Department Blog

Special Collections

50 Features of Special Collections: The Many Faces of Davis Maps

February 22nd, 2017 by Dawn Collings

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The Map Collection include maps of the local area and California communities.  Various types of maps show different aspects and concerns which are important to the development and growth of a city or region.  The Map Collection includes street maps, zoning maps, school districts, voting precincts, census tracts, bus routes, bicycle paths, and flood zones.  Maps printed over a period of time show historical changes in city boundaries, street names, neighborhood development, park and recreation facilities, schools and city buildings, and sometimes names of buildings such as hospitals.

In the spirit of celebrations, Special Collections is also honoring the Centennial of the City of Davis.   Let’s celebrate with the panel covers of some Davis maps available in the Map Collection.

Davis + UC Davis guide + map  MAP G4364.D3 2011 .Y6

 

 

Street map of Davis                  MAP G4364.D3 2004 .T2

 

 

Davis bike map                                 MAP G4364.D3E63 2016 .U6

 

Welcome to Davis, California  MAP G4364.D3P2 2013 .D3

 

Davis Art Walk        No Call Number                     (Ask staff for help)

 

Davis, California : home of UC Davis MAP G4364.D3P2 2015 .D3

 

Map of Davis
MAP G4364.D3 1988 .C6

Map of Davis
MAP G4364.D3 1990 .C6

Map of Davis, Yolo County, California
MAP G4364.D3 1980 .C6

The Map Collection room is located on the Lower Level of Shields Library.  Doors open to the public Monday-Friday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Contact the Special Collections Department for map related questions by email at speccoll@ucdavis.edu or by phone at 530-752-1621.

Post created by Dawn Collings and Kristoffer Landes

50 Features of Special Collections: The Noling (A.W.) Hurty-Peck Library of Beverage Literature

February 16th, 2017 by Daryl Morrison

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The Noling, (A.W.) Hurty-Peck Collection is one of the world’s largest collections of beverage literature containing over 6,000 volumes. The collection was donated by the family of A.W. Noling, an Indiana businessman who built a successful beverage flavoring firm, the Hurty-Peck Company. The company was subsequently taken over by Universal Foods Corporation.

The collection presents itself as an industrial collection meant for study and use rather than collected for rarity and condition. Yet, many scarce items are to be found in the collection. The majority of the works date from the middle of the 19th century to mid- 20th century with a number dating back to the 17th century. The oldest work, the Latin book De Naturali Vinorum Historia, is dated 1596. Several other valuable works include: The Compleat Housewife: or accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion a popular cookbook from 1729; A Rational Discourse on the Inward Uses of Water from 1725; and the 1691 Vinetum Britannicum or a Treatise on Cider, and other Wines and Drinks Extracted from Fruits Growing in this Kingdom.

 

 

Bookplate for the A.W. Noling Hurty-Peck Library

The Hurty-Peck Beverage Company, first in Indianapolis and then in Southern California, developed and sold flavors for the beverage industry, especially for colas. The company president A. W. Noling amassed a significant collection of books and pamphlets on beverages. The collection began in a very casual way around 1946. Books on soft drinks and soft drink flavors were first collected but then the collection expanded to other types of beverages. The need for more information on the source and processing of the materials required for beverage production became apparent as the search for soft drink literature (and that of the flavorings which went into them) developed. Serious efforts to collect beyond the soft drink field began in the 1950s when Noling relinquished his responsibilities as chief executive officer of the company and had time to devote to building a collection of beverage literature.

Noling TP570 .C43

The collection began to expand to include books on brewing, fermenting, distilling and rectifying which in turn led to collecting books on beer and ale, wine, spirits, etc. and their manufacture. The search for literature also included beverages associated with food such as coffee, tea, and chocolate. Books on fruits and other foodstuffs that could be developed into a flavor, such as bananas, are also found in the collection. Evident are books that illustrate manufacturing equipment and techniques such as introducing carbonation into liquids and water purification.

Prior to today’s world of on-line searching a remarkable collection was built through extensive work. A printed bibliography Beverage Literature: A Bibliography (Metuchen, N.J., The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1971) was created by compiler A. W. Noling.

