Scope and Content
Title: Paden (Irene Dakin) Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1931-1953
Collection number: Mss29
Irene Dakin Paden
Extent: 3.5 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], Paden (Irene Dakin) Papers, Mss29, Holt-Atherton Department of
Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
Irene Dakin Paden (1888-1974), self-styled "housewife," lived and pursued the study of
the history of the American West for more than forty years in Alameda (Calif.). Her
husband, Dr. William G. Paden, a descendant of the Locke family of San Joaquin Valley
pioneers, was the Alameda Superintendent of Schools. Together the Padens spent many
summers during the 1930s and 1940s seeking and following the 19th century emigrant trails
that lead to California. Mrs. Paden kept copious notes of these explorations and during
the winters carried out preparatory research for the following summer's excursions. She
is the author of three books on western history: The Wake of the Prairie Schooner (1943),
an overview of travels on the Overland trail from the Missouri River to the California
gold fields; Prairie Schooner Detours (1949), an extension of the first book, examining
alternative routes on the Overland Trail; and The Big Oak Flat Road (1955), a history of
the route from Stockton to the Yosemite Valley.
Scope and Content
The Paden papers consist of notes, research materials, and portions of the drafts of her
three books. They are contained in seven manuscript boxes (3 linear ft.), the first four
of which contain 18 ringbinders of notes, quotations, and transcripts that Mrs. Paden
collected in the course of her research. Included among the transcriptions are some full
length diaries written by travelers on the Overland Trail as well as many shorter
quotations from published and unpublished accounts. The next two boxes contain 48
notebooks--journals of Mrs. Paden's travels along the Overland Trail. Virtually every
year, from 1931 t0 1952 the Padens spent a month or more traveling the region by
automobile; the journals constitute a day-to-day account of her observations. The final
box contains partial drafts of each of Mrs. Paden's three books.