Inventory of the City of Davis Collection, 1917-1982

Leigh Johnsen
Department of Special Collections
General Library
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616-5292
Phone: (530) 752-1621
Fax: (530) 754-5758
© 2007
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Creator: Davis (Calif)
Title: City of Davis Collection
Date: 1917-1982
Extent: 10.8 linear feet
Abstract: The City of Davis Collection documents life in a Sacramento Valley community during the twentieth century as seen through material related to the city's local government. The collection spans the years 1917-1982, with clusters of material around the periods 1932-1939, 1946-1960, and 1978-1982. Included are correspondence, property assessment records, legal opinions, bids, receipt books for business licenses, contracts, newsletters, bulletins, maps, plans, personnel recommendations, a warrant register, a registry of births, policy statements, regulations, petitions, meeting minutes, tax returns, court decisions, and election documents. Of special note is the personal correspondence file of Norman D. Thomas, the city's third clerk and city attorney, serving at the height of the Great Depression. The collection affords glimpses into local politics, city administration, business activity and licensing, New Deal programs, Prohibition, tax assessment and collection, and development of the University Farm, later known as the University of California, Davis.
Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
Davis, California 95616-5292
Collection number: D-344
Language of Material: Collection materials in English.

Scope and Content

The City of Davis Collection spans the years 1917 to 1982, with the bulk of material clustered in three main periods: 1932-1939, 1946-1960, and 1978-1982. The collection is arranged in ten series: 1. Norman D. Thomas Correspondence Files, 2. Financial Management, 3. Administration, 4. Services and Public Works, 5. Ordinances, 6. Planning and Zoning, 7. Property Valuation, 8. Elections, 9. Business Licensing, and 10. Oversize.
Much of the material in this collection touches on functions attached to the clerk of the City of Davis, an appointee who served at the will of the Board of Trustees (later, the City Council) from the city's incorporation in 1917 until 1950, when it adopted an administrative structure that relied on a city manager. Among other responsibilities, the city clerk kept notes of trustee and council meetings, implemented their decisions, published official notices, served as the city's tax assessor, held ex-officio status as clerk for Davis's Board of Equalization, and administered elections. The city clerk also served as city attorney from incorporation through the 1930s.
The City of Davis Collection documents local life, politics, and civic affairs in Davis, California, as seen through a sampling of material related to city government at the height of the Great Depression. This period overlaps the tenure of Forrest A. Plant (1917-1932) and Norman D. Thomas (1933-1939), two of Davis's earliest city clerks and city attorneys. Through its property valuation records, the collection also documents real estate holdings, tax assessments, and building construction in 1933 and during the post-World War II years. In addition, it documents local election practices during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Plant, Forrest A., 1889-1933.
City Planning--California--Davis.
License System--California--Davis.
Local Elections--California Davis.
Local Finance--California--Davis.
Local Government--California--Davis.
Municipal Services--California--Davis--History.
Municipal Bonds--California.
Municipal Finance--California--Davis.
Public Works--California, Northern.
United States--Economic conditions--1918-1945.
United States--Politics and government--1933-1945.
Yolo County (Calif.)--History.
Davis (Calif.)--History.
University of California, Davis--History.


Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], City of Davis Collection, D-344, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.

Publication Rights

Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis 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 researcher.

Collection Contents


Series 1 Norman D. Thomas Correspondence Files 1932-1939

Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

General chronological arrangement within each folder. Contains correspondence focused on official duties of Davis's third city clerk and attorney.
Box/Folder: 1:1

Correspondence (1 of 2). 1932-1934

Box/Folder: 1:2

Correspondence (2 of 2). 1932-1934

Box/Folder: 1:3

Correspondence. 1934-1937

Box/Folder: 1:4

Correspondence. 1937-1939


Series 2 Financial Management 1928-1939

Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

General chronological arrangement within each folder. Contains correspondence mainly related to collection of property taxes, as well as receipts, bids, election instructions and resolutions, legal opinions, and marketing instructions for sale of bonds.
Box/Folder: 2:1

Bond Sales. Municipal Bonds. 1931-1937

Box/Folder: 2:2

Bond Sales. City Hall Bonds. 1937-1938

Box/Folder: 2:3

Property Tax Collection. 1928

Box/Folder: 2:4

Property Tax Collection. 1933-1934

Box/Folder: 2:5

Property Tax Collection. 1934-1937

Box/Folder: 2:6

Property Tax Collection. 1937-1939


Series 3 Administration 1917-1943

Physical Description: 2.4 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

General chronological arrangement within each folder; wrapped volumes arranged chronologically. Contains correspondence related to: city's insurance contracts and city personnel; assorted legal matters; utilities; and supplies; as well as receipts, contracts, and rate schedules. Also includes correspondence with League of California Municipalities, along with related newsletters, bulletins, applications, and recommendations. Bound volumes cover vital statistics for early Davis and list warrants regarding accounts payable.
Box/Folder: 3:1

Insurance Policies and Contracts. 1931-1939

Box/Folder: 3:2

League of California Municipalities. 1936-1938

Box/Folder: 3:3

League of California Municipalities. 1938-1939

Box/Folder: 3:4

Legal Documents. 1931-1937

Wrapped Volume

Register of Births. 1917-1919

Wrapped Volume.

