The Frontier Thesis and San Joaquin County

How would you describe the American character? For many of us, the description would include words like individuality, ruggedness, informality, and initiative. We might even see an image of John Wayne riding high in the saddle, six-shooter at his side, enemies cowering in fear.

Frederick Jackson Turner (1861-1932)

Frederick Jackson Turner didn't know Wayne, but he may . . . → Read More: The Frontier Thesis and San Joaquin County

The Weber Family Library

Imagine yourself caught up in the excitement of California's Gold Rush. Now imagine yourself boarding a ship on the East Coast, sailing to San Francisco, and heading out to the Southern Mines after stopping in Stockton for supplies. Thousands of other gold seekers from throughout the world join you, hoping to make a quick fortune then . . . → Read More: The Weber Family Library

Remarkable Women of Stockton

I grew up among strong, capable women. Deep in the Great Depression, before I was born, one of my grandmothers set up two businesses (that's right, TWO) in the San Francisco Bay Area to put food on the table after my grandfather took ill. Grandma J, a tiny Danish immigrant, ended up doing quite well for . . . → Read More: Remarkable Women of Stockton

Time and Travel

I've been on vacation. My wife and I recently visited Europe. We spent a week in the United Kingdom and another in Switzerland. Our main attraction was Zurich, where our daughter attends graduate school.

Flying kites at Stonehenge.

Historic sites ran a close second, however, as they often do with historians like me. My longsuffering, nonhistorian wife . . . → Read More: Time and Travel

Why Save Old Records?

Old government records are on my mind. Yesterday, I worked in downtown Stockton with one of members of the San Joaquin County Historic Records Inventory Project. So far, the team has inventoried about fifteen hundred items, bound volumes that range in size from small to enormous. We still have a long way to go before we're . . . → Read More: Why Save Old Records?

Theresa and Charles Wriston: Chapter Two

Who would have ever thought? Last week's post, which involved Charles Wriston, his wife, Theresa, and their two children, triggered a lot of feedback. The responses tended to fall into two categories.

The California Constitution of 1849, written at Colton Hall, Monterey, granted women trailblazing rights.

The first filled in missing biographical details. Thanks to one of . . . → Read More: Theresa and Charles Wriston: Chapter Two

Surprises on the Trail of Dusty Old Records

What comes to your mind when you hear the words historic county records? Darkened warehouses? Moldering paper? Dusty shelves? How about stories of tragedy, courage, and compassion?

Old records filled with surprises.

Since the middle of January, I've had the honor to work with three current or former students from the University of the Pacific taking an . . . → Read More: Surprises on the Trail of Dusty Old Records

Museum Offers Workshop on Writing Memoirs

One well-known family from American history.

Isn't it nice to be remembered? Isn't it even nicer to be remembered for the reasons you want to be remembered? How about your children, their children, and their children's children? Will they recall anything about you other than your name and a few faded pictures?

Next month, the San . . . → Read More: Museum Offers Workshop on Writing Memoirs

Exhibit of Historic Postcards to Open at Museum

One of the most fascinating but little-known treasures of the San Joaquin County Historical Museum may be its collection of historic postcards. The scenes they depict range from the mundane to the bizarre. Starting the first week of March, visitors can catch glimpses into this rich collection of local resources when the Museum opens an exhibit . . . → Read More: Exhibit of Historic Postcards to Open at Museum

A Call for Images of the Calaveras River

Volunteers from Stockton's Friends of the Lower Calaveras River and professionals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with videographers from NarrativeLab of Portland, Oregon, are working on a video documentary of the removal of barriers along the Calaveras River to fish that migrate between fresh and salt water.

Recent photograph of the Calaveras River.

The . . . → Read More: A Call for Images of the Calaveras River