreation Area finally acquired the Cliff House that we know today.

Ultimately the history of Ocean Beach (and all of Outside Lands for that matter) is endless. I could continue on and on about the Sutro Bath RuinsLands End, and other treasured spots. But I’ll leave you, dear reader, to discover those for yourself. Go find the history that awaits you in the present day Richmond and Sunset districts of San Francisco, California. 


Words by Andrea Dumovich--Guest Concierge for the California Historical Society

(All images, except two, are provided by the USC Digital Library--which is part of the CHS online research collection. The George Turner Marsh and 12th Avenue/Clement photos are sourced from the Western Neighborhoods Project website.) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An evening with Matt Garcia, author of From the Jaws of Victory


Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 6:00 PM at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco


RSVP at http://jawsofvictory.eventbrite.com/.

 

Join us for an evening with author Matt Garcia. His book, From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement is the most comprehensive history ever written on the meteoric rise and precipitous decline of the United Farm Workers, the most successful farm labor union in United States history. Based on little-known sources and one-of-a-kind oral histories with many veterans of the farm worker movement, this book revises much of what we know about the UFW. Matt Garcia’s gripping account of the expansion of the union’s grape boycott reveals how the boycott, which UFW leader Cesar Chavez initially resisted, became the defining feature of the movement and drove the growers to sign labor contracts in 1970. Garcia vividly relates how, as the union expanded and the boycott spread across the United States, Canada, and Europe, Chavez found it more difficult to organize workers and fend off rival unions. Ultimately, the union was a victim of its own success and Chavez’s growing instability.

From the Jaws of Victory delves deeply into Chavez’s attitudes and beliefs, and how they changed over time. Garcia also presents in-depth studies of other leaders in the UFW, including Gilbert Padilla, Marshall Ganz, Dolores Huerta, and Jerry Cohen. He introduces figures such as the co-coordinator of the boycott, Jerry Brown; the undisputed leader of the international boycott, Elaine Elinson; and Harry Kubo, the Japanese American farmer who led a successful campaign against the UFW in the mid-1970s. Copies of From the Jaws of Victory will be available for purchase at the event. 

Poetry and Photography: Five Poets on I See Beauty in This Life


Poetry reading and discussion

Friday, November 16, 2012, 7:00 PM at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street San Francisco, CA

RSVP at http://poetsandphotography.eventbrite.com/

The new exhibition I See Beauty in This Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California features nearly one hundred fifty photographs that, together, tell a complex story about the vast mosaic of California’s rural life. At this event, notable poets Richard Silberg, Robert Sward, Jack and Adele Foley, and Tess Taylor, all published by California’s Red Hen Press, will respond to I See Beauty in This Life and read some of their own recent work.

I See the Beauty in this Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California - Opening Party


Sunday, October 28, 2012, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

I See the Beauty in this Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California - Opening Party

$5 suggested donation
California Historical Society members are always free



Join us for the opening celebration of I See Beauty in this Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural CaliforniaThis exhibition was curated by writer & photographer Lisa M. Hamilton, the first visiting scholar in a new series Curating California

About the exhibition:
            In many people’s experience, California consists of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and the highways that connect them. In reality these urban centers make up only a fraction of the whole; according to the 2010 Census, geographically the state of California is more than 94 percent rural. Surprise Valley, Lost Hills, Raisin City, Mecca—these are the communities that make up “the rest” of California.
            Over the past two years, writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton has been telling the stories of these rural communities in her multimedia work Real Rural. For this exhibition she has delved into the collections of the California Historical Society to connect these present-day stories with the past. Featuring roughly 150 photographs, I See Beauty in This Life is a combination of large-scale color prints by Hamilton and her selections from California Historical Society’s vast photography collections—material dating from the 1880s through the mid-twentieth century, much of which has never been exhibited before. Led through CHS’s vast collection of historic photographs by the director of Library and Archives Mary Morganti, Hamilton has selected images that are not predictable views of pastoral windmills or heroic mule teams, but rather images that reflect her own keen interest in revealing the unexpected. Her approach to the Historical Society’s collections is different from that of an historian in that her first priority was to choose images that are outstanding for aesthetic reasons. Taken by amateur and mostly unknown photographers, the photographs are remarkable for their beauty and unusual perspective.  These press prints, snapshots, and publicity stills are also intimate records of struggle, celebration, community, and the endless work required to wrest a livelihood from the land. Together, they tell a complex—and sometimes humorous—story of the many different individual lives and landscapes comprising the vast mosaic that is the Golden State.
            I See Beauty in this Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California is on view from October 28, 2012 through March 24, 2013. The California Historical Society Gallery is open Tuesday through Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stern Grove Festival Association Records


