Friday, December 30, 2011

Pasadena Tournament of Roses

A New Year’s tradition that many Californians look forward to each year is the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Since 1890 the parade has drawn the attention of the state with its beautiful and often astonishing use of flowers to adorn floats whose themes range from the civic pride of local Southern California cities to the celebration of national historic figures such as the Tuskegee Airmen. 

Back on New Year’s Day in 1893, Hamlin Garland, a fresh visitor to Southern California, first witnessed the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. He recorded his observations of Southern California in a notebook which is today part of the University of Southern California Library’s collections. Garland’s account begins with an ominous tone, “The sun shone but the shadows were cold,” and continues with a recounting of the trampling of a young boy by horses participating in the Tournament’s races. Today’s Tournament of Roses can hardly be considered as rustic or dangerous as the Tournament of 1893, and instead observers can view the parade from much coveted seats along the sidelines of the parade’s route or from the safety of their homes as the parade is broadcast live on television.

Garland’s observations are represented in facsimile in one of a series of keepsakes designed and printed by San Francisco printer Lawton Kennedy, which featured various treasures found in California library collections and were given as mementos to members of the Book Club of California.  This among many other examples of Lawton Kennedy’s work can be found in the California Historical Society’s Kemble collection of printing ephemera. 

A Happy and Safe New Year’s to All! 

Jaime Michele Henderson, Project Archivist 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Palo Alto Walking Tour and Tea

Thursday, December 15, Friday, December 16, Saturday, December 17, and Sunday, December 18 from 11:30a.m – 2:30p.m. each day.

Palo Alto Walking Tour and Tea

$75 Member, $95 Non-Member

Palo Alto was founded by Timothy Hopkins as "University Park" in 1890 to serve as the village for the professors and students of the new Leland Stanford Jr. University. Taking a grain field across the railroad tracks from the new 8,000-acre campus, Hopkins laid out the village naming the streets for Western literary lights such as Emerson and Kipling. The village became the very first in California to have its own water, gas and telephone utilities, and the first little theatre company in the US. On this walk we will see the very special and compact downtown core of Palo Alto, with many wonderful styles of architecture. Ramona Street is the most architecturally-harmonious street in the Bay Area, and will take you back to the 1920's era with a "street of Spain". And, at the conclusion of our walkabout on Ramona Street, we will have full English afternoon tea at the Tea Time, to help celebrate our Holiday Season. Walk is easy and the venue flat. Walking tour is led by local historian Gary Holloway. RSVP required, please contact or 415.357.1848, ext. 229.

Monday, November 28, 2011

S. Nederveld and monkey

While surveying our photograph collection, we came across this interesting image of a man and his monkey. His name is S. Nederveld with a date 26/8/11 on the photograph. Do you know anything about him or his monkey? Please let us know, even if it is only a guess. All comments are welcome. Catalog info: [S. Nederveld and monkey, 26/8/11] Photographer: Apeda Studio, N.Y., Toned silver gelatin print, California Histoircal Society Collections, CHS2011.620, FN-29984 

- Debra Kaufman, Library Reproduction & Reference Associate

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meet the New Executive Director of the Calfiornia Historical Society

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

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

Please RSVP by December 1st to

Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres as you join us for a reception welcoming the California Historical Society’s new executive director Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D. A third-generation Californian, Dr. Hartig comes to CHS after six years with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she directed the Trust’s Western Office. Previously, Dr. Hartig chaired the State Historical Resources Commission and taught history and cultural studies at La Sierra University in Riverside and graduate courses in historic preservation at the University of California, Riverside from where she holds a Ph.D. and Master’s Degree.

What pleased the old foodies?

Granted, you probably don’t want to eat 135-year-old food – the pastries would be a bit stale and the poultry would have turned by now. But just in case you’re curious about what they were serving at a couple of the great San Francisco hotels in 1876, here’s a sampling from William Laird MacGregor’s Hotels and Hotel Life at San Francisco, California, in 1876 (S.F. News Company, 1877).