Noling had always wanted the collection to go into a research institution. Subject Specialist, Axel Borg, had been instrumental in the collection coming to UC Davis. He had first contacted the company to gain access to the collection for a wine bibliography with Maynard Amerine. In 1996 the collection was donated to Special Collections, Shields Library at the University of California, Davis, a particularly appropriate fit for our interest in food, wine, chocolate, tea, and other related interests in food and food science. John Skarstad of Special Collections, hand carried rare books back from Indianapolis for the first transport of books to the department. The collection is fully cataloged and may be found by searching Noling Collection of Beverage Literature. For the catalog record see: https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/dept/specol/collections/books/?collection=noling

Sources: Beverage Literature: A Bibliography compiled by A. W. Noling and “A Toast to Rare Books,” UC Davis Magazine Spring 1997.

Our newly digitized recordings from the California Audiovisual Preservation Project

February 15th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

We are excited to announce that our fifth and sixth groups of audiovisual materials digitized through our participation in the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) are now online at the Internet Archive. The moving image recordings include footage of: several McClellan Air Force Base events which were related to the community lobbying effort to keep the base in Sacramento off the federal base closure list in 1993; Greenville (Plumas County, Calif) High School activities in 1936; and a sugar beet harvester.

 

Here is the list of items with links to the digitized versions:

 

Eastman’s Originals Collection

[Autumn Scenes in Shasta County, Calif.]

[Greenville, Calif. High School Activities]

 

Vic Fazio Papers

President Bill Clinton Visit to McClellan Air Force Base 

Save McClellan Air Force Base Celebration

Vic Fazio and Bill Clinton at Armed Forces Day at McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, California

Sacramento Veterans Day Parade with Vic Fazio as Grand Marshall 

 

UC Davis Oral History Office Records

Helen Harbison Power Oral History interview

 

Blackwelder Manufacturing Company Records

Marbeet Harvester 

 

Dan Crawford Papers

Boating Scenes

 

50 Features of Special Collections: Holland Land Company Records

February 9th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

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With the recent rains, the opening of the Sacramento Weir, and the flooded Yolo Bypass, we thought that it was fitting to feature the Holland Land Company Records this week.

The following information is drawn from the collection finding aid.  Be sure to check out the photographs below which show the Sacramento Weir as it looked almost exactly ninety-two years ago to the day.

Operations headquarters for the Holland Land Company were in Clarksburg, California, located at the northwestern edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Situated in the southeastern corner of Yolo County, Clarksburg is on the west side of the Sacramento River about fifteen miles south of and across the river from the city of Sacramento. There was no bridge across the Sacramento River near Clarksburg (until the Freeport Bridge opened in 1929), so Clarksburg area residents depended on ferryboats for river crossings. Clarksburg was also physically isolated from the rest of Yolo County by miles of tule marshes. Clarksburg, Lisbon, and Merritt Island were all part of Merritt Township, Yolo County.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, floods were a serious problem for Clarksburg area residents. They built their homes on high ground and on pilings to protect themselves from rising waters, and some lived in houseboats. Early settlers made their living by fishing, hunting wild ducks and geese, cutting wood, and doing their best to raise crops and cattle in the flood-prone Delta marshland. Roads and bridges were either in terrible condition or non-existent, so through the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Sacramento River was Clarksburg’s main transportation route. Passengers and freight were carried up and down the river on the many riverboats that ran on regular schedules between San Francisco and Red Bluff. Most farm produce left Clarksburg by boat. Elk Slough along the western edge of Merritt Island was also a busy channel for barges.

In the 1860s the California Legislature passed laws authorizing the formation of reclamation districts, which were to be units of local government organized and financed by the residents of an area to build levees along the rivers to keep the water out, and to build canals in the basins to drain the seepage. In 1870, Merritt Island landowners formed the first reclamation district in Merritt Township, Reclamation District (R.D.) 150, which built eighteen miles of levees, around Merritt Island. Organized in 1877, the Lisbon District, R.D. 307, built fourteen miles of levees around land north of Merritt Island to Babel Slough. Though the levees built by these pioneering reclamation districts protected the land against some of the rising waters, the area still suffered from flooding.

It was not until 1911 that the California Legislature adopted the Sacramento Flood Control Plan. The plan called for federal and state governments, reclamation districts, and private companies to cooperate in controlling flooding in the Sacramento River. They would do this by building continuous levees along the entire length of the river, enlarging the mouth of the river, removing debris from the Sacramento and its tributaries, and creating by-passes in the Sutter and Yolo basins to divert excess water from the main channel of the Sacramento River. The large profits that could be made by reclaiming and selling fertile farm land, adjacent to the Sacramento River but protected from flooding, attracted investors to reclamation projects. Many major projects commenced circa 1911 and were completed by the early 1920s, resulting in extensive and effective flood protection for Delta land.

