Thursday, March 9, 2017

March - April 2017

 

Administrator’s Notes 

by Ralph Gibson 


One hundred years ago, World War I was raging in Europe. Though great armies had clashed over large geographic areas before, this was the first true “world” war—involving over 30 countries around the globe by the time guns fell silent on November 11, 1918.

All of the men and women who participated in this monumental conflict are gone. No one is left to share first-hand experiences of going “over the top” in the face of enemy machine-gun fire, or trying to sleep in muddy, rat-infested trenches as artillery shells explode all around.

Fortunately, epic historic events like WWI are recognized for their significance and through “oral histories,” some personal narratives have been captured by historians. The first person accounts of suffragists, political refugees, Native Americans, and Dust-Bowl migrants are just a few examples of notable accounts that have been partially preserved through recording the words of those who lived through it.

While there are numerous official documents, photographs, maps, letters and journals that tell the stories of events like the Great War, it is the personal perspective gained through a well done oral history which can help bring an event (back) to life.

Those few Oral Histories of WWI veterans are precious. They remind us we need to immediately turn our attention to veterans and participants of WWII. They are fast disappearing and it is their stories and perspectives we need to capture before it is too late.

At the same time, the perspectives of family members and others “back home” all contribute to the story and our collective ability to understand past experiences.

Good, effective oral histories require a well-trained, practiced interviewer and time. We always keep any eye out for oral history seminars and workshops to share with everyone. If you happen to know of a workshop or seminar, please call our office at 530-889-6500.


The Vacuum

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections


Who is ready for some spring cleaning? Winter is almost over and, if you feel ready to tackle those floors, closets, attics and garages, you might need some tools to help with the project. One of them will surely be a vacuum—hopefully a bit more efficient than the ones in our collection.

Victorians gave us simple eco-friendly tips on cleaning just about anything with lemons, vinegar and baking soda. Yet carpet cleaning, as with most housework, was not an easy task in the 19th-century. Prior to the introduction of vacuums, most housewives used rug-beaters, brooms and dust pans to clean floors and carpets.

Cleaning and caring for the home took a lot of time and many Victorian women turned to domestic economy handbooks for time-saving tips. One of the most popular was Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861 with very interesting, if not unusual, tips on carpet maintenance:

“Take a pail of cold water, and add to it three gills (teacups) of ox-gall (contents of ox’s gallbladder). Rub it into the carpet with a soft brush. It will raise a lather, which must be washed off with clear water. Rub dry with clean cloth.”

“A weak solution of alum or soda are used for reviving the colours. The crumb of a hot wheaten loaf rubbed over the carpet has been found effective.”

Many of the Victorian homes had large and small rugs and carpets to cover poor quality, soft wood floors. Large rugs became a staple in the upper-middle class American homes.

The earliest carpet cleaning machines were hand-pumped. The first vacuum sweeper was produced in Iowa by Daniel Hess in 1860. The machine had a rotating brush and a bellows mechanism to generate suction. One of the earliest examples in our collection is a Surprise Suction Sweeper, manufactured around 1908 by the Import and Export Company from New York. The handle moves up and down, creating suction. Some manually operated models required two persons to function: one to operate the bellows and one to move the mouthpiece over the carpet.

The first motorized vacuum cleaner was invented in 1899 by John S. Thurman. It was powered by gasoline.

Great advances in science and medicine during the 19th-century had a major impact on understanding health and disease. Cleanliness and hygiene became key components of Victorian life and offered manufacturers a new “scientific” tool. The portable vacuum cleaner was represented as the only modern way to clean the house.

The manufacturers of the Duntley Pneumatic Cleaner, were the pioneers in the portable vacuum business. In many of their ads, they stressed that only a vacuum cleaner could remove the “real dust—the old, ground-in, dangerous, germ laden dirt that other methods never touch.”

The Duntley Pneumatic Cleaner in our collection was made around 1910 and donated in 1988 by Mel and Karen Locher. According to the donor, it came from the W.B. Lardner residence on Orange Street in Auburn. Lardner was a Placer County district attorney, a state assemblyman, and a state senator.

The first electric vacuum cleaner was invented in 1901 and was large enough to necessitate being pulled by a horse. With the wagon parked out front, the 100-foot hose was used to clean households. The first portable electric vacuum was invented in 1908 by James Murray who, faced with financial difficulty, sold his patent to William Hoover, who turned it into a commercial success.

The first vacuums with disposable bags appeared in the1920s. Here is another example from our collection, the Bee-Vac Electric Cleaner made by Birtman Electric Company circa 1925.

Housework is definitely much easier these days. Unless you’re very fond of experimenting with 19th-century cleaning tips, there is really no need to rub your carpet with fresh bread. Your Hoover or Dyson will do the job just fine.


The Scoop

by Beth Rohlfes, Curator of Education


This week I found an interesting homeschool internet site by Samantha, a self described “teen entrepreneur, college freshman, former un-socialized homeschooler.” I am always surfing the internet for fresh ideas in education, especially when they wander outside traditional classroom learning. This piqued my interest. Whether or not she’s as young as she claims, Samantha’s declared passion for history and statement that textbooks are pretty much the most boring way to learn history made me eager to check out her list of alternative learning ideas. Check out some of Samantha’s list below, in italics.

Books
    Read memoirs/journals, biographies, historical fiction.

Well, yeah! Ask any of our docents. Our Museum archives, Docent Library and local libraries are treasure chests for all of these. And the primary documents are most rewarding!

Media
    Watch documentaries, historical movies, docudramas.
    Listen to podcasts or other historical testimonies.

This made me contemplate how, thanks to technology, the possibilities on Samantha’s list have expanded over the past 30+ years. These options were limited back when I was Samantha’s age.

