Guide to the Harry C. Peterson Papers, ca. 1880-1944

Processed by Special Collections staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Steven Mandeville-Gamble.
Department of Special Collections
Green Library
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, CA 94305-6004
Phone: (650) 725-1022
Email: speccollref@stanford.edu
URL: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/
© 2002
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Harry C. Peterson Papers, ca. 1880-1944

Collection number: M0649

Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Stanford University Libraries

Stanford, California

Contact Information

  • Department of Special Collections
  • Green Library
  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Stanford, CA 94305-6004
  • Phone: (650) 725-1022
  • Email: speccoll@sulmail.stanford.edu
  • URL: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/
Processed by:
Special Collections staff
Date Completed:
1993
Encoded by:
Steven Mandeville-Gamble
© 2002 The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Peterson, Harry C. Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1880-1944
Collection number: M0649
Creator: Peterson, Harry C.
Extent: 2 linear ft.
Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Abstract: The collection contains correspondence, notes, memorabilia, typescripts. Included is material pertaining to Stanford University and Sutters Fort.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

None.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 1993.

Preferred Citation

Harry C. Peterson Papers. M0649. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Biography

Harry Claude Peterson never met a historical fact or artifact that he didn't like. The inveterate historian spent his entire adult life in one position after another related to history, particularly California Gold Rush Days.
Harry was born in Algona, Iowa, in 1876, son of Julius E. Peterson, a Norwegian mechanician. Leland Stanford had learned of the elder Peterson in Europe and brought him to Stanford University to teach Machine Shop Practices. Young Harry was educated in public schools in Algona and Palo Alto, California. He was in the photographic business in Palo Alto for a time. He was married in 1902 and had one son, Austin Peterson.
Harry was named Director and Curator of the Stanford University Museum of Fine Arts (now the Cantor Center) in 1899, where he remained until 1918, adding collections to the Museum and writing historical papers. He also acquired his own collection of historical books and documents while serving as Curator. During his residence in Palo Alto, he served on the city counsel for eight years.
Harry's next endeavor was as head of Field Research for the California History Department of the California State Library. He remained in that position for three years, and then joined the Oakland Tribune as feature writer of California history for the paper, for another three years. In 1925, he was named Curator of Sutter's Fort Museum in Sacramento, California, and became a charter member of the American Association of Museums.
Harry Peterson's credits are many, from over three hundred published stories and speeches and countless photographs concerning California History, many for professional and trade publications and meetings. He was responsible for energizing the public to the historical value of Sutter's Fort. He served on the Southern Pacific Railroad Company's selection committee to identify historical sites along its lines. He also acted as historical consultant on several Hollywood films of the Gold Rush days, such as The Pony Express, The Big Trail, the Fighting Caravan, and Sutter's Gold.. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Golden Empire Centennial in 1939. His energy, exemplified by his many activities, appeared to be unstoppable, but Harry Peterson died suddenly of a heart attack, in his office at Sutter's Fort, in 1941. His series of articles on the Gold Rush for the Oakland Tribune were collected in book form, The 49er, published posthumously by the Doubleday Company in 1949.

Collection Scope and Content Summary

Correspondence, notes, memorabilia, typescripts. Included is material pertaining to Stanford University and Sutters Fort.

Access Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Berner, Bertha.
Couper, William.
Covey, F.W.
Davis, Horace.
Gross, H.H.
Hewes, Anna Lathrop.
Holzman, R.O.
Jordan, David Starr, 1851-1931.
Lathrop, Charles G. (Charles Gardner), 1849-1914.
Nash, H.C.
Schmid, Rupert.
Spencer, Francis.
Stanford, Jane Lathrop, 1828-1905.
Wilbur, Ray Lyman, 1875-1949.
Stanford University--History.
Sutters' Fort.


Collection Contents

 

Series 1. Peterson Family Material

Box 1, Folder 1

Harry Claude Peterson biography and resumes n.d.

Physical Description: (4 sheets)

Scope and Content Note

See also B 3 (OS), Fs 1,4, and 5.
Box 1, Folder 2

Personal Correspondence1907-1937

Physical Description: (11 letters & 4 postcards)
Box 1, Folder 3

Correspondence to H. C. Peterson, from Arthur S. Dudley family1909-1937

Physical Description: (3 items)
Box 1, Folder 4

Stock certificate (gold mine), agreement to purchase (blank) 1933

Box 1, Folder 5

Commemorative silk ribbons1889-1916

Physical Description: (14 items)
Box 1, Folder 6

Photo album, Austin Petersonn.d.