In 1911, Isaac B. Parsons of the Bank of Hayward began buying land in the vicinity of Clarksburg for a group of men who were to form the Netherlands Farms Company. These men petitioned for the formation of a reclamation district, and in 1913 the California Legislature created R.D. 999. Financial difficulties and the outbreak of war in Europe, led to the dissolution of the Netherlands Farms Co. on March 3, 1917.

The Holland Land Company, incorporated on May 26, 1916 with three million dollars in order to protect and profit from the investment made by the Netherlands Farms Co. By the end of 1916, the Holland Land Co. paid off the debts of the Netherlands Farms Co. and began the work of reclaiming the Holland District (R.D. 999), including Clarksburg. The Holland Land Co. divided its capital stock of three million dollars into thirty thousand shares worth one hundred dollars each. In the 1920s, land owned in Solano and Yolo counties by the Holland Land Co. exceeded fifty thousand acres and was bounded by Ryer Island to the south, the Yolo Basin to the west, Elk Slough to the east, and the Lisbon District (R.D. 307) to the north.

When the Holland Land Co. began its reclamation work in 1916, the ground of the Holland District was wet and soft and covered with almost impenetrable tules growing seven to twelve feet high. No roads and levees existed. Reclamation of the Holland District took about two years, cost $2,500,000, and involved using heavy equipment including clamshell dredges, draglines, ditchers, and tractors. To remove excess water from farmland in winter and to provide water for irrigation in summer, the company built thirty-five miles of levees, 150 miles of canals, one 175,000 gallon-a-minute main pumping plant, and eighteen subsidiary pumping plants. The enormous leather-belt-driven pumps at the main pumping plant of R.D. 999 were installed in 1917. The Holland Land Co. also drained Big Lake and constructed twenty-five miles of roads, one hundred bridges, and over ninety farm buildings.

In September 1919, the Holland Land Co. formed an additional company, the Holland By-Pass Company, to enclose with levees nearly three thousand acres in the Yolo Bypass. Circa March 1924, when the Holland By-Pass Co. accomplished its purpose, the company was dissolved and all its assets were transferred to the Holland Land Co.

After the levees were built, the Holland Land Co. prepared its land for planting by using teams, plows, and horse-drawn Fresno scrapers. Circa 1918, the Holland Land Co. began planting crops to sell for cash and to set an example for prospective buyers and tenants. Formerly Superintendent of the Netherlands Farms Co., Gus Olson (1888-1970), an engineer and General Manager of the Holland Land Co., farmed successfully on the newly reclaimed land at the company’s headquarters. Under Olson’s direction, the company experimented with a wide variety of crops including alfalfa, asparagus, barley, beans, celery, lettuce, potatoes, sugar beets, and wheat. The company also established a nursery of five hundred thousand fruit and shade trees, and more than one hundred thousand fruit trees were planted in the district. Pear trees were particularly well-suited to the Clarksburg area.

In the spring of 1918, once the Holland Land Co. had completed much of its reclamation work and the Clarksburg area was protected from seasonal flooding, the company began developing and marketing its land. Most of the lots it sold were for farms and residences, but some were for commercial enterprises. The company’s policy was to sell a buyer not more than three thousand acres, at a minimum of $250 per acre, with a ten percent down payment and ten annual payments. The Holland Land Co. sold its land holdings off quickly and paid its first one dollar dividend to its stockholders in 1922. It continued to pay dividends even during the Great Depression years. On December 23, 1942, with all of its land, in private hands and maintenance of the reclamation system the responsibility of R.D. 999, the Holland Land Co. was dissolved

The Holland Land Company Records span the years 1909 to 1953, but the bulk of the materials date from 1916 to 1942.  The collection consists of minute books, scrapbooks, and photographic materials. Five of the minute books were created by the Holland Land Co., and one is the work of a subsidiary, the Holland By-Pass Co. Minute books hold articles of incorporation, by-laws, annual reports, minutes of stockholders’ meetings, and other legal and financial documents. The three scrapbooks contain clippings, flyers, and other materials promoting the Holland Land Co., its properties, and California agriculture in general. The photographs contained in the Holland Land Co. Records are rich sources of information about Clarksburg, California history and land reclamation and agriculture in the California Delta region during the early part of the twentieth century. Included are numerous photographs of Clarksburg area buildings, people, crops and fields, waterways, modes of transportation, hydraulic facilities, and land reclamation and agricultural equipment.

