Recent acquisitions and online guides at HSJ’s Research Library & Archives

The staff at History San Jose’s Research Library and Archives have been busy over the summer months processing new donations, and making guides available online to parts of our collection that have been hidden to most researchers. Here is a summary…

Recent acquisitions:

  • Tapestry in Talent records (10 linear feet). Institutional records from a major annual arts festival held in San Jose. Begun as a project to celebrate the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976, Tapestry in Talent eventually drew as many as 250,000 attendees over the course of a single weekend. Eventually decreased funding forced the group to cease sponsoring the event in 2011. The collection includes organizational records, promotional materials, photographs, press clippings, and related documents.
  • Shirlie Montgomery Papers and Photographs (4 linear feet). Montgomery was a well-known press photographer in San Jose, noted particularly for her candid photographs of the local wrestling scene as well as many important news events.
  • IBM RAMAC Collection. Between 1952 and 1956, IBM developed the first magnetic disk file system at its facility on Hedding Street near downtown San Jose. By the time production ended in 1961, over 1000 RAMAC (Random Access Memory Accounting System) machines had been produced, each weighing more than a ton, and with a capacity of 5 megabytes. The RAMAC collection consists of posters documenting RAMAC’s development that were displayed in the IBM facility prior to its closing. Also included in the gift are a control panel and vacuum tube and a partial disk from the RAMAC machine.
  • KTAO Radio Collection. KTAO Radio was an “alternative” radio station with a studio in Los Gatos. It was on the air for about five years in the early 1970s. The latest accrual to this collection consists of program guides, a CD of a broadcast air check, and photographs of broadcast and technical staff and of a recent 40th anniversary celebration of the station’s staff.

Newly available online collection guides:

  • Kasia Ekstrand Photographs of San Jose (2002): Photographic prints and negatives documenting the storefronts and streets of downtown San Jose, California, taken by Kasia Ekstrand in 2002.
  • Benjamin F. Gilbert Papers (1940-1985): Research materials focusing on local history by San Jose State University professor Dr. Benjamin F. Gilbert.
  • Pacific Neighbors Inc. Records (1957-1967): Records and photographs of San Jose’s Pacific Neighbors Sister City Program, primarily related to activities with sister cities Okayama, Japan, and San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Donald B. Harris Spiritron Tube Research (1956-1959): Notebooks, patent invention disclosure files, patent photographs, and other assorted papers related to Donald B. Harris’s work on the Spiratron tube at General Electric Company. Part of the Perham Collection of Early Electronics.
  • Esther Walker Papers (1958-1984): Personal papers and photographs of San Jose Mercury journalist Esther Walker, including expense account records, correspondence, news copy, research notes, clippings, and publicity photographs of fashion designers circa 1978-1980.
  • Soroptimist International of San Jose Records (1925-1987): Includes the membership rosters, by-laws, programs of activities, event programs, newsletters, minutes, scrapbooks, photograph albums, and other assorted records of the Soroptimist Club of San Jose, also known as Soroptimist International of San Jose.
  • Budde Family Papers and Photographs (1880-1980): Personal correspondence, travel journals, and family photographs of the Budde family of San Jose.
  • William Harrison Photographic Collection (1893-1900): Collection of portrait photographs by local San Jose, California, studios; portraits of State Normal School at San Jose graduates; a family photograph album including scenes from Yosemite National Park; personal photographs taken at Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
  • San Jose-Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant Records (1946-1990): Records of the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant in Alviso, California, including documentation regarding the transfer of Zanker House to History Park in San Jose, California.
  • Harry Farrell Papers (1940-1997): Material accumulated by author and journalist Harry Farrell during his research for books Shallow Grave in Trinity County (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997) and Swift Justice: Murder and Vengeance in a California Town (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992) as well as personal correspondence and mementos from service during World War II.
  • Fredrick W. Hill Photographs (1892): Digital images and original negatives of the stagecoaches on Mount Hamilton, Lick Observatory telescope and buildings, and the Hotel Vendome (San Jose, California), taken by Fredrick W. Hill in 1892.
  • Hayes Family Collection (1946-1990): Assorted scrapbooks, research material, preservation records, manuscripts and television programs related to Mary Hayes Chynoweth, the Hayes Family, and Hayes Mansion in San Jose.
  • Pathfinders Club of San Jose Records (1926-1963): Club records and photographs documenting the women’s group Pathfinders Club of San Jose, especially outdoor recreational outings around the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • San Jose Planning Commission Aerial Photographs (1967-1977): Aerial photographs of road intersections and neighborhoods in San Jose, California, taken by the San Jose Planning Commission.
  • Douglas M. Perham Clippings on Early Radio History (1900-1930): Newspaper clippings compiled by early electronics collector Doug Perham on the history of wireless telegraph and radio, with a focus on the U.S. Pacific Coast. Part of the Perham Collection of Early Electronics.
  • Thorn Mayes Sound Recordings (1965-1980): Sound recordings created by Thorn Mayes as part of his research on early wireless telegraph and radio in the Western United States. Includes one-on-one interviews conducted by Thorn Mayes and Warren Green, talks to the Antique Wireless Association both by Mayes and by other speakers, recordings of historic radio broadcasts, and re-creations of spark transmissions at U.S. West Coast wireless stations.

In addition, staff and volunteers have completed the indexing of nearly 23,000 case files from the Santa Clara County Court system (Bulk dates 1850-1920). These files are searchable by plaintiff, defendant, date, complaint, or case number.