The next category is my favorite, with several “well, yeah” ideas. Still, some are fresh. And think about how the internet has enhanced these possibilities.

Experience It
    Go to a museum. (Now, there’s an idea!)
    Try to “go back in time” - eat 40s rations, recreate a Victorian-era tea party, host a roaring ‘20s costume party—have fun!
    Listen to music from the time.
    Research and make food from the time.
    Look at advertisements from the time period.
    Look at art/drawings from the time for insight into how people thought/felt at the time.
    Try to find some radio broadcasts from the time.

And don’t discount Samantha’s final list of projects.

Projects
     ୦ Create a timeline for a person, an event or notable events for a certain period.
     ୦ Create an argument for the opposite side that you are on.

Most of us have been out of the classroom for a while, so we likely are not in a position to trash the textbooks. But maybe Samantha’s list will help us think outside the box next time we have some leisure time to explore history.

Here is a link to Samantha’s site.


News from Placer County Historical Society: Carnegie Library Floods, Moldy Books

by Michael Otten, immediate past president



Auburn Public Library, circa 1910
PCM ID#: 1981.68.28

You might call the old Auburn Public Library - 175 Almond St.—the birthplace of the venerable Placer County Historical Society. We have weathered many a storm during our more than a century of existence. But February’s record rain waterlogged the home of the PCHS, the Placer County Historical Foundation and the Placer County Genealogical Society and sent us in search of a permanent, safe place for our historical records, books and equipment.

We have found at least temporary haven at the Placer County Archives at DeWitt thanks to Museums Administrator, Ralph Gibson and Archivist, Bryanna Ryan. They also helped me, Walt, Bonnie and David Wilson, John Knox and PCGS President, Cyndi Davis relocate.

Leaks in Placer County’s first Carnegie Library, now called the Old Library Art Studios, caused widespread flooding and a mold-producing soaking.

The water damaged and destroyed many PCHS books, with the most affected being the popular reprinted editions of the 1861 Placer County Directory and Lardner and Brock’s 1924 “History of Placer and Nevada Counties.” We hope to sell some of the least damaged at our annual dinner meeting April 6.

Special thanks go to artist, Paula Amerine, for alerting us to the situation and the City Public Works crew for mop up and mold control efforts. Artists, Thien Dao and Linda Green appeared to be most adversely affected.

The upper floor of the building housed the city’s first free public library while the first floor was used as Auburn’s City Hall and chambers for the three City Trustees. During the Depression, the police chief used the first floor to find work for the jobless.

The Auburn Library doubled as City Hall from 1909 until 1937 when the seat of local government moved to Central Square. In 2011, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

otten@ssctv.net or call (530) 888-7837


PCHS 2017-19 NOMINATIONS


President: April McDonald-Loomis 1st
Vice President: J.M. “Mike” Holmes
2nd Vice President (programs): Addah Owens
Secretary: Richard Ravalli
Treasurer: Al Stoll
Immediate Past President: Walt Wilson
Board Members (Two-year Terms, 2017-19): Jean Allender, Karen Bleuel, Delana Ruud, John Knox. Nomination Committee: Michael Otten, chair; George Lay, Mike Holmes, Jane Mispley, Delana Ruud,
Officers will be elected at annual membership dinner meeting on April 6, 2017, at 6:30 pm, Veterans memorial Hall, 100 East Street, Auburn, CA. Additional nominations may be made and a vote taken. If a candidate is unopposed, election to that office may be made by voice vote. Should there be more than one nominee for an office then there shall be an election by ballot for that office. Those elected will assume office May 1, the start of the PCHS fiscal year. Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting By Addah Owens, Program Chair

When: April 6, 2017
Time:  6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program
Where: Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn
Cost: $16 per person
Menu: Chicken masala, mashed potatoes, seasoned vegetables, salad and dessert.
Program: Jack Duncan will discuss atomic bomb research during World War II (1939-1945). He formerly served as an Army Air Force navigator in the Western Pacific during WWII. In 1953 he went on to work at Lawrence Livermore Labs and spent the next 28 years associated with work in nuclear explosives “atomic bombs”.

Mail Checks to: PCHS c/o Jane Hamilton, 1871 Crockett Road, Auburn , CA 95603. (530) 885-7839 or hamiltonjane1@me.com

DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and, we can't get liability coverage.

Calendar of Events

Click to view larger version.


Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

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
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036
pcgs.pcgenes.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January-February 2017

Administrator’s Notes 

by Ralph Gibson 


This past year brought us an unusual number of celebrity deaths, from movie stars to musicians, sports heroes, news reporters and newsmakers. This year began with a death that hit close to home for us: Alan Rickman.

On August 27, 2007, we took our volunteers to the Sonoma State Historic Park and to General Vallejo’s home (now a museum) for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Trip. While in Old Town Sonoma, we noticed part of the street was blocked off and there were two huge cameras and tall lights next to the street. We soon learned the movie, Bottle Shock, was being filmed.

Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman, Rachael Taylor, and up-and-coming actor Chris Pine were starring in the movie.

We got as close as we could to the action and watched with fascination. Rickman, Pine, and Taylor got out of an old truck, walked across the street, and entered a business while people dressed in 1970s clothing walked on the sidewalk. It was a simple scene, but most of us were riveted.

During a break, Pine talked and laughed with the impromptu audience and Rachael Taylor brushed passed me on her way to the bathroom. The crew set up a different scene.

When it was time, Rickman appeared out of nowhere. The three actors walked out of the business, crossed the street, got into the truck and attempted to drive of — “attempted” because the truck wouldn’t start. It was not acting.

