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100th Anniversary celebration of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the life and work of artist Siméon Pélenc
The new issue of the Bulletin is out (#111) featuring the cover article by Capitol Museum Curator John Allen. Allen provides a wonderful overview of the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. SFSU Archives curator Meredith Eliassen gives us an intimate look into the life and work of artist Siméon Pélenc; some of his original pieces are now part of the California History collection at the State Library. Gary Kurutz profiles the first head of the California History Section, Eudora Garoutte. The issue also includes information on the latest exhibits, presentations, and news from the Braille and Talking Book Library.
View bulletin #111 >>

"Golden Poppies and Scarlet Monkeys"
The current exhibit in the Mead B. Kibbey Gallery of the Library & Courts II Building (900 N Street), celebrates California wildflowers with a “bouquet” of original watercolors, prints, volumes of pressed flowers, rare books, fine press publications, and ephemera. On display for the late winter and early spring months, the exhibition calls attention to the many ways in which the wondrous bounty of the state’s wildflowers have been portrayed since first observed and described by European explorers.

While paying homage to the state’s official flower, the golden poppy, the exhibit gives us the opportunity to show off two little-known collections in the California History Section of original watercolor paintings by wildflower artists A. R. Valentien (1862–1925) and Cornelia Cunningham (1852–1915). In addition, the exhibit features the famous linoleum block portfolio of colored wildflower prints created by the great California book artist Henry Evans in 1980, and the equally rare Selected Shoe Plants of Southern California (1992) by Charles L. Leland and designed and printed by Vance Gerry of the Weather Bird Press."
For early California railroad enthusiasts...
Visit the CA State Library's online exhibit of stereographs from Mead B. Kibbey's Night at the State Library presentation on January 14. http://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/railroad.html

The State Library is planning another railroad related Night at the State Library event in May. Stay tuned via the library's official website and social media at http://www.library.ca.gov/

A wonderful exhibit of sports in the state
Another fun exhibit on display in the Mead B. Kibbey Gallery at 900 N. Street is “Wild Cheers Broke Loose - Sports in California From the 1850s to the 1950s." Ice skating, baseball, boxing, and much more!

California, because of its mild climate, varied geography, and vigorous population has long been a mecca for sports of all kinds. It is no accident that the Golden State has hosted three Olympics and scores of national and international events. The exploits of California’s athletic heroes have produced a vast literature. The California History Section of the State Library possesses an extraordinary collection of books, programs, photographs, posters, and scrapbooks documenting this illustrious history. As demonstrated by this display, California has enjoyed a remarkable diversity of sporting pastimes including basketball, baseball, bicycling, boxing, figure skating, fishing, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, horseracing, polo, skiing, surfing, swimming, and tennis. Space, however, does not permit representation of all forms of athletic competition. Chronologically, the exhibit begins with the late 1850s and ends with the early 1950s before the advent of major sports franchises. The one exception is the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Old becomes new California State Library digitizes 3-D images from 1800s (Sacramento Bee article)

They’re coming out of the vault and into the digital age. In slow but meticulous work at the California State Library in downtown Sacramento, more than 10,000 old sepia-toned 3-D photos – most from the 1800s – are being dusted off and converted to computer-ready images.

Officially known as stereoscopic photos, they were a popular turn-of-the-century parlor activity, shared like postcards and viewed through hand-held viewers that turned the side-by-side double photos into a single 3-D image.

For decades, thousands of the cardboard photos have been sitting in the state library’s archives, viewable only by appointment. Now, they’re being uploaded to a photo sharing site that’s making them available to anyone anywhere.

“It’s a wonderful treasure trove of California that not many people have ever been able to see. Now they’re available for not just California, but for anyone all over the world,” said Jarrid Keller, spokesman for the library’s information technology bureau.

Read more>>

    Gerald Maginnity appointed Deputy State Librarian
Gerald Maginnity has been appointed Deputy State Librarian at the California State Library, where he will continue to be instrumental in implementing policies and programs under the new State Librarian, Greg Lucas. Mr. Maginnity, who has been with CSL since 2005, served as Acting State Librarian from 2012 - 2014. He previously held the title of Bureau Chief of Library Development Services at CSL. His extensive library background includes supervisor and coordinator positions with Mountain Valley Library System, Fresno County Free Library, Solano County Library, the Serra Cooperative Library System, and Lassen County. Mr. Magginnity led considerable language skills to his work with the California Region 2 of the U.S. Department of Education Migrant Education Program, and at the Insituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico. He is a member of La Asociacion de Bibliotecarios de Baja California, the California Library Association, and the American Library Association. Maginnity earned a Master of Science degree in library science from the University of Western Ontario.
    Gary Kurutz honored by SF History Association
For his “devotion and work for the Sutro Library,” the San Francisco History Association has honored Gary with the Ron Ross Founder’s Award, given to a person who performs an impressive undertaking that supports San Francisco history. The group was treated to a talk by Gary on the Sutro Library’s unique collection. Gary is in good company. Past winners of the award include former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and State Librarian Emeritus Kevin Starr.

