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Guide to the Charles M. Goethe papers, 1849-1987 (1948-1966)
MSS 1966/01  
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Collection Details
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  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Processed by:
  • Preferred Citation
  • Access
  • Existence and Location of Originals
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information

  • Title: Charles M. Goethe papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 1966/01
    Contributing Institution: California State University, Sacramento Special Collections & University Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 14.5 Linear feet (27 manuscript boxes, 8 flat boxes, and 3 oversize folders)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1948-1966
    Date (inclusive): 1849-1987
    Abstract: Contains newspaper articles, research papers, interviews, personal diaries, notes, and letters to various universities, colleges, and people throughout Charles M. Goethe's lifetime; correspondence files, arboretum architectural materials, and memorial funds at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS); publications about Goethe written by himself and others, and publications he gathered relating to his interests; photographs, scrapbooks/memory books, and oversized materials.
    creator: Goethe, C.M. (Charles Matthias), 1875-1966


    Charles Matthias Goethe was born in 1875 to Henry John Goethe and Louisa Denger in Sacramento, Calif. After advancing through school, he worked for his father's banking company until it dissolved in 1912. Shortly after, he dealt mostly in real estate. In 1903, he met and married Mary Glide. Together, they focused a good portion of their time conducting studies on children's playgrounds and communities throughout various countries they visited. After his wife's death in 1946, Goethe continued his human betterment causes by corresponding with many people and organizations to promote the eugenics movement, scientific literacy, and concerns with immigration. Goethe died in 1966.


    1875 - Charles Matthias Goethe [C. M.] was born in Sacramento, Calif. to Henry John Goethe and Louisa Denger.
    1903 - Charles Goethe met and married Mary Glide.
    1906 – Charles and Mary Glide Goethe begin volunteer work at the Sacramento Orphanage Farm, taking the children on nature hikes.
    1911 – Charles and Mary Goethe travel to India, Manchuria, China, Japan and Korea. They also traveled to the Philippine Islands to promote the value of public playgrounds for children.
    1912 – The Goethes' return from their travels in Asia, Africa and Europe, where they continued to promote public playgrounds.
    1912 – Charles Goethe is appointed to the Committee of City Planning in Sacramento and is elected Chairperson in 1913.
    1913 – Charles Goethe becomes a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
    1913 – The Goethes establish the Sacramento Council of Churches.
    1917 – The Goethes and friends provide financing for the first Tuberculosis Sanitarium in California, located in the city of Weimer, California.
    1918 – The Save-the-Redwoods League is founded by John C. Merriam, Henry Fairfield Osborn and Madison Grant. Charles Goethe was an active member of the league.
    1919 – Charles Goethe publishes a nature guide to Lake Tahoe.
    1920 – Park guides to Yosemite National Park, written by Charles Goethe, influence the growth of the interpretive parks movement.
    1920s – Charles Goethe establishes the Immigration Study Commission.
    1921 – Charles Goethe is appointed Regional Head of the Sierra Club.
    1924 – Charles Goethe successfully lobbied the Commonwealth Club to form a Eugenics Section.
    1928 – The Human Betterment Foundation is formed by Ezra S. Gosney and Charles Goethe is named to the Board of Directors.
    1933 – Charles Goethe and Eugene Pitts founded the Eugenics Society of Northern California. Approximately one hundred pamphlets on the topic of eugenics were published by the society.
    1935-1936 – Charles Goethe serves as President of the Eugenics Research Association.
    1936 – Charles Goethe attends the International Federation of Eugenic Organization in Scheveningen, Netherlands.
    1946 - Mary Glide Goethe died.
    1948 – Charles Goethe purchases land for the Mary Glide Goethe Memorial Grove in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County, California.
    1948 – Charles Goethe is appointed Honorary Chief Park Naturalist of the National Park Service.
    1949 – Charles Goethe purchases a redwood grove in honor of Jedediah Smith in Del Norte County, California. The Jedediah Smith Memorial Grove later became part of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
    1950s – Charles Goethe lobbies congress to restrict immigration into the United States based on race.
    1963 – Charles Goethe achieves 50 years of membership in the AAAS.
    March 28, 1965 – Save the American River Association (SARA) honors Charles Goethe as the first patron of the organization. Joye Harold Severaid, Professor of Biology at Sacramento State, is President and serves on the Board of Directors of SARA.
    1966 - Charles Goethe died.
    1976 – Save-the-Redwoods League establishes a C. M. Goethe Memorial Grove in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

    Processed by:

    Lynn M. Drennan.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item including date], [Folder Title], MSS 1966/01, Charles M. Goethe papers, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento.


    Collection is open for research. Some restrictions may apply.

    Existence and Location of Originals

    Originals for the David Starr Jordan papers about Charles M. Goethe are in the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Originals for the H.H. Laughlin collection about Charles M. Goethe are in Truman State University.

    Related Archival Materials

    Related materials to Goethe's involvement in eugenics may be found in the following collections in this repository:
    Eugenics pamphlets (QH 431 .E9), Kathleen E. Howell collection of Charles M. Goethe manuscripts (MSS 1988/02), photocopies from the David Starr Jordan papers about Charles M. Goethe (MSS 2001/08), and photocopies from the H. H. Laughlin collection about Charles M. Goethe (MSS 2001/09).

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. Requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce from collections must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Permission for publication is given on the behalf of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Acquisition Information

    The Charles M. Goethe papers were willed to California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) in 1966. Shortly thereafter, they were transferred to the university library.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Bishton, Rodger
    California State University, Sacramento.
    Delisle, Albert L.
    Goethe, C.M. (Charles Matthias), 1875-1966
    Gunn, Thomas I.
    Jenkins, Hubert O.
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957
    Severaid, Joye Harold
    West, Guy A.
    History of Sacramento California, 1875-1966