After the mechanic finished, the truck roared to life and Pine drove down the road about a half block, backed up, and parked where they had started. Everyone then filmed the same scene over and over again. The truck broke down at least two more times but they finally wrapped for the day and we went on to General Vallejo’s home.

Alan Rickman passed away on January 14, 2016. He acted in seventy films, including the eight Harry Potter films, Galaxy Quest, and the first Die Hard. We will always remember him for his role in Bottle Shock. Rest in peace, Alan.


Wedding Cakes and Cupids 

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and a popular day to “pop the question.” Since decorated cakes are an important part of wedding celebrations, I chose this beautiful cake topper that was used during the wedding of Adeline and Anthony Perry in 1910 to highlight romance-related objects in our collection and set the mood for this amorous holiday.

Decorating wedding cakes became very popular during the 19th-century. Early designs included flowers, bells, or other small objects and were often made of sugar or non-edible materials like glass, paper, wood, or plaster of Paris.

Our ornate dessert-ornament is made of plaster of Paris with a figure of a cupid blacksmith forging a ring—a symbol of love, fidelity, and commitment. Behind him is a candleholder carved with ornate floral and scroll design.

The cupid blacksmith was also a popular Valentines card theme in the 19th-century.

Here is an intricate pop-up card from our collection showing a similar composition to the cake topper.

The anvil as a symbol of romance was made famous in Scottish Gretna Green, a little village known as one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations.

A law enacted in England in 1754 made marriage legal only if it was performed in a church and with parental consent. The law did not apply in Scotland where almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests” and lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings.

While the tradition of creating special cakes for weddings can be found in Roman times (made with nuts, fruit and honey), white wedding cakes appeared in Victorian times. A sign of purity, white created a visual link with the bride and became especially popular after Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840. Her white wedding cake was covered in royal icing and measured nine feet in circumference.

Unnamed couple. Circa 1950. Placer County Collection
Decorative cake toppers and the use of figurines of the bride and groom grew more popular after the First World War. This tradition was reinforced by Emily Post, American etiquette expert, who mentioned the toppers in her 1922 best-seller Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home. Soon, American retailers like Sears and Roebuck started to market and sell cake toppers showcasing the bride and groom. The 1927 Sears catalog had an entire page devoted to wedding cake ornaments.

Today, there are practically no rules about wedding cakes. They can be of any color, flavor or shape and the possibilities are endless. All we can hope for is that they taste good!


Jail Break in Auburn, October 4, 1860

by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives 


The Archives preserves a variety of records that document early criminal activities in Placer County. Of particular interest are the Court of Sessions case files that range from 1851 to 1863. This was a period of dramatic growth throughout the area. Communities were quickly developing and citizens hurried to establish and maintain a sense of law and order that would transcend to even the most remote reaches of the county.

The case files include locations like Mendenhall’s Corral, Salt Spring Ranch, El Dorado Saloon, Illinoistown, Whiskey Bar, and Mad Canyon.

Throughout this time period, the Court of Sessions heard 364 cases covering crimes including: theft, bribery, fraud, swindling, being a cheat, peddling without a license, keeping house for playing games of chance, keeping a house of ill fame, dueling, larceny, arson, assault, murder and mayhem (among others).
Placer Herold 7/28/1860

In the year 1860, thirty-five cases were heard and they were overwhelmingly for crimes involving theft. On the night of October 4, twenty inmates were serving time in the Auburn jail.

Court of Sessions Case #295
Among the prisoners that night were an assortment of burglars and robbers— including a gang of four men arrested for highway robbery.

Using their distinctive skillsets, thirteen of the twenty inmates made a daring escape—one that had been developing for several days and which bought the fugitives a 3-hour head start.

The escapees included:

• Henry Sprague, N.A. Robbins, Lawrence Sumsall, and Gabriel Rocus—Iowa Hill Stage Robbery (Wells Fargo treasure box of $11,020)

• William Dixon and Monroe Croyer—The “Mountain Springs Robbers”

• Artemarano Okaner and Aystube Tomline—Horse Thieves

• Thomas King, Daniel Gray, Ah Bow, William Wild, and Thomas Lawrence—Burglars

The October 6, 1860 Placer Herald published many of the details of the escape gathered in the aftermath.

Someone had smuggled in a Chilean crowbar, the steel hoops from a fellow “China woman” prisoner were manipulated into lock picks and chisels. A hole was carved through the jail wall and concealed under a piece of muslin whitewashed with lime.

All of the cell doors had been either picked or broken open. Thirteen men were gone.

Seven inmates opted to stay behind, having been arrested for lesser crimes. As witnesses, they divulged details of the sensational event. According to one, on the evening of October 4, 1860, the prisoners were “in quite a jovial mood, singing and hallooing,” a device discovered was cleverly used to drown out the noise of their work.

The Placer Herald rightly observed: “From their number, and the known proficiency of some of them as old rascals, there would appear to be a want of proper vigilance on the part of the officers.”


The Scoop

by Beth Rohlfes, Curator of Education 


Wendy, Beth and Daphne
There is no bad time to celebrate volunteers, but this is a particularly wonderful and unique time of year to recognize those who donate their time and talents to Placer County Museums.

Bolstered by holiday spirit, we gathered staff and docents for our annual Holiday Luncheon in December to honor seasoned volunteers for their commitment of, collectively, 26,550 hours! As we celebrated these dedicated individuals, we also welcomed docents who just completed their New Volunteer Training Classes and will begin volunteering in January.

Cindy
Nine new volunteers are now inducted into our ranks. Look for them in our museums and please congratulate them: Wendy Burgess, Paul Clement, Cindy Combs, Terry Davis, Marti Jamison, Diego Ortega, Lisa Paulson, Doug Reagin and Sherry Rodriguez.

