Department Blog

Special Collections

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2016 by Jenny Hodge

From the Heroes and Villains in Special Collections have a ghoulishly delightful Halloween!

Heroes and Villians

Heroes and Villians

50 Features of Special Collections: The American River and a Lake with Many Names

October 28th, 2016 by Dawn Collings


The American River does not flow directly from Lake Tahoe to the Sacramento River, but this map shows the south fork of the “Rio de los Americanos” with a direct path from what was then known as “Mountain Lake” into the “Rio Sacramento” past the town of “Nueva Helvetia”.  The Spanish names reflect that California was controlled by Mexico at the time this map was created in the early 1840s.  John Charles Fremont’s expedition across the western portion of North America included the region of the American River which would later become the center of the Gold Rush.





1845 Map of the American River Showing “Mountain Lake”

The naming of Lake Tahoe took many twists and turns that are reflected on early maps of California and the western states. In Fremont’s early surveys, the lake was simply named Mountain Lake.  Later, Charles Preuss, a cartographer working with Fremont, drew the lake as Lake Bonpland in homage to Aimé Bonpland, a French botanist and explorer of South America.


1848 Map of the Western States Showing “L. Bonpland” [Lake Bonpland]

In 1870, the lake was officially named “Lake Bigler” in honor of John Bigler, governor of California from 1852 to 1856.  However, Bigler was a strong secessionist during the Civil War, and having his name on the lake was unpopular.  The official name remained on maps published by the State of California until the California Legislature formally changed it to Lake Tahoe in 1945.

1853 Map of The United States Showing "Bigler L. [Lake]"

1853 Map of The United States Showing “Bigler L.” [Bigler Lake]

Here we have an 1849 map that is unique in referring to the lake as “Fremonts L.” [Fremont’s Lake].

1849 Map of the Gold Regions of California showing "Fremonts L." [Fremont's Lake]

1849 Map of the Gold Regions of California showing “Fremonts L.” [Fremont’s Lake]

This 1884 map of Central California is particularly interesting in that shows Lake Bigler and Lake Tahoe as being interchangeable names referring to the same body of water.

1884 Map Showing "Lake Bigler or Lake Tahoe"

1884 Map Showing “Lake Bigler or Lake Tahoe”

And finally we see the name Lake Tahoe returning to its Washo Native American beginnings meaning “big water” in this 1900 map issued by the California-Paris Exposition Commission of 1900.

1900 Map of California issued by the California-Paris Exposition Commission of 1900

Map of California issued by the California-Paris Exposition Commission of 1900


Information for this blog post comes from the gazetteer California Place Names; the Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names. A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary, and a collection of gazetteers in the Map Collection room help begin research for place names.


You can view these maps in the Map Collection room on the Lower Level of Shields Library, 1:00-5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.



Gudde, Erwin Gustav. California Place Names; the Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names. Rev. and Enl. 3d Ed., with Maps and Reference List of Obsolete Names.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. Print.

Map showing “Mountain Lake”:

Frémont, John Charles, Edward Weber & Co, and United States. Congress. Senate. [Course of the American River from Lake Tahoe to Nueva Helvetia]. Washington, D.C.: Gales and Seaton, 1845. Print.

Shields Library Map Collection Old Maps- (MAP G4301.H2 1845 .F7 Drawer 1 )

Map showing “L. Bonpland” [Lake Bonpland]:

Frémont, John Charles, Charles Preuss, and Edward Weber & Co. Map of Oregon and Upper California, from the Surveys of John Charles Frémont and Other Authorities. Washington, D.C.: Senate, 1848. Print.

Shields Library Map Collection Old Maps (MAP G4210 1848 .P7 )

Map showing “Fremonts L.” [Fremonts Lake]:

Wyld, James. Map of the Gold Regions of California. London:  s.n., 1849. Print.

Shields Library Map Collection (MAP G4300 1849 .W9 ) – reproduction.

Map showing “Lake Bigler”:

Goddard, George H., and Britton & Rey. Britton & Rey’s Map of the State of California. Berkeley, Calif.: Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1969. Print.

Shields Library Map Collection (MAP G4360 1857 .G6 ) – reproduction.

Map showing “Lake Bigler or Lake Tahoe”

Rand McNally Company. [Rand McNally Map of California]. Chicago, IL, 1884. Print.

