by Ralph Gibson
|Visitors celebrate the 2013 Archives and Research Center opening.|
Located at the DeWitt Center in Auburn, our Archives boasts a rich variety of sources, and exciting new donations come in on a regular basis. We have original documents that reach far back into the early Gold Rush—court records, deeds, mining claims, school records, naturalization documents, mug books, newspapers and various business ledgers—just to name a few.
We also have photographs, negatives and maps. We also have qualified people there to help you with your research needs. For the first time since 2008, we have a full-time Curator of Archives, Bryanna Ryan. So we not only have all these great things in our collection, but also the expertise and experience to properly preserve, curate and make them accessible to the public. And Bryanna will tell you that the real gold in the Archives is our volunteers. We have first class researchers and data entry technicians who volunteer long hours at the Archives. If you have a research project—personal or professional—I encourage you to call Bryanna and set up an appointment.
The Archives and Research Center is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9:00 am –12:00 noon and 12:30 —3:00 pm. It is located at 11526 C Ave. , bldg. 209 at the DeWitt Center in Auburn.
The Napkin—not to be flourished like a flag of truce
by Kasia Woroniecka Curator of Collections
|People, rolled napkins, and a cat, C.1900. PMC Archives.|
Napkins have a very long and interesting history, going back to ancient Greece and Rome, when they were used to wipe hands and faces or wrap leftovers of food. During the Middle Ages hands were wiped on tablecloths or large napkins hung from the edge of the table. In the 16th Century napkin sizes depended on the type of event. Rules of etiquette became more structured, and by the 19thcentury much was required of those who wanted to use napkins correctly.
An 1894 book on etiquette explained:
Cotton napkin from the Freeman Hotel in Auburn. White cotton with
“Freeman Hotel” embroidered in the corner. PCM Archives Collection.
“...the napkin partially unfolded is laid across the lap. It is not tucked in at the neck or the vest front, or otherwise disposed as a feeding-bib. It is a towel, for wiping the lips and fingers in emergencies, but should be used unobtrusively—not flourished like a flag of truce.”
The napkin could be used to cover the mouth when removing a fish bone, but it was never to be used as a handkerchief. A formal table setting has one placement for the napkin—to the left side of the place setting. The napkin should be folded with the closed edge to the left and the open edge to the right.
By 1840 the use of napkin rings became popular in all-English speaking countries. In the home, napkin rings identified personal napkins at the family dinner table so that laundering could be done once a week. Because napkins were not reused after parties, guests would simply leave their napkins unfolded beside their plates at the end of the meal. The use of napkin rings decreased with the advent of paper napkins, which surprisingly are not that old. They were introduced by John Dickinson in 1887.
Paper napkins circa 1908-1917. PCM Enid Griffith Collection.
One of the oldest, with a pretty carnation design, dates to 1908: “My party, Sat. May 8th, 13 years old." Another napkin has a pink chrysanthemum design and is signed, "Ladies Aid at Mrs Banfield July, 1909." There is also a wedding anniversary napkin from March 23, 1909, and a Valentines napkin from 1908. The last one in the collection dates to 1917. It is a napkin with a Christmas holly design from a brunch she attended on December 4th. The life of a paper napkin is generally very short, so we are lucky to have these examples in our collection.
Lurking in the Attic
by Bryanna Ryan Curator of Archives
Photo: Griffith Griffith and E. B. Crocker (fore- ground) at the
Quarry in Penryn with the new Conness engine. 1865. PCM Archives.
According to Enid Griffith, the following entry was recorded in Griffith Griffith’s personal diary on Friday, March 17, 1865:
“Mr. Chamberlin and Mr. Quade and Graves, bosses on Pacific Railroad, were at Quarry. They were on new engine, the Conness. They stopped at Derrick and took the view of the place. Myself and Judge [E. B.] Crocker stood together while taken so we appear in it.”
Griffith Griffith’s personal diary on Friday, March 17, 1865:
Photo: faculty of the Agricultural College, Penryn.
Circa 1892. PCM Archives.
The Archives recently received an incredible collection of photographs and personal papers that contain several of these exciting “missing” pieces, including the photograph described in Griffith’s diary! We now have a photograph of the train spur to the Quarry in Penryn. We also have a photograph of the faculty of the short-lived Agricultural College, and previously unknown views of the English Colony in Penryn.
Photo, left: Albion P. Hall. PCM Archives.
We are so happy these valuable and historic records have made their way to the Archives and can now be preserved forever. You never know what small item may be supremely significant to the right researcher.
News from Placer County Historical Society News
by Michael Otten Immediate past president, PCHSAttendees at the annual awards dinner applauded the life of Betty R. Samson in the presentation of its Waddingham/Doctor Award June 25 for her longtime service to the Placer County Historical Society and Historical Foundation and the preservation of local history.