We also honored eighteen docents for their accumulated volunteer hours. Archives volunteers John Knox and April McDonald-Loomis have given an exemplary 5000 hours each!

Addah and Bettie
Others also logged impressive time at our museums and archives: Chris Francee (4,500); Frank Hampton and Ron Petersen (3,000); Fran Hanson (2,500); Daphne Lake (2,000); Addah Owens (1,500); Carmel Barry-Schweyer, Barbara Hydinger, Margie Raymond and Mary Williams (1,000); Kim Hemmer, Linda Kreuger and Terry Rose (500); Bhakti Banning, Muriel Davis and Carol Shepard (300).

We launch into 2017 with great confidence, ready to wow our public with so many new and seasoned docents. We wish you all a happy new year and hope it will be the best ever for Placer County Museums and its volunteers!


Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

By Addah Owens, Program Chair 


When: February 2, 2017

Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program


Where: Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn

 Cost: $16 per person

Menu: Chinese New Year buffet by Lisa Bloom, owner of A Window Opened in Meadow Vista.

Program: “Hidden History Beneath Folsom Lake: Hiking Across a Dry Lake Bed in Time of Draught.”

Kevin Knauss of Granite Bay will PowerPoint his historical trek through time. A must-see presentation. Books available.

For a downloadable preview, click “Kevin” at www.insuremekevin.com.

Mail Checks to: PCHS c/o Jane Hamilton, 1871 Crockett Road, Auburn, CA 95603. (530) 885-7839 or hamiltonjane1@me.com DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and, we can't get liability coverage.


News From Placer County Historical Society

by Michael Otten, immediate past president 


Tired of all this rain? Mark your calendar. Make your reservations now. Join us for our annual Chinese New Year dinner 6:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 2, for some rare discoveries revealed during the recent drought period. That was when one could walk across the Folsom Lake bed from Placer County into El Dorado and Sacramento County without getting wet. Gold Rush places like Mormon Bar are now under 100 feet of water or more thanks to the Folsom Dam that came a century to save Sacramento from regular flooding.

Kevin Knauss
Our speaker, Kevin Knauss, a Granite Bay health and life insurance agent, was so moved by his dry bottom discoveries in 2015 he wrote a book: “Hidden History Beneath Folsom Lake: Hiking Across a Dry Lake Bed in Time of Drought. During that period, he also served as Placer County Jury pro tem foreperson.

With his PowerPoint presentation, Knauss intends to delight us with chronicles of the area’s early inhabitants, the 1850s rush for riches and efforts to tame Mother Nature. For a downloadable preview click “Kevin” at www.insuremekevin.com A must-see presentation. Books available for $20 at dinner.

Feb. 2 also marks the end of the official seven-day celebration period for the start of the year of the Rooster (sometimes called the year of the chicken). Lisa Bloom of A Window Opened, will cater our Chinese Fare in the downstairs dining hall of Auburn Veterans Hall, 100 East St. Call Bonnie Wilson to make reservations at 530 878-6640 Email: bonwally@hotmail.com The cost is $16.

The early American River community Dotan’s Bar with its own “China Town” had bridged the newly formed Placer and El Dorado Counties during the Gold Rush. James W. Chinn, a 49er from Virginia, was a Wells Fargo agent-shop owner there in 1854 and served as an early Placer County Supervisor.

To learn more, visit www.placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

 

Early map and Rice Bowl discovery.


The PCHS, founded circa 1910 in Auburn, is a good nonprofit organization that relies primarily on its dues and volunteers to keep it going. You can make a difference. Donations and inquiries can be sent to PCHS PO Box 5643, Auburn, CA 95604

Special notes:

• Volunteer with the Placer County Historical Society: Please! There is an urgent need to replace our veteran membership secretary, Barbara Burdick, who finds her schedule has changed so that she can’t continue. Computer skills advisable to maintain membership roster. Other posts available too.

• The Gold Country Medical History Museum, 219 Maple St., Old Town Auburn, will be holding one of those don’t miss fund-raising open houses at 5:30 pm Wednesday, March 22. Laura Kenny, author-chef-caterer, will be providing tasty treats. Amour Prive’ and Sips will be pouring wine. The museum will be open only on Saturdays until then or by arrangement with curator Rod Moser.

otten@ssctv.net or call (530) 888-7837 

Click to enlarge

Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

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
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036
pcgs.pcgenes.com

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November-December 2016

Administrator’s Notes 

by Ralph Gibson 

The Holidays are around the corner, and first up is Thanksgiving. In many parts of the country, this feast and football-related holiday is known as Christmas Part One as droves of shoppers brave crowded stores to find great deals on Christmas gifts. But let’s give the Holiday its due. It’s been around in what is now the United States since 1621, but its roots go much further back in time. The Puritans brought with them the tradition of Days of Fasting (usually after something terrible like a flood or plague) and Days of Thanksgiving (usually after a particularly good harvest or a great event).

It wasn’t until the late 1660s that Thanksgiving became routine. However, it wasn’t always celebrated on the same day by each colony or state. President George Washington tried to rectify this by proclaiming the first nationwide Day of Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789. But it wasn’t set in stone until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be the last Thursday in November (and a federal holiday to boot). In 1941 President Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress that set the date on the fourth Thursday in November.

In California, the first official Thanksgiving was celebrated on November 29, 1849 by proclamation of Governor Bennet C. Riley, the last Military Governor of California.

From the Nov. 29, 1849 Daily Alta newspaper:

Thanksgiving Day. We welcome it to California! The first ever appointed on the shores of the Pacific! It reminds us of home and of the scenes of childhood. We cannot this year gather round those ancient fire-sides and festal boards that have welcomed us always before; but we can observe Thanksgiving in our new home, and we rejoice that the governor has issued a proclamation appointing the day. 