At the Lick House…

At the Cosmopolitan…

At the Grand…

At the Occidental…

Apparently, the newly opened Palace Hotel didn’t serve a special Thanksgiving dinner. But had you eaten across the street at the Grand, or a few blocks away at the Lick, the Occidental or the Cosmopolitan, you’d have no left-overs to snack on the next day. What to do? On Friday, is you could waddle your way to the Palace dining room, this would have been the menu on offer:

Celebrating The Day After at the Palace…

 Happy Thanksgiving!

 - Eileen Keremitsis, Reference Staff

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do you recognize these shoes?

While surveying some unprocessed ephemera here at CHS, I came across this tag with tiny, detailed metal shoes tied on with a bit of wire (you can even see and feel the knobby soles).  We don’t have a date for the item (circa 1915-1930s, probably), nor do we know anything about the meaning of the text on the tag or why the shoes were attached.  Please let us know if you know!  Or even if you just have a good guess.  All comments welcome.

Wendy Welker
Special Collections Archivist

Monday, November 14, 2011

Historic Libations

Historic Libations 

at the California Historical Society
678 Mission Street, San Francisco

Thursday, December 1, 2011
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Dance your cares away at Historic Libations - the California Historical Society’s annual holiday benefit party. Enjoy Boothby punch, the Martinez cocktail, Pisco punch & other legendary California cocktails.

Learn about the history of mixed drinks, visit the “Ask a Mixologist” booth, savor freshly shucked Drakes Bay oysters & indulge in notable concoctions crafted by volunteer bartenders from The Boothby Center, the home of cocktail education and the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail. Live entertainment by Gaucho Gypsy Jazz at 7:30 p.m. 

$50 general admission/at the door

$40 CHS member advance admission

Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres & entertainment included

Online tickets at
By phone 415.357.1848 x215 or x229

Oyster Farm Opening Reception

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Free Event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission StreetSan Francisco

Join artist Evvy Eisen at the California Historical Society for a reception celebrating the new exhibit, Oyster Farm: Photographs of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Drink and hors d'oeuvres will be served.  Oyster Farm features the documentary photography of artist Evvy Eisen. Evvy Eisen’s photographs are accompanied by pieces of ephemera and other materials from the rich collections of the California Historical Society. The exhibit will be on view through January 19. Please join us for the opening reception with artist Evvy Eisen on November 16.  RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1 California Fashion Event

1 California Fashion Event

Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

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

The City College of San Francisco Fashion Department and California Historical Society present 1 California on Wednesday, November 9. Reception begins at 7pm with a fashion show to follow. We'll take a trip down California's Highway 1 and explore the diversity of both the geography and the fashion in our great state. From the quiet countryside of Mendocino County to the rugged cliffs of Big Sur to the distinct beaches in Venice. The fashion always follows suit. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Historic American Building Survey (HABS) Records

If you stop by my office these days, you’ll find me muttering to myself behind piles of architectural photographs and negatives, drawing masters, field notebooks, data book reports, blueprints, maps, and ephemera, all created or collected by the Historic American Buildings Survey to document comprehensively (and often with style) the architectural heritage of California and the Western states. The Historic American Buildings Survey, or HABS, was initiated during the Great Depression to put unemployed architects to work and provide architectural, historical, and photographic documentation of historic structures and sites throughout the United States, many of which have since been destroyed. Since 1973, CHS has served as the state repository for duplicate HABS records generated by the National Park Service for the Western states, including California. Originals are sent to the Library of Congress and can be searched online here:

CHS’ HABS records should be an invaluable resource for researchers interested in particular historic buildings; historic preservation in general; the development of architectural photography; and the continuing cultural legacy of the New Deal. And, many of the drawing masters and photographs in the collection have an undeniable aesthetic appeal. Among these are striking photographs taken by Roger Sturtevant. Here is his beautiful 1934 photograph of the hydraulic mine in Downieville, California (Cal-1420):

