Department Blog

Special Collections

Gerome says “Welcome Aggies!”

September 24th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

On this, the first day of instruction of the fall quarter, Gerome says Welcome Aggies! This week he presents the publication titled, Welcome Aggies which served as an orientation handbook for new students. Published during the 1950s-1960s, it contained information about orientation week, housing, traditional activities, ASUCD, campus publications, musical organizations, sports, songs and yells, the Library, as well as traffic rules.




Gerome Celebrates California Admissions Day, 165th Anniversary

September 9th, 2015 by Dawn Collings

California was admitted as the 31st state on Sept 9, 1850, and it was the first territory to become a state from land acquired from Mexico under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo which ended the Mexican-American War.

Gerome found the oldest original map of the State of California in the Map Collection room: A new map of the Gold Region in California by Charles Drayton Gibbes, 1851. (Call Number: MAP G4360 1851 .G4 Old Maps)

Of particular interest, this map focuses on Northern California and shows Lake Tahoe–named “Mountain Lake”–located entirely in Nevada. County lines are very different than current counties. “Lake D. L. Tulares”–a large lake in southern Central Valley –no longer exists.

The Map Collection holds other original California maps in the Old Maps cabinet (1920 and older) along with newer maps in the rest of the collection showing progression of change in California over the past 165 years. The Map Collection room is located on the lower level of Shields Library and is open Monday-Friday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Gerome meets Mark Twain in Shields Library

September 4th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Imagine Gerome’s surprise when he discovered Mark Twain in Shields Library!

The Mark Twain bust, located on the second floor of the library, is part of the Sacramento Union Records, held by Special Collections. The Sacramento Union was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi, until it closed its doors in 1994.

Twain’s words, inscribed on the base of the bust, explain his connection to the Union:  “Early in 1866, George Barnes invited me to resign my reportership on his paper, the San Francisco Morning Call, and for some months thereafter, I was without money or work; then I had a pleasant turn of fortune. The proprietors of the Sacramento Union, a great and influential daily journal, sent me to the Sandwich Islands to write four letters a month at twenty dollars a piece. I was there for four or five months, and returned to find myself about the best known man on the Pacific Coast.”  Twain’s Letters from the Sandwich Islands have since been reprinted, including in a volume that was published by the Grabhorn Press.

The Sacramento Union Records provide a wealth of information for researchers interested in the Sacramento region in the last quarter of the 20th century. The collection contains some accounting and business records from the early years of the newspaper as well as records that cover the last eighteen months of the newspaper’s struggle to survive. The photograph files run from 1966 to 1994. The clipping files provide subject access for 1972 through 1992.

Digital versions of the Union are available via the California Newspaper Project and the Library of Congress. The California Newspaper Project has digitized the Sacramento Daily Union for 1851-1899. Search for articles and browse available issues via their website. The Library of Congress Chronicling America Collection has digitized the Sacramento Daily Record-Union for 1880-1891 and the Record-Union for 1891-1899.

Shields Library holds microfilm of the Union for the years 1851-1854; 1856-1864 and 1869-1994.

Gerome hopes that you stop by and see Mark Twain for yourself!

Gerome with the Mark Twain bust

Gerome highlights the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records

August 27th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

This week Gerome has chosen to highlight one of our manuscript collections, the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records. The San Francisco Mime Troupe is San Francisco’s critically acclaimed and oldest professional political musical theater. It began in 1959 when Ronald G. Davis formed the R.G. Davis Mime Troupe while affiliated with the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop. Initially, the Troupe improvised silent mime performance “events,” but soon added sound, music, and dialogue. In 1962 they began producing free shows in San Francisco parks and moved from mime into other forms of drama: first adaptations of commedia dell’arte, then vaudeville, melodrama, and other American theater. In 1963, they severed connections with the Workshop, and changed the group’s name to the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe Records consist of unique items relating to the history of the Troupe. The collection contains original and adapted scripts, financial papers, photographs, audio visual items, promotional material, correspondence, clippings, and office files. A finding aid for the collection is available on the Online Archive of California here.

The Mime Troupe, which celebrated its 50th year in 2009, continues to create and perform today. They will be performing their new show, Freedomland, this weekend in Sacramento on August 29 and in Davis on August 30. You can find out more information about the performances on their website.

Gerome hopes that you are able to enjoy a performance of Freedomland!

Gerome with posters from the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records, D-061

Gerome with posters from the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records, D-061


Gerome travels vicariously this summer

August 21st, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Gerome has enjoyed traveling vicariously this summer through the adventures of our patrons, colleagues, and student assistants. Here he is with the collection of postcards that were sent to us from those travels to Italy, Sweden, Tanzania, Oregon, and Colorado.