I hope each of you has a terrific, merry and happy Holiday season!


Political Campaign Buttons

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections

The United States general election is only a few weeks away. It’s a busy time for political memorabilia collectors searching for posters, hats or buttons. Political buttons have been a way of showing support for a candidate or an issue since the days of George Washington. Their popularity derives from the fact that they are an inexpensive and easy wardrobe accessory one can add to any ensemble. The first mass production of buttons dates to the 1896 William McKinley presidential campaign. Placer County Museums has a sizable collection of buttons from different political campaigns. Here are some of the highlights:

Although not a presidential campaign button, the “Gage and Neff” button has a Placer County connection. Henry T. Gage was a Republican candidate for California governor. An attorney by profession, he became a successful sheep dealer and a gold miner in Southern California. Jacob H. Neff, a Placer County miner and sheriff, was a Republican candidate for California lieutenant governor. They won the election and served one term in office from 1899 until 1903.

At the bottom right are two campaign buttons for Theodore Roosevelt. The darker one on top was produced by “First Voters” clubs, which sprang up across college campuses in 1904 and helped ensure Roosevelt’s success. He won in a landslide victory against Conservative Democrat Alton Parker.

At bottom left, is a campaign button for Champ Clark. James Beauchamp “Champ” Clark was a Democrat from Missouri. He served as Speaker of the House from 1911 to 1919. He was a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1912, but failed to receive the necessary two-thirds of the vote on the first several ballots. The nomination went to Woodrow Wilson, who ran against incumbent William Howard Taft, winning the election.

The “I Want Roosevelt Again” button (at right) was created for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1936 presidential campaign. He ran against Republican Alf Landon. Roosevelt won in the greatest electoral landslide since the beginning of the current two-party system in the 1850s. He was also the only president to be elected four times.

“America Wants Willkie” button was made for the 1940 presidential election in which Republican Robert Willkie ran against incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, his third term. Roosevelt’s decision to seek the presidency was controversial, but the raging war in Europe influenced public opinion, and he was reelected.

The last three buttons (at left) are from more recent elections. The dark blue button was made for the 1972 presidential bid of Democrat George McGovern and Sargent Shriver, who ran an anti-war campaign again Richard Nixon. They were unsuccessful.

The button on the bottom was made for the 1984 presidential campaign. Democrat Walter Mondale and his running mate Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman nominated for that position by a major party, ran against Ronald Reagan. Reagan won with 525 electoral votes, the highest ever received by a presidential candidate.

The last button was made for the 1992 Bill Clinton and Al Gore presidential campaign against Republican George H. W. Bush and Independent Ross Perot. Clinton won the election.

Enthusiasm runs high during presidential election season, sometimes with the help of a small round wardrobe accessory. Although some of the buttons don’t grab your interest with clever slogans or designs, they serve to remind us of a unique period in the American political past.


The Scoop 

by Beth Rohlfes, Curator of Education 

Join us for an evening of holiday merriment here at the Courthouse during Old Town Auburn’s annual Country Christmas December 10 and 17, 5 - 8 p.m.

A very special treat this year! Storytellers will delight listeners, young and old, under the mantel. 
Free hot cider and cookies
Victorian crafts
Musicians from Auburn Winds 
Photo op as Santa & Mrs. Claus 
Placer County Museum, with its gold display and hallway exhibits
Warm bathrooms!

 

 

Christmas at DeWitt Army Hospital

by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives

The DeWitt General Army Hospital occupied a very brief yet significant place in the history of Placer County and America during the Second World War. Over the course of about 22 months of official operation, 9,741 patients were treated there for injuries sustained in the war effort at home and abroad. The man-in-charge was Colonel William H. Smith, whose “Christmas Message” for 1944 acknowledged the great sacrifices being made and asked that “the coming year bring us greater achievements as well as the restoration of world peace and the return of our soldiers to their homes.” In the meantime, there would be a Christmas celebration.

On Christmas day in 1944, the complex was buzzing with festivities in merriment with 1,424 patients, 94 officers, 102 Army Nurse Corps officers, 393 enlisted men, and 457 civilians. Preparations to celebrate the holiday had been underway for over a month. Local choir groups had spent the week caroling throughout the hospital. The American Red Cross had been gathering donations for care packages for the patients, while civilian volunteers eagerly engaged in “friendly visiting,” and the Dietetics Department was preparing the Christmas dinner. In order to provide a home-like Christmas atmosphere, patients and military personnel were encouraged to invite relatives and enjoy the holiday feast together in one of the mess halls.

By Christmas of 1945, Colonel Smith’s wish for the return of soldiers to their homes had become reality. The war had ended and the DeWitt General Army Hospital was inactivated on December 31st.


Destination: Roman Holiday 

by Jason Adair, Exhibit Preparator 

Anyone who’s attended the Placer County Museum Docent Christmas Party since I’ve taken over the Pirate Gift Exchange knows that I’m really into change. This year I’ve been given the opportunity to arrange the 2016 Docent Appreciation Trip. In the past, we’ve tried to stick to destinations within a couple hours distance of Auburn. This year I wanted to go further. Instead of putting a couple hundred miles on a bus, we’ve decided to take a trip through time. To be specific, we’re going back 63 years to 1953.

On November 7th, we’ll be transporting our volunteers back in time through a portal we’ve created at the State Theater in downtown Auburn. We’ve rented out the place and will be doing our best to make it feel like a matinee from the past. Museum staff will be working behind the counter as theater staff, and Ralph Gibson will be giving a brief presentation before the movie regarding some interesting history about our feature film, “Roman Holiday.”

Doors open at 1:00, and the program begins at 1:30. See you there!