Warrant register. 1937-1943


Series 4 Services and Public Works 1924-1939

Physical Description: 0.6 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

General chronological arrangement within each folder. Contains material related to: fire department business, a variety of New Deal projects (CWA, ERA, SERA, and WPA); street construction and maintenance; and water, gas, and electricity procurement and delivery. Also includes correspondence, invoices, policy statements, minutes of official meetings, contracts, canceled checks, bids, regulations, reports, bulletins, petitions, and proposals, many of which cover construction of a city park (1936-1937) and city hall (1938-1939).
Box/Folder: 4:1

City Hall Construction. 1938

Box/Folder: 4:2

City Hall Construction. 1938-1939

Box/Folder: 4:3

City Jail. 1937

Box/Folder: 4:4

City Park Construction. 1936-1937

Box/Folder: 4:5

Fire Department. 1936-1937

Box/Folder: 4:6

Garbage Collection. 1934-1937

Box/Folder: 4:7

Gas and Electricity. 1932-1936

Box/Folder: 4:8

New Deal Projects. 1934-1935

Box/Folder: 4:9

New Deal Projects. 1934-1938

Box/Folder: 4:10

Street Construction and Maintenance. 1924-1933

Box/Folder: 5:1

Street Construction and Maintenance (1 of 2). 1933-1937

Box/Folder: 5:2

Street Construction and Maintenance (2 of 2). 1933-1937

Box/Folder: 5:3

Street Construction and Maintenance. 1937-1938

Box/Folder: 5:4

Water Procurement and Delivery. 1934-1937


Series 5 Ordinances 1917-1960

Physical Description: 1.2 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

General chronological arrangement within each folder; wrapped volume arranged chronologically. Contains official notices, reprints, and compilation of ordinances beginning with Davis's incorporation in 1917.
Box/Folder: 5:5

Ordinances "Compiled by the Davis Enterprise," 1917-1925. 1917-1925

Box/Folder: 5:6

"Various Ordinances--Nos. 9-103," 1917-1937. 1917-1937

Wrapped Volume.

Compiled Ordinances. 1917-1960


Series 6 Planning and Zoning 1923-1949

Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

General chronological arrangement within each folder. Contains correspondence and related material, including public notices from Planning Commission, petitions from residents, maps, plans, and minutes of commission meetings.
Box/Folder: 6:1

College Park Association. 1923

Box/Folder: 6:2

Correspondence and Related Material. 1927-1934

Box/Folder: 6:3

Correspondence and Related Material. 1936-1939

Box/Folder: 6:4

Correspondence and Related Material. 1943-1945

Box/Folder: 6:5

Correspondence and Related Material. 1948-1949

Box/Folder: 6:6

Rezoning Ballots. 1938


Series 7 Property Valuation 1933-1960

Physical Description: 2.8 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Organized alphabetically or by parcel number within each folder. Contains correspondence and related material, notably, appraisals of property (1933) and appraisals and building records (1946-1960). Included also are tax returns, instructions, court decisions, summary statements of assessments citywide (1935 and 1936), and (as reference material) register of students who attended Davis branch of the University of California in 1935.
Box/Folder: 7:1

Appraisals of Property, Allen-Clancy, Elizabeth. 1933

Box/Folder: 7:2

Appraisals of Property, Clancy, Elizabeth-Gallagher, J. J. 1933

Box/Folder: 7:3

Appraisals of Property, Gallagher, J. J.-Jensen. 1933

Box/Folder: 7:4

Appraisals of Property, Johnson-Palmer. 1933

Box/Folder: 7:5

Appraisals of Property, Patterson-Slatter, Lillian N. 1933

Box/Folder: 7:6

Appraisals of Property, Slatter, Lillian N.-Zink. 1933

Box/Folder: 8:1

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-01-2 to 1-29-21. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 8:2

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-30-4 to 1-56-6. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 8:3

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-020-1 to 1-031-7. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 8:4

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-032-1 to 1-037-9. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 8:5

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-040-1 to 1-071-14. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 8:6