Stern Grove Festival Association Records, MS 2063

San Francisco’s open-air summer concert series, the Stern Grove Festival, presented its 75th season this year. In acknowledgment of this milestone, the Stern Grove Festival Association (SGFA) records have been reprocessed with a finding aid made available on the Online Archive of California.

Inspired by its bucolic setting and natural acoustics, Mrs. Rosalie Stern purchased and deeded Stern Grove to the city in 1931. Since then, Stern Grove has functioned as a nonprofit city recreational and park facility, featuring a diverse array of performances by renowned classical and jazz musicians, and theatre and dance companies. 
 Allied Relief Benefit Concert program, 1940, Stern Grove Festival Association Records, MS 2063
The Stern Grove Festival Association Records consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, programs, posters, photographs, and scrapbooks, which document the activities of the SGFA, as well as the city’s long history of support and appreciation for the arts.  

The new guide to the collection can be found on the Online Archive of California at
http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8zc8253

Megan Hickey Nespeco, Library Volunteer

Monday, September 24, 2012

Imaging an Icon: Ted Huggins and the Golden Gate Bridge


Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Imaging an Icon: Ted Huggins and the Golden Gate Bridge

Free event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco


Using Ted Huggins’ images and recently discovered journals, historian John C. Harper will lead a discussion on Ted Huggins and his work to promote the Golden Gate Bridge and the West. Over three-and-a-half years, Ted Huggins took hundreds of photographs that captured the majestic beauty of the bridge and helped turn it into a world-famous tourist destination. He photographed construction from both shores, from airplanes and a blimp, from construction boats and ferries, from inside a caisson underneath the bay, and from atop the two towers. Join us this evening to view these wonderful photographs and hear about Ted Huggins.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey through the Hmong Diaspora


Thursday, October 4, 2012, 6:30 p.m.

Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey through the Hmong Diaspora

Book signing and discussion with Joel Pickford

Free event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco


In a lively and informative presentation, photographer and author Joel Pickford weaves the story of his personal journey through the Hmong Diaspora, showing photographs from his book, Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey through the Hmong Diaspora, and some that are not in the book. A Q&A session and book signing will follow his presentation. The result of five years of courageous and heartfelt commitment, Soul Calling opens our eyes to the beauty, resilience and daily lives of the Hmong people, so recently displaced from their traditional homeland by the traumas of the Vietnam War. From the rice harvests and funerals of remote Hmong villages in the mountains of Laos to the shamanic ceremonies and overflowing apartment-complex vegetable gardens of Hmong Americans living in Fresno, writer and photographer Joel Pickford leads us into a world of deep-rooted custom and the harsh realities of cultural adaptation. His exquisite photographs and intimate stories take us into living rooms and through the memories of a remarkable people.

San Francisco’s Chinatown: A History


Sunday, October 7, 2012, 1:00 p.m.

San Francisco’s Chinatown: A History

$5 suggested donation at the door, or free admission with LitQuake Museum Pass

Author and historian Philip P. Choy presents San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture, an “insider’s guide” to one of America’s most celebrated ethnic enclaves. A history of America’s oldest Chinese community and a guide to its significant sites and architecture, the book traces development of the neighborhood from the city’s earliest days to its post-quake transformation into an “Oriental” tourist attraction as a pragmatic means of survival.

This is a part of LitQuake’s Words and Pictures: A Cultural Stroll through Yerba BuenaSan Francisco is a world-class city when it comes to literature…and cultural institutions. Litquake invites you to wander with us through an array of museums and galleries in the city’s Yerba Buena cultural neighborhood. We’ll explore art, language, culture, and all intersections between. Free entry to events at UC Berkeley Extension Art & Design Center and California Historical Society. $10 Litquake Museum Pass allows entry to events at CJM, MoAD, CHS, Cartoon Art Museum, and YBCA and can be purchased at litquake.org. This event is co-sponsored by the Chinese Historical Society of America.


