by Ralph Gibson
We are getting ready to kick off the 11th Annual Heritage Trail! This year, 22 museums from www.placer.ca.gov/heritagetrail.
Roseville to Tahoe will open their doors, admission free, on special Saturdays throughout the summer. The event kicks off on June 16th at the Benton Welty School Room, the Bernhard Museum and the Gold Rush Museum. For the full summer schedule, please visit
A new twist we’ve added this year is that we’ve opened up the event to border museums, those that are outside of Placer County but close to the border. This year the Wheatland History Museum, which is located on the Bear River just outside of Placer County, will be part of the Heritage Trail alongside the Lincoln Area Archives Museum on July 21st.
by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections
The history of the family album dates back to the origins of photography itself. The flatness of photos and the desire to preserve and share them gave way to the creation of albums that were often produced with ornate leather covers, brass clasps and locks, gilt edgings and other decorations. They became prized possessions, intended to be handed down through the family over many generations.
Before photography the only way to preserve one’s likeness was to have a portrait painted by an artist, which was expensive. By the mid-1800’s, scientists and photographers were experimenting with new and more efficient ways to take and process photographs. Emulsion plates, which replaced the daguerreotypes, were less expensive and took only two seconds of exposure time. This made them very popular with portrait photography, especially since early daguerreotypes had to be exposed to light for at least 15 minutes.
In the 1870s, the invention of dry plates allowed photographers to store images and develop them later. Cameras became smaller and the exposure time decreased. By the late nineteenth century photography was no longer just for the professionals and the wealthy. The improvements in technology and processing as well as inexpensive cameras made by Kodak made photography a favorite pastime.
Today, the ornate photo album has given way to the self-published photobook or the digital album. People still desire the physical object that can be held and shown to others, but the convenience of a computer program that organizes images is difficult to give up. Hopefully, the photo album will survive in one form or another.
The popularity of collecting photographs brought with it much innovation and creativity in the area of book binding. Many producers of albums were determined at outdoing each other in the extravagance of materials and decorations. The album was more than a book of photographs – it became an object d’art.
This small album with an embossed cover and a brass clasp is a
carte-de-viste album. These small albumen prints were mounted on cards 2.5 “x 4” and were very popular as their size made them relatively inexpensive. The format was an international standard, and fit photo albums all over the world. This album dates to 1870s.
The wooden cover of this photo album contains an intricately made metal decoration of leaves and flowers. The album contains photographs of the Dependener family. Frank “Big Dip” Dependener was one of Auburn’s most colorful lawmen, but his photo is not in this album.
This photo album with a stand was made around 1870. It has a celluloid medallion on the front cover that depicts a scroll with birds and berries on a green velvet
This photo album is a feast for the senses. Orange velvet, or what remains of it, covers the spine and the edges of the back board that rest on a beautifully embossed platform. The cover, made of celluloid, depicts two cherubs in a chariot driven by three butterflies. The last page presents a surprise: an insert with a Swiss made music box movement that plays two songs: “Alice, Where Art Thou” and “She May Have Seen Better Days.” According to the donor of the album, which contains no photographs, it was purchased around 1895.
From the Archives:
by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives
Connecting the Dots
Archives hold the primary sources and records that document history as it unfolds. It is through the study of these materials that researchers can illuminate a forgotten past or help foster a broader understanding of historic events. The more widely accessible they become, the greater the opportunity is for scholars to connect-the-dots. In today’s internet age, this means getting them digitized and online.
While that is the future of this facility, researchers today must still do the work of calling, emailing, and even making appointments to come in and see the original documents themselves.
Recently, a researcher from Oregon contacted us to learn if we had any records of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau in Placer County. As the son of Sacagawea, Charbonneau is a historic figure. As a baby, he traveled on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and spent his adult years as a trapper, explorer and scout in the American West.
Famed mountaineer, Jim Beckwourth wrote about visiting Charbonneau at Murder’s Bar in 1849.
However, he does not appear in the 1850 or 1852 Federal Census. For such a monumental figure, this period of his life until his death in 1866 remains largely unknown to most scholars. Discoveries in our Archives have revealed glimpses of Charbonneau’s life via official business records for the County of Placer.
