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Norris (Kathleen and Charles Gilman) family photographs
BANC PIC 1988.039  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access to Collection
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Organization of the Collection
  • Biographical Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Kathleen Norris and Charles Gilman Norris family photographs
    Creator: Norris, Kathleen Thompson
    Creator: Norris, Charles Gilman
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1988.039
    Physical Description: 2,300 items : chiefly photographic prints ; various sizes
    Date (inclusive): approximately 1865-1965
    Abstract: The Kathleen Norris and Charles Gilman Norris family photograph collection contains approximately 2,300 photographs and assorted clippings, drawings, manuscript notes and other miscellaneous documents dating from the 1860s to the 1960s. The material represents six generations of the families of California authors Kathleen and Charles G. Norris, but the chief focus is their immediate family and social circle in the first half of the 20th century. The bulk of the collection is contained in 6 albums assembled and captioned in roughly chronological order by Kathleen Norris.
    Physical Description: Photographic prints, clippings, drawings, manuscript notes, etc., chiefly contained in 6 albums.
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Access to Collection

    Collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The Kathleen Norris and Charles Gilman Norris family photograph albums were received as a gift of William Dawson in 1987. Related pictorial material received from Frank Norris in 1983 and originally cataloged as BANC PIC 1983.218 was merged with the present collection in 1997.

    Organization of the Collection

    This collection is organized into series:
    1. Individual Items
    2. Album: Volume 1
    3. Album: Volume 2
    4. Album: Volume 3
    5. Album: Volume 4
    6. Album: Volume 5
    7. Album: Volume 6

    Biographical Note

    Kathleen Norris was born Kathleen Thompson on July 16, 1880, in San Francisco. Kathleen Norris’s grandparents were California pioneers. Her maternal grandparents -- Paul Moroney and Margaret Sexton Moroney -- originally settled in Marysville in 1851, where Kathleen’s mother, Josephine, was born in 1852. Kathleen Norris’s paternal grandparents -- Frederick Thompson and Maria Teresa O’Keefe Thompson -- arrived in San Francisco circa 1856 after marrying in Hawaii and travelling extensively throughout the world. Her father, James A. Thompson, born in 1845 in Honolulu, became a successful manager of the Donohoe-Kelly Bank. Also an actor and two-time president of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, he was acquainted with many figures of the literary and theatrical circles then present in the Bay Area. Josephine Moroney and James Alden Thompson were married in 1876. In 1891, the Thompson family moved to Mill Valley in Marin County and built their idyllic home “Treehaven,” which would remain in the family for several generations. Kathleen had one older brother, Joseph, and five younger siblings: Teresa, Francis (who died in childhood), Fred, Margaret and James. The Thompson children received most of their education at home, as their parents eschewed formal schooling, instead encouraging a highly domestic lifestyle that combined household duties with traditional school activities such as reading, writing, and the study of foreign languages. Like all the Thompson children, Kathleen was an avid reader of fiction from a young age. As a storyteller, Kathleen very early displayed the fertile imagination and sense of domestic detail found in the short stories and novels for which she would later become famous. In 1899 Kathleen’s parents died within weeks of one another. Mounting family financial misfortunes culminated shortly after their deaths, leaving the orphaned Thompson children nearly destitute. The children moved to San Francisco, where the three eldest -- Joseph, Kathleen and Teresa -- took odd jobs to support themselves and their other siblings. After working in sales and in various clerical positions, Kathleen found work in the Mechanics’ Library which allowed her more free time to read and write. In 1905, having become more serious about pursuing a writing career, Kathleen attended a literature class offered by the University of California, where she was highly encouraged by her professor. She worked for the Red Cross during the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. From 1907 to 1909 she worked for the San Francisco newspapers The Evening Bulletin, The Call, and The Examiner as a reporter of society events, a job which gave her first hand access to a lifestyle which would be the subject of much of her later fiction. During this time she continued her literary pursuits, having some of her work published in local periodicals. In 1908 Kathleen met Charles G. (“Cigi”) Norris (b. 1880, Chicago; d. 1945, Palo Alto), also an aspiring writer, and the younger brother of the then late novelist Frank Norris. The two were married in early 1909 shortly after moving to New York City. In December of that year, the Norris’s first child, Frank, was born. Years later, Kathleen would give birth to twin daughters, both of whom died only days after birth. In 1918 the Norrises adopted William Rice (“Bill”) Norris. Kathleen Norris’ writing career was greatly advanced in 1909 when The Atlantic Monthly published her story “What Happened to Alanna?,” thus bringing her a long-sought-for national recognition. Thanks in part to Charles’s shrewd business sense acquired from assisting his brother in his publication efforts, the Norris’s literary success quickly increased from this early triumph. Kathleen Norris would eventually publish such popular works as Mother (1911), The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne (1912), Saturday’s Child (1914), Certain People of Importance (1922), Noon, An Autobiography (1925), Little Ships (1925), and What Price Peace? (1928). The themes characterizing much of her work were family relations, domestic life, and various contemporary social issues. Charles Norris's published fiction -- primarily dealing with social, political and economic issues of his day -- includes Salt (1918), Brass (1921), Seed (1930), and Flint (1944). Kathleen Norris's social and political convictions led her to help establish such pacifist organizations as the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, in the late Twenties; Mothers of America, in the early Thirties; and America First, in the mid-Thirties. The Norrises divided their time between their residences in Saratoga (the ranch “La Estancia”); Palo Alto (now the Newman Club of Stanford University); Port Washington, New York (“Greenblinds”); and the Thompson family residence of “Treehaven" in Mill Valley. Kathleen and Charles G. Norris were also well-known for their expertise in the game of croquet. Kathleen Norris died in 1966. Kathleen Norris's brother Joseph Thompson had three children -- Joseph (“Joey”), Kathleen, and Jacqueline. Her brother Frederick Thompson had two children -- Helen (“Babs”) and David. Her brother James Thompson had three children -- Josephine, Jane, and Margaret. Kathleen’s sister Teresa, who married the poet William Rose Benet, had three children -- James, Rosemary and Kathleen. (In 1919, Teresa Benet died while pregnant with her fourth child.) Her sister Margaret (“Mark”) and her husband Charles Conway (“Hap”) Hartigan had two children -- Margaret, Jr. (“Bunga”) and Charles Conway, Jr. (“Con”). Kathleen Norris’s son Frank married Alice McCreery and had three children -- Kathleen, Helen (Nell), and Charles Gilman, II. Novelist Frank Norris’s daughter Billy, who spent much time with the Norris family, married Gerald Hermann circa 1922. After many struggles with mental illness, she committed suicide in 1940.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Kathleen Norris and Charles Gilman Norris family photographs, BANC PIC 1988.039, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Materials

