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Inventory of the Wesley R. Wooden Papers, 1900-2005 (bulk 1938-1985)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Material
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights

  • Creator: Wooden, Wesley R.
    Title: Wesley R. Wooden Papers,
    Date: 1900-2005
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1938-1985)
    Extent: 9.6 linear feet
    Abstract: The Wesley R. Wooden Papers document the life of a Central Valley sheep rancher and long-time resident of Davis, California. The collection spans the years 1900-2005 (bulk 1938-1985) and includes personal journals documenting ranch life, a serial run of the California Wool Grower (1940-1944), books and pamphlets on agriculture, and records related to Wesley Wooden's civic involvement in Davis, California. Also present is a small series of historical material related to the Pierce Ranch in Davis, California. The collection includes diaries, correspondence, ephemera and realia, photographs, and books on agriculture.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Davis, California 95616-5292
    Collection number: D-225
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Wesley R. Wooden was born on October 17, 1912 at Elk River in Humboldt County, California. His parents were Ralph and Alina Brask Wooden. At the age of 12, Wooden took a summer job as a "chore boy" for the Russ Market Company Blocksburg Ranch in southern Humboldt County. He worked on ranches every summer until 1930, when he started college at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. Wooden later attended the University of California at Berkeley part time from 1931-1940, taking classes in Engineering, Journalism, Forestry and Agricultural Economics. In February, 1937, Wooden worked on his first sheep ranch, located in Humboldt County, California.
    In 1937, Wooden was appointed temporary Forest Ranger Inspector for Humboldt County in the United States Department of Agriculture's Range Rehabilitation program. In May, 1938, he accepted a job as foreman of a Russ Ranch, north of Vallejo. A bout with tuberculosis interrupted his studies at Berkeley in 1939, and he spent time convalescing on a Russ Market Company sheep ranch near Cape Mendocino, California.
    In the spring of 1940, during his senior year, Wooden transferred to the University Farm School (now the University of California, Davis) in order to concentrate on animal science, While at the University Farm School, Wooden met fellow student, Katherine Lilienthal, who he married on December 19, 1940. Wesley and Katherine had three children: Wayne (1944- ), Marilyn (1949- ), and Joan (1952- ). In 1941, the Woodens managed Rancho Los Medanos in Contra Costa County; within the year, the United States Army had taken over the ranch to build Camp Stoneman. Beginning in 1941, Wooden worked as a ranch manager in Birds Landing in Solano County. In 1942, the Woodens leased a sheep and grain ranch in the Montezuma Hills near Rio Vista. In 1947, Wooden rented a ranch in Dixon. The Woodens moved permanently to Davis after purchasing a ranch in 1948.
    Wooden became a registered Corriedale sheep breeder in Davis in 1948 and won numerous national and international awards for the quality of his sheep. In 1957, Wooden was named Outstanding Corriedale Breeder of the year. Wooden later worked as a Realtor for Brinley Real Estate, specializing in ranch and farm sales. He served as President of the Yolo County Board of Realtors in 1974, and was named Realtor of the year by the board in 1975.
    In his later years, Wooden volunteered in civic affairs, youth related activities, and the Davis Senior Center. In 1985, Wooden received awards as "Senior Citizen of the Year" and the Brinley Award for Special Merit for service to the community, both sponsored by the City of Davis. In 2005, with the assistance of his son Wayne Wooden, Professor of Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Wesley Wooden self-published his memoirs, titled, "Sheep Man: Time Remembered". The book is a compilation of Wooden's journals. In it, Wooden wrote that his "love of the land, all growing things, and my fellow man" was what led him to follow his path in life. Wesley Wooden died on November 11, 2005 in Davis at the age of 93.

    Scope and Content

    The Wesley R. Wooden Papers span the years from 1900 to 2005, with the bulk of the material falling between 1938 and 1985. The collection is arranged in seven series: 1. Biographical Materials, 2. Writings, 3. Work Records, 4. Pierce Ranch, 5. Ephemera and Realia, 6. Published Material, and 7. Photographic Materials. The collection contains material reflecting Wooden's early experiences as a ranch hand in Northern California, his life as a Corriedale sheep breeder and rancher in Yolo County, and his civic involvement with the city of Davis, California. The material related to Wooden's ranching years documents the sheep industry and the wool trade in California during the Great Depression, World War II and the 1950s. The collection also documents Wesley Wooden's environmental interests and his fund raising efforts on behalf of the Davis, California Senior Center. Also contained in the collection is a small series of historical material related to the Pierce Ranch in Davis, California.

    Separated Material

    The following material has been separated from the Wesley R. Wooden Papers:
    "National Farm and Home Hour" recording on 78 RPM record. Located in O-014, Audio-Visual Collection.

    Related Collections

    The following collections at Special Collections relate to the Wesley R. Wooden Papers:
    D-195, California Wool Growers' Association Archives, 1923-1957: This collection includes membership information, speeches, financial statements, minutes of the annual convention, correspondence, convention and banquet programs, photographs, and newspaper clippings.
    D-018, John W. Maillard, III. Archives: records of sheep breeding and wool production on Maillard's Merino sheep ranch, 1930-1960.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Wooden, Wesley R.--Archives.
    Sheep ranches--California.
    Ranch life--California.
    Davis (Calif.)--History.
    Pierce family.


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Wesley R. Wooden in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Wesley R. Wooden Papers, D-225, 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, University of California, Library, 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.