 

News from Placer County Historical Society 

by Michael Otten, immediate past president 

PCHS Donations, Volunteers 

If you are reading this, chances are you feel like I do. History is special, either on a personal level or in a broader sense of it being important to a free society, or both. It is that giving time of year in terms of both money and time. For the first time, thanks to Mike Holmes, Bill George and your board, we are embarking on a special $500 annual history scholarship program at Sierra College.

So please donate to the scholarship fund as well as give a PCHS membership to a history-minded friend.

Volunteers are special folks. We love you. You make things happen with your time and money.

Are you one of the baby boomers (the nickname for the post-World War II surge in babies from 1946 to 1964 and turning 52-70 in 2016). Fortunately, nearly 9 million of this so-deemed wealthiest generation live in California, including a sizeable number in Placer County.

The way I figure it the baby boomers and the PCHS are a good match.

Per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Line Survey men and women over 65 are more likely than any other age group to volunteer.

Americans 15 and over put in 2.1 hours on the average day they volunteer with women having the edge in volunteering in every age category.

The National Philanthropic Trust tells us 95.4 percent of households donate to charities each contributing an average of nearly $3,000.

Working on the front lines with museums and history-oriented organizations and other organizations as a full-time volunteer I know we depend on our dues, volunteers and donations to keep us going.

The PCHS, founded circa 1910 in Auburn, is a good nonprofit organization that relies primarily on its dues and volunteers to keep it going. You can make a difference. Donations and inquiries can be sent to PCHS PO Box 5643, Auburn, CA 95604

Assorted notes:
• Special condolences to Addah Owens, our hard-working program chairman for a quarter century. She unexpectedly lost her son, Cary Owens in October. Cary, former owner of the Harvest Grill in Loomis. He had just turned 47. Cary was buried in a hand-dug grave next to his grandfather, John Whistler, in the historic Gold Rush era Jay Hawk Cemetery near Rescue in El Dorado County.
• PCHS president Walt Wilson is the new chair of the Placer County Historical Organizations Committee.
• Want to serve on the PCHS Board of Directors? Please contact me ASAP. I was appointed chair of the Nomination Committee.
• If you think our reading and math skills in our seriously wanting in our schools and society, look at history. Our knowledge scores are a mere fraction of the so-called “3Rs.” A recent study discovered that many of the nation’s top-rated universities no longer require completion of courses in American history to receive a degree in history. Being involved is your chance to give back while raising the value of knowing about our past.
• If you are over 70 ½ with one or more individual retirement accounts (IRAs), you know you are required to take minimum distributions (RMDs) each year. I have discovered that a good way to help the PCHS and reduce your tax burden this year is by direct gifts to the PCHS. Your financial adviser or institution holding your IRA or tax adviser should be able to help you with this. You should do this before the end of the year. Questions? Please contact.
• Donations of prizes for the special holiday drawing at the Dec. 1 dinner meeting are needed. Contact Addah Owens at 530 305-0058.

 

Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting 

 By Addah Owens, Vice President 

When: December 1, 2016

Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn

Cost: $16 per person (Note $1 increase)

Menu: Special holiday fare prepared by our new caterer, Lisa Bloom, owner of A Window Opened in Meadow Vista.

Program: “Gold Rush Medicine.” Dr. Bob LaPerriere, a retired dermatologist affectionately known in the history community as Dr. Bob, is curator of the Sacramento County Medical Society History Museum and so much more in local history and cemeteries communities. A must-see presentation.

Also a drawing for prizes. Mail Checks to: PCHS c/o Bonnie Wilson, 1890 Pheasant Hill Lane, Auburn 95602 (530) 878-6640

DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and, we can't get liability coverage.

Michael Otten email otten@ssctv.net or call (530) 888-7837


 click on calendar to zoom in

 

Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

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
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036
pcgs.pcgenes.com

Friday, September 2, 2016

September-October 2016

Administrator’s Notes

by Ralph Gibson


The temperatures are finally beginning to ebb, and Halloween decorations have already hit the shelves in stores. This is our cue for volunteer training. We have about 20 people signed up for our annual fall classes, and they all seem eager to get started here at our museums and facilities. In fact, some have already started. A few years ago, we revised some of our procedures to capture that early enthusiasm and improve the new volunteer experience.

In the past, people who signed up early in the year had to wait months for the training classes to start in the fall. This was risky for us and not ideal for some recruits who lost their enthusiasm and dropped out before the fall training. Now, when two or three people sign up to work in the same museum (like the Bernhard, for example), we schedule early classes to orient then to the Volunteer Program and to that particular museum. They can begin shadowing in the museum immediately after they’ve had both classes and when training starts in the fall, those docents simply attend the remainder of the classes. This is leading to greater docent satisfaction and better retention.

The Docent Guild also has revived some effective strategies to help retain volunteers. Through the ongoing efforts of a new Docent Support Committee, which includes Curator of Education Beth Rohlfes, they now offer mentors to our new volunteers (nothing like a friendly veteran to step you through the ropes). In addition to the Guild’s highly successful Lunch & Learn programs, mentoring is just one of our exciting, new and improved initiatives that will help attract and retain museum volunteers.

I hope each of you had a terrific summer and I look forward to seeing you in one of our museums or facilities. Happy Halloween!


Ghosts in the Archives

by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives


We do, in fact, have ghosts in the Archives. Well, sort of.

Recently, much research has been conducted here around the topic of ghosts. In the spirit of the season, we have prepared a research packet of historical information that will inform the development of “Ghost Tours,” a two-day event put on by an outside group in Old Town Auburn at the end of October. I am happy to share some tidbits from this effort but encourage everyone to check out https://m.facebook.com/HauntsofAuburn/ for more information.