Box 1, Folder 7

Miscellany (Golden Gate Bridge ticket, H. C. Peterson business card, receipt 1932-1937

Physical Description: (3 items).
 

Series 2. Material Relating to Stanford University and Stanford Museum

Box 1, Folder 8

"Founding of Stanford University (1891)"1931

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 3 (OS), Fs 1,4, and 5.
Box 1, Folder 9

"Stanford University Opening Day Exercises" 1891

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).
Box 1, Folder 10

Stanford Circulars 1 & 2 (with personal card of Mrs. Leland [Jane] Stanford). 1891

Box 1, Folder 11

Stanford University student testimonials, King-Richardson, Company 1899

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).
Box 1, Folder 12

Stanford University Commencement 1901

Physical Description: (1 program).
Box 1, Folder 13

"Address to Stanford University Trustees," Jane L. Stanford 1899

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).
Box 1, Folder 14

"Address to Stanford University Trustees," Jane L. Stanford 1903

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet). See also B 3, F 3.
Box 1, Folder 15

Letter to Jane L. Stanford, from F. W. Covey (Palo Alto Stock Farm), September 1, 1893

Physical Description: (2 sheets).
Box 1, Folder 16

Letter to Jane L. Stanford, from H. H. Gross,July 21, 1893

Physical Description: (2 sheets).
Box 1, Folder 17

Letters to Jane L. Stanford, from Francis Spencer (Stanford Trustee), C. F. Crocker, C. S. Lathrop, C. P. Huntington.August 17, 1890 and August 17, 1893

Physical Description: (2 letters).
Box 1, Folder 18

Letters to Jane L. Stanford, from Horace Davis (Stanford Trustee), July 13 and July 19, 1904

Physical Description: (2 letters).
Box 1, Folder 19

Letters to H. C. Nash (secretary to Leland W. Stanford), from R. O. Holzman, July 17, July 20, and August 5, 1893

Physical Description: (3 letters).
Box 1, Folder 20

Letter to H. C. Nash, from H. H. Gross, July 21, 1893

Physical Description: ( 1 sheet).
Box 1, Folder 21

Letter to H. C. Nash, from Rupert Schmid,August 2, 1893

Physical Description: (1 sheet)
Box 1, Folder 22

In Memoriam: Leland Stanford, Jr., book with letter attached to Mrs. Jane L. Stanford, from William Couper. 1885

Box 1, Folder 23

"Memorial Address: Leland Stanford," U. S. Senate, Washington D. C., 1893

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).
Box 1, Folder 24

"In Memoriam: Anna Lathrop Hewes,"August 2, 1892

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).
Box 1, Folder 25

"Leland Stanford Junior Museum," Stanford University Press, 1903

Physical Description: ( 1 pamphlet).

Scope and Content Note

Timothy Hopkins, Charles G. Lathrop, Anna Lathrop Hewes, David Starr Jordan, F. W. Covey, Palo Alto Stock Farm.
Box 1, Folder 26

Letter to H. C. Peterson, Curator, Leland Stanford, Jr. Museum, from Bertha Berner (Secretary to Jane L. Stanford), August 19, 1903

Physical Description: (1 sheet).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 3, F 1.
Box 1, Folder 27

Letters to H. C. Peterson, from Charles G. Lathrop, July 6, 1901, and Mrs. Charles G. Lathrop, December 28, 1903

Physical Description: (2 letters).
Box 1, Folder 28

Letter to H. C. Peterson, from David [Starr] Jordan, November 14, 1902

Physical Description: (1 letter)

Scope and Content Note

See also B 3, F 5.
Box 1, Folder 29

Letter to H. C. Peterson, from R. [Ray] L. [Lyman] Wilbur, September 29, 1916

Physical Description: (1 sheet).
Box 1, Folder 30

Letter from H. C. Peterson to [Mr. Bube?], with invoice, October 14, 1907

Physical Description: (2 sheets)
Box 1, Folder 31

Additional Stanford Museum correspondence to H. C. Peterson 1901-1917

Physical Description: (8 letters, 1 postcard)
Box 1, Folder 32

Envelopes to H. C. Peterson 1910-1916

Physical Description: (5 envelopes)
Box 1, Folder 33

News clipping, "New Library at Stanford Has Browsing Room." [ July 26 1919?].

Scope and Content Note

Timothy Hopkins.
Box 1, Folder 34

Photo, note, and envelope re Herbert Hoover[1912]

Physical Description: (3 items).
Box 1, Folder 35

Letter to Stanford student's parents, from Herbert Hoover, October 5, 1942

Physical Description: (1 letter)
Box 1, Folder 36

"Palo Stock Farm Catalog," auction, November 26, 1897

Physical Description: (1 pamphlet).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 1, F 15.
Box 1, Folder 37

Photographs of early Stanford University [1900]

Physical Description: (16 B/W photos and colored postcards).
Box 1, Folder 38

Souvenir ticket to Stanford house, Michigan Bluff, Placer County, California, June 2, 1928

Physical Description: (1 item.)