Will you be traveling soon? If so, Gerome would love a postcard from you! You can send it to him at:

Special Collections
UC Davis – Shields Library
100 NW Quad
Davis, CA 95616-5292


Gerome says “Cheers” to Davis Beer Week

August 14th, 2015 by Jenny Hodge

Gerome is brewing up interest in beer! This weekend marks the end of Davis Beer Week, where the city celebrates and encourages our regions craft beer culture. In honor of this spirit Gerome is highlighting a book from the A.W. Noling Hurty-Peck Collection of Beverage Literature: Brew in your Stew!: Recipes and adventures in the ancient, honorable and all-but-lost art of cooking with beer! published by the National Brewing Company in 1948. While beer is an excellent accompaniment with food it can also be in your food. This wonderful book offers a series of unusual recipes involving beer.

Noling TX726.3 B74 1948

Noling TX726.3 B74 1948

If you have any interest in making Curried Beef with Beer or Beer Souffle then this is the book for you, come check it out! Here’s one unusual recipe perfect for a hot summer day:

 Iced Beer Soup

  • ¾ cup Pumpernickel Crumbs
  • 2 tsps. Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. Lemon rind (grated)
  • 1 ½ cups White Wine
  • 2 tsps. Lemon juice
  • 3 cups National Premium Beer [pale dry beer]

Combine in a large cocktail shaker the pumpernickel crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, rind, lemon juice, beer, wine and 1 ½ cups of water. Shake vigorously and chill thoroughly. Shake again just before serving. Serve in bouillon cups.

Gerome presents our oldest item

July 31st, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

This week Gerome has decided to highlight our oldest item, a clay tablet from Sumeria, circa 1974 B.C. The cuneiform inscription is an administrative text written during the Third Dynasty of Ur at Umma, which was at the center of a large agricultural district in southern Mesopotamia. The text orders the hiring of persons to perform agricultural work on the fields belonging to the temple of Shara, the chief god of Umma.

Gerome with cuneiform

Gerome with cuneiform

Gerome highlights the book, Around the World on a Bicycle

July 17th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

With the Tour de France in full swing, Gerome has cycling on his mind. So, this week’s highlight is Around the World on a Bicycle (1889) by Thomas Stevens. This two volume work details Stevens  journey as the first person to ride around the world on a bicycle.

His trip, which began in San Francisco on April 22, 1884, included a stop in Davisville (now Davis). Here’s what he said: “Already I realize that there is going to be as much “foot-riding” as anything for the first part of my journey; so while halting for dinner at the village of Davisville, I deliver my rather slight shoes over to the tender mercies of an Irish cobbler of the old school with carte blanche instructions to fit them out for hard service.”

Nearly four months later, Stevens arrived in Boston on August 4, 1884. After spending the winter of 1884-1885 in New York, he embarked to Liverpool on April 9, 1885 to continue his trip.

If you are interested to know more about Stevens journey, including what happened during his travels through Europe and Asia, you can read Volume 1 and Volume 2 at the HathiTrust Digital Library.



Gerome says “It’s time for the State Fair!”

July 9th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Since the California State Fair opens this weekend in Sacramento, Gerome decided to feature the program from the the 1937 Fair. That year, the Fair ran from September 3-12 and featured performers such as the Vitaphone Four, the Six Candreva Brothers, Yvonne St. Claire, Jiggs, the motion picture monkey, the Four Albee Sisters, Smith’s Diving Ponies, and the Flying Jays. Other attractions included a horse show, band concerts, running races, demonstrations, and fireworks. Did you know that from 1860-1967 the State Fairgrounds were located at Stockton Boulevard and Broadway near the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento? In 1968, the State Fair opened at its current location at the California Exposition.

Gerome hopes that you visit the State Fair!


Gerome says Happy Fourth of July!

July 1st, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

In celebration of the Fourth of July, Gerome presents this pamphlet, Live in Davis on the Fourth: the 1956 Fourth of July Program by the Davis Jr. Chamber of Commerce. As you can see the events celebrating the Fourth in Davis that year included: a gala booster dance, a parade, fly-over, baseball, a swim meet, picnic supper, and concert, as well as fireworks. The program also provides a history of the Davis Kiddie Parade, which is still held today.

Do you have any programs from other Fourth of July celebrations in Davis that you’d be willing to donate to us for our collection? If so, please email us at

Happy Fourth of July!