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
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
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