Map of California issued by the California-Paris Exposition Commission of 1900

H.S. Crocker & Co, and California-Paris Exposition Commission of 1900. Map of California / Copyrighted by H.S. Crocker Co. San Francisco: California-Paris Exposition Commission of 1900, 1900. Print.

Post created by Dawn Collings & Kristoffer Landes

50 Features of Special Collections: Ruth Finney Papers

October 21st, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara


This week we are highlighting the Ruth Finney Papers as part of our 50 Features of Special Collections series.

Ruth Finney (1898-1979) grew up in Downieville and Sacramento, California and attended San Jose Normal School where she received a teaching certificate in 1918. After substitute teaching in Sacramento for three months, she resigned to join the staff of the Sacramento Star as a reporter.

In 1922, Finney received statewide recognition for her reporting of the Argonaut Mine disaster in Jackson, California. She was transferred to the San Francisco Daily News and there received national attention for her coverage of President Warren G. Harding’s death at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. As a result, she became the Washington, D.C. correspondent for the four California Scripps-Howard newspapers. During her first years in Washington, Ruth Finney covered the Teapot Dome Oil scandal, monitored the passage of the Boulder Canyon Project Act (which authorized the construction of Hoover Dam and the allocation of its resources), and investigated the corruption in the electric and gas utilities industry, for which she received a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1931.

She began writing a weekly column, “Washington Calling,” in 1941, which contained news, political and economic analyses, and forecasts and was distributed to all Scripps-Howard newspapers. She wrote numerous magazine articles and was a member of the Washington Press Club. Though she partially retired in 1965, Finney continued writing her column through 1974.

The Ruth Finney Papers consist of materials related to her career as a newpaper reporter. This includes her correspondence, scrapbooks, diaries, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, research materials, legal documents, and personal mementos.

The diaries, spanning from 1916 to 1952, recount her experiences from age 18 as a student at San Jose Normal School, through her years as a Western correspondent at the Scripps-Howard Washington Alliance. She describes current events as well as reporting assignments, personal relationships, particularly with her mother and Robert S. Allen, and colleagues and acquaintances, most notably California Senator Hiram Johnson, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Included in the manuscripts is a copy of Finney’s unpublished autobiography, Journey from the Star; her unpublished history of Downieville, Rogues and Riches; several unpublished plays; a musical, Now Is the Time; and many short stories. The feature articles appear in both draft and final form, and include her articles about Justice Department espionage agents written in 1927 at the encouragement of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and her articles about the women’s labor force in weapons factories during World War II.

All of the correspondence is incoming and has been divided into three groupings. The first contains letters from Hiram Johnson dating from August 1926 to September 1928, written during the height of the Boulder Dam filibuster. The second contains letters written between September 1944 and July 1945, pertaining to her husband’s (Robert S. Allen) war experiences and subsequent discharge after being wounded. The third group contains letters from editors, readers and politicians spanning the period from July 1917 to April 1978.

More information about Finney and the collection can be found in the finding aid here.

 Ruth Finney in front of the Washington Daily News office, 1933.

Ruth Finney in front of the Washington Daily News office, 1933.

Workshops about Library Space Planning next week

October 21st, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Throughout 2016, the University Library is talking with students, faculty, and researchers about how the Library’s physical space, technology, and services can best meet their needs.

Next week, there are four workshops for you to share your ideas on the future of space in the Library buildings. If you are interested in attending, please register at the link for the specific workshop. The workshops are:

  1. The Library as a Place for Individual and Small-Group Study and Research,  October 24, 2016
  2. The Library as a Partner in Research and Scholarship, October 25, 2016
  3. The Library as a Place for Collaboration, October 25, 2016
  4. The Library as Academic Hub, October 26, 2016
  • Shields Library First-Floor Conference Room
  • Limited to 20 attendees
  • Refreshments served
  • Register at the link for the specific workshop

More information is available here.

Debuting our first gif

October 19th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

We’re excited to debut our first gif with the image below from our Eastman’s Originals Collection.

Up and Over from the Eastman's Originals Collection

Up and Over from the Eastman’s Originals Collection


If you’re interested in viewing the original image, you can see it here. Stay tuned as we create more gifs from images from our collection!