    Norris Family Papers (BANC MSS 70/100 c).
    Norris Family Papers : Additions, ca. 1877-1966 (BANC MSS 83/176 c).
    An Interview with Kathleen Norris : Oral History Transcript (BANC MSS C-D 4023).
    Photos of Charles Gilman Norris and family (BANC PIC 1989.052).
    Charles Gilman Norris and family (BANC PIC 1988.102).
    Joseph S. Thompson photograph collection (BANC PIC 1971.040).

    Scope and Content

    The Norris family photographs collection contains approximately 2,300 photographs and assorted clippings, drawings, manuscripts and other miscellaneous documents dating from the 1860s to the 1960s. The bulk of the collection is contained in 6 albums assembled and captioned in roughly chronological order by Kathleen Norris. Loose material is shelved separately according to size.
    The collection represents six generations of the families of Kathleen and Charles G. Norris. The primary focus of the collection is the immediate Norris family, especially Kathleen and Charles's son Frank. Also heavily featured are Kathleen's siblings and their children. Several long-time friends of the family are pictured throughout the collection, as are several families distantly related to the Norrises. Countless acquaintances are featured, as well as a growing number of extended family members as the albums progress in time. The collection includes photographs of the parents and grandparents of Kathleen Norris. There are very few photographs of Charles G. Norris's direct family members: one carte de visite of his brother, the popular novelist Frank Norris, taken during his boyhood, and one photograph of his mother being the outstanding exceptions.
    Activities represented in the collection are primarily leisurely and family-oriented, including parties, travel, recreational outings, domestic activities, as well as other more formal social functions.
    California locales featured in the collection include Mill Valley, San Francisco, Saratoga, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Carmel, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Bohemian Grove, Benicia and Yosemite. Other United States locations include Long Island, New York; Augusta, Georgia; Annapolis, Maryland; and Chicago, Illinois. The collection also features locales in Italy, Brazil, England, France, Monaco, Switzerland, and Portugal’s Madeira Islands.
    Notable persons appearing in the collection include William Rose Benet (husband of Kathleen's sister Teresa), Edna Ferber, Fanny Hurst, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jack London, Noel Coward, Samuel Goldwyn, and George Creel. Also included is a letter from U.S. General Douglas MacArthur to Kathleen Norris regarding prospects for world peace.
    Notable San Francisco Bay Area photographers represented in the collection include Arnold Genthe, Gabriel Moulin, and I.W. Taber.
    In addition to photographs, the collection also contains many periodical clippings, manuscript poems, drawings, letters, notes, invitations, greeting cards, etc. The albums' thorough captioning by Kathleen Norris reveals her wit and her tremendous affection for her family and friends. The albums lack several photographs originally glued to pages. As there appear to be some considerable chronological gaps between the otherwise comprehensive albums, it is likely that other albums were created that are lacking in the present collection. In devising descriptive captions for the container listing, the attempt has been made to provide the last name of the subject at the time the original photograph was taken. (For example, Kathleen Norris will be referred to as Kathleen Thompson in all photographs of her taken prior to her marriage to Charles G. Norris in 1909.)

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Authors, American -- California -- Photographs
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Social life and customs--20th century
    Families -- California
    Bohemian Grove (Calif.)
    Photograph albums
    Norris, Kathleen Thompson
    Norris, Charles Gilman
    Norris, Kathleen Thompson
    Norris, Charles Gilman
    Norris family