Scope and Content Note

See also B 4, F 1.
Box 1, Folder 39

"Scientific Physiognomist." Fragment, signed by Mary Olmstead Stanton . n.d.

Physical Description: (1 sheet).
Box 1, Folder 40

Blank invoices,Vina Distillery 1890?

Physical Description: (10 items)
 

Series 3. Material Relating to Fort Sutter and the Discovery of Gold

Box 2, Folder 1

Photographs of Sutter's Fort (n.d.) and H. C. Peterson, Curator (1932).

Physical Description: (4 items)
Box 2, Folder 2

" Sutter's Fort Historical Museum," pamphlet[1944?]

Physical Description: (48 pages).
Box 2, Folder 3

"The Discovery of Gold in California," pamphlet1919

Physical Description: (4 pages).
Box 2, Folder 4

Letters by P. B .Beakart, stating that first gold found in 1848 was not nugget-sized 1921, 1931

Physical Description: (2 letters)
Box 2, Folder 5

"California Pioneers," speech, John C. Chambers,February 22, 1918

Physical Description: (9 pages).
Box 2, Folder 6

"Sutter's Fort Historical Museum," typescript, by H. C. Peterson 1925

Physical Description: ( 5 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 7

"Hock Farm," partial typescript, by H. C. Peterson n.d.

Physical Description: (3 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 8

"It Never Occurred To Me," typescript, by H.C. Peterson n.d.

Physical Description: (2 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 9

Sutter's Fort Museum Collection, partial typescript, [by H. C. Peterson?] n.d.

Physical Description: (2 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 10

"Benicia," typescript, H. C. Peterson, September 12, 1927

Physical Description: (8 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 11

"Marysville," partial typescript, by H.C. Peterson, September 14,1935

Physical Description: (4 sheets ).
Box 2, Folder 12

Minutes, California State Historical Association, Sutter's Fort, H. C. Peterson, Acting Secretary,November 26, 1934

Physical Description: (3 sheets)
Box 2, Folder 13

Lists of Fort Sutter display labels n.d.

Physical Description: (5 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 14

Sutter's Fort Museum correspondence, to H. C. Peterson , 1920-1929

Physical Description: (11 letters, 2 postcards)
Box 2, Folder 15

Sutter's Fort Museum correspondence, to H. C. Peterson, 1930-1940

Physical Description: (16 letters, 4 postcards)
Box 2, Folder 16

Correspondence to/from B. F. Hall and H. C. Peterson 1930-1937

Physical Description: (3 letters and 1 postcard)
Box 2, Folder 17

Correspondence from H.C Peterson 1927-1936

Physical Description: (4 letters).
Box 2, Folder 18

Letter from Karen Kearns (Huntington Library) to Gerald Lucero regarding authenticity of attached letter, purportedly written by John A. Sutter, May 17, 1988

Physical Description: (2 sheets).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 3, F 9.
Box 2, Folder 19

Photograph, John A. Sutter.n.d.

Box 2, Folder 20

Copy of will, Anna Sutter, dated 1881 1926

Physical Description: (4 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 21

Invitation to H. C. Peterson to visit branches of the Sutter Family, from M. Van Volbeck,January 18, 1928.

Box 2, Folder 22

Letters from Paulita de Sutter to H.C. Peterson,1938

Physical Description: (4 letters).
Box 2, Folder 23

Photographs, John Bidwell n.d.

Physical Description: (3 photos)
Box 2, Folder 24

Letter to John Bidwell, from Mrs. T. Lynch Mineral Point, November 13, 1851

Physical Description: (1 letter).
Box 2, Folder 25

Letter to H.C. Peterson, from Charles E. Bancroft, regarding Bidwell's BarMarch 19, 1925,

Physical Description: (1 sheet)
Box 2, Folder 26

Letters from Charles H.Davis regarding disposition of effects, May 1, 1928

Physical Description: (2 letters).
Box 2, Folder 27

Letters from/to A. William Lund and H. C. Peterson, May 19 and 26, 1928

Physical Description: (2 letters).
Box 2, Folder 28

Letter to H. C Peterson from E. Brown regarding C. H. Davis, July 9, 1928

Physical Description: (1 letter)
Box 2, Folder 29

Letter to H. C. Peterson from Capt. W.R. Scott regarding C. H. Davis, July 18, 1928

Physical Description: (1 sheet).
Box 2, Folder 30

Typescript and handwritten draft regarding C. H. Davis n.d.

