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Guide to the John C. Gordon Photographic Collection
MSS-1996-03-29  
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Collection Contents

 

Series I:  Photographic Prints 1910-1963

Physical Description: 11 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series provides a rich visual representation of everyday life in San José and Santa Clara County, California. The range of subjects covered illustrate change over time in a variety of industries, including agriculture and manufacturing, as well as small and medium local businesses such as Hart's Department Store and the Hippodrome Theater. Other images include the Winchester Mystery House, the Lick Observatory, the San José Light Tower, San José State University, parks and parades, funerals, weddings, and mixed groups and local organizations. While the bulk of the collection documents industry, there are some fine representations of landscapes and historic sites including churches and missions, museums, and views of the Monterey Bay, the town of New Almaden, and Yosemite National Park. In addition, Gordon was very active in the Grange as well as the Knights of the Round Table Youth, and a small portion of the collection is devoted to the Grange movement in California.
While all of the photographs have historical value, the images documenting agriculture and the canneries provide the foundation for understanding the transformation of the San José and Santa Clara County region from the "Valley of Hearts Delight" to Silicon Valley. Fruit production brought prosperity and opportunity to the county, which brought diverse ethnic groups to the area. This same prosperity and immigration to the region would be replicated with the formation of high-tech industries in the 1960s forward. Researchers interested in tracing the diversity of life in this region will thus find examples of urban life, education, politics, religion, ethnicity and race, transportation, industry, art, and culture.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by subject categories assigned by the photographer.
Box 1

Aerial Views

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Agriculture

Physical Description: 8 folders
Box 1

Albert L. Solon Tile Patterns

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Alma Village

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Alviso

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

American Legion Activities

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

American Peat Moss Collection

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Animals

Physical Description: 12 folders
Box 1

Artwork

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 1

Asilomar Church Retreat

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Banks

Physical Description: 11 folders
Box 1

Body Parts

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Books

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 1

Buildings

Physical Description: 4 folders
Box 2

Burlesque Theater

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Business Interiors

Physical Description: 10 folders
Box 2

Cabinets

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Cafeteria/Ice Cream Equipment

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Canneries

Physical Description: 4 folders
Box 2

Cemeteries/Mortuaries

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 2

Ceramic Kilns

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Churches

Physical Description: 21 folders
Box 2

Clubs

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Construction

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

County Fair

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 2

Disasters

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 2

Documents

Physical Description: 7 folders
Box 3

Entertainment

Physical Description: 5 folders
Box 3

Factories

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 3

Fair Displays

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 3

Flowers

Physical Description: 6 folders
Box 3

Fruit

Physical Description: 10 folders
Box 3

Fruit Processing

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 3

Funerals

Physical Description: 8 folders
Box 4

Funerals (continued)

Physical Description: 3 folders
Box 4

Furniture

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 4

Grange

Physical Description: 3 folders
Box 4

Government

Physical Description: 8 folders
Box 4

Hart's Department Store

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 4

Hinds Murder Case

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 4

Horse Races

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 4

Hospitals

Physical Description: 5 folders
Box 5

Houses

Physical Description: 11 folders
Box 5

Insects

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 5

Interiors

Physical Description: 13 folders
Box 5

Knights of the Round Table Youth

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 5

Landscapes

Physical Description: 3 folders
Box 6

Landscapes (continued)

Physical Description: 3 folders
Box 6

Lick Observatory

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 6

Light Tower

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 6

Machinery

Physical Description: 5 folders
Box 7

Machinery (continued)

Physical Description: 4 folders
Box 7

Medico Dental

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 7

Miscellaneous

Physical Description: 3 folders
Box 7

Monterey Bay

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 7

Museums

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 7

New Almaden

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 7

Normandin Auto

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 7

Parades

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 7

Parks

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 8

People Exterior

Physical Description: 40 folders
Box 9

People Exterior (continued)

Physical Description: 27 folders
Box 9

People Interior

Physical Description: 13 folders
Box 10

People Interior (continued)

Physical Description: 21 folders
Box 11

People Interior (continued)

Physical Description: 16 folders
Box 11

Plaza San José

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 11

Poultry Farming

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 11

Products

Physical Description: 5 folders
Box 11

San José Lumber Co.

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 11

San José State University

Physical Description: 8 folders
Box 11

San José State University - People

Physical Description: 8 folders
Box 11

Schools

Physical Description: 14 folders
Box 12

Schools (continued)

Physical Description: 15 folders
Box 12

School Portraits

Physical Description: 7 folders
Box 12

Scottish Rite

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 12

Sports

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 12

Smith Manufacturing Company

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 12

Storefronts

Physical Description: 83 folders
Box 13

Storefronts (continued)

Physical Description: 33 folders
Box 13

Streets

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 13

Stretchers

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 13

Structures

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 13

Theaters

Physical Description: 11 folders
Box 13

Transportation

Physical Description: 36 folders
Box 13

Valley Scenes

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 13

Vegetables

Physical Description: 10 folders
Box 14

Weddings

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 14

Winchester Mystery House

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 14

Window Displays

Physical Description: 6 folders
Box 14

Wineries

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 14

Wood

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box 14

Yosemite

Physical Description: 1 folder
 

Series II:  Panorama Prints 1910-1963

Physical Description: 3 drawers

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series consists of 187 panorama prints, which document the history of Santa Clara County from the 1920s through the 1950s. The images include landscape views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Lake Tahoe, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Alum Rock, agriculture, local business storefronts, churches, the Santa Clara Mission and the Carmel Mission, schools, and a variety of social gatherings of men, women, and children. Also included are a few images of the town of Cupertino and the Linda Vista Golf Course.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.
Drawer 1

Agriculture

Physical Description: 72 prints
Drawer 2

Storefronts, Churches, Schools, Landscapes

Physical Description: 61 prints
Drawer 3

People, Transportation

Physical Description: 54 prints