CSL at the State Fair
The State Library had a booth in the Industrial and Technology Education building at Cal Expo on Sunday, July 27. The library's 3-D technology was featured and was a big hit! State Librarian Greg Lucas was on hand to meet and greet visitors.

Library named a top “haunted attraction.”
The State Library was recently listed as one of Sacramento’s top haunted spots by the online real estate site Movoto.http://www.movoto.com/sacramento-ca/moving-to-sacramento/ (See #14!)

[Courtesy of Kim Brown, Communications Officer, California State Library]


California Invites the World: The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition

This exhibit at the California State Capitol Museum is based primarily on the collections of the State Library's California History Room, and includes artifacts from the private collections of Foundation board members Mead Kibbey and Tom Vinson.

The California State Library and the Foundation are now on social media!
Visit the State Library's social media sites such as Pinterest, HistoryPin, and Twitter. We've included icons with links to these sites at the top of this page. If you're a Facebook fan, you can also go directly to the Foundation's Facebook page by clicking on the blue icon to the far right.
See you online!
  View detail >>
Yosemite exhibit in the Annex.
Gary Kurutz is curating an exhibit celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Yosemite Grant, when President Lincoln signed an act of Congress turning over Yosemite Valley to the State of California. It was the first time in history that a large tract of land was set aside for public recreation and enjoyment. The first floor lobby features spectacular images of the valley. The exhibit continues on the second floor with a visual journey through time, as Yosemite becomes a tourist destination and national park. Library preservationist Dan Flanagan installed the exhibit with the help of Vincent Beiderbecke, Matt Bartok and Kira Healey. Pictured is a chromolithograph based on a painting by Albert Bierstadt, ca. 1872.
View detail >>
Asian Art exhibit at the Sutro Library. Adolph Sutro’s collection of Asian art is on exhibit at the Sutro Library through June. On view are beautiful examples of Chinese trade painting books, created as souvenirs for westerners in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as some truly unique and rare Japanese block prints known as ukiyo-e or “images of the floating world.”

[The Foundation would like to thank Kim Brown, Communications Officer at the California State Library, for providing text for this post.]

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announces appointment of Greg Lucas
as State Librarian.

By Kimberly Brown, California State Library
Mr. Lucas, 55, has been a senior editor for Capitol Weekly since 2011 and has written and edited California’s Capitol, a website he created focusing on California history and politics, since 2007. He was Sacramento bureau chief and a Capitol reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1988 to 2007 and covered the Capitol for the Los Angeles Daily Journal from 1985 to 1988. Lucas has been a board member at the Friends of the California State Archives since 2012. He earned a Master of Arts degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California.

Foundation acquires rare lithograph in memory of Elizabeth “Liz” Gibson

The Foundation has acquired a rare and beautiful lithograph in memory of Elizabeth “Liz” Gibson. The print, “Mammoth Arbor Vitae” by J.M. Lapham (published in 1853 by Britton and Rey of San Francisco), depicts a majestic Calaveras County sequoia. This purchase was made possible by generous donations from friends and colleagues of Ms. Gibson. The print is now hanging in the outer room of the State Librarian’s office at 914 Capitol Mall, Room 200.
Gibson passed away unexpectedly October 14. She retired from the Library Development Services Bureau in 2003 and left a legacy throughout the California library community.
Available now
California and the Camera, From Glass to Film: 1850 - 1930
By Wayne Bonnett
    View detail >>

Published by Windgate Press in Sausalito (2014), this stunning collection of photographs is available for purchase through the California State Library Foundation’s website. Featuring images from the library’s California History Section Bonnett traces the state’s development through the evolution of the art and science of photography, from daguerreotype and mammoth silver gelatin prints, to modern film. His tribute to the intrepid photographers who documented California’s emerging industrial and agricultural empire would make a perfect gift for photography enthusiasts and California history buffs.

Price: $50.00 Now $25!!
(plus tax and shipping)

Spotlight: California State Library Grand Reopening

On February 11, the California State Library celebrated its return to the historic Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Acting State Librarian Gerry Maginnity and attended by over 130 people. Three former State Librarians, Gary Strong, Susan Hildreth and Stacey Aldrich,  returned for the occasion and entertained the audience with memories of their time in the Library and Courts Building. California’s Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, read a poem composed for the occasion, and State Library Foundation members George Basye and Tom Vinson sang the state song, “I Love You, California.” 

Click here to


“Rich, rare, and curious” collections.

The Foundation is pleased to make available a PDF of our Treasures of the California State Library, 1850–2000 on our website. It was originally published to celebrate the State Library’s sesquicentennial and to serve as a catalog for our well-received exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum. We thought our members and supporters would enjoy having an online version of this overview of our “rich, rare, and curious” collections.

View low quality version
(16MB faster download, low resolution)

Download high quality version
(88MB slower download, full print resolution)

    Books for sale at the fantastic price of $5 each!

    View detail >>
Margaret Sanborn's "hilarious and deeply moving" portrait of Mark Twain in his "Bachelor Years" uses letters, journals and other early writings of Twain (real name: Samuel Langhorne Clemons) to trace the author's childhood and early careers, his youthful carousing, and his hard-won courtship of Olivia Langdon.