Physical Description: (2 sheets).

Scope and Content Note

See also Box 3, F 10.
Box 2, Folder 31

Correspondence between H. C. Peterson and the Progressive Magazine, January 27 to February 14, 1928

Physical Description: (7 letters).
Box 2, Folder 32

The Progressive Magazine facsimile and book advertisement. n.d.

Physical Description: (2 items).
Box 2, Folder 33

Correspondence between Julius Loeb and H. C. Peterson regarding the Pony Express,August 4 and 25,1927, and February 20, 1928

Physical Description: (4 letters).
Box 2, Folder 34

List of Candidates [for California Historical Society ?]. prepared by H. C. Peterson. n.d.

Box 2, Folder 35

Program, Garden Fete, for delegates to Pan American Reciprocal Trade Conference, August 28, 1930. Replica: California Republic flag,

Physical Description: (2 items).
Box 2, Folder 36

Illustrated card and poem, from E. A. Burbank (8x10 inches) to H. C. Peterson (and envelope)August 23, 1938.

Box 2, Folder 37

Photographs commemorating "Days of the 49ers"[1939]

Physical Description: (8 photographs).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 3, F2.
Box 2, Folder 38

Photograph (8x10 inches), Morgan Wallace as General John Fremont in film Sutter's Gold. n.d.

Box 2, Folder 39

Luggage tag, H. C. Peterson, Sutter's Hotel, San Francisco, California. n.d.

Box 2, Folder 40

Correspondence to H. C. Peterson regarding Whiskerinos Club, 1920s

Physical Description: (2 letters, 3 postcards)
Box 2, Folder 41

Miscellaneous envelopes1928-1937

Box 2, Folder 42

Correspondence to H. C. Peterson regarding early California history 1928, 1938

Physical Description: (5 letters)
Box 2, Folder 43

"Romance of California," [text by H. C. Peterson ?], Sacramento Chamber of Commerce (pamphlet, [1927]

Physical Description: 22 pages).
Box 2, Folder 44

"Romance of California," text by H. C. Peterson, Sacramento Chamber of Commerce (pamphlet,

Physical Description: 1938

Scope and Content Note

47 pages, with map).
Box 2, Folder 45

Crofutt's New Overland Tourist, and Pacific Coast Guide (partial copy). [1880]

Box 2, Folder 46

Historical notes on crossing the plains by H. C. Peterson n.d.

Physical Description: (8 notes).
Box 2, Folder 47

"Captain Jean J Voiget," typescripts, [by H. C. Peterson ?] n.d.

Physical Description: (two copies, 8 pages).
Box 2, Folder 48

Notebook, compiled by H. C. Peterson, relating to J.J. Voiget's first survey of Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1839-40. 1904

Scope and Content Note

(Notes from several historical sources, photos of dispositions of early settlers, maps, news clippings).
Box 2, Folder 49

Photograph of painting of Yerba Buena, [ by John J. Voiget . n.d.

Box 2, Folder 50

Land grant testimony of John J. Voiget and Wm. I. Richardson, schedule of testimony, plot plan, San Francisco, 1848. 1848, 1854

Box 2, Folder 51

Letter to H. C. Peterson from Alice Jeanette Voigetn.d.

Box 2, Folder 52

Letter to Raphael Weill, from H. C. Peterson regarding Yerba Buena Cove, March 31, 1920

Physical Description: (1 letter)
Box 2, Folder 53

Photograph, U.S. Mint [San Francisco ?].1904

Box 2, Folder 54

"The Highway of Romance" (Mother Lode State Highway), n.d.

Physical Description: (pamphlet, 8 pages).
Box 2, Folder 55

Program, Dedication of Fremont Tablet, Buttes, California, April 15, 1923.

Box 2, Folder 56

News clipping on John C. Fremont, New York Tribune, June 20, 1856.

Box 2, Folder 57

Chinese Camp (California), typescript by H. C. Peterson n.d.

Physical Description: (11 pages).
Box 2, Folder 58

Chinese Camp (California), handwritten notes [by H.C. Peterson?] n.d.

Physical Description: (4 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 59

Coloma (California), handwritten notes [by H. C. Peterson?] n.d.

Physical Description: (4 sheets).
Box 2, Folder 60

Coyote Diggings (California), handwritten notes, [by H. C. Peterson], n.d.

Physical Description: (3 notes, 1 envelope).
Box 2, Folder 61

Volcano (California), handwritten notes, [ by H. C. Peterson ?] n.d.

