Inventory of the Peter J. Shields Collection

Payne Vang
Department of Special Collections
General Library
University of California, Davis
100 North West Quad
Davis, CA 95616-5292
Phone: (530) 752-1621
Fax: (530) 752-5758
© 2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Creator: Shields, Peter J., 1862-1962
Title: Peter J. Shields Collection,
Date: 1896-1968.
Extent: 4.2 linear feet
Abstract: The Peter J. Shields Collection contains both personal papers and materials related to the creation of the University of California, Davis campus. The collection materials date from 1896 to 1968. Peter J. Shields presided as a Superior Court Judge in Sacramento County from 1900 to 1949. In 1905, Shields wrote the legislation that led to the establishment of the University Farm. He maintained his association with the campus until his death in 1962.
Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored off site.
Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of Special Collections.
100 North West Quad
Davis, California 95616-5292
Collection number: D-169
Language of Material: Collection materials in English


Peter J. Shields was born on April 4, 1862 in Hangtown Crossing, a small farming town near Sacramento, California. At the age of fourteen, Shields attended the Christian Brothers College in Sacramento and at seventeen he began to study law in Amos P. Catlin's law office. After being admitted to the Bar in Los Angeles in 1884, Shields established a small law office in Sacramento. At age twenty-three, he quit his law practice to travel. After ten years, he returned to Sacramento and started working as a library assistant at the California State Library. Later Shields was promoted to become one of the Trustees of the State Library. From 1896 to 1898, he worked for the Secretary of the California Code Commission and as a secretary in Governor Budd's office. In 1899, Shields was the secretary of the State Agricultural Society. Shields and Hiram Johnson shared an informal law partnership circa 1900. In 1900, Shields was elected as Judge of the Superior Court of Sacramento. He married Carolee Wilsey on August 1, 1901. Shields sought the office of U.S. District Judge, in 1913, but did not get chosen for the office. Shields retired in 1949.
Shields was one of the founding fathers of the University Farm (now the University of California, Davis campus). As the secretary of the State Agricultural Society, he realized the need for an agricultural college. He helped to write the State legislation bill for the creation of the university campus in 1901 and 1903; after many revisions were added to the bill, it finally passed in 1905. He continued to share in the responsibilities of the university by keeping in contact with the the presidents of the university and participating in events related to the university until his death. Shields interests in politics and agriculture continued throughout his life. His award-winning Jersey cattle were his pride and joy. He often came to the Davis campus to visit the Jersey cattle until the campus decided to make reductions in the cattle program. Shields also actively participated in community organizations and events. His memberships included the X Club, whose members met in each other's houses and presented papers on a variety of topics. He often referred to the X Club as the "Ex Club" in his papers. Shields died on September 28, 1962.
Sources consulted:
Calendar of Shields' correspondence, control file, Peter J. Shields Collection, D-169, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.
Shields, Peter J. Reminiscences: Tape recorded interviews for the Bancroft Library, December 30, 1953-July 1, 1954. Transcript. [Berkeley: Bancroft Library, 1954].
Shields, Peter J. Birth of an Institution: the Agricultural College at Davis. [Sacramento, CA: 1954].
Storer, Tracy Irwin, Tracy I. Storer and E. Louis Proebsting: Reminiscences of the Ex [i.e. X] Club.[University of California, Davis: Library, 1973].

Scope and Content of Collection

The inclusive dates for the Peter J. Shields Collection materials range from 1896 to 1968. The collection is divided into eight series: 1. "An Act Providing for the Purchase of a University Farm," 2. Correspondence, 3. Papers and Speeches, 4. Will of Peter J. Shields, 5. Boye Scholarship Trust, 6. Ephemera, 7. Photographs, and 8. Realia. This collection contains several folders relating to the founding of the University of California, Davis campus. The correspondence series includes three subseries: general correspondence, recommendations for Judge Shields, and a letter-press book. The letter-press book includes copies of Shields' outgoing letters on diverse subjects. From the general correspondence subseries, notable correspondents include politicians, lawyers, judges, and university officials, such as James Farley, Hamlin Garland, Hiram W. Johnson, John F. Neylan, Gordon Sproul, Earl Warren, Henry A. Wallace, and Benjamin I. Wheeler. The correspondence between Hiram Johnson and Shields consists of both personal and work related letters, written prior to or after Johnson was governor of California. Shields' speeches and papers relate to agriculture, education, Democratic Party ideals, and to his personal experience and optimistic philosophy of life.
A small amount of correspondence relates to the cases that Shields managed as Superior Court Judge in Sacramento County. The certificates of election show the many times that Shields was elected to the position of Superior Court Judge in Sacramento County. Shields' wedding coat has been extracted from the collection and placed in the Design Collection at the Department of Environmental Design, University of California, Davis.
Researchers may view a detailed calendar of Shields' correpondence in the Special Collections reading room.

