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Guide to the Genevieve Didion papers
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The Genevieve Didion Papers are comprised of 3.5 cubic feet of textual and photographic material, bound volumes, and artifacts and ephemera chronicling the life of Genevieve Didion, a Sacramento woman involved in the preservation of local and state history and the improvement of education and youth services. The collection documents her work from 1918-1973 as part of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, the Sacramento Board of Education, and other local efforts related to history and education.
Genevieve Didion was born in 1897 in the Sacramento Valley, where her family had settled in the late 1800s. Raised in a pioneer family, Genevieve Didion strove to preserve the pioneer heritage of Sacramento. Throughout her life she was instrumental in documenting and celebrating the city’s history, and dedicated herself to improving education and providing opportunities for Sacramento’s youth. Genevieve Didion was an active member of the Sacramento Parlor of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, a statewide organization dedicated to reverence of California’s pioneers and preservation of the state’s history. As a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, Genevieve Didion spearheaded local efforts to plant memorial groves in memory of California’s pioneers. She succeeded in establishing the Camellia Grove on the Grounds of the State Capitol, as well as other memorial groves planted on the grounds of the California State Fair, McClellan and Mather Air Force Bases, and Sutter’s Fort. Genevieve Didion coordinated social and celebratory events for the Sacramento Parlor, including the Centennial Breakfast at Sutter’s Fort, the Gold Centennial Ball, and Admissions’ Day parades. She also assisted in the creation of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West Children’s Foundation, a statewide charitable organization to aid handicapped children not supported by welfare. Other projects to preserve California’s history interested Genevieve Didion as well. She undertook legislative work in order to have Admissions’ Day declared a state holiday, and to secure “I Love You, California” as the official state song. She lobbied for the passage of legislation to require the state flag to be flown with the American flag over all public buildings in California. In addition to her work to celebrate state history, Genevieve Didion was dedicated to preserving local history. She was active in the Sacramento County Historical Society, and served as a member of the Sophie Comstock Memorial Commission, which coordinated the installation of a memorial to the Pony Express at 2nd and J Streets in downtown Sacramento. For these activities she was recognized by the Grand Parlor of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, and in 1961 received the Woman of the Year award from the Soroptimist Club of Sacramento. The youth of Sacramento were also of great interest and importance to Genevieve Didion. She established and acted as director of the Youth Services Center and the Eaglet Theater for Children. She served as the president of the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home. For three gubernatorial administrations, Genevieve Didion served as a member of the Governor’s Youth Conference Committee. She actively supported the Girl Scouts of America. She also functioned as a member of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission, helping to coordinate positive activities for young adults. Genevieve Didion was also devoted to improving education in Sacramento schools. She was first appointed to the Sacramento Board of Education in 1942, and served until 1960, when the Board became elective. Voters promptly returned her to her post, where she remained until her death in 1974 at age 77.
3.5 linear feet (7 boxes)
All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.
Collection is open for research use.