(See mail-order payment option below)


We also have a limited number of 1962 hardcover printings of Great Citizen; a Biography of William H. Crocker by David Warren Ryder. Banker, civic leader, philanthropist and University of California Regent, Crocker left his indelible mark on California history.

You can mail payment to:
California State Library Foundation
1225 ~ 8th Street, Suite 345
Sacramento, CA 95814

The $5.00 sale price includes tax, shipping and handling.
Please indicate "Twain" or "Crocker" on your check.


Bob Kolbrener Fine Photography Portfolio finds a permanent home in the California State Library History Room


Generous donations to the California State Library Foundation made possible the purchase of a portfolio of Bob Kolbrener original black and white photographs. A sample of Kolbrener’s exquisite landscapes, featuring Yosemite vistas, may be seen on display in the rotunda of the California State Library Building at 900 N. Street, Sacramento. Foundation Executive Director Gary Kurutz said of Kolbrener’s work:

“I have studied photographs of the great valley for close to forty years
and these are the finest I have ever seen.”

Reproductions of some of Kolbrener’s work, as well as an exclusive interview with the artist, can also be found in the November 2013 issue of the California State Library Bulletin [No. 105].

Issues of the Bulletin can be purchased for $7.50 (includes tax, shipping and handling) each, using the PayPal button below, or by mailing a check to the Foundation at:

1225 - 8th Street
Suite 345
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 447-6331

Please note the Bulletin number on your check.

Bulletin Issue:


On Sale Now:


Gold Rush author and historian JoAnn Levy’s entertaining, and meticulously researched biography of two nineteenth century women and their overlooked contribution to civil rights activism is now on sale through the California State Library Foundation at the affordable price of $10 per copy (includes tax, shipping and handling).

Unsettling the West: Eliza Farnham and Georgiana Bruce Kirby in Frontier California (2004), is an invaluable addition to Women’s Studies and American West scholarship. From the time they met working at Sing Sing prison in New York, these two bloomer-wearing women forged a friendship which they carried to the shores of California, pursuing women’s suffrage while coping with the daily trials and tribulations of pioneer life at a time when infant mortality was high and outspoken women were ostracized.

In their quest for social justice, Farnham and Kirby crossed paths and sometimes ideological swords with notable figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Horace Greeley. Farnham published one of the first accounts of life in early statehood California. JoAnn Levy’s clever use of the women’s own words paints a remarkable, sometimes harrowing, oft-times inspiring picture of two intrepid women against the backdrop of a state charting an identity.

Pay by PayPal below or Mail payment to:
California State Library Foundation
1225 ~ 8th Street, Suite 345
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please note “Levy” on your check.


New California Photography Book Published

The Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of a stunning new book by our friends at the Windgate Press, Isaiah West Taber: A Photographic Legacy 1870 – 1900. The handsome volume, illustrated with 200 photographs, features the collection in the State Library’s California History Section. Linda and Wayne Bonnett of the Windgate Press wrote the text and designed the book. It also includes an introduction by State Library Special Collections Curator Gary F. Kurutz. The dust jacket blurb states:

The name of Taber appeared in almost every California portrait album of the nineteenth century. Today, Isaiah West Taber is acknowledged as one of California’s outstanding photographers. His work appears in museums, libraries, historical collections, and is sought after by private collectors. Publisher as well as photographer, Taber produced over 30,000 scenic views of California and the West. Taber: A Photographic Legacy combines photographs with the story of Isaiah Taber himself, from his arrival in California during the gold rush, to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, when all his glass negatives were lost.
Regarded as perhaps the most famous California photographer of his day, Taber took or published some of the best images we have of the Golden State during the nineteenth century. In particular, his views of San Francisco are noteworthy for depicting its astonishing growth. The State Library possesses hundreds of his images ranging from individual portraits of famous Californians to large folio albums documenting California business and industry, the 1894 California Midwinter Fair, and Sutro Heights in San Francisco.
Copies of Taber: A Photographic Legacy may be purchased through the Foundation for $45 plus applicable sales tax and $5 for shipping.

Mexican War Bibliography Available

The Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of an important new publication: The Forgotten War: The Conflict between Mexico and the United States, 1846-1849: A Bibliography of the Holdings of the California State Library. Two hundred and seven pages in length and extensively illustrated, the publication features an extensive annotated bibliography by Dr. W. Michael Mathes of the Spanish language material held by the Sutro Library in San Francisco. Dr. Mathes is the Sutro Library's Honorary Curator of Mexicana and a highly acclaimed authority on the history of Mexico. His lucid commentary on the war and his descriptions of dozens of books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, and manuscripts represents the first detailed bibliography published in California to emphasize the Mexican side. The publication is supplemented by an annotated checklist of the Library's extensive collection of nineteenth century English language books, pamphlets, manuscripts, prints, and sheet music by Gary F. Kurutz, Curator of Special Collections. The latter portion emphasizes the American viewpoint and the conquest of Alta California. Five hundred copies have been printed with a full-color paper binding.
The volume sells for $25.00 a copy plus sales tax and shipping.

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