So, ghosts… As a historian, this is an interesting subject. I have no evidence to either confirm or deny the presence of paranormal activity in Auburn. What I can say is that Auburn has a colorful history and is a wonderful example of an old west town that developed quickly and became a central hub for commerce, community, and law and order. We are fortunate to have so many historic buildings preserved, and enjoy the same types of commercial activities in Old Town that have been happening since the gold rush. The old saying “If these walls could talk” applies well here, as many of them have been here a long time and witnessed events that, today, we can only imagine through the sources left behind.

In the vicinity of Old Town, there were murders, a hanging tree, suicide, bank robbery, and natural deaths. In 1856, a man was famously hanged in the central square after being convicted of murder. Our 24-year-old first sheriff (Echols) was shot and succumbed to his wounds.

You will have to take a tour for the details of these events, but either way, there were plenty of deathly happenings which occurred in the area. There was a coffin maker, an undertaker, and at the top of the hill (where the Courthouse now stands) the original “burying ground” for the earliest residents who perished.

We do not deal in myth, rumor, or legend. Our work is the historic record. The ghost stories are out there, and perchance you have one of your own? The validity of ghosts is not for us to determine. What we do know is that Old Town has seen it all and remains today a place where you can stand where it happened.


Miniature Tea Set

by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of Collections


This miniature faience tea set became part of our collection recently and is currently on display at the Foresthill Divide Museum. It belonged to Estella Bowman and dates to around 1900. She was born in Deadwood in 1886 to William and Fredolina Ebbert. Her father emigrated from Germany, and her mother’s parents came from Pennsylvania during the Gold Rush and settled in Deadwood, where they had a store. When she was 17 Stella worked at the Red Point Mine boarding house where she waited on tables and prepared lunches for the miners. In 1927 she moved to Foresthill. She married twice. Her second husband, Sam Bowman, worked at the Bowman Mine.

Tea sets as toys for children first appeared in the 16th century in Germany. They were made of pewter and copper, and later of porcelain. Because they were expensive and fragile, their popularity did not reach its height until the 1850s, when the scientific and technical progress of the Industrial Revolution introduced stronger, inexpensive materials like celluloid and Bakelite.

Nineteenth century tea sets were not just toys fostering imagination. Managing a tea service was an important part of a Victorian girl’s education, preparing her for adulthood and domestic duties. An article in the July 1866 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book explains: “The next great step is in allowing little miss to make the tea, which is a very great promotion indeed, and ere many years go by she presides at the tea and breakfast table with a perfect sense of what is required of her; and to the great relief of mamma, who knows that if she goes out to tea she leaves some one behind who is quite capable of conducting things satisfactorily in her absence.”

As people’s attitudes towards children and childhood began to change, markets around the world began to grow and mass produce toys and games. Today miniature tea sets are still a part of many little girls’ toy collections.

The Scoop

by Beth Rohlfes, Curator of Education


As students return to school and museums prepare for a new season of field trips, I wonder how many of us are pondering how we might adapt our museum education goals to reflect the upcoming rewrite of California’s K-12 history books. “After 10 years, thousands of public comments and contentious debates, the California Department of Education has rewritten the history standards for California’s … public school students” (Sac Bee, July 29, 2016). The goal is to be more inclusive and diverse so that ALL students can see how people like them impacted the development of our state and country. New textbooks will be out by 2018.

You might call it telling the true story, warts and all, of California—the actual impact of the missions and the Gold Rush on Native Americans, for example, and the difficult challenges of California’s diverse communities and the roles their people have played in California history. Of course, this isn’t an entirely new effort, but it has new relevance in a time when mass migration has been described by some as "the defining issue of this century." While an objective analysis of today’s struggles may not be available for decades, it is time to clarify what we understand to be objective truths about what happened here over a hundred years ago.

History is not stagnant, as our Museum Director Ralph Gibson likes to remind our new volunteers. We are always uncovering new primary source information that enlightens our perspective and adds new depth and richness to our understanding of the past. It enables a fresh telling of the story— until the next rewrite.


News from Placer County Historical Society

by Michael Otten, immediate past president


Betty Samson, 91, was finally presented her CCHS award of merit on at the August 23 Board of Supervisors meeting (after a painful recovery from oral surgery to remove wisdom teeth). You can see and hear Supervisor Jim Holmes’ presentation on the Board’s agenda website for that date.

*** 

For better or worse, much of our communicating these days is done through Facebook and other social media, including email. When I sit in on historical group meetings, it seems most would rather not indulge. But if you do, please provide PCHS with that information, particularly email.

Busy, multi-tasking PCHS President Walt Wilson prefers the telephone or in person. He is deeply worried no one is going to show up for dinners or meetings now that Betty Samson, the voice and face of the Society, has retired. No one has volunteered to take her place yet.

So now Wilson wants to build a huge telephone tree with many branches of members building their own Do-Call list. Please contact him with your name and phone number (or email) to be part of the tree: (530) 878-6640 or bonwally@ hotmail.com. While you’re at it, if you haven’t renewed, please do.

***

As the new 1st VP of the Conference of California Historical Society, I am setting up a regional workshop for Placer-Sacramento historical societies and members on safe and easy use of social media. The daylong event that will include lunch, beverages, etc., with a cost to cover expenses. Please contact me to be put on the invitation list.

 *** 

Donna Howell, Hal Hall, Mike Lynch and the rest of the Historical Foundation were instrumental in getting Bowman street signs up as part of the Placer County new community and area branding programs. The County website shows photos of the formal dedication and cake cutting. http://www.placer.ca. gov/news/2016/aug/community-signs. The Foundation is busy finalizing a book about the community just off I-80.

*** 

The Auburn City Council has reappointed two PCHS members, Cindy Combs and Kathryn Kratzer-Yue to the Historic Design Review Commission.