Sacramento Weir, February 7, 1925

Sacramento Weir, February 7, 1925

50 Features of Special Collections: the Story of Lord Eight Deer Jaguar Claw

February 4th, 2017 by Christine Cheng

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It is extremely rare to find manuscripts from the pre-Hispanic times of the Mixtec Indians since the conquistadores destroyed most of their records during the Spanish Conquest. In Robert Lloyd Williams’ The Complete Codex of Zouche-Nuttall, Williams lists the Codex Nuttall as one of five major Mixtec pictogram codices: Selden, Bodley, Zouche-Nuttall, Vindobonensis Mexicanus I, and Codex Alfonso Caso. The screenfold manuscript book, which comes from what is now Oaxaca, Mexico, comprises 47 leaves (one leaf equals two pages of a book, one on each side) made of deer hide and contains vibrant, painted images of Mixtec pictography. According to Williams, this type of pictogram writing was used as a tool in oral traditions to assist bards in reciting stories from memory, “the pre-Hispanic manuscripts were written to be read and performed but not written specifically for us to read.”

The story of how this ancient Mexican codex ended up in a Dominican monastery in San Marco, Florence in 1859 is unknown. Sir Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche, received it as a gift, then loaned it to the British Museum. After his death in 1876, his sister inherited the codex and donated it to the Museum in 1917. While the original codex remains in the British Museum, Special Collections holds the facsimile, Codex Nuttall, published by Zelia Nuttall in 1902 with the support of Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. It is largely due to her efforts – through the hiring of two British artists to copy the manuscript, then pushing for its publication – that the world knows about and can study this codex.

The Codex Nuttall holds two narratives: on one side (the older side called the obverse), there is the history of Mixtec events and important hubs in the Mixtec region, while the other side (the reverse) depicts scenes of Eight Deer’s military and political conquests, adventures, ceremonies, and genealogy records.

In contrast to a typical book where it’s read from left to right, the codex reads from right to left starting from the top right-hand corner, following the column down from top to bottom, and then over to the next column on the left from the bottom to the top. The red lines serve as dividers within the narratives as can be seen in the following examples:

 

Page 3 (obverse): The War from Heaven – War with the Stone Men in the Northern Nochixtlan Valley at Yucunudahui:

 

 

Page 16 (obverse): Featuring Lady Three Flint Elder and Lady Three Flint Younger:

 

 

Page 27 (obverse): From Tilantongo to Teozacoalco – presenting the other wives of Lord Eight Deer Jaguar Claw, as well as the children of Eight Deer and Five Eagle:

 

 

Page 37 (obverse): After Leaving the Cave and At Sayutepec:

 

 

Page 69 (reverse): Eight Deer in his animal spirit form battles an eagle, a dog is sacrificed, and Lord Nine Flower (Eight Deer’s brother) sacrifices a man:

 

 

Page 81 (reverse): The Assassination of Lord Twelve Motion and the Siege of Hua Chino:

 

 

Works consulted:

Nuttall, Zelia, Zouche, Robert Curzon, Baron; Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. Codex Nuttall: Facsimile of an Ancient Mexican Codex Belonging to Lord Zouche of Harynworth, England. Cambridge, Mass, 1902.

Williams, Robert Lloyd. The Complete Codex Zouche-Nuttall: Mixtec Lineage Histories and Political Biographies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.

The Codex Zouche-Nuttall. The British Museum. Accessed February 3, 2017.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=662517&partId=1

50 Features of Special Collections: Early Oil Fields of Kern County, California

January 25th, 2017 by Dawn Collings

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Beginning in 1864, tar was mined in open pits for asphalt and kerosene in the Kern County region.  After the discovery of the Shamrock Gusher at the McKittrick Oil Field in 1896, oil wells began to replace tar mining as the predominant form of energy harvesting in California.

 

 

The Midway Gusher at the Midway Oil Field blew in 1909 and was followed shortly thereafter by the Lakeview Gusher on March 14th, 1910. To date, the Lakeview Gusher remains the largest gusher to have erupted in the United States and is immortalized as California Historical Landmark 485.