Sturtevant renders the energy and ecological violence of hydraulic mining with an eerie calmness and geologic sense of time. Here’s another classic Sturtevant picture, of Downieville’s Main Street in March 1934 (Cal-1290). Again, the image radiates stillness:

As impressive as the quality of the photographs and drawings is the thoroughness with which HABS workers documented individual buildings, structures, and sites, including the Jewish Cemetery in Sonora, California (Cal-111). This moving photograph of two-year-old Fanny Baer’s gravestone is one of a series of exquisite pictures of the cemetery taken by Sturtevant:

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Manzanar Fishing Club

Thursday, November 3, 2011, 5:30 p.m.

The Manzanar Fishing Club

Film Preview and Discussion

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

Join us for a special preview of the film, The Manzanar Fishing Club. The Manzanar Fishing Club is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the WWII internment of Japanese Americans from a unique perspective: through the eyes of those who defied the armed guards, barbed wire and searchlights to fish for trout in the surrounding waters of the Eastern Sierra. By emphasizing the evacuees' personal stories this film goes beyond the confinement itself, and instead shows how a courageous few were able to take back a bit of dignity and freedom through the simple act of fishing.  After a screening of the first chapter of the film, a panel discussion will follow. Screenwriter/producer Richard Imamura will be joined by Mas Okui, an internee fisherman whose experiences are discussed in the film, and local historian and author Stan Yogi.  Please RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or

Thursday, October 27, 2011

November 12th marks the 75th Anniversary of the Bay Bridge

Construction of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, 1936.
Photograph by Pigott.
California Historical Society, FN-31996
The Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge reminds me of the old Avis car rental ad – We’re Number 2. We Try Harder!

It’s not really a competition, or maybe it is…

When tourists think about bridges in San Francisco, they think of the Golden Gate.  But we who live and work here are more likely to spend time on the Bay Bridge. More than twice as many vehicles cross the Bay Bridge daily (over a quarter million, compared to the Golden Gate’s 120,000).

And, the Bay Bridge is nearly three times longer than the Golden Gate.

Not only that, but the Bay Bridge opened first—November 12, 1936. (The Other bridge opened in May 1937).

(If you want to watch construction crews assemble the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, take a trip to Treasure Island.)

Here are a couple of items from the CHS San Francisco Ephemera collection on the Bay Bridge
·         An invitation from the Governor to witness the opening ceremonies
·         The booklet for the official luncheon commemorating the opening
·         An envelope that was in the first mail bag flown across the bridge
·         And, from 1953, a commuter’s (“communtation”) book of pre-paid toll tickets: 50 tickets for $10 (do the math—that’s $0.20 per crossing).

- Eileen Keremitsis, Reference Staff

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The California Historical Society Welcomes Anthea M. Hartig as New Executive Director

The California Historical Society’s Board of Trustees has selected Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D., to serve as the society’s new executive director. Dr. Hartig was hired following a nationwide search, to lead the state’s official historical society and to support its mission to inspire and empower Californians to make the past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives.

“We have truly found the right chief executive for the 21st Century," CHS Board President Thomas R. Owens offered, "Anthea's deep and varied experience as an historian and non-profit leader is the perfect fit for making this venerable organization relevant and successful."

“As a third-generation Californian, I am honored to lead the 140-year old California Historical Society and to steward one of the richest and deepest collections on California’s diverse heritage,” said Dr. Hartig. Noting the challenges all cultural and heritage organization face today, Hartig adds, "I understand and embrace these difficult times as engaging opportunities to honor all of the Golden State's heritage, whether it is 10 or 10,000 years old."

Dr. Anthea M. Hartig comes to CHS after six years with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she directed the Trust’s Western Office and served the six continental far western states along with Hawai’i, Alaska and the Pacific Island Territories of Guam and Micronesia. Previously Dr. Hartig taught history and cultural studies at La Sierra University in Riverside and graduate courses in historic preservation at the University of California, Riverside from where she holds a Ph.D. and Master’s Degree.