Yerba Buena Alliance Gallery Walk


Saturday, October 13, 2012, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.


Free event at the California Historical Society and in the surrounding Yerba Buena neighborhood

The Gallery Walk is an exciting way to explore the Yerba Buena neighborhood and the artistic offerings within it. The participating galleries offer a diverse look at contemporary, emerging, and established artists working in a variety of mediums. Start with a kick-off champagne reception at Visual Aid, 57 Post Street, Suite 905 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. To see a full listing of participating galleries, visit www.yerbabuena.org/gallerywalk.

Chinatown Sketches & Book Club of California's Centennial Party


Friday, October 19, 2012, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Chinatown Sketches & Book Club of California's Centennial Party

Free event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco

RSVP at bccatchs.eventbrite.com

The Book Club of California and the California Historical Society invite you to a party celebrating the Centennial of The Book Club of California and the release of Book Club of California’s publication number two hundred and thirty: Paul Frenzeny's, Chinatown Sketches, by award winning author, Claudine Chalmers with a preface by Philip P. Choy. Evening program includes a short talk by Claudine Chalmers. Artifacts and original artwork from the book will be on display. Refreshments will be served. Bring your friends and fellow bibliophiles.

The 7th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar


Saturday, October 27, 2012, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 7th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Free Event at Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California
3550 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Visit the California Historical Society at the LA History Bazaar at USC. Learn about our Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Collection and the Title Insurance and Trust Company (TICOR) Collection as well as ongoing California Historical Society projects and our archives.

Los Angeles history comes alive at the 7th-annual Los Angeles ArchivesBazaar. Organized by L.A. as Subject and presented by the USC Libraries, the annual event celebrates the diversity of Southern California’s history. For scholarly researchers, journalists, history buffs, and those simply interested in exploring the stories of Los Angeles, discovery awaits everyone at the Archives Bazaar. This event is free and open to the public.
The Archives Bazaar draws its strength from the breadth and variety of its participants’ collections. Large institutions such as the Autry National Center of the American West and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will be represented at the bazaar along with smaller organizations and private collections whose materials fill the gaps left in the city’s official history. Other participating organizations include the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, the California African American Museum, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, and the Japanese American National Museum. In all, more than 70 archives are expected to be represented.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge History First Hand


Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Golden Gate Bridge History First Hand

Free event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco


Come hear Bob David, an architect and photographer and a long time Bridge District employee, informal historian and archivist of the Bridge. He began working for the Bridge 39 years ago, during which time he has photo documented various construction projects including the Bridge redecking project in the 1980s and the still ongoing Seismic Retrofit project. He will also describe his personal journey to meet the architects and artists of the bridge and uncover their work, some of which is manifest in the current exhibit, for which he acted as curatorial advisor. Bob David will be in conversation with Jessica Hough, curator of A Wild Flight of the Imagination.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

California Wool Growers Association finding aid

Cheryl Ann Holt, Miss Wool California, ca. 1968. California Wool Growers Association photograph collection (PC 014), PC 014.002.tif.


The California Historical Society is pleased to announce the completion of the processing of the California Wool Growers Association photography collection and the publication of its finding aid on the Online Archive of California.  The sheep industry has long been an integral part of California’s rich agricultural history and the photographs in this collection demonstrate the California Wool Growers Association’s (CWGA) active role in the industry as advocates for sheep ranchers, proud sponsors of agricultural events such as livestock shows and symposiums, and promoters of wool and lamb products. 

The collection, dating from the early 1900s to the mid-1980s, contains photographs, negatives, slides, contact sheets, banquet camera photographs, transparencies, ephemera, correspondence, promotional materials, press releases, and newsletters collected by the CWGA for use in publication or possible publication in the association's journal California Livestock News.

The collection was processed in conjunction with the California Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit I See Beauty in this Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California.  Featuring roughly 150 photographs, I See Beauty in This Life brings together writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton’s large-scale color prints and her selections from California Historical Society’s vast photography collections, including many images culled from the California Wool Growers Association photography collection.

I See Beauty in this Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California will run from October 28, 2012 until March 24, 2013 in the California Historical Society galleries.  The finding aid for the California Wool Growers Association photography collection can be accessed through the Online Archive of California (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/) or you may search the California Historical Society’s online catalog (http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/).

