Inventory of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California Records

Processed by Sebastian Nelson
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
Email: archivesweb@sos.ca.gov
URL: http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/
© 2007
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California Records

Collection number: R308

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Sebastian Nelson
Date Completed:
January 2009
Encoded by:
Sebastian Nelson
© 2009 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California Records
Dates: 1959-1960
Collection number: R308
Creator: Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission
Collection Size: 6 file folders
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: The Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California was established in 1959 to celebrate the life of President Abraham Lincoln. The records of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission consist of 6 file folders of publications, commission and exhibit files that cover the years 1959-1960.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California Records, R308.[series number], [box and folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

Acquisition and Custodial History

The California State Archives acquired the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission Records according to state law.

Administrative History

On September 18, 1959, Chapter 1892 (Statutes of 1959) established the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California. The Commission was to commemorate the life and accomplishments of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth. The Commission consisted of eleven members: Assemblyman Charles B. Garrigus (chairman), Senator Nelson S. Dilworth (vice-chairman), Dr. William N. Davis, Jr. (secretary), Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, Sr., Lieutenant Governor Glenn M. Anderson, Assembly Speaker Ralph M. Brown, Attorney General Stanley Mosk, Senator Randolph Collier, Senator Paul L. Byrne, Assemblyman Carl A. Britschgi, and Assemblyman George A. Wilson.
According to this legislation, the Commission was directed to prepare statewide commemorative programs with due considerations to the activities of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission established by Congress (Public Law 85-262, 85th Congress) and a private nonprofit educational organization called the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Association of California. The Commission helped arrange for a proclamation to be issued by the Governor declaring the years 1959 and 1960 as a period of celebration and observance of the anniversary of Lincoln's birth. The giving of medals and certificates was also authorized to recognize those outstanding individuals and organizations that made significant contributions to the commemoration of Lincoln's life. This legislation also directed the Commission to deposit any donated publications about Lincoln in any library or museum deemed appropriate.
The Commission encouraged local organizations, governments, civic groups and members of the press to organize appropriate programs, exhibits and publications to celebrate Lincoln's life. An exhibit on Lincoln was organized by the Commission and held in the State Capitol Building. The Department of Education was also requested by the Commission to call for schools to observe Lincoln's life in the January 1960 issue of California Schools. The use of music to celebrate Lincoln's life was also advocated. Chairman Garrigus wrote the heads of the state colleges requesting that their various music departments organize performances to "emphasize the cultural significance of the Lincoln tradition." The Commission also endorsed the Committee to Encourage Music of Merit by Western Composers' offer of a Western Music Award for an original composition honoring Lincoln. In addition, the Commission obtained a series of biographical radio scripts called the Abraham Lincoln Story from Broadcast Music, Inc. of New York for use in California.

Scope and Content

The Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission of California records consist of six file folders of records created between 1959 and 1960. The records are organized into three series: commission files, exhibit files and publications. The commission files provide insight into the workings of the Commission and its members. Some of the publications, such as Lincoln Still Pleads: Dialogue Between a Communist and an American, attempt to place Lincoln's life and politics within the context of the late 1950s. As such, these records might be useful to researchers interested in how Lincoln was viewed during the Cold War in California. The correspondence of Mr. Justin Turner, Chairman of the Board of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Association of California, in part relate to local historical organizations throughout California called Civil War Round Tables. Many of Turner's letters to Commission members also explore the possibility of establishing a California Civil War Centennial Commission (later established by Statutes of 1961, Chapter 12). Researchers interested in either Civil War Round Tables or the California Civil War Centennial Commission may find these records helpful.

Additional Information

In the California State Archives' research room, there is a general information file containing information about and copies of an Abraham Lincoln letter dated 1864 that is in the collection of the Archives. Records and photos of the 1959 Lincoln exhibit organized by the Commission and a subsequent 1972 exhibit about the Presidential election of 1864 can be found in the Institutional Archives-Exhibit Files (R206). Ask the reference archivist for more information.

Related Collections at the California State Archives

Civil War Centennial Commission.
Military Department.

Related Collections at Other Repositories

A scrapbook pertaining to the centennial celebrations held between 1908 and 1911 in honor of Lincoln's birth can be found at the Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, 93106. This scrapbook may be useful for comparing and contrasting how different generations of Californians celebrated Lincoln's life.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Anniversaries, etc.
Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996
Turner, Justin G.


Series Descriptions

ID R308.1, Box 1, Folders 1-2

Series 1 Commission Files 1959-1960

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

There is no logical arrangement to this series; however, in order to preserve original order, no rearrangement has been imposed.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains Commission minutes of meetings, press releases, incoming and outgoing correspondence, memoranda, Governor's Proclamation, notes, newspaper articles and copies of the articles of incorporation of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Association of California. These records illustrate the goals and activities of the Commission and its members. These activities and goals include raising awareness about Lincoln, coordinating commemorative celebrations with Lincoln sesquicentennial commissions in other states and the federal government, and seeking out potential donations of Lincoln memorabilia from members of the public.
ID R308.2, Box 1, Folder 3

Series 2 Exhibit File 1959-1960

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Arrangement

There is no logical arrangement to this series; however, in order to preserve original order, no rearrangement has been imposed.

Scope and Content Note

This file includes correspondence relating to the Lincoln exhibit held in the State Capitol Building. This exhibit was organized by the Commission and ran from November 24, 1959 to July 31, 1960. Commission members, most notably Dr. William N. Davis, Jr., actively sought out exhibit materials from public collections at the State Archives and the State Library, as well as from private collectors of Lincolniana. Other records about this exhibit can be found in the commission files, and include correspondence, memoranda, press releases, newspaper articles, display captions and inventories.
ID R308.3, Box 1, Folders 4-6

Series 3 Publications 1959-1960

Physical Description: 3 file folders

Arrangement

There is no logical arrangement to this series; however, in order to preserve original order, no rearrangement has been imposed.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains publications related to different aspects of Lincoln's life, words and deeds including biographies, essays, radio scripts, poetry, an educational study guide, a comic book and exhibit catalogs of Lincolniana, as well as a citation for distinguished public service awarded to Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, Sr. by the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Association of California. The exhibit catalogs showcase the collection of Mr. Justin Turner and apparently shaped the Commission's own Lincoln exhibit. Much of the correspondence that accompanied these publications when they were donated to the Commission can be found in the commission files.