Redirect to CHS blog

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