African-American man sweeping wool, undated. California Wool Growers Association photograph collection (PC 014), PC 014.015.tif.
  
Slim Pickens, guest auctioneer at Red Bluff bull sale, 1960. California Wool Growers Association photograph collection (PC 014), PC 014.015.tif.

Les Bruhn, Bodega Bay, with “Queen”, won 2nd place, 26th annual Fox Western International Sheep Dog Trials at California Ram Sale, Sacramento, 1964. California Wool Growers Association photograph collection (PC 014), PC 014.002.tif.
--- Jaime Henderson, Project Archivist







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds


September 26, 2012,  6:00 PM

The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds

Book Signing and Discussion with John Muir Laws

Free event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street,San Francisco

RSVP at drawingbirds.eventbrite.com/.

Drawing is a way of training yourself to see. Drawing birds helps you to slow down and observe nature more carefully. In his book, The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds, John Muir Laws demonstrates step by step techniques to help you quickly sketch birds in the field or to accurately depict them in the studio. Join us for a book signing and discussion of nature study, birding, and improving your observation skills. Laws will demonstrate his approach to drawing birds and give tips to help you in your own sketching.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day


Saturday, September 29, 2012, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

California Historical Society is proud to partner with Smithsonian Magazine for this yearly promotion offering free admission to two adults to our gallery when presenting a Museum Day Ticket.  Other neighborhood participating museums include the Museum of Craft of Folk Art, the Society of California Pioneers, the Cartoon Art Museum and many more.  For more information, and to sign up for your ticket visit smithsonianmag.com/museumday.

African American Out Movements of San Francisco


Thursday, September 13, 2012, 5:00 pm

African American Out Movements of San Francisco

Panel Discussion at the California Historical Society
Free event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco

RSVP at zacchochs.eventbrite.com.

From September 13-16, 2012, Zaccho Dance Theatre will perform Sailing Away: San Francisco’s 1858 Black Exodus. Sailing Away is a site-specific performance inspired by San Francisco’s early African American settlers. Created by Choreographer and Director Joanna Haigood, Sailing Away features eight prominent African Americans who lived and worked near Market Street during the mid-nineteenth century and evokes their participation in the mass exodus of African Americans from California in 1858.  Free performances occur at 12pm, 1:30pm, and 3pm traveling along Market Street beginning at the Market & Powell Street Cable Car station.

On opening day, a panel discussion and reception will be held in conjunction with scholars, historians, and local community leaders who will discuss San Francisco’s African American out migration then and now at 5pm at the California Historical Society. This panel discussion is co-presented by Zaccho Dance Theatre, the Museum of African Diaspora and the California Historical Society.


