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Thursday, September 30, 2010

CHS Digitization Project: Peoples Temple Photographs

Peoples Temple children, Jonestown, Guyana. c.1977-1978
Photographs of Peoples Temple in the United States and Guyana,
PC 010.07.0778, California Historical Society.

The California Historical Society (CHS) has just completed a project to digitize 200 images from their collection of Photographs of the Peoples Temple in the United States and Jonestown, Guyana. The project was funded by a California Local History Digital Resources Program (LHDRP) grant, supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. These images are now available online through the Online Archive of California at and through Calisphere at, both public projects of the California Digital Library. These digital images represent a sampling of images from a larger collection of over 1200 slides of the membership of Peoples Temple, spanning from the early days of the church in Redwood Valley, California to the construction and cultivation of Jonestown.

The community of Peoples Temple survivors was instrumental in assisting CHS on the project, and was able to supply the names of many previously unidentified members, date many of the images, and resolve identifications that were disputed. Their generous work as volunteers has made an enormous impact, and all of us at CHS would like to thank them for their efforts; their contribution will assist researchers and the families of the deceased for the life of the collection. The names that were provided form part of the information available online with the digital images, and allow for searching the photographs by individual, in addition to geographic location or subject.

The Peoples Temple Collection at the California Historical Society continues to draw visitors from around the world to do research for films, books, and articles as we make more information about the holdings of CHS available online. The collection also continues to grow, thanks to donations from former members of Peoples Temple. CHS holds the bulk of materials relating to Peoples Temple and the events that surrounded the November 18, 1978 tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana. Comprised of over 25 related collections, the Peoples Temple Collection includes organizational records from Peoples Temple, personal papers of former members, survivors and their families, researchers, and government agencies. The materials in the collection include correspondence, organizational documents, artifacts, legal documents, audiotapes, slides and photographs, along with a wide array of published materials.

Tanya Hollis

Archivist/Manuscripts Librarian
California Historical Society

Monday, September 27, 2010

California Nights! Vintage California 10/13/10 FREE Event

Come join the California Historical Society celebrate all things California! Connect, learn, and discuss the future of the great state of California, all while listening to music and enjoying complementary refreshments.

October's California Nights will have a "Vintage California" theme: there will be a live DJ playing Swing music, Rockabilly and Big-Band classics.  Wear your vintage duds and join us for a great evening!

California Nights @ The California Historical Society
Wednesday, October 13 2010
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
678 Mission Street
San Francisco

Monday, September 20, 2010

Litquake Public Reading and Reception 10/3/10

Sunday, October 3, 2010

CLA All-Stars: 25 Years of San Jose's Center for Literary Arts

California Historical Society
678 Mission St. San Francisco
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$10/ $5 CHS members, students and seniors

Tickets are now available at
Tickets will also be available at the door prior to the event.

There will be a VIP reception from 5:30 to 6:20 p.m., tickets are $25 click here to buy. Share a glass of wine and intimate conversation with the authors before their public reading during Litquake festivities (includes admission to the reading).

For 25 years, the Center for Literary Arts has hosted writers of exceptional voice and vision, including five winners of the Nobel Prize and dozens of Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners. CLA visitors give readings and public conversations at San Jose State University and at a public high school on the eastside of San Jose.  Hosted by CLA director Andrew Altschul.

Join best-selling authors Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior, Tripmaster Monkey), Mary Roach (Packing for Mars, Stiff, Spook, Bonk), Daniel Alarcรณn (Lost City Radio), Kim Addonizio (Tell Me, Lucifer at the Starlite) and Andrew Sean Greer (The Story of a Marriage) as they read from their latest works. This program was developed in collaboration with the San Jose Center for Literary Arts and Litquake.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Today is the 160th anniversary of California's statehood!

1890 Photo of the original Bear Flag. 
Stored in the Halls of  The Society of California Pioneers 
the flag was destroyed in the
San Francisco earthquake and firestorm of 1906

In the late 18th century California was an important part of New Spain, having been colonized by the Spanish Empire primarily through the establishment of missions and presidios over the period between 1769 and 1823.  The 21 Missions established by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan order, were both military and religious settlements that functioned independently of each other and allowed for the further colonization of what was then known as Alta California.  Prior to the arrival of Portuguese, English and Spanish explorers, California had one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse populations in pre-Columbian North America including more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans. 

In 1821 the Mexican War of Independence effectively freed Alta California from Spanish Control.  California was divided into huge land grants for Mexican "Californios" who established family-controlled ranchos in what was then a remote northern province of the Mexican Empire (later Republic). 

On June 14, 1846 a group of American settlers declared independence from Mexican rule, this uprising was known as the Bear Flag Revolt and occurred during the Mexican-American War (1846 to 1848).  As a result of the war, California was ceded to the United States by Mexico and became the 31st state admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850.

Tonight! Book Talk: Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book talk with Erika Lee and Judy Yung - Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America

California Historical Society, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Free!

From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island immigration station in San Francisco served as the processing and detention center for over one million people from around the world. The majority of newcomers came from China and Japan, but there were also immigrants from India, the Philippines, Korea, Russia, Mexico, and over seventy other countries. The full history of these immigrants and their experiences on Angel Island is told for the first time in this landmark book, published to commemorate the immigration station's 100th anniversary. This program was developed in collaboration with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

678 Mission Street, San Francisco CA

Thursday, September 2, 2010

California Nights! Free event on 9/8/10 @ 5:00 p.m.

It's almost time again for California Nights!  Come join the California Historical Society celebrate all things California! Connect, learn, and discuss the future of the great state of California, all while listening to California-themed music and enjoying complementary refreshments. California Nights will be held every second Wednesday each month through November, so mark your calendar!

This month California Nights will have an "Endless Summer" theme and feature a live DJ playing surf music!

California Nights
9/8/10 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
678 Mission Street, San Francisco

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Upcoming Bus Trip - San Mateo County Coast 9/18/10

Saturday, September 18th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • $95 CHS Member
  • $115 Non-Member (Price includes transportation from CHS, guide, and admissions, lunch is not included)
  • To purchase tickets please call 415-357-1848 ext. 229
This beautiful and historic area is our destination for the day. Starting at CHS, we drive south along the California coast, amidst artichoke and brussels sprouts fields to Pigeon Point, one of our famous lighthouses. The lighthouse has experienced some structural damage, so we are not able to enter it, but we will hear of its history and naming. Then we’ll drive north to the coastal village of Pescadero (Spanish for “fisherman”). Following a break for lunch, we will head north to the city of Half Moon Bay, originally called Spanishtown, and do a walk about the city as well as visit the James Johnston House. If time permits we will visit the fabulous Ritz Carlton Hotel, atop the coastal cliffs just southwest of Half Moon Bay, and return via Devil’s Slide. Walk is easy.
678 Mission Street, San Francisco