 

 

All of the oil fields showcased in the maps above are still in active use, although the Midway Oil Field shown here in this 1905 map is now part of the larger Midway-Sunset Oil Field. The 2015 Report of California Oil and Gas Production Statistics published by the California Department of Conservation gives detailed statistics regarding how many barrels of oil were produced by each field in 2015:

  • Kern River: 25,693,327 barrels
  • McKittrick: 3,334,448 barrels
  • Midway-Sunset: 28,184,793 barrels

Further examination of the report reveals that the Kern River and Midway-Sunset oil fields were the top two California oil fields in 2015, followed in third place by the South Belridge Oil Field, which produced 22,901,979 barrels. Together, the Kern River and Midway-Sunset oil fields accounted for approximately 26.7% of the state’s 201,711,080 barrel total, lending credence to the claim that these historic fields are still a critical part of California’s natural resource industry today.

For more information on the history of oil in Kern County please visit these websites:

http://www.sjvgeology.org/history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kern_River_Oil_Field

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midway-Sunset_Oil_Field

 

Resources:

California Department of Conservation, 2015 Report of California Oil and Gas Production Statistics, April, 2015,  ftp://ftp.consrv.ca.gov/pub/oil/annual_reports/2015/PR03_2015.pdf. Accessed 25 Jan. 2017

California. Office of Historic Preservation. California Historical Landmarks. 11th Ed.]. ed. Sacramento: Office of Historic Preservation, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, 1990. Print.

Prutzman, Paul W. [Kern County Oil Fields]. Sacramento, CA?: State Mining Bureau, 1905. Print.  (MAP G4361.H8 1905 .C21)

Post created by Dawn Collings & Kristoffer Landes

50 Features of Special Collections: Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

January 20th, 2017 by Jenny Hodge

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Frequently requested by Design and Art classes, Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color is an oft-used instruction piece held in Special Collections and is this week’s highlight for our 50 Features of Special Collections series.
Color is not static. It is constantly in flux due to the perceptions and context that surround its presentation:

The book “Interaction of Color” is a record of an experimental way of studying color and of teaching color. In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is–as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art. In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually. To this end, the beginning is not a study of color systems. (1)

Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color is a large oversized portofolio, which includes introductions to over 20 color exercises, plates of sample studies and commentary on each plate. The initial text explains the exercise and presents an illustration of the way color was investigated. The plates are done within each exercise and present subtle relationships and presentations of color. The 80 folders of sample study plates visualize the ideas presented in each exercise. They reproduce the illusions and perceptions created by color interactions. These sample studies are the highlight of the book as they offer hands-on practice in the art of seeing. The point of the book is not to provide an answer to what color is but to provide a framework to aid in the study of color.

Below are two samples for Exercise IV- 1 Color looks Like 2

Plate IV-1 (b) yellow and blue flap down

Note the color of the square on the right and that it is actually equal to the square on the left.

Plate IV-1 (b) yellow and blue flap up

 

Plate IV-4 (b)

Note that the inner smaller violets are in fact alike as the ends of the same rectangle.

Plate IV-4 (b)

In 2013 for the 50th anniversary, a digital version was created as an App for the iPad. More information on Josef Albers and his work can be found on the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation website.

Works consulted:

  1. Albers, Josef. Interaction of Color. New Haven: Yale UP, 1963. Print.

 

New exhibit: Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community

January 18th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is pleased to announce our latest exhibit, Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community. The exhibit, which is located in the display cases in front of Special Collections, can be viewed anytime that Shields Library is open.

2017 marks the centennial of the incorporation of Davis, California as a city. In this exhibition, 100 years of Davis history come to life through photographs, newspaper clippings and other archival materials from Special Collections.

You’ll learn about some of the people and stories that shaped the city of Davis, including:

Jerome C. Davis, a stock farm owner for whose family the city is named.

The disastrous fire that destroyed the downtown business district and brought attention to the need for city services.

The evolution of Davis real estate, from when you could buy a $9,250 home in Oeste Manor in 1950 to a community site map for the Cannery, which is still being built today.

The display draws from more than 15 separate collections, ranging from professional and personal photographs to the institutional archives of the Sacramento Union newspaper and UC Davis.

The collections include:

Alfred F. Smith Papers – Materials related to the 300-acre Stonegate development, designed and developed by Alfred Smith.

California Collection – Contains nearly 3,000 pamphlets, brochures, and flyers from various California cities and counties documenting events which played a role in the formation of the West.

