by Ralph Gibson
We now live in a world where the County of Placer manages seven museums. On Tuesday, February 27th, we had the grand opening for our new DeWitt History Museum. The event was attended by over 200 people including Supervisors Jim Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery, the new CEO Todd Leopold and former Museums Administrator, Melanie Barton. As a staff, we enjoyed working on this project but are glad to have it behind us so we can refocus our efforts on completing another monumental task: the Gold Rush Museum. So, back to work!
by Kasia Woroniecka, Curator of CollectionsArmand Marseille Doll
This beautiful doll needs your help. She was recently donated to our collection and will eventually be on display at the Bernhard Museum. She came to us in her “unmentionables”, and as a proper Victorian lady she needs a wardrobe reflecting the time period in which she was created: 1895-1910. She needs at least two outfits that can be rotated when other textiles at the museum are installed. Since dolls were dressed as dolls are today, in costumes reflecting current fashion, she needs dresses of the late Victorian period, in either junior or adult style, made of variety of fabrics, including linen, cotton, wool, silk, velvet, lace, lawn, or sateen.
Our doll was made by a German doll maker Armand Marseille in the period of the late19th and early 20th century that was often called the “Golden Age” of dolls. During this time Germany was the doll making capital supplying 80 percent of the world production of dolls. The company specialized in making dolls heads and at their height it produced over 1,000 doll head a day. The composition and the stuffed leather bodies were supplied by other manufacturers and added to the Marseille head molds.
The French name of the founder of the company, Armand Marseille, has caused some confusion in the world of antique toys. Marseille was born in 1856 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father was an architect to the court of Tsar Alexander II. The family moved to Germany in the 1860s. In 1884, the 19 years old Marseille purchased his first in a series of toy and porcelain factories that he merged into his own company, the Armand Marseille Porzellanfabrik. Marseille’s only son, Armand J., also known as Herman, took over the business in 1918, and the company continued production until the 1930s.
Armand Marseille made a large variety of baby dolls, dolly-faced child dolls and character dolls. Brand names include Floradora, Queen Louise, Darling Dolly, the Dream Baby and Just Me. Armand Marseille dolls are generally very clearly marked on the back of the bisque head. Mold 390, the mold of our doll, was the most commonly made.
Some of the most popular women’s magazines of the Victorian period, like the The Delineator, offered detailed doll clothes patters to make an extensive doll’s wardrobe. Hopefully one day our doll will make her debut in the fashion of her time. If any of or our talented readers are interested in this sewing project, please contact the Curator of Collections Kasia Woroniecka at email@example.com for more information.
From the Archives: Spanish Flat
by Bryanna Ryan, Curator of Archives
One of the most iconic images of the California Gold Rush is a daguerreotype taken at Spanish Flat in 1852. The early life of this village was brief but prosperous. Year-round water arrived via the Bear River and Auburn Canal Company in 1852.
By 1861, the diggings were “worked out” and water had helped transform the area into a fertile garden spot primarily owned by horticulturalist, James Collins.
Researchers studying the Flat over the years have become acquainted with some of the more well-documented aspects of its history.
Recently, diligent research efforts by Archives volunteer, John Knox, breathes new life into the story of Spanish Flat and reveals a better understanding of the location and existence of this historic place.
Using books of Land Claims and Deeds, John’s research locates the village upon the Flat as nestled at the intersection of today’s Nevada Street and Mount Vernon Road. At the time, these were the main wagon roads leading from Auburn to Nevada City and Marysville, respectively.
An 1853 Deed shows the sale of “that certain house located on Spanish Flat…being the third house on the left side of the road going from Auburn to Grass Valley.”
1852 Records of Retailing Licenses show nine merchant establishments serving liquor, and the Placer Herald records great detail of events upon the Flat. Using Assessment Rolls and Court Case Files, research continues to reveal a more complete picture of this historic location.
One of the exciting aspects of studying history is knowing that new sources can reveal such a wealth of information. They can change perceptions, expose myths, and illuminate forgotten stories. It is never too late to add a new chapter to an old story.
by Beth Rohlfes, Supervising Curator
Don’t miss the Placer County Museums’ FREE Community Education events this spring! Seating is limited, so please let us know if you plan to attend. 530-889-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “Good Old Days” of Leeches and Arsenic, by Dr. Bob LaPerriere
1:00 p.m. at the Gold Rush Museum, 601 Lincoln Way, Auburn
When a miner’s gold fever turned into a real fever or worse, they could sometimes expect the cure to be as bad - or worse - than the illness. Come find out what kind of treatments miners could expect from a doctor’s visit. People during the Gold Rush era trusted the experts, even though “Many of the doctors were really not doctors” according to LaPerriere. He will share first-hand accounts of the devastation of disease that plagued early travelers to California and their treatments.
