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Guide to the Patricia Loomis Collection 2008.132
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Appraisal note
  • Related Archival Materials note
  • Separated Materials note
  • Processing Information note

  • Title: Patricia Loomis Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: 2008.132
    Contributing Institution: History San Jose Research Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 6.0 Linear feet (6 boxes)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1939-1998
    Date (inclusive): 1850-2008
    Abstract: Loomis's professional work as a San Jose Mercury News journalist, member of the Argonauts Historical Society, and author of several San Jose (Calif.) local history books is documented through correspondence, bylines, research notes, manuscript drafts, and a large collection of news clippings of local interest.
    General Physical Description note: Most of Loomis's notes, bylines and clippings are on newsprint paper and already show signs of fading. Her notes were stored in a variety of acidic paper envelopes. Because of the extent of the collection and expense of transferring the materials to non-acidic materials, it was decided to keep these materials in their original form. To the extent possible, paper clips and staples were removed.
    creator: Loomis, Patricia, 1920-2010

    Conditions Governing Access note

    Materials are open to the public for research by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Property rights reside with History San Jose. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact History San Jose Research Library.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    Materials were donated by Pat Loomis to History San Jose in November 2008.

    Scope and Contents note

    Loomis's professional work as a San Jose Mercury News journalist, member of the Argonauts Historical Society, and author of several San Jose (Calif.) local history books is documented through correspondence, bylines, research notes, manuscript drafts, and a large collection of news clippings of local interest.
    Loomis's research notes and clippings provide a wealth of information for those interested in the history of Santa Clara County and its families, particularly those families who came west during the Gold Rush. While much of her research draws upon primary sources available elsewhere, she profiles many families who are not well-known, and draws a picture through her work of everyday life in San Jose. In many cases she has interviewed family members and neighbors. The sheer variety and wealth of background information she amassed is testament to her personal interest in local history, as well as her tenacity, attention to detail and professionalism in her journalism. Her articles are touched with a sense of whimsy and humor that breathe life into her profiles.
    Records from the early Statehouse Replica Museum and San Jose Historical Museum, as well as Loomis's detailed notes and itineraries from her Argonauts educational tours, illustrate her relationship with Clyde Arbuckle and their shared, lifelong commitment to promoting the history of the American West, particularly Nevada, California and Oregon.
    Of particular note in her manuscripts is the background material on the San Francisco International Airport. Ernie Renzel, the impetus behind the airport's development, gave Loomis all of his original correspondence with the Civil Aviation Commission, San Jose City Council, and the estate of Mary Ives Crocker, providing a rich backdrop to San Jose's development as it headed out of World War II.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Loomis was born in June 1920 in San Francisco, California, to Ivan and Christine Loomis. She grew up in Arroyo Grande, California, where her family had resided since 1882, descendants of prominent pioneers E. C. and Clara Loomis. After graduating from San Jose State University in 1943 with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, she went to work at the San Jose Mercury News, where she worked for 40 years. She started out writing church notices, articles based on letters from soldiers, reports on frost and weather for farmers and then moved up to cover the police department and City Hall.
    Loomis is best known for her Mercury News column "Signposts" which ran from 1971-1981 and detailed through vignettes the lives of pioneers whose surnames are reflected on streets in the San Jose-South Bay area. A selection of these columns was published as "Signposts" (1982) and "Signposts II" (1985), then combined and reprinted as "Signposts Revisited" in 2009. Her interest in local history also provided the basis for several other publications, "Milpitas: the Century of 'Little Cornfields,' 1852-1952" (1986), "San Jose International Airport" (1991), "A Walk through the Past: San Jose's Oak Hill Memorial Park" (1998), and "The Wealth of California - Today's Agriculture, Yesterday's Gold" (1999).
    As an active member of the San Jose Argonauts and the Oregon-California Trails Association, Loomis led or contributed to several group tours tracing pioneer trails through Nevada, Oregon and California and spent considerable personal time researching pioneer history in the U.S. West. She established the Pat Loomis Preservation Fund to help pay for preservation of the Oregon and California trails. Loomis was an original member of the San Jose Historical Museum, and her commitment to advocating for local history was recognized by History San Jose, who dedicated "Loomis Lane" in History Park in 2006. She received the Austen Warburton Award from the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County in March 2006. Also in 2006, the South County Historical Society opened the Patricia Loomis History Library and Resource Center in Arroyo Grande.
    Loomis moved back to Arroyo Grande in 2007 where she authored two books on that area: "Arroyo Grande Cemetery" and "Streets of Arroyo Grande" and spent time pursuing her other passions for fishing, gardening and canning. In 2010 the South County Historical Society named her Historian of the Year.
    Loomis passed away in Arroyo Grande in July 2010.

    Preferred Citation note

    Patricia Loomis Collection 2008-132, History San Jose Research Library, San Jose, California 95112-2599.

    Appraisal note

    During processing, some records already held by History San Jose were removed from the collection. Many non-personal and duplicate news items were also removed.

    Related Archival Materials note

    Loomis's collection overlaps with many other collections held by History San Jose, including
    Ernie Renzel Papers (2008-29). Renzel was instrumental in developing the San Jose Airport. Loomis's collection contains Renzel's original correspondence on the subject, as well as her manuscript on the airport's history.
    The Research Library maintains copies of all of Loomis's publications.

    Separated Materials note

    Loose printed matter was removed for Library cataloging in 2009. In the summer of 2010, loose photographs were removed to be cataloged and stored with the Photographs Collection. Maps and blueprints are housed in the map room. Ephemera and some news clippings were also removed and stored separately. These remain part of the same accession but are not included in this guide. PastPerfect records are available in-house.

    Processing Information note

    Personal papers were arranged and cataloged by a volunteer archivist during the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011. Any existing order established by Loomis was preserved.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San Jose Mercury-news.
    Local history--research
    Overland journeys to the Pacific
    Pioneers--California--Santa Clara County
    REPORTER (print. & pub.; radio-tv broad.)
    San Jose (Calif.)
    Santa Clara County (Calif.)