City of Davis Collection – Records describing local politics, city administration, business activity, and more.

Davis Boy Scout Troop No. 1 Photographs – Featuring the troop during scout meetings, events, and construction of the Boy Scout cabin circa 1922-1927.

Davis Food Co-op Collection – This small collection includes brochures, fliers, and materials related to cooperatives and small farms.

Eastman’s Originals Collections – Photographs, negatives, and postcards of Northern California events such as dam construction, logging, mining, food processing, and community activities.

Harry Hazen Papers on the University Farm – Photographs and memorabilia collected by Harry Hazen, a student who studied at the University Farm (now UC Davis) from 1916-1918.

Institute of Government Affairs Collection – Clippings about Davis/Yolo County, Sacramento City/County, and the California State Government.

John Lofland Papers – Research materials on demonstrations in or near the California State Capitol building in 1977 for two of his books. Also included are materials relating to the formation of the sister city relationship between the City of Davis and the Ukrainian city of Uman.

Julie Partansky Papers – Reports, memos, clippings, and correspondence created during Partansky’s terms as Davis City Council member and Mayor.

Map Collection, Aerial photographs – Extensive collection of aerial photography for the Central Valley of California with special emphasis on the immediate area, i.e. Yolo, Solano, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Counties, California.

Norman Riley Photographs – Negatives and silver gelatin prints of scenes in the Davis and Sacramento areas.

Pierce Family Papers – George Pierce Jr. was the foremost advocate of Davis as the location for the University Farm (now UC Davis). Items include diaries, photographs, business records, travel guides, and more.

Robert Laben Papers – Materials related to the campus dairy herd and dairy operations as well as Laben’s personal photographs of the local area.

Sacramento Union Records – Archives of the Sacramento Union newspaper, which was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi until it closed its doors in 1994.

University Archives Photographs – A visual record of the history of UC Davis, including images of campus grounds, staff, annual events, classrooms, student clubs, and sporting events.

Every Tuesday through June, we will share another archival item about Davis history — using the hashtag #DavisCA100. Look for them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or use the same hashtag to share your own memories.

If you have materials related to the history of Davis that you would like to donate to Special Collections, please send an email to SpecColl@ucdavis.edu.

Exhibit visitors are welcome to take home a free souvenir postcard that depicts what downtown Davis looked like in 1945.

50 Features of Special Collections: Chinese Cookery in the U.S.

January 13th, 2017 by Christine Cheng

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Special Collections holds one of the largest English language Chinese cookbooks collection in the U.S. – second to Stony Brook University’s Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection. The collection at UC Davis, established in 1991, of over 1,100 books was donated by Gardner Pond and Peter Hertzmann. Pond from Santa Cruz and Hertzmann from Palo Alto met while working as docents for Chinatown walking tours in San Francisco.

The reason Pond began gathering cookbooks was to answer tourists’ questions while Hertzmann collected them during his travels. Pond selected UC Davis as the home for his collection due to the fact that one of his favorite authors of Chinese cooking, Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame, graduated from Davis in 1977 with a master’s in food science (his thesis was about rice). Hertzmann donated his cookbooks to Davis at Pond’s suggestion.

The oldest cookbook in the Chinese Cookbook Collection is from 1901 and the most recent is from the early 2000s. The collection offers a way to study the history of Chinese cuisine and how it has evolved since Chinese workers provided a significant source of labor in 1849 during the time of the Gold Rush and railroad construction. Interest in Chinese food and culture developed after Nixon’s historic visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972. Previously in the 1970s, it was difficult – if not impossible – to find bean sprouts to add to Chinese dishes since they were mainly available canned rather than fresh in grocery stores.

Chinese cuisine did not gain popularity until the 1980s, so the cookbooks from our collection published in the earlier part of the 20th century do not contain the familiar type of dishes found in Chinese American food today, such as Mongolian Beef and General Tso’s Chicken (there are plenty of chop suey recipes though!). According to Dr. Newman, more authentic Chinese recipes did not start appearing in Chinese cookbooks until around 1940. The recipes in cookbooks published before 1920 contained much simpler recipes. What follows is a recipe for pepper steak from a booklet published in 1924:

PEPPER STEAK

Beef tenderloin, 1 cup

Green pepper, 1 cup

Slice meat about 1/8 inch and cut into one inch squares. Slice green pepper same size as meat. Fry meat, to which add a pinch of salt, in a well greased pan not more than a minute; add green pepper and ½ cup of water or meat stock in which are dissolved ½ teaspoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon chop suey sauce, 4 drops sesame oil; stir thoroughly in all together, let simmer a minute, then serve with hot rice.