Dr. Hartig’s interest in the relevance of California’s stories and places has come to define her professional and advocational life. She served as a municipal preservation planner for over a decade, and owned a cultural resources consulting firm. She has served on many local, statewide and national history-related non-profit foundations’ boards of directors, including the California Preservation Foundation and the California Council for the Promotion of History, and has published in both academic and professional journals. Under Governor Gray Davis, she served as Chairperson of the State Historical Resources Commission.

Earlier this year Dr. Hartig was honored with the 2011 California Preservationist of the Year award at the 36th annual California Preservation Conference. This prestigious award was presented in recognition of Hartig’s outstanding contributions, exceptional achievements, and more than 25 years of service in the field of historic preservation in California.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gold Rush Fashion in the California Historical Society Archives

In light of our upcoming Gold Rush Fashion event occurring at the California Historical Society on October 26th, we ventured into our photography archives to seek out a few ensembles worn by 19th century miners. 

Man standing near a hat marking the spot where gold was first discovered in Placerita Canyon, [s.d.]
California Historical Society Collections at USC Libraries Special Collections. CHS-11926
In the photograph above, a miner indicates through the placement of his hat upon the stacked rocks the location of where gold was first discovered in Southern California, in 1842.  Working-man leather boots protect his soles and thighs, while the gentleman sports wool trousers, an item that is quite current as fashion today looks toward the hand-tailored aesthetic.  A wool vest and newsboy cap completes his ensemble, resulting in a dapper miner, ready to be photographed. 

Although the presence of females in mining towns was rare, female miners apparently joined the ranks as these two photographs found within our photography collection prove.

Woman with rifle, Chrome Red Mountain, ca. 1920s.
Photographer: Unknown. FN-21416. CHS2011.721.
California Historical Society, Ralph H. Cross Coll. 
Woman in mining outfit, Virginia City, ca. 1919.
Photographer: Unknown. CHS2011.693a.
California Historical Society photography collection.

The reverse of the photograph above gives us a little more insight into how this particular lady and perhaps others too, felt about their mining garb:

This is the outfit you have to wear when you go down in the mine at Virginia City.  Do I look like a boy?

Considering at the time women were still clad in hoopskirts and bodices, one could see why our lady feels (and looks?) like a boy.  Her oversized coat, broad-rimmed hat, and long trousers in fact function as the opposite of at-the-time female apparel: to protect the wearer from dirt and injury. 

In relation to a female presence in the mines, our archivist, Marie Silva pointed to an interesting publication of letters found in our reference library known as, The Shirley Letters.  These letters were composed by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clapp (1819-1906), better known as “Dame Shirley,” who traveled in the mid-19th century to the Sierra Nevada from San Francisco to be with her husband.  Along the way, Shirley stayed in two mining towns known as Rich Bar and Indian Bar, and in her letters she provides an excellent account of the miners’ mannerisms:

I think that I have never spoken to you of the mournful extent to which profanity prevails in California…Whether there is more profanity in the mines than elsewhere, I know not; but during the short time that I have been at Rich Bar, I have heard more of it than in all my life before.[1]

Portrait of a prospector with his burros during the days of the gold rush, ca.1900.
Title Insurance and Trust / C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, 1860-1960.
California Historical Society Collections at USC Libraries Special Collections. CHS- 7810

Shirley’s hand-written accounts of drunken and gambling-addicted miners help paint a picture in our minds of the type of people miners were, but it’s from these rare images from our collection that we’re able to visually verify that indeed, the style adopted by miners complimented their environments: utilitarian, casual, and of course, tailor-made. 

I look back at these images, and besides being overwhelmed by the feelings of nostalgia, I in fact feel envy, as I sit writing this in my dress slacks and collared shirt. 

Jared Ledesma
California Historical Society volunteer

[1] The Shirley Letters from the California Mines: 1851–1852.  Introduction by Carl I. Wheat. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1949), 49.

