Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Inventory of the Sir Francis Drake Commission Records
R348  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (63.24 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Commission History
  • Scope and Contents Note
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Other Finding Aids
  • Related Collections
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sir Francis Drake Commission records,
    Date (inclusive): 1973-1984
    Collection number: R348
    Creator: Sir Francis Drake Commission
    Extent: 3 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: On September 17, 1973, Assembly Bill 252, Chapter 250, established the Sir Francis Drake Commission as an independent agency. The primary function of the Commission was to organize celebrations for the quadricentennial of Sir Francis Drake's landing in California in 1579. The Sir Francis Drake Commission records consist of three cubic feet of records, three posters, three commemorative medallions and one slide organized into four series: subject files, publicity files, correspondence, and meeting files. The Commission existed from 1973-1980; however, these files contain material dated up to 1984.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Language: 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], Sir Francis Drake Commission, R348.[series & folder or item number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The California State Archives received these records sometime after the last official meeting of the Commission.

    Commission History

    On September 17, 1973, Assembly Bill 252, Chapter 250, established the Sir Francis Drake Commission as an independent agency. The primary function of the Commission was to organize celebrations for the quadricentennial of Sir Francis Drake's landing in California in 1579. The Commission met approximately six times each year between 1973 and 1980. During these years, two commissioners died and two resigned; four new commissioners were appointed. The final meeting of the Commission was held on December 13, 1980. See appendix A in the Master Finding Aid in the California State Archives reference room for a list of the commissioners.
    According to legislation that established the Commission, it was to have at least one annual celebration every year from 1974-1980. This purpose of the Commission was fulfilled by events such as the 1975 visit to San Francisco Bay by the Golden Hinde II, which was seen in person by about 250,000 spectators and by many more on television. The Commission also sponsored student essay contests and a high school student exchange program with youth in Plymouth, England. Commissioners took trips to England to meet with officials in Plymouth and other locations. On one of these visits, commissioners viewed Drake materials with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
    1979 was declared Drake year in California, and the Commission planned, sponsored or helped organize several major events. The U.C. Regents dedicated University of California Charter Day, April 5, 1979, to Drake. The event featured speeches at the Berkeley campus by the British Ambassador to the United States, Peter Jay, and the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kingman Brewster, Jr. In May and June, Clark Library at UCLA held seminars and a six-week program in which six post-doctoral fellows studied the influence of Drake's circumnavigation. The key scholarly event in the California celebrations, however, was an international conference on Drake, held from June 10-17, 1979, with participation from influential Drake scholars. In San Francisco on June 17, 1979, another celebration took place with a Landing Day parade and a sermon at Grace Cathedral by the Lord Bishop of London.
    In 1979, many Drake exhibits appeared - with extensive help from commissioners - at the California State Library, the Huntington Library, the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, UCLA and the Museum of Man in San Diego, and other locations.
    Commissioners were also instrumental in having special postage stamps, postcards and commemorative medallions issued. And although the Commission was not charged with providing a definitive answer to the divisive scholarly debate on the original landing place of Sir Francis Drake's ship in California, it did place three bronze plaques commemorating the event: at Vista Point in Marin County, at Drake's Bay in Marin County and at the base of Drake's statue in Plymouth, England.

    Scope and Contents Note

    The Sir Francis Drake Commission records consist of three cubic feet of records, three posters, three commemorative medallions and one slide reflecting the activity of the Commission in organizing celebrations in honor of the quadricentennial of Drake's landing in California in 1579. The Commission existed from 1973-1980; however, these files contain material dated up to 1984. The records are organized into four series: subject files, publicity files, correspondence, and meeting files. Dr. Norman J. Thrower gathered most of these records during his tenure as president of the Commission.
    Researchers interested in Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation, in public celebrations and in historical memory will find useful information in these records. Of special interest are the many subject files that contain discussions of the heated debate over the location of Drake's landing in California. Although the Commission was never charged with finding an answer, or even making a unanimous statement, concerning this debate, the issue was unavoidable at many Commission meetings. The files also provide insight into the inner workings of appointed commissions in California. For example, the subject files contain records of legal actions filed by Col. William Shaw, the first president of the Commission, as he alleged that other commissioners had significant conflicts of interest. Other items of interest to researchers in the subject files may include correspondence on the activities of the Commission, including organizing meetings, conferences, commemorative events, exhibits and trips to England.
    The publicity files may be useful to those interested in California history, as they include published pamphlets, newspaper articles, journal articles and magazine articles on Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation. They also contain drafts of speeches, plaques, press releases and exhibits created by members of the Commission. The correspondence files contain all correspondence not filed under an individual commissioner or agency in the subject files. The meeting files contain minutes, agendas, drafts and some statements by commissioners.

    Arrangement

    The records have been organized into four series: subject files, publicity files, correspondence and meeting files.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been associated with these materials in the Archives' automated public access system.

    Subjects

    Sir Francis Drake Commission
    Drake, Francis, Sir, 1540?-1596

    Other Finding Aids

    See Inventory of the Sir Francis Drake Commission Records, with appendices and series identification numbers, in the reference room at the California State Archives. Catalog cards are also available in the reference room.

    Related Collections

    Records of State Assembly Member John T. Knox, Commissioner, may be found in the John T. Knox Papers at the California State Archives.
    Records of Dr. V. Aubrey Neasham, Commissioner, may be found in the Aubrey Neasham Collection, at the Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center, 551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd., Sacramento, California, 95814.
    Records pertaining to Sir Francis Drake, his circumnavigation, and celebrations of his landing in California may be found at the Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California, 91108; the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, 94720; the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, California, 94105; and the California State Library, 914 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, California, 95814, among other repositories.

    Separated Material

    A slide has been separated from the subject files to a cold-storage vault for preservation purposes. Three posters and three commemorative medallions have been separated from the publicity files. Separation sheets are in the files to alert to the researcher to the existence and location of these items.