Physical Description: (1 sheet).
Box 2, Folder 62

Announcement, State Mining Celebration, Mariposa, California, June 20-21,1 931

Physical Description: (1 sheet).
Box 2, Folder 63

California history, handwritten notes, [H. C. Peterson ?] n.d.

Physical Description: (2 sheets)
Box 2, Folder 64

California pioneer tombstones (8 photographs).n.d.

Box 2, Folder 65

Gold mining towns n.d.

Physical Description: ( 8 photographs, and 1 chit from gold mining company).
Box 2, Folder 66

Letter from John B. Montgomery to E. L. Norton, from Boston August 7, 1862,

Physical Description: (1 sheet)
Box 2, Folder 67

Monterey-Carmel (California), n.d

Physical Description: ( 8 photographs).
Box 2, Folder 68

Letter to H. C. Peterson about San Mateo California from C. P Cooley, Palo Alto, California, January 1, 1928

Physical Description: (1 letter).
Box 2, Folder 69

Photograph taken at Mission San Jose, California,[ with H. C. Peterson?] n.d.

Box 2, Folder 70

Handwritten notes on "A Threatened Offense." California Penal Code). n.d.

Box 2, Folder 71

"Central Pacific Railroad," pamphlet 1913

Physical Description: (2 copies).
Box 2, Folder 72

Sun Valley, Idaho, typescript [by H. C. Peterson ?].1938

 

Series 4. Oversize materials

Oversize 3, Folder 1

News clipping, "Mrs. Stanford Dies in Sudden Agony at a Honolulu Hotel, Declaring,'I am poisoned!'." San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 1905.

Oversize 3, Folder 2

News clipping, announcing 1849 centennial, Sacramento Union, March 22, 1936.

Oversize 3, Folder 3

Policy statement to Jane L. Stanford from Stanford University Trustees, June 5, 1903.

Physical Description: See also B 1 F 14.
Oversize 3, Folder 4

Stanford University map.n.d.

Oversize 3, Folder 5

Partial letter [to Jane L. Stanford ?] from Jesse Knight Jordan n.d.

Physical Description: (3 pages).
Oversize 3, Folder 6

The Resources of California, [ about Stanford University], September 1886.

Oversize 3, Folder 7

News clipping. "The Dizzy Cycle that John A Sutter Executed in His Lifetime," by H. C. Peterson, Oakland Tribune, March 30, 1924.

Oversize 3, Folder 8

"Life at Sutter's Fort," play script, with accompanying letter by Irene Clark to H. C. PetersonMarch 2, 1936

Physical Description: (script 21 pages, letter 2 pages).
Oversize 3, Folder 9

Letter by John A. Sutter [purported] to Ernesto Hopkins n.d.

Physical Description: (1 letter).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 1 F 18
Oversize 3, Folder 10

Letter, partial, [by H.C. Peterson] regarding Captain C. H. Davis n.d.

Physical Description: (11 sheet).

Scope and Content Note

See also B 2, F 31
Oversize 3, Folder 11

Chattel mortgage agreement: Ralph Joines to Harry C. Peterson, regarding tools, Sutter's Fort. 1939

Oversize 3, Folder 12

Boyd and Barber in San Francisco in mid-1800s, typescript n.d.

Physical Description: (4 sheets).
Oversize 3, Folder 13

California Indians, partial typescriptn.d.

Oversize 3, Folder 14

News clippings. Marysville Advertiser, 1854 and 1857

Physical Description: (13 clippings).
Oversize 3, Folder 15

Handwritten copy of Sonoma (California) County law, 1857

Physical Description: (1 sheet).
Oversize 3, Folder 16

Statement of charges incurred by patients of St. Luke's Hospital, San Francisco, September 1 to September 30, 1876.

Physical Description: (2 sheets)
Oversize 3, Folder 17

Accounts record [in Spanish]. 1851

Physical Description: (14 pages)
Oversize 3, Folder 18

Proclamation [in Portugese], signed by Joaquin O. Alvarez and Jose de O Barbazo, April 26, 1826.

Physical Description: (2 sheets).
Oversize 3, Folder 19

Statement from Mutuo Soccorso della Compagna Carabiniere Swizzeri [in Italian], San Francisco,December 1, 1888.

 

Series 5. Photoprints

Box 4, Folder 1

Photoprints of Leland Stanford house at Michigan Bluff, California n.d.

Physical Description: (8 glass negatives).
Box 4, Folder 2

Photoprint of Peter Slater's Saloon, Fort Sutter, (H.C. Peterson behind bar), n.d.

Physical Description: (1 glass negative, cracked)