In 1852, J.B. Charbonneau was paid $48 by the Placer County Board of Supervisors for services as assistant surveyor. In 1857, he wrote a petition to the Board to operate a ferry across the American River at Manhattan Bar and posted his notice in the Placer Herald newspaper in July.
He finally appears in the 1860 census and by 1861 John B. Charbonneau (now 56-years-old) is listed in the Placer County Directory as a Clerk at the Orleans Hotel in Auburn. In 1866 he died en route to new adventures in Oregon, leaving behind his life in Placer County and the original documents that help piece it together for today’s researchers.
This is just one example of some of the little-known parts of history that exist in this archive and we hope to make accessible online to researchers around the world. In the meantime, our card catalog awaits you!
By the way, in related news, the Placer Herald and Auburn Journal are now searchable online! Unfortunately, this newspaper site is not free, but we have a subscription and are happy to help researchers, using this new and amazing tool we have at our disposal.
News from Placer County Historical Society
by April McDonald-Loomis, President
April400@wavecable.com (530) 823-2128
At the April dinner meeting we held the election for the Society Board of Directors. For the coming year the Board will consist of:
President: April McDonald -Loomis
1st Vice President: Mike Holmes
2nd Vice President & Programs: Addah Owens
Secretary: Richard Ravalli
Treasurer: Al Stoll
Membership Chair: Jane Hamilton
Board Members: John Knox, Sherri Schackner, Carmel Barry-Schweyer, Karri Samson, Karen Bleuel, Jean Allender, Delana Ruud and immediate past president, Walt Wilson.
Also at the dinner meeting, the Board presented a draft copy of the by-laws changes to the membership. We will vote on them at the next board meeting in June. If you need a copy, please contact me.
This is the time of year that dues need to be collected. You can send your check for the individual membership for $10.00, the family membership for $15.00 or the lifetime membership for $200.00 to:
Placer County Historical Society
P. O. Box 5643
Auburn, California 95604
Heritage Trail is set for June 16th at the Benton Welty Historic Classroom at City Hall. As always, we will need volunteers to help out. Christie Brzyscz has again volunteered to be in charge of the ink pen handwriting activity that the children so enjoyed last year. Jean Allender will again put together a great gift basket for the drawing. Please let me know if you can come for a couple of hours and help monitor the activities.
The next Board meeting will be May 3rd at 2:00 in room #10 at City Hall.
The next Dinner meeting will be June 7th at 6:30 at the Veteran’s Hall.
Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting
by Addah Owens, Vice President
When: June 7th, 2018
Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program
Where: Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East Street, Auburn
Cost: $16 per person
Menu: BBQ Tri-ip and Chicken, BBQ Beans, Salad, and Strawberry Shortcake. Catered by Lisa Bloom, A Window Opened
Program: The program will be presented by Brendan Compton. Brendan has been making documentary films for twenty-five years. His company is BA Productions. He recently presented to the Society the informative and enjoyable program on the use of rotary plows in the Sierra. This program will be a short film interviewing Nancy Longnecker, a resident of Blue Canyon since 1936. She has wonderful tales of growing up in that isolated community in the foothills. Her family includes engineers who drove the Donner Summit route for many years. This promises to be an in-depth look at one of Placer County’s unique citizens.
DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL.
Mail Dinner Checks to:
PCHS c/o Jane Hamilton,
1871 Crockett Road,
Auburn, CA 95603.
(530) 885-7839 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Calendar of Events
|Click on the calendar to enlarge|
Placer County Historical Organizations
Colfax 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
Lyndell Grey (916) 645-3517
Historical Advisory Board
Glenn Vineyard (916) 747-1961
Old Town Auburn Preservation Society
Lynn Carpenter (530) 885-1252
Lincoln Highway Association
Bob Dieterich email@example.com
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
Sarah Fugate (530) 389-2121
Newcastle Portuguese Hall Association
Aileen Gage (530) 885-9113
Placer County Historical Society
April McDonald-Loomis (530) 823-2128
Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes (530) 888-8969
Rocklin Historical Society
Hank Lohse, President (916) 624-3464
Roseville Historical Society
Christina Richter (916) 773-3003
North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Marnie Carr (530) 583-1762
Placer County Genealogical Society
Toni Rosasco (530) 888-8036