Flashback to Pajamarino on October 13, 1916

October 14th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

In celebration of the annual Pajamarino tradition which occurs tonight, here’s a flashback to how the event looked 100 years ago in 1916.

The University Farm Agricola provided the following account of the October 13, 1916 rally:

“As for the rally program itself, it was entertaining, pleasing and hilariously enjoyed by all. Some 400 pajama clad youths paraded through Davis about 8 o’clock, led by yell leaders, Swift, Kydd, and Hazen. They gave rousing cheers for that wonderfully pleasing Davis-University Farm publicity structure, the [Davis] arch, and then listened to a short but characteristically eloquent speech by Attorney F.A. Plant, who explained the true significance of the noble edifice, now almost finished. Then back to the pavilion where many speeches by President Steward and former “Prex” Street of U.C., Prof. Crocheron, Journal Editor Ryerson, Mr. Voorhies, Mr. Titus, and Pres. Heron were heard. Music by the public-spirited 25-piece Davis band, Allan’s good orchestra, etc., following and lastly coming two 3-round boxing matches.”

The poster and photograph from the 1916 event below are from the Harry Hazen Papers on the University Farm.

Visit the Cal Aggie Alumni Association website for information about this year’s Pajamarino.


Pajamarino, 1916

Pajamarino, 1916


50 Features of Special Collections: Henry Dart Greene Papers

October 13th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara


This week we are highlighting the Henry Dart Greene Papers as part of our 50 Features of Special Collections series.  Henry Dart Greene (1900-1978) was the son of noted architect Henry Mather Greene and his wife Emeline Dart Greene. His professional life spanned several careers: he served as the Executive Manager of the Feather River Project Association; conducted public relations campaigns for the American Fruit and Produce Auction Association; and ran his own film production company.

The Henry Dart Greene Papers contains photographs, motion picture films and a small amount of personal and business papers. The photographs date from 1914 to the late 1960s, and are a mix of personal and professional subjects. Images from Greene’s years at UC Berkeley and of his wife Ruth Haight Greene’s childhood in Sacramento are the earliest ones in the collection. The collection includes photographs from Argentina, where Greene worked with the Argentine Fruit Distributors from 1928 to 1931 and from his public relations work with the American Fruit and Produce Auction Association (AFPAA) from 1933 to 1941.

The collection also contains films made by Greene between 1933 and 1970. The films include footage of Eastern fruit auctions, including New York City and Chicago during the 1930’s; the California State Fair; and films made for the Feather River Project Association. As part of the California Audiovisual Preservation Project, we digitized five of Greene’s films. The films, listed below, can be viewed on the Internet Archive.


California Scenes and Other Sites, circa 1933-1934.

Packing fruit in California and Other Scenes, circa 1934-1935.

Sacramento River Association and Nevada County, Calif., 1936.

California Waterama: The Story of the Feather River Project, 1957.

Oroville Dam Site, 1961.


You can find out more information about Henry Dart Greene and the collection via the finding aid here.

 Henry D. Greene outside California State Capitol, circa 1925-1928.

Henry D. Greene outside California State Capitol, circa 1925-1928.

50 Features of Special Collections: Will of Ximenes Petri, Tudela, Spain, 1287 September 13.

October 7th, 2016 by Jenny Hodge


This week’s feature highlights a 1287 A.D. Will of Ximenes (“Eximinus”) Petri, conveying to the Veruela Monastery (“Monasterio Berolensi”) his vineyards and buildings in Tudela, and detailing the boundaries of the property. According to the Will the donation was for the benefit of the souls of his father, mother and himself. Besides the original manuscript written in Latin there is also a typed transcription, photocopy and maps of the Tudela and the Kingdom of Navarre. The Veruela Abbey or Monastery was founded in 1146 by Pedro de Atarés and is a Cistercian Abbey. The monastery had a major role in the development of viticulture and wineries in the area.

The Cistercian monastery of Veruela, is still in existence and is located at the foot of Moncayo, between the regions of Borja and Tarazona and Moncayo. There you can also visit the Museo del Vino del Campo de Borja and learn about the regions cultivation of vines, production and aging of wines as well as view the tools and machinery used during the process.
Will of Ximenes Petri

Will of Ximenes Petri

Stop by Special Collections if you are interested in learning more about our holdings in viticulture and enology.