Scope and Content
Title: Resources Agency - California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names Records
Collection number: R340
California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names
2.25 cubic feet of textual records
California State Archives
Abstract: In 1961, the state geologist created The California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names within the Resources Agency. The
committee began its work in July 1963, providing the federal government with advice in naming geographic features through
researching local naming practices. Committee members contacted local area residents to learn what the residents called a
geologic feature, and the committee advised the federal agency on what name to officially publish. The California Advisory
Committee on Geographic Names Records consists of two and one-quarter cubic feet of textual material covering the years 1961
to 2004 with the bulk of the records covering 1961-1980.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research.
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
[Identification of item], California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names Records, R340.[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 California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names Records according to state law.
In 1961, the assistant director of the United States Geological Survey discussed with the California State Geologist Ian Campbell
the likelihood of establishing a state committee to aid the United States Board on Geographic Names in deciding on geographic
names in California. As a result, the state geologist created the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names within
the Resources Agency. This committee was intended to continue the work of the state Board of Geographic Names, which lasted
from 1928 until the mid-1940s. Campbell hoped to garner the State Legislature's approval for the Advisory Committee on Geographic
Names through Senate Bill 774 (Farr, 1963) but the bill died in the Senate. Since then, the advisory committee has operated
without a legislative mandate.
The California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names began it work in July 1963 with Ian Campbell as the chair. The committee
consists of representatives from the Departments of Water Resources, Fish and Game, Parks and Recreation, Forestry and Fire
Protection, and Conservation with each representative being responsible for a geographic region of California. The committee's
task is to provide the federal government with advice in naming geographic features through researching local naming practices.
Committee members contact local area residents to learn what the residents call a geologic feature and the committee advises
the federal agency on what name to officially publish.
Scope and Content
The California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names Records consists of two and one-quarter cubic feet of textual material
covering the years 1961 to 2004 with the bulk of the records covering 1961-1980. The collection is organized into three series:
Committee Files; Conference Files; and Correspondence. The records primarily contain correspondence, meeting minutes, memorandum,
reports, and maps. The scope of the committee records covers the organization and recommendations of the advisory committee.
Topics include names of geographic features, geologic naming procedures, administrative procedures, the Council of Geographic
Names Authorities annual meetings, and U.S. government official geographic names.
One area of controversy was the renaming of geographic features that included derogatory words or terms. Several local regions
in California had named geographic features using racist or derogatory terms and the federal and state governments decided
to remove the discriminatory words while embracing a multicultural history. The committee's usual response was to find a similar,
non-offensive, name to the changed names or to use a historically appropriate name.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.