Scope and Content
Title: Burns (Robert E.) California State Parks Commission Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1951-1958
Collection number: Mss179
Robert E. Burns
Extent: 2.5 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Burns (Robert E.) California State Parks Commission Papers,
Mss179, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific
The California State Parks Commission was established in 1927. It was a body of five
persons appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Governor. The Commissioners were
laymen who were paid their expenses while on duty. They oversaw the Division of Beaches
and Parks, appointed the Chief of the Division, approved budgets and policies, and
reviewed land acquisitions and park improvements.
Early in its existence the Commission established a set of criteria for the creation of
state parks which include the following principles: areas selected for parklands should
be of statewide and not local significance; they should possess features of special
significance that make their preservation and public recreational use a matter of
statewide concern; they should be equitably distributed so as to assure proper balance in
their use by all citizens of the state.
Gov. Earl Warren appointed Robert Burns, President of the College of the Pacific, to the
California State Parks Commission in 1951. Burns served through 1958. He represented
central California at a time crucial to the preservation of the southern grove of the
Calaveras Big Trees. Other parks created during his tenure include the Hearst/San Simeon
State Historical Monument and the Jack London Home State Historical Monument. In 1958
Burns participated in the Commission's major reorganization of the Division of Beaches
Scope and Content
The Robert Burns State Parks Commission Papers consists of: correspondence and memos from
the Director of the Division of Beaches & Parks, the public and various legislators; the
agendas and minutes of Park Commission meetings (1953-1958); reports or proposals
regarding various lands being considered for state park status or for expansion;
summaries and texts of enabling legislation creating the diverse parks (1953-58); and a
miscellany of related printed materials, maps, and photographs.