Special Collections

Posts by Sara Gunasekara

Pop-up Exhibit: Spring Blooms – Botanical Watercolors by Margaret Stones

March 10th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is pleased to present this pop-up exhibit which can be viewed in our Reading Room during the hours of Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm.

 

Spring Blooms: Botanical Watercolors by Margaret Stones

Special Collections Reading Room, Shields Library

March 10 – June 16, 2017

 

Margaret Stones (1920- ), botanical artist, served for twenty-five years as the principal illustrator for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and worked under commission for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England.

 

Special Collections holds six original watercolors of Northern California plants, painted by Stones in March-April 1987, while she was visiting California. We are presenting this small exhibit on the thirtieth anniversary of that visit.

 

For further information, contact: speccoll@ucdavis.edu

Iris macrosiphon by Margaret Stones, Occidental, California, April 7, 1987.

Iris macrosiphon by Margaret Stones,
Occidental, California, April 7, 1987.

 

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

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.

Holiday hours

December 14th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is on intersession hours of 10am-4pm Monday-Friday from December 12-22, 2016 and January 3-6, 2017. We are closed from December 23-January 2, 2017.

 

Happy holidays from all of us in Special Collections!

On This Day: Johnny Cash performed at Folsom Prison

November 8th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

You’ve probably heard Johnny Cash’s famous song, “Folsom Prison Blues,” and may know that Cash performed his live album, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, at the prison in January 1968. But did you know that his first concert at Folsom Prison was 50 years ago today?

On November 8, 1966 (the same day that Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California), Johnny Cash performed at Folsom Prison in front of approximately 1,800 inmates. Although Cash wrote his famous song “Folsom Prison Blues” in 1955, it wasn’t until this 1966 concert that he first stepped foot in Folsom Prison.

According to the November 9, 1966 Sacramento Bee article, “Folsom Inmates Brave Chill for ‘Friend’ Cash,”  the concert also featured the four female singers, Maybelle Carter, June Carter, Helen Carter, and Anita Carter, who were known as the Carter Family. The Statler Brothers, another opening act, provided takeoffs on Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, The Ink Spots, and the McGuire Sisters.

The photographs of the concert, seen below, are from the Sacramento Union Newspaper Archives. Until it closed its doors in 1994, the Sacramento Union was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi.

 

Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison on November 8, 1966. Photograph from the Sacramento Union Archives, D-350

Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison on November 8, 1966. Photograph from the Sacramento Union Archives, D-350.

 

Johnny Cash performs with the Carter Family at Folsom Prison on November 8, 1966.  Photograph from the Sacramento Union Archives, D-350

Johnny Cash performs with the Carter Family at Folsom Prison on November 8, 1966. Photograph from the Sacramento Union Archives, D-350.

50 Features of Special Collections: Toby Cole Archives

November 3rd, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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This week we are highlighting the Toby Cole Archives as part of our 50 Features of Special Collections series.

Toby Cole was born Marion Cholodenko on January 27, 1916 in Newark, New Jersey. She developed an interest in theatre at an early age, and embarked upon her theatrical career under the auspices of The Workmen’s Circle, a Jewish socialist fraternal organization. From 1938 to 1956, she demonstrated her penchant for socially committed theatre, participating in such groups as The Newark Jack London Club, The Newark Collective Theatre, The New Theatre League School, and the Federal Theatre Project. She also served as assistant to the producer on Broadway productions of Counterattack and Finian’s Rainbow, and as producer for Children’s Holiday Theatre in New York.

Cole established an actor’s agency in 1957, operating from an office in the Sardi Building. Zero Mostel, whom she represented for many years, was her first “star.” With the founding of the Toby Cole Actors and Authors Agency, Cole added playwrights and translators to her clientele. She concentrated on playwrights whose works appealed to the Off-Broadway producers. That is, she promoted plays that she considered high quality and socially/politically relevant, thereby introducing to the U.S. such seminal playwrights as Sam Shepard, Edward Bond, and Simon Gray. She also brought to the New York stage translations of foreign plays by Brecht, Pirandello, and Witkiewicz, among others. Moreover, Cole circulated plays outside of New York and acted as agent for amateur as well as professional rights.

Cole passed away on May 22, 2008.

The Toby Cole Archives consist of materials relating to her activities as a theatrical-literary agent. These materials include books, business records, clippings, correspondence, financial papers, legal documents, photographs, programs, promotional materials, and scripts.

Among numerous scripts are those by Saul Bellow and Sam Shepard. Some of these works are originals, some are unpublished, and some are in several versions. These plays are supported by extensive correspondence discussing them and their production.

Correspondence also reveals Cole’s arrangements with many other playwrights and actors such as William Alfred, John Arden, Eric Bentley, Edward Bond, Bertolt Brecht (estate), Barbara Garson, Simon Gray, Sam Jaffe, Zero Mostel, and Luigi Pirandello (estate), among others.

The collection as a whole offers a remarkable look at the activities of a theatrical agency.

Toby Cole Letterhead

Toby Cole Letterhead

50 Features of Special Collections: Ruth Finney Papers

October 21st, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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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!