Related Collections

Other materials related to the Peter J. Shields Collection may be found in the following collections at Special Collections:
AR-095: Davis Campus History Collection
D-022: Pierce Family Papers
D-170: W. Turrentine Jackson Papers
MC-187: Alyce Williams Jewett Collection
Other materials relating to the Peter J. Shields Collection may also be found in the Eleanor McClatchy Collection at the Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center in Sacramento, California.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Shields, Peter J., 1862-1962--Archives.
University of California (1868-1952). College of Agriculture--History.
University of California, Davis--History.
X Club (Sacramento, Calif.).
California--Politics and government.
Yolo County (Calif.)--History.


Collection is open for research under regular Reading Room rules and copyright restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Thomas J. MacBride, Alyce Williams Jewett, and Margaret M. Deterding. On October 13, 1971, Thomas J. MacBride, executor of the Judge Shields' estate, donated the bulk of the materials in the collection. Additional materials were added to the collection through the donation of Margaret M. Deterding in August 1991, and Alyce Williams Jewett in September 1992.

Processing Information

Payne Vang, Special Collections intern, processed the collection and created its final finding aid, under the direction of the University Archivist, John Skarstad, and manuscript curator, Melissa Tyler. Vang and Tyler encoded the finding aid.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Peter J. Shields Collection, D-169, 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.

Collection Contents

Box: 1:1

Series 1. "An Act Providing for the Purchase of a University Farm" 1905-1935,

Physical Description: 1 folder

Scope and Content Note

Contains the original draft of the bill for purchasing land for the University Farm, drawn up by Peter J. Shields, in 1905, and Shields' letter to Dr. Howard.

Series 2. Correspondence 1900-1962,

Physical Description: 53 folders, 1 volume

Scope and Content Note

Arranged in three subseries: General Correspondence, Recommendations for Judge Shields, and Letter-press Book.

Subseries 2.1. General Correspondence 1900-1962,

Physical Description: 42 folders

Scope and Content Note

Arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Contains both Shields' outgoing and incoming letters.
Box: 1:2

A-AQ 1913-1958

Box: 1:3

AR-AZ 1932-1946

Box: 1:4

B-BS 1910-1947

Box: 1:5

BR-BZ 1913-1962

Box: 1:6

C-CK 1912-1962

Box: 1:7

CL-CZ 1913-1962

Box: 1:8

D-DZ 1916-1948

Box: 1:9

E-EZ 1917-1946

Box: 1:10

F-FZ 1908-1957

Box: 1:11

Farley, James 1932-1935

Box: 1:12

G-GZ 1913-1951

Box: 1:13

Gannon, Chester 1917-1949

Box: 1:14

Garland, Hamlin undated

Box: 1:15

Griffin, Fred 1958

Box: 1:16

H-HZ 1908-1962

Box: 1:17

Horsford, Hester E. 1912-1914

Box: 1:18

I-IZ 1917-1919

Box: 1:19

J-JZ 1913-1962

Box: 1:20

Johnson, Hiram W. 1900-1934

Box: 1:21

K-KZ 1913-1962

Box: 1:22

L-LZ 1913-1952

Box: 1:23

M-MI 1911-1961

Box: 1:24

MJ-MZ 1917-1963

Box: 1:25

N-NZ 1917-1946

Box: 1:26

Neyland, John F. 1950-1952

Box: 1:27

O-OZ 1917-1945

Box: 1:28

P-PZ 1913-1949

Box: 1:29

Q-QZ 1928-1945

Box: 1:30

R-RZ 1900-1951

Box: 1:31

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 1935

Box: 1:32

S-SO 1909-1962

Box: 1:33

SP-SZ 1920-1949

Box: 1:34

Sproul, Gordon G. 1930-1961

Box: 1:35

Stevenson, Adlai 1953

Box: 1:36

T-TZ 1919-1947

Box: 1:37

V-VZ 1919-1937

Box: 1:38

W-WZ 1902-1962

Box: 1:39

Wallace, Henry A. 1928-1953

Box: 1:40

Warren, Earl 1944-1962

Box: 1:41

Wheeler, Benjamin Ide 1917

Box: 1:42

Y-Z 1917-1940

Box: 1:43

Unidentified Correspondents 1917-1948


Subseries 2.2. Recommendations for Judge Shields 1913,

Physical Description: 11 folders

Scope and Content Note

Arranged alphabetically by author. Contains letters written in 1913 recommending Judge Shields to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for the office of U.S. District Judge. Also includes a bound volume of duplicates of the letters.
Box: 1:44

Bound volume, "Recommendations of Peter J. Shields" 1913

Box: 1:45

A-C 1913

Box: 1:46

D-F 1913

Box: 1:47

G-I 1913

Box: 1:48

J-K 1913

Box: 1:49

L-N 1913

Box: 1:50

O-P 1913

Box: 1:51

Q-S 1913

Box: 1:52

T-W 1913

Box: 1:53

X-Z 1913

Box: 1:54

Unidentified Author undated

Folio Box: 3:1

Subseries 2.3. Letter-press Book June 1899-July 1900,

Physical Description: 1 volume

Scope and Content Note

Letter-press book contains copies of letters on various topics, written by Shields.