How Long Chinese Chop Suey Cook Book

 

Here’s a recipe for one of this blog post’s author’s favorite Chinese dishes, mapo tofu:

Szechuan Dishes to Be Demonstrated: Western series A

Mapo Tofu from SimonQ on flickr.

Works consulted:

How Long & Co. How Long Chinese Chop Suey Cook Book. New York: How Long & Co., 1924.

Szechuan Dishes to be Demonstrated: Western series A.

Jung, Carolyn. “Department of Chinese Cooking: Huge UC-Davis Cookbook collection offers a Feast of Cooking Lore.” San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, CA), Oct. 23, 2002.

50 Features of Special Collections: The Most Popular Book

December 22nd, 2016 by Christine Cheng

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As a “bestseller of the Middle Ages,” the Book of Hours is a prayer book intended for use by ordinary people who are not part of the clergy. The Book allowed Catholics to follow and express their devotion to the Virgin Mary by setting aside certain times throughout the day to recite services. While the Book of Hours may vary from volume to volume, it usually consists of eight different sections: 1) a Calendar, 2) the Gospel Lessons, 3) the Hours of the Virgin, 4) the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit, 5) two prayers to the Virgin: Obsecro te (“I beseech thee”) and O intemerata (“O undefiled one”), 6) the Penitential Psalms and Litany, 7) the Office of the Dead, and 8) Suffrages.

The heart of the Book of Hours, originally named after the Hours of the Virgin or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, consists of eight short services:

These services are actually shortened versions of much longer and more demanding services – the Divine Office – contained in the Breviary, which the clergy were required to recite daily. Both the Breviary and the Book of Hours include prayers, hymns, psalms, and scriptural text. As the language of scholarship during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Books of Hours were typically in Latin; however, special prayers and entire Books could be found in the vernacular. For owners who were illiterate, many could recite most of the prayers in the Book of Hours by memory and use the pictures as reference points.

Since the Book of Hours was initially expensive to produce, it was often handed down and became part of family history. As examples of great works of art, the Books served as objects of religious devotion as well as status symbols. Depending on the wealth of the owners, the Book could include extravagant details such as illuminated initials, decorated borders, and miniature paintings dividing major sections of text, or remain plain with little to no decoration. In more luxurious Books of Hours, owners sometimes paid great amounts to include portraits of themselves or their family emblems in the illustrations. The process for creating a fancy Book of Hours follows:

The material used was vellum, calfskin or sheepskin which had been soaked in a caustic lime solution, scraped and shaved to an even thinness, rubbed smooth with pumice, stretched till dry, and then cut to size. A Book of Hours was prepared by a group of professionals, often in a single workshop under a master. First the text – lettered in uniform calligraphy – was written with a quill pen by a scribe. Then the ornamental borders of styled sprays and branches, of leaves and of flowers, were drawn by a specialist, using red and other colors. The pictures were then painted by another artist, usually the master, and they were sometimes major works of art within the small size of a miniature.

    

The use of gold was applied as gold leaf to decorate the frames of and objects in miniatures, leaves in borders, and to illuminate initials. The Book of Hours in Special Collections was acquired by UC Davis in 1972 at the 8th California Antiquarian Book Fair in San Francisco. In our Book of Hours, there are two miniatures illustrating the Office of the Dead: one shows a king lying in a freshly dug grave in a churchyard while Death, carrying a coffin, stabs his spear at one of the two mourners; the other features Heaven and Hell. Another miniature, the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to St. Anne, shows an angel attending to the Virgin, illustrating the hour of Lauds. We believe our Book was originally owned by Chachere who recorded the births of his 15 children between 1497 and 1520 on additional leaves at the end. For more information about the Book of Hours in Special Collections, please contact speccoll@ucdavis.edu. View our Book of Hours online at the Digital Scriptorium.

    

Works consulted:

Marmion, Simon. Book of Hours. San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 2004.

Backhouse, Janet. Illumination from Books of Hours. London: British Library, 2004.

Backhouse, Janet. Books of Hours. London; Dover, NH: British Library, 1985.

Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified: the Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. New York: G. Braziller in association with the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1988.