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Guide to the Pioneer Society of San Diego County Records MS 104
MS 104  
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Pioneer Society of San Diego County Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 104
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.75 Linear feet (6 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1898-1987
    Abstract: This collection contains records of the Pioneer Society of San Diego County, including documents related to administration, finances, membership, accessions, and events. It also contains original correspondence to and from members of the Society.
    creator: Pioneer Society of San Diego County.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    The Pioneer Society of San Diego County was organized on May 31, 1895, and was originally called “The Ladies’ Pioneer Society of San Diego.” One of its purposes, as stated in the Bylaws, was “to collect, record, and preserve the history of the State of California, and more especially the history and traditions of the City and County of San Diego, and incidents connected therewith.” Mrs. Flora Kimball and Hattie Phillips were the first president and secretary, respectively. Membership was limited to those persons who came to California before January 1, 1880, with extension of privileges to their descendants and to others who had shown an interest in the objects of the society. Originally all members were women, but in 1905 men were given honorary memberships. Honorary members included such figures as General John J. Pershing, Winifred Davidson, and John F. Forward. A 1908 letter from John G. Capron states that the symbol of the society was an evergreen sprig. The society held one open meeting and several closed meetings per year that featured talks on local history by a variety of guests, introduced people important in politics and society, and presented local music talents as well as entertainment and refreshments.
    At the time of the local Panama-California Exposition in 1915-1916, the Society began to collect papers and articles for a historical exhibit. The collection steadily grew and on July 16, 1930 was officially transferred to the Junipero Serra Museum, home of the San Diego Historical Society. The Pioneer Society continued as an active local organization until the early 1980s.
    Earlier attempts to form a Pioneer Society in 1872 and 1888 were unsuccessful despite the involvement of such important San Diego figures as William Winder, W.B. Couts, Jose Estudillo, John G. Capron, Ephraim W. Morse, and Douglas Gunn.

    Preferred Citation

    Pioneer Society of San Diego County Records, MS 104, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Katrina White on June 14, 2011.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains the Pioneer Society of San Diego County’s records dating from 1898 to 1987. There are detailed records of administrative proceedings, including original and later versions of the society’s constitution and bylaws, handwritten records of Society minutes, as well as annual reports from the Society President and Treasurer. It also contains detailed membership records including annual handwritten logs of members, dues paid, their participation in certain events, logs of member deaths and their obituaries, in addition to several handwritten autobiographies and biographies of the earlier female members of the Society. There is detailed information on the Society’s financial administration, as well as several lists and inventories of the items in the Society’s historical collection. Original correspondence pertaining to the accession of items, membership, administrative and financial issues are also part of the collection. Of specific interest are several documents related to the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 and 1916, including two original gold medal award certificates presented to the Pioneer Society for their historical exhibit at the fair.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 310414.


    This collection is arranged in five series:
    Series I: Administrative
    Series II: Membership
    Series III: Financial
    Series IV: Accession Records
    Series V: Events
    Within each series, items are arranged by subject.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Allen, Margaret V.
    Ames, John Judson
    Bailey, Lela A.
    Capron, John G.
    Cleveland, David
    Coy, Owen Cochran, 1884-1952
    Daughters of the Mormon Battalion.
    Davidson, John
    Davidson, Winifred
    Farnsworth, Julia P.M.
    Fenton, Henry G.
    Forward, John F.
    Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918
    Hewitt, Edgar L.
    Historical Society of Southern California.
    Hudson, Millard F.
    Junipero Serra Museum.
    Kimball, Flora
    Morse, Ephraim W.
    Morse, Mary E.
    Panama-California Exposition (1915 : San Diego, Calif.).
    Panama-California International Exposition (1916 : San Diego, Calif.).
    Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948
    Phillips, Hattie
    Pioneer Society of San Diego County.
    San Diego Historical Society.
    San Diego Mission.
    San Diego Natural History Museum.
    Schiller, Bertha
    Sherman, Augusta J.
    Siebein, Lillie C.
    Sloane, Frances
    Steadman, M. A.
    Verlasque, Louise
    Aurora Heights
    Balboa Park (San Diego, Calif.)
    History -- Societies, etc.
    Local history
    San Diego (Calif.)
    San Diego Herald San Diego Union
    Societies -- History, organization, etc.
    Women -- Societies and clubs