Panelist Biographies
As Co-Founder (1980) and Artistic Director of Zaccho Dance Theatre, Joanna Haigood's creative work focuses on making dances that use natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. From harnessing the menacing energy of a 10-ton crane tofocusing on the delicacy of a butterfly’s nesting ground, her dances become extensions of their surroundings with choreography that interprets the site’s physical, cultural, and historical identities. Recent projects include The Shifting Cornerstone (2008) commissioned by Dancers’ Group and performed on the 3rd & Mission in collaboration with Yerba Buena Center; performance installation The Monkey and The Devil (2008) in collaboration with visual artist Charles Trapolin; Departure and Arrival (2007), commissioned by the SF International Arts Festival and performed at the SF International Airport; a remounting of Invisible Wings (first premiered in 1998 at SF’s Fort Point and based on the Underground Railroad) presented as the culminating event of the 75th anniversary season at Jacob’s Pillow; Breaking Ground (2005) a dance charette conceived and curated by Haigood, presented by Dancing in the Streets NYC; Ghost Architecture (2004) a meditative reflection on the controversial history of SF’s downtown redevelopment project at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; A View From Here (2002) inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall and presented at SF’s Theater Art and Picture conceived to be produced in three urban settings in celebration of communities,that while perceived as troubled, reveal unexpected and hopeful signs of renewal, Picture Powderhorn presented by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis 2000 and Picture Redhook presented by Dancing in the Streets Brooklyn, NY 2002.
Joanna Haigood's work has been commissioned by leading arts presenters both nationally and internationally. Among them are the National Black Arts Festival, Festival d'Avignon and Festival d'Arles in France, the Exploratorium, Capp Street Project, Dancing in the Streets, the Walker Art Center, Jacob's Pillow, the San Francisco Art Commission, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, and the McColl Center for Visual Art. Her choreography has also been commissioned by Alonzo King's Lines Contemporary Ballet, Robert Moses' KIN, and Axis Dance Company and is in the repertory of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Ms. Haigood was honored in 2007 as recipient of the United States Artists Fellowship to further her work.
Gregory Hodge (panel moderator) is a youth development policy advocate and member of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education from 2000-2008. Gregory Hodge also serves as an organizational development and community building consultant. He works with a range of groups from small nonprofitsand foundations to public agencies, particularly school districts. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer for California Tomorrow, an Oakland-based organization dedicated to building a strong multiracial and multicultural society. He also previously served as the Executive Director of Safe Passages, the Oakland Child Health and Safety Initiative. Prior to Safe Passages, Mr. Hodge was the Executive Director of the Urban Strategies Council, where he served as the director of the youth development initiative, managed the Freedom Schools program, and worked as the regional representative of the Black Community Crusade for Children, an effort coordinated nationally by the Children's Defense Fund.
Greg volunteered as the Master of Ceremonies of Bay Area Youth Arts’ annual Kwanzaa and Harvest Celebration for many years. His longtime support of Oakland’s esteemed Malonga Casquelourd Centerfor the Arts and of cultural arts, in general, as integral to positive community development is widely appreciated. Mr. Hodge continues to work as an attorney in private practice handling a variety of civillitigation matters. His involvements include member of the national Annenberg School District Reform Task Force. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California. He is the father of four children.
Jan Batiste Adkins (panelist), an educator and lecturer, spent the last five years researching and documenting the history of San Francisco’s African American pioneers. Her master’s thesis from San Jose State University documented the history of the African American community as reflected in black newspapers of the 1850s through the 1890s. Her new book (January 2012) African Americans in San Francisco is an expansion of that project, for which she has consulted area archives, museums, and libraries, including the California Historical Society, the San Francisco African American Historical Society, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, San Francisco Public Library History Center, California State Public Library, church and organization archives, and family albums. She has traveled to Canada and retraced the lives and destinations of many of San Francisco’s 1858 Canada-bound voyagers. In her book, she managed to weave a photographic tapestry of the amazing stories and history that began during the early years of the Gold Rush and continue into the present era.
Beginning in the 1840s, her book chronicles black men and women who heard the call to go west, migrating to California in search of gold, independence, freedom, and land to call their own. By the mid-1850s, a lively African American community had taken root in San Francisco. Churches and businesses were established, schools were built, newspapers were published, and aid societies were formed. For the next century, the history of San Francisco’s African American community mirrored the nation’s slow progress toward integration with triumphs and setbacks depicted in images of schools, churches, protest movements, business successes, and political struggles. Ms. Adkins book has been adopted by Bayview Superintendent Zone K-12 schools through San Francisco Unified School District.
Performer/presenter Cheryl Susheel Bibbs (panelist), Ph.D. who recently retired after 25 years teachingat UC Berkeley, is also a former EMMY-award winning WGBH-TV executive producer. Ms. Bibbs’ dramatic one-woman shows (chautauquas) on Mary Ellen Pleasant (depicted in Sailing Away) are part of the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network-to-Freedom Program that is acclaimed in the US and Canada. Susheel's dramatic one-woman chautauquas on Pleasant, which are part of the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network-to-Freedom Program, have been acclaimed in the US and Canada. Theresearch collection on which these works are based has been certified by the California Council for the Humanities.

Dr. Bibbs' award-winning book on Pleasant and Marie LaVeaux (Heritage of Power) and her documentary films on Pleasant -- The Legacy of Mary Pleasant and Meet Mary Pleasant, have won 6 broadcast and film-festival awards: The shorts -- Best Documentary Peace Reel Medallion at the Berkeley Film Festival and a Silver Telly (Northern Calfornia's premiere TV broadcast) Award, and the PBS documentary -- Best Historical Documentary and Best Director of a Documentary (for Bibbs) from the New York International Independent Film Festival and, most recently, The Gold Kahuna Award for Filmmaking Excellence from the Honolulu Film Festival. Dr. Bibbs' three-DVD archive on Pleasant, which demonstrates the research background forher chautauquas, is housed at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, CA and at the San Francisco Public Library; her films on DVD are available there, at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, on www.mepleasant.com and on Amazon.com.