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-072-1 to 1-095-11. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 8:7

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-101-2 to 1-121-12. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 9:1

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-122-1 to 1-141-2. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 9:2

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-142-1 to 1-171-5. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 9:3

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-171-6 to 1-182-14. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 9:4

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-183-2 to 1-185-18. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 9:5

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-186-1 to 1-194-15. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 10:1

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-201-1 to 1-211-16. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 10:2

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-212-2 to 1-218-9. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 10:3

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-221-4 to 1-234-12. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 10:4

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-235-2 to 1-243-16. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 11:1

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-244-1 to 1-264-4. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 11:2

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-331-1 to 1-361-17. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 11:3

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-362-1 to 1-392-11. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 11:4

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-401-1 to 1-442-8. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 12:1

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-451-1 to 1-492-19. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 12:2

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-501-1 to 1-521-8. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 12:3

Appraisals and Building Records, 1-522-1 to 1-562-8. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 12:4

Appraisals and Building Records, 2-01-2 to 2-036-16. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 12:5

Appraisals and Building Records, 2-037-1 to 5-43-6. 1946-1960

Box/Folder: 13:1

Correspondence and Related Material. 1931-1935

Box/Folder: 13:2

Correspondence and Related Material (1 of 2). 1932-1934

Box/Folder: 13:3

Correspondence and Related Material (2 of 2). 1932-1934

Box/Folder: 13:4

Correspondence and Related Material. 1934-1936

Box/Folder: 13:5

Reference Material. 1935


Series 8 Elections 1934-1982

Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Arranged by type of document and election, then alphabetically by candidate. Contains synopsis of election laws, election officers’ digest, notices of appointment to office, campaign statements, sworn oaths of office, election forms, nomination papers, official election returns, certificates of correspondence, and related material.
Box/Folder: 14:1

Correspondence and Related Material. 1934-1938

Box/Folder: 14:2

General Municipal Elections, Farrell, Richard. 1980

Box/Folder: 14:3

General Municipal Elections, Hunter, Yvonne. 1982

Box/Folder: 14:4

General Municipal Elections, Larsen, Thomas R. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:5

General Municipal Elections, Lester, Rudolph. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:6

General Municipal Elections, MacMillan, J. David. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:7

General Municipal Elections, Sanders, Steven R. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:8

General Municipal Elections, Spears, Michael P. 1982

Box/Folder: 14:9

General Municipal Elections, Sumida, Wesley K. 1982

Box/Folder: 14:10

General Municipal Elections, Tansey, Thomas. 1980

Box/Folder: 14:11

General Municipal Elections, Thanos, Cynthia B. 1980

Box/Folder: 14:12

General Municipal Elections, Thanos, Cynthia B. 1982

Box/Folder: 14:13

General Municipal Elections, Usherwood, Tom. 1980

Box/Folder: 14:14

Special Municipal Elections, Adler, Gerald J. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:15

Special Municipal Elections, Farrell, Richard. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:16

Special Municipal Elections, Smith, Brian J. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:17

Special Municipal Elections, Usherwood, Tom. 1978

Box/Folder: 14:18

Negatives ca. 1980


Series 9 Business Licensing 1921-1935

Physical Description: 1.2 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence folder and receipt books generally arranged in chronological order. Contains receipt books and correspondence that addresses a wide range of topics related to business licensing.
Box/Folder: 15:1

Correspondence and Related Material. 1933-1934

Box/Folder: 15:2

Receipt Books. 1921-1924

Box/Folder: 15:3

Receipt Books. 1922-1923

Box/Folder: 15:4

Receipt Books. 1924-1926

Box/Folder: 15:5

Receipt Books. 1926-1929

Box/Folder: 16:1

Receipt Books. 1927-1929

Box/Folder: 16:2

Receipt Books. 1929-1930

Box/Folder: 16:3

Receipt Books. 1930-1931

Box/Folder: 16:4

Receipt Books. 1930-1932

Box/Folder: 17:1

Receipt Books. 1931-1932

Box/Folder: 17:2

Receipt Books. 1932-1934

Box/Folder: 17:3

Receipt Books. 1933-1934

Box/Folder: 17:4

Receipt Books. 1934-1935


Series 10 Oversize 1920-1949

Physical Description: 1.0 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Arranged by type of document. Contains material related to the collection but too large for inclusion elsewhere.
Box/Folder: 18:1

Charts, Forms, and Official Statements. [1932]-1935

Box/Folder: 18:2

Maps. 1931-1942

Box/Folder: 18:3

Plans, Blueprints, and Drawings. 1938-1949

Box/Folder: 18:4

Published Notices. 1938