Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

June 15, 2011
California State Library Foundation Bulletin

ca2258.jpgJack London.jpgThe California State Library Foundation, though its membership fees and outside contributions, helps support the programs, services, and collections of the State Library. One of the benefits of foundation membership is receipt of its California State Library Foundation Bulletin, which is "published when [they] are able," usually two or three times a year. Copies are available to the public for purchase in the library's California History Room, but past and present issues can also be viewed online at

The current issue of the Bulletin available online is number #99 which, like the rest, features numerous articles of historical interest tied in to the library and its collections. The lead feature is on Gold Rush era San Francisco musicians Stephen C. Massett and Joseph F. Atwill, and includes contemporary sheet music from the California collection. Following is an article on Jack London's White Fang by former Talisman Press proprietor Robert Greenwood, whose analysis of the novel is complemented by stunning photographs from the library's collection depicting its 1898 Klondike Gold Rush setting. And not only does the library own a presentation copy of the book signed by London, but its special collections also contain the Talisman Press archives.

Another article in Bulletin #99 highlights trade card and citrus crate labels donated to the State Library from the collection of the late Dean L. Mawdsley, dating back to a pre-computer era when advertising and commercial art was hand-created by skilled artists (an amazing Sunkist California Dream orange crate label is featured on the Bulletin's cover). The donation of former State Librarian Gary E. Strong's California mystery book collection is highlighted, and in an article on the October 4, 2010 "Snapshot Day" to gather State Library usage data, library regulars will recognize some of the smiling faces depicted.

Many will find interesting the article in Bulletin #99 which relates the successful efforts of library staff members Vincent Beiderbecke and Matthew Bartok to photograph the Maynard Dixon mural Pageant of Tradition, on the wall of Gillis Hall in the old Library and Courts Building at 914 Capitol Mall, undertaken at a time when the room had been cleared prior to the structure's renovation. This is a fascinating story about the challenges involved in building a tracking, dolly, and lighting setup addressing the specific circumstances of this project. 

Shown here are photos of Gillis Hall in the old Library and Courts Building showing Dixon's mural and the system developed to photograph it, the Sunkist label on the cover of California State Library Foundation Bulletin #99, and a photo of Jack London from the California History Room collection.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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