Gold Rush Inspired Fashion Show

Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Gold Rush Inspired Fashion Show

$5 Suggested Donation, Free to California Historical Society Members

The City College of San Francisco Fashion Department and California Historical Society present Gold Rush on October 26. View Gold Rush inspired fashion from local designers. Reception begins at 7:30pm with fashion show to follow at 8:00pm. Please RSVP to Event is at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


            My husband and I spent last weekend in Downieville, a tiny old town set like a glittering gem high in the northern Sierras. Here, the Downie River flows into the north fork of the Yuba River, as delicate mists rise and fall from the surrounding mountains. The spirit of the place is one of overwhelming sublimity. The story of Downieville’s human presence, however, is marked by volatile transformations – ecological, economic, and demographic – much like the history of California itself.

View of the Downie River Bridge. It was here that a Mexican woman (Juanita or Josepha) was murdered by a Downieville lynch mob in 1851.
           Downieville was named after William Downie, a Scot who arrived at “The Forks” (where the two rivers converge) in November 1849. His diverse company included Jim Crow, a “Kanaka” or Hawaiian; seven African Americans; a Native American; and Michael Deverney, an Irish boy. At Durgan Flat, Jim Crow discovered gold in a pot in which he had a boiled a freshly caught salmon. (That this noble fish once swam so high into the Sierras is a sad reminder of the destruction of the California salmon runs.) By 1851, five thousand immigrants had descended on Downieville to mine its rivers and dry diggings for gold. Mining continued long after the Gold Rush came to an end, much of it conducted by Sierra County’s once-significant Chinese community.

            CHS’ library and archives has many photographs, ephemeral items, and other materials that document the changing history of the Downieville area. One of the most fascinating is a photograph album of Chinese men and women in Sierra County, dated between 1890 and 1930 and pictured here:

The album was kept by justice of the peace John T. Mason and includes 176 identification portraits of Chinese men and women, many of whom lived in Downieville. Presumably kept as an informational tool to aid in the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, this album now serves as a rich and precious source of historical and genealogical insight. The guide to this album, which includes the name, occupation, and place of residence of each person photographed, can be found on the Online Archive of California:

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Sources consulted for this blog post include:

  • James J. Sinnett, Downieville: Gold Town on the Yuba, Mountain House Books, 1983.

  • Mildred Brooke Hoover, Hero Eugene Rensch, Ethel Grace Rensch, and William N. Abeloe, Historic Spots in California, Stanford University Press, 2002.

  • Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The 6th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Saturday, October 22, 2011, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Look for the California Historical Society at the LA History Bazaar . The 6th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar will take place in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the University of Southern California campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.  

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.

History comes alive once again on Saturday, October 22, 2011, as dozens of Southern California’s rare and archival materials come together at the 6th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar.

The daylong event is hosted by the USC Libraries and presented by L.A. as Subject, a research alliance of libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural institutions dedicated to preserving the region’s rich history.
Serious researchers, history buffs, and Californiana enthusiasts will be able to experience a number of Southern California exhibits, documentary film screenings, educational sessions, and other public programming. A distinguishing feature of the bazaar is that unique, private collections are represented alongside materials from large institutions, helping to tell a more complete story of Los Angeles history that includes less-visible archives.

More than 80 exhibitors will be part of this year’s event, including USC Warner Bros. Archives, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Film Archive, the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archive, the Wally G. Shidler Historical Collection of Southern California Ephemera, the Autry National Center Museum of the American West, the LA84 Foundation Sports Library, the Japanese American National Museum, the Gazin Image Archive, the Boyle Heights Historical Society, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the Filipino American Library, the Los Angeles City Archives, and the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan Presidential libraries.

Women and the Everyday City: Public Space in San Francisco, 1890-1915

Women and the Everyday City: Public Space in San Francisco, 1890-1915

Monday, October 17, 2011, 6:00 p.m.

