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About this collection

Early California Ephemera

The Archives & Special Collection Department in the Santa Clara University Library has a rich collection of primary source materials available for researchers interested in the history of California Settlers and Pioneers. This digital collection is made up of ephemera: materials made for a single purpose and not meant to last for a long period of time. These can include everything from newspapers to calling cards to diaries. The items here come primarily from the nineteenth century in the San Francisco Bay Area. They provide a unique perspective to how early Californian settler and immigrant families lived and developed community in their new home.

 

 

The online items have been drawn from several of SCU’s collections devoted to early California families, including the Reid Family Papers, the Murphy Family Papers, the Pinedo Family Papers, and the Pellerano Family Papers. Follow the above links to read more about the contents of each of these collections in their finding aids at the Online Archive of California.

 

 

The online collection

Prayer cardsThese devotional materials usually consist of an image depicting a saint or biblical scene along with a prayer or biblical passage; they are distributed for various occasions including funerals, First Communion, Confirmation, or other important religious observances. 

 

 

Calling cardsPrecursors to the modern day business card, calling cards were used by the upper crust of society and each design was usually unique to a particular individual. Like prayer cards, calling cards could be used and distributed for particular seasons or celebrations.

 

 

Government documents: These include citizenship papers, property maps, and tax receipts.

 

 

PhotographsSeveral of the photographs shown here are affixed to cardboard backings, a common technique with late nineteenth century photography. 

 

 

Lecture on CaliforniaNotes for a speech that Bernard J. Reid gave about his time spent in California during the Gold Rush of 1849.

 

 

Bernard J. Reid's Pocket Diary and Almanac for 1846: Bernard J. Reid's small diary and almanac for the year 1846. An almanac includes weather forecasts, planting times, tide tables and other related information in an annual publication.  

 

 

This page includes content provided by Michelle Runyon, Archives & Special Collections intern.

 
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