The Japantowns of Placer County, by David Unruhe
1:00 p.m. at the Bernhard Museum Winery, 291 Auburn-Folsom Road, Auburn
“It would surprise many in California to learn that there was once an active Japantown in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.” The Japantowns of Placer County
Join David Unruh, as he shares oral histories, artifacts and photographs of local communities and existing historic buildings to help visualize the once thriving Japanese communities that have enriched Placer County’s cultural and economic history.
News from Placer County Historical Society
by April McDonald-Loomis, President April400@wavecable.com (530) 823-2128
It’s the time of year for the Society to elect officers for the coming terms. Carmel Barry-Schweyer, the former curator at the Placer County Archives, has agreed to step in and fill in the position recently vacated by Melanie Barton. We all extend our best wishes to Melanie who is facing some medical issues.
We now have a Facebook page. If you belong to Facebook just search for Placer County Historical Society. It is interesting to see that this platform is attracting some folks who are eager to learn about what we do.
The Society is trying to come up with an idea to tie into the One Book, One Community event in late April. The book this year is about the Donner Party. If anyone has any thoughts, please contact a board member. We are looking for volunteers to help with Heritage Trail at the Benton Welty Classroom on June 16th. Please contact a board member if you are willing to lend a hand.
Members of your board will be participating in the annual AAUW Trivia Night on March 24th at the State Theater, wish us luck! Make plans to attend this great fund raiser. Our Treasurer, Al Stoll, has just finished revamping and updating our By-Laws. Most of the changes are clerical in nature and just streamline some antiquated language. Copies for your review will be available at the next General Meeting on April 5th, we will then vote on the acceptance at the June 7th meeting.
Here is the slate of candidates for the Board for the coming term:
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, 2018-2020): Sherri Schackner, Karri Samson, Carmel Barry-Schweyer
Board members (Two-Year Terms, 2017-2019): Jean Allender, Karen Bleuel, Delana Ruud, John Knox
Nomination Committee: Walt Wilson, Michael Otten, George Lay, Mike Holmes, Jane Mispley, Delana Ruud.
Officers will be elected at the dinner meeting on April 5th 2018 at 6:30 pm, Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 100 East St. Auburn. 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 1st.
Education isn’t all in the Textbook
by Katy Bartosh, Curator of Education
February saw the end of the Gold Rush Program and the beginning of Bernhard Living History. While I’ve worked with students before, these programs have reminded me that no student interaction is the same, and how that’s one of the best parts of the job.
Two things have stood out in the last few weeks. First, children are wonderfully creative, and second, it’s very rewarding to teach a child to hammer a nail.
During the Gold Rush Program each student receives the biography of a historic person from Placer County. During the conclusion the students tell us what they’ve learned about their person. One girl got Mrs. Elizabeth Kittler. At a point in her narrative, our fourth grader assumed the persona of Mrs. Kittler, (recently widowed, raising six babes on her own) and her friends joined in, consoling her, and generally putting on a grand show with the grieving widow. The docents are still talking about it.
During Living History, getting in to character is easier with everyone in Victorian attire. However, that doesn’t always make doing 19th century chores any easier. Butter churning and wheat grinding aren’t usually familiar to kids, but they pick them up quickly. Assembling fruit crates with a hammer and nails can be a bit trickier. One boy wanted nothing to do with his hammer and nail. I put in his first two nails then started the next two and got him to finish them. The next ones he started and finished with me just holding the box, after which he told me that he could do it alone.
It might not seem like a big thing, getting a kid comfortable hammering a nail, but is that what are they’re really learning? Sure, but you’re also helping grow their self-confidence.
Getting positive feedback from teachers is great. But when students act out a part or learn a new skill it feels truly rewarding. It’s then that I know we aren’t only meeting content standards, but that we’re giving kids room to explore and grow.
Placer County Historical Society Dinner Meeting
by Addah Owens, Vice President
When: April 5, 2018
Time: 6:30. Dinner, 7:30 Program
Where: Veterans Memorial Hall, 100 East St, Auburn
Cost: $16 per person
Menu: Glazed Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Salad, and Dessert
DO NOT BRING ALCOHOL.
Mail Dinner Checks to: PCHS c/o Jane Hamilton, 1871 Crockett Road, Auburn, CA 95603. (530) 885-7839 or email@example.com
Calendar of Events
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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
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