Book discussion with author Jessica Ellen Sewell

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

In Women and the Everyday City, Jessica Ellen Sewell explores the lives of women in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. A period of transformation of both gender roles and American cities, she shows how changes in the city affected women's ability to negotiate shifting gender norms as well as how women's increasing use of the city played a critical role in the campaign for women's suffrage. Focusing on women's everyday use of streetcars, shops, restaurants, and theaters, Sewell reveals the impact of women on these public places–what women did there, which women went there, and how these places were changed in response to women's presence. Book will be available for purchase at event. RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Century of Landscapes Closing Reception & Yerba Buena Gallery Walk

Tomales is Golden. J. Le Grue

Century of Landscapes Closing Reception & Yerba Buena Gallery Walk

Saturday, October 15, 2011, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Free Event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco and the surrounding

Meet artists and enjoy the closing reception for A Century of Landscapes: Selections from the California Art Club. You may also take a walk around our gallery's Yerba Buena neighborhood and visit the many participating galleries during the Fall Yerba Buena Gallery Walk. The Gallery Walk will feature free admission and refreshments, along with ample opportunities to experience art. The participating galleries offer a diverse look at contemporary, emerging, and established artists working in a variety of mediums.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 6:00 p.m.

California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression

Book Event with editors Robert Cherny and Mary Ann Irwin and contributor Susan Englander

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

Robert Cherny, Mary Ann Irwin, and Susan Englander discuss their book, California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression. In 1911, as progressivism moved toward its zenith, California granted women the right to vote. However, women’s political involvement in California’s public life did not begin with suffrage, nor did it end there. Across the state, women had been deeply involved in politics long before suffrage, and—although their tactics and objectives changed—they remained deeply involved thereafter. The contributors consider not only white middle-class women’s organizing but also the politics of working-class women and women of color, emphasizing that there was not one monolithic “women’s agenda,” but rather a multiplicity of women’s voices demanding recognition for a variety of causes. Book will be available for purchase at event. RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

San Francisco Schuetzen Verein

I have just completed the online finding aid for a wonderful – and oddly lovely – collection, the San Francisco Schuetzen Verein records, which were donated to CHS by Carolyn Kuri (whose grandfather was a member of the Schuetzen Verein) in 1998. CHS would like to thank Tierney Haupt for processing this collection during her enormously productive internship here this summer.

            The San Francisco Schuetzen Verein was founded in August 1859 by Jacob Knell, H. Millemann, and John Reinhart as a militia and shooting society for the city’s new German American residents. In its early days, the organization held shooting tournaments, parades, and eagle-king shoots, as well as regular target practice in Hayes Park. After President Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, the Schuetzen Verein patrolled the streets of San Francisco for two days and two nights until they were relieved by federal troops. The organization later evolved into a social and athletic club, sponsoring festivals and events around the Bay Area, with headquarters at the corner of Polk and Turk Streets.

            Dated between 1860 and 1946, the collection contains a wide variety of materials: administrative records, ephemera, publications, and surprisingly ornate artifacts, including a silk badge with gold brocade, embroidered silk sashes, a leather belt, targets with bullet holes, stamps, and an embossed seal press for the San Francisco International Shooting Festival Association. Like other nineteenth-century San Franciscans, members of the Schuetzen Verein had a passion for regalia, parades, and colorful ephemera – perhaps only to be surpassed by their love of the prize shoot.

            This image shows the cover of the San Francisco Schuetzen Verein’s 1909 Golden Jubilee souvenir:

            I love the armed cherub astride a grizzly bear. He squints as he takes aim at a target affixed to a column emblazoned with grape vines. Meanwhile, the sun is setting on the Pacific.

            The link to the online finding aid for the collection can be found here:

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

History's Anteroom: Photography in San Francisco 1906 - 1909

Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 5:30 p.m.