Monday, September 3, 2012

White Wash


Sunday, September 16, 2012, 2:00 PM.

White Wash 

Film Screening and Discussion

Free Event at the Santa Monica Public Library Main Branch’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA

Seating is limited for this special screening. Guests should arrive in a timely manner, as seating will be offered on first come, first serve basis.

White Wash explores the history of African Americans and water culture, from slavery and civil rights wade-ins to surfing in contemporary times. This 2011 documentary includes archival footage and interviews with professional surfers, and features the historic beach site known as the “Ink Well.” A discussion with director Ted Woods, historian Alison Rose Jefferson and blacksurfing.com founder, Rick Blocker follows the screening. The California Historical Society is proud to join Heal the Bay, The Santa Monica Conservancy and the NAACP to sponsor the White Wash documentary screening event.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

California and the Civil War


Friday, September 21, 2012 at 6:00 PM

California and the Civil War

A Panel Discussion featuring Al Camarillo, Michael Magliari, Glenna Matthews, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, James Tejani, and Michael Green, moderated by Robert Cherny

RSVP at civilwarcalifornia.eventbrite.com/

For many, the words California and the Civil War seem to have nothing to do with each other. However, California played a significant role in the Civil War. Join us at the California Historical Society for a panel discussion of this fascinating topic. Historians and scholars will discuss many aspects including the Californio community, Indian slavery in California and what changed--or didn't--during the war, Chinese participation in the war, the impact of the war on the infrastructure of southern California and the twin sesquicentennials of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the launching of the huge fund-raising for the Sanitary Commission that week in San Francisco. This program is presented in collaboration with the Presidio Historical Association.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Date Palms, Eucalyptus, and Orange Blossoms: Places, History and Story in California


Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 6:00 PM



Date Palms, Eucalyptus, and Orange Blossoms: Places, History and Story in California an intimate conversation with author Susan Straight and editor Gayle Wattawa, hosted by Anthea Hartig

Join us for this special evening with Susan Straight who is on tour sharing about her newest and ninth novel, Between Heaven and Here (McSweeney’s, 2012). Walter Mosley wrote that our guest  "with a sleight of hand only the masters have, she creates an alley, a neighborhood, a history that is as rich and tragic as any Shakespearean tale" with her latest work. This place that Susan has gone back to now for 22 years is her fictional Rio Seco, based on her own life’s place, Riverside.  Heyday lovers will also know her from her exquisite contribution to Inlandia, and we’re honored that the path-breaking compilation’s editor, Gayle Wattawa, will join Susan in the Society’s gracious main gallery. Together they’ll converse on the meaning, construction and idea of home, as Susan says “of people who stay and people who leave.” As a third-generation Inland Valley girl, the Society’s Executive Director Dr. Anthea Hartig is particularly thrilled to bring such probing reflections of her heimat to the City by the Bay.

We’ll leave plenty of time for questions, and Between Heaven and Here will be available for purchase and signing as will Inlandia and many of the Heyday titles that CHS is honored to offer in our shared bookstore Ten Lions. Refreshments and nibbles, per always, are included.

Admission is free, but RSVPS are required and you can do so at susanstraight.eventbrite.com.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

100th Birthday of Julia Child


In honor of Julia Child, we selected a few items from our collection for your enjoyment…

Menu from the Hotel and Café de Paris in Los Angeles. Note that their rules were strict: ladies were prohibited from smoking, an extra napkin cost $.05, and don’t even think about asking for a specific seating location... Do you think Julia would have approved? (From the 19th century menu collection)




Starting in the 19th century, San Francisco’s Old Poodle Dog Restaurant was long famous for providing quality French cuisine. (From the Business Ephemera collection)




Receipts from San Quentin Prison’s Commissary Department. If you were unlucky enough to be inside, it looks like you probably would dine on lamb—but chances are, the prison chefs weren’t up to Julia’s culinary standards, and your meals would reflect this. (From MS 3442)



- Eileen Keremitsis, Reference Staff