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

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