*** 

As I reported in the last Placer newsletter, the 1855 Lawyers Row, one of Auburn’s oldest landmarks, is being taken down for safety reasons, just as it went up, brick by brick. You can watch the progress at Court and Commercial Streets in Old Town Auburn. But don’t park or get too close. It is still dangerous. If you have photos, stories or other information about Lawyers Row, please send to me at PCHS at PO Box 5643, Auburn, CA 95604.

You can reach Michael Otten at otten@ssctv.net or 530) 888-7837.


Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting

By Addah Owens, Vice President


When: October 6, 2016

Time: 6:30 Dinner, 7:30 Program

Where: Auburn Veterans Hall, 100 East St, Auburn

Cost: $15 per person

Menu: Grilled port loin, roasted sweet potatoes, seasonal vegetables, salad, and dessert.

Program: Be surprised!

Mail Check to: PCHS c/o Bonnie Wilson, 1890 Pheasant Hill Lane, Auburn 95602 (530) 878-6640

DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL. County directives prohibit it, and, we can't get liability coverage.


Special Thanks


Fran Hanson, Barbara Fernald, Daphne Lake and Ruth Casler, for washing drapes, and Leona Harrington (photo at left) for polishing the silver during our annual cleaning week at the Bernhard Museum. And kudos to Carole McCarthy for freshening up our Bernhard kitchens. The museum looks and smells ready for guests!


 Calendar


  
Click on calendar for larger version

Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

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
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036
pcgs.pcgenes.com

Friday, July 1, 2016

July-August 2016

Administrator’s Notes 

by Ralph Gibson 


Visitors celebrate the 2013 Archives and Research Center opening.
Our museums system has been very fortunate over the decades. The Placer County Board of Supervisors, citizens of the county, as well as visitors from all over the world, continue to support our efforts to preserve and interpret our history. You should all become familiar with one particular resource we have in our division: our Archives and Research Center.

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.
According to a survey conducted in 2015, 70% of American households use paper napkins. With an average use of six napkins per person per day, it’s not a very ecofriendly choice, but definitely one of convenience. Nonetheless, the use of paper napkins has been declining in the last 20 years, with more people opting to use the paper towel or turning away from paper altogether in favor of cloth napkins.

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.

A stationery manufacturer in West Hertfordshire, England, Dickinson used napkins printed on Japanese paper for his company’s annual party. The fashion caught on, and before long large quantities of the napkin squares were being produced. The first company to make them in America was Scott Paper, but that wasn’t until 1931. The company introduced the first paper towel for the kitchen and created a whole new grocery category, but the use of paper napkins did not become popular in the United States until the 1950s. That makes our collection of 17 napkins that belonged to Enid Griffith, great-niece of Griffith Griffith, even more interesting. We don’t know where they were produced, but we know when they were used because she inscribed them.

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.

As a researcher, sometimes you just know there is a photograph of your subject out there, somewhere. How many attics or basements or (gasp) landfills are the resting places of these missing puzzle pieces? How many are simply unidentified because the information has been lost? How about finding a description of that photograph in a diary and trying to imagine the scene while knowing the search may be futile?

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.

“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.”

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.

In this collection are the personal papers, photographs, ledger books, and handwritten autobiography of Albion P. Hall, an original stakeholder of the Penryn Fruit Company. He was an all-around mover and shaker in the early days of Penryn and the fruit packing and shipping industry there. He went on to serve in the California Senate and as an Assemblyman from Placer County.

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, PCHS 

CCHS Honors Betty R. Samson 

Attendees 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 Auburn 

The 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. 

Fanoni intends to dismantle the building as soon as he can and move it to a safer spot owned by his family in Clipper Gap, where he will incorporate as much of the historic brick and iron work into a new, bigger two-story structure. At the commission’s request, Fanoni will provide a progress report early next year. Details and photos to be posted soon at placercountyhistoricalsociety.org.

Still Time for Benton Welty Classroom Kids Winner at City Hall 

If 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 jeanallender@hotmail.com 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 Dinners 

Your 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 bonwally@hotmail.combonwally@hotmail.com

You can reach me at otten@ssctv.net or 530 888-7837. For other news check placercountyhistoricalsociety.org


Kids Say it Best 

Here’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

Calendar

 


Placer County Historical Organizations  

Colfax Area Historical Society
Chris Miller (530) 346-8599
colfaxhistory.org

Donner Summit Historical Society
Bill Oudegeest, (209) 606-6859
donnersummithistoricalsociety.org

Foresthill Divide Historical Society
Sandy Simester, (530) 367-3535
foresthillhistory.org

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
bobd@iname.com lincolnhwy.org

Lincoln Area Archives Museum
Elizabeth Jansen, (916) 645-3800
laamca.org

Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center
Richard Yue, (530) 346-7121

Loomis Basin Historical Society
Karen Clifford, (916) 663-3871
ppgn.com/loomishistorical.html

Roseville Fire Museum
Jim Giblin
JGiblin@roseville.ca.us, rosevillefiremuseum.org

Maidu Museum & Historic Site
Glenie Strome, (916) 782-3299
roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum

Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor #59
Dave Allen, (530) 878-2878
dsallen59@sbcglobal.net

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
placercountyhistoricalsociety.org

Placer County Museums Docent Guild
Tom Innes, (530) 888-8969

Rocklin Historical Society
Barbara Chapman, (916) 415-0153
rocklinhistory.org

Roseville Historical Society
Phoebe Astill, (916) 773-3003
rosevillehistorical.org

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Rebecca Phipps, (530) 583-1762
northtahoemuseums.org

Placer County Genealogical Society,
Toni Rosasco, (530) 888-8036
pcgs.pcgenes.com