“When I grow up I want to be like her,” said Barbara Kimball, secretary of the Conference of California Historical Societies during the presentation. John Shea, longtime awards committee chair, said Mrs. Samson both called and wrote him, thanking CCHS for the award and apologizing that at the age of 91 her body wasn’t up to making the trip to Claremont Los Angeles County. Samson is among the few honored at the Rosie the Riveter Home Front Museum in Richmond, CA, for her service as a mechanic at McClellan Air Force Base during World War II and in the Korean Conflict.
I had the honor and privilege of accepting the award on her behalf and describing what an interesting life she continues to lead. I said I hope we in Auburn can have a public presentation of the award and her nomination binder, either before the City Council or Board of Supervisors.
At the end of the meeting I had the good fortune of being installed as 1st Vice President of the CCHS.
7-0 Vote to Demolish 1855 Lawyers Row in AuburnThe Auburn Historic Design Review Commission voted 7-0 on June 21 to grant property owner Michael Fanoni’s request to take down Lawyers Row, the 1855 brick building with its iron doors, for public safety reasons. Fanoni, a structural engineer for PG&E and an Auburn native, said he purchased the property at 299 Commercial St. with the original intention of restoring it. Visible from I-80 and across Court Street from the Native Sons of the Golden West in Old Town Auburn, the building replaced an earlier wooden structure destroyed by a fire that swept through early Auburn.
But a heavy rain in January caused many of the bricks on the Court Street side to tumble onto the walkway and street, closing off that part of the street to parking. Fanoni said efforts to keep transients from breaking in and sleeping there have been unsuccessful despite fencing and locks. He thinks the building’s condition is such that it can’t make it through another heavy rainfall.
Historical Landmark plaque for Lawyers Row in Auburn
and the building’s owner, Michael Fanoni.
Still Time for Benton Welty Classroom Kids Winner at City HallIf you haven’t heard, there’s still time for children to enter the kids only drawing and tour the historic Benton Welty Classroom. Please contact Jean Allender at 885-5334 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept 1. Odds are good. It is part of the 9th annual and new Heritage Trail tour of Placer County Museums. Adults have a chance to get or add to their trail card with the special school bicycle stamp. For details on all 24 museums on the trail and the prizes visit: theheritagetrail.blogspot.com.
On the special tour day June 18 more than 60 took part. Special thanks for the successful day go to Jean Allender, Richard Ravalli, Karri and Betty Samson, Delana Ruud, Sherri Schackner, Eula Marriott and yours truly.
Tom Stout hangs up serving tongs after 14 years of PCHS DinnersYour PCHS board is in the process of coming up with a new format for membership meetings. For the last 14 years Tom Stout, former owner of MaryBelle’s Restaurant in Old Town Auburn, has catered our dinners at the Auburn Veterans Hall. Stout announced his retirement at the June 2 dinner meeting. In thanks for his years of service members unanimously voted him a lifetime membership.
Our next regularly scheduled dinner is not until Oct. 6. Can we stay at Veterans Hall with the no adult beverages permitted policy? Can we find another caterer to continue serving meals there? Should we move to a luncheon, breakfast or an earlier dinner? Should we move to a restaurant like many service clubs and other organizations have done? Suggestions welcomed. Please contact President Walt Wilson at (530) 878-6640 or (530) 863-9224 or email@example.com@hotmail.com
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530 888-7837. For other news check placercountyhistoricalsociety.org
Kids Say it BestHere’s what 3rd graders had to say about Living History at the Bernhard Museum this spring.
I would kinda like to live in the 1800’s. The chores are fun but not all day--and no TV. -Allison
Thank you. I love that you volunteered for us. I have a question. Did you have fun like me? I love that you were so so so so so so nice. -Trinity
I’m great with a hammer and nail. I even made up a song and it goes like this, hammer and nails don’t smash nails. -Kaylin
They made doing laundry actually fun unlike at home. -Russell
I did not know that the house used to be a house that the REAL pioneers lived in. But I know you gave it a fixer upper. -Samantha
I would like to live in the 1800s because it would be cool to not have technologie and help do things. -Jayden
I would not want to live in the 1800’s because I wouldn’t have the friends I have now. -Jordan
It warms my heart just to see you doing this. Thank you again. -Amber
My class had an epic time. -Gracie
Placer County Historical OrganizationsColfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
Fruitvale School Hall Community Association
Historical Advisory Board
Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lincoln Highway Association
Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121
Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
Roseville Fire Museum
Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Mario Farinha, (530) 269-2412
Golden Drift Historical Society
Jim Ricker, (530) 389-8344
Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Aileen Gage (530) 885-9113
Placer County Historical Society
Walt Wilson, (530) 878-6640
Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969
Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036