History's Anteroom: Photography in San Francisco 1906 - 1909

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

The California Historical Society and William Stout Architecture Annex present authors Rodger Birt and Marvin R. Nathan. They will present and discuss the historical context of History's Anteroom, a collection of vintage photographs made in San Francisco, California, during the years 1906-1909. In April 1906 the San Francisco Bay Area fell victim to a powerful earthquake, and in October 1909 the city hosted a "regional rebirth" with a celebration named the Portola Festival. The photographs and illustrations reproduced here - some only rarely shown or seen now for the first time - have been given a close reading and placed within the specific historical context. The result is a journey back into the early history of the twentieth century and its first great urban catastrophe. Book will be available for purchase at event. Space still available, please RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or email

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics

Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics
Book Event with author Steven J. Ross

Thursday, September 15, 2011, 6:00 p.m. at the Lummis Home, 200 E. Avenue 43, Los Angeles,CA
RSVP required, email or call 415.357.1848, ext. 229.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 6:00 p.m. at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco
RSVP required, email or call 415.357.1848, ext. 229.

On September 15, 2011, the California Historical Society in partnership with the Historical Society of Southern California presents a lecture and reception with author Steven Ross featuring a discussion of his newly released Hollywood Left and Right:How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.We hope you can join us for this special event at the Lummis Home in Los Angeles.

If you are in northern California, we hope you can attend this event at the California Historical Society in San Francisco on September 21, 2011 when author Steven J. Ross will also discuss Hollywood Left and Right:How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.

In Hollywood Left and Right, Steven J. Ross tells a story that has escaped public attention: the emergence of Hollywood as a vital center of political life and the important role that movie stars have played in shaping the course of American politics.  Through compelling larger-than-life figures in American cinema, Hollywood Left and Right reveals how the film industry's engagement in politics has been longer, deeper, and more varied than most people would imagine.  Hollywood Left and Right challenges the commonly held belief that Hollywood has always been a bastion of liberalism. The real story, as Ross shows in this passionate and entertaining work, is far more complicated. An eminent historian of film, Steven J. Ross is recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Film Scholars Award and author of the prize-winning book, Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America.Hollywood Left and Right will be available for purchase at event.RSVP required, contact 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or email

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bernard Maybeck: Architect of Elegance

Thursday, September 8, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Book Launch with author Mark A. Wilson

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

Architectural historian Mark A. Wilson will present a slide lecture on the life and work of Bernard Maybeck, and sign copies of his new book Bernard Maybeck: Architect of Elegance. The author's 22-year friendship with Maybeck's daughter-in-law, Jacomena Maybeck, gave him unique insights into the life and work of one of America's most important architects. The book includes personal letters and drawings by Maybeck, as well as family photos, many of which have never been seen by the general public. Maybeck's granddaughter, Cherry Maybeck Nittler, wrote the foreword, and there are over 220 color photos of Maybeck's buildings by Joel Puliatti, who did the interior photos for Wilson's previous book Julia Morgan: Architect of Beauty.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School

Take a look at some of our favorite school photos from the collections of the California Historical Society.
AAA Junior Safety Patrol student members, California, 1947
Photographer: Duke Downey
California Historical Society, San Francisco Chron Coll.CHS2011.618

Students on first Antelope Valley Union High School bus, which ran between Palmdale and  Lancaster, ca. 1909.
California Historical Society at USC Special Collections. chs-m5348.

Arcadia City School bus, ca. 1922.
California Historical Society at USC Special Collections. chs-m5375

Group portrait of the students at Cahuenga Township School, ca. 1890
California Historical Society at USC Special Collections, chs-m3336

Teacher Alice Robinson Bennett and her class in 1915.
California Historical Society TVP17

Chinese Primary Public School, 920 Clay St., Chinatown, San Francisco
California Historical Society, FN-23272

School Recess, San Jose, CA ca. 1931
California Historical Society, CHS2011.61

Kindergarteners working on projects in front of a school on City Terrace Drive  north of Boyle Heights
California Historical Society at USC Special Collections, chs-m4692

Four children using wooden blocks, 1932
California Historical Society at USC Special Collections,  chs-m7132