Series 3. Papers and Speeches 1902-1906,

Physical Description: 124 folders

Scope and Content Note

Arranged in two subseries: Shields' Works and Others' Works.

Subseries 3.1. Shields' Works 1902-1962,

Physical Description: 113 folders

Scope and Content Note

Arranged chronologically. At the end of the chronological listing, undated materials are arranged alphabetically by subject/event. Includes both published and unpublished articles, speeches, papers, and notes, written by Shields.
Box: 1:55

Judge Shield's Address, "High School Graduates Launch on Sea of Life" June 1902

Box: 1:56

"Education and Agricultural Advancement" 1904

Box: 1:57

Clunie Theatre, "[Sacramento] Chamber of Commerce Meeting" October 1908

Box: 1:58

Davis, "Dedication of Auditorium" March 1915

Box: 1:59

Dedication of Hilgard Hall, "Solid Foundations" October 13, 1917

Box: 1:60

"Grocers" January 23, 1918

Box: 1:61

Senate Chamber, "Introducing Jane Addams" March 1918

Box: 1:62

Native Sons Hall, "3rd Anniversary Italy Enters War" May 5, 1918

Box: 1:63

"Cal. Cattle Mens Assn." April 8, 1919

Box: 1:64

"Dixon Speech" May 3, 1919

Box: 1:65

"Chamber of Commerce Lunch" October 10, 1920

Box: 1:66

Rotary Club, "Thrift" January 15, 1920

Box: 1:67

"President Wilson, Moral Hero of World War...." March 1921

Box: 1:68

"Woodrow Wilson in 'Union'" March 4, 1921

Box: 1:69

"Fair Oaks Farm Bureau Picnic" May 14, 1921

Box: 1:70

"Notes on Berkeley speech, Golden Bear" December 11, 1921

Box: 2:1

"Answer to D. Brooks Hogan in Jersey Bulletin" July 29, 1922

Box: 2:2

X Club, "Agriculture: Its Future in America" April 1, 1924

Box: 2:3

"Baby Show Rules" May 4, 1924

Box: 2:4

"Article for Western Livestock Journal" October 1924

Box: 2:5

"Baby Show" June 21, 1925

Box: 2:6

"Rivers and Harbor Committee, Rough Notes" October 3, 1925

Box: 2:7

[Reprint of 1925 Year Book], "A Glimpse of the Farm's Creation" 1925

Box: 2:8

X Club, "A Defense of Optimism" About March 1926

Box: 2:9

"Alturians" April 1927

Box: 2:10

Senator Hall, "Seedsmen" May 24, 1927

Box: 2:11

[Dante Club] 1927

Box: 2:12

"A Judicial Election Experience" 1927

Box: 2:13

X Club, "Education: Practical vs. Classical" February 1928

Box: 2:14

Rio Linda, "Methodist Church" April 1, 1928

Box: 2:15

Lion's Club, "The Tahoe Road" April 12, 1928

Box: 2:16

"Speech to Soroptomist Club" January 1929, February 1929

Box: 2:17

Rotary Club, "Honorary Members" November 7, 1929

Box: 2:18

Critic Club, "Defense of Popular Heroes" [1929]

Box: 2:19

"Life Worth While" April 1, 1930

Box: 2:20

"Elks Flag Day" June 14, 1930

Box: 2:21

Hotel Senator, "University Women" January 17, 1931

Box: 2:22

Woodman's Circle, "Fraternal Orders" April 30, 1932

Box: 2:23

Jersey Bulletin, "Reply to E.M. Sherman" October 1932

Box: 2:24

Critic Club, [Politics] November 1932

Box: 2:25

"Parish House, Dean Bartlam" November 1932

Box: 2:26

"First Draft [of Communist Oath at UC Berkeley]" [1932]

Box: 2:27

[Notes about a Baby Girl] [1932]

Box: 2:28

Yuba City High, "Commencement Address" June 2, 1933

Box: 2:29

"New Year's Speech to Soroptomists" 1933

Box: 2:30

X Club, "Crime in the United States" 1933

Box: 2:31

Pratt Dinner, "R. R. Men" Summer 1933

Box: 2:32

"Robert Callahan Memorial" May 6, 1934

Box: 2:33

"Remarks, re Dr. S.E. Simmons" December 1934

Box: 2:34

Critic Club, "The Day's Work" 1935

Box: 2:35

"Hecke College Degree, Written of Davis Enterprise" March 25, 1936

Box: 2:36

"V.S. McClatchy Banquet" 1936

Box: 2:37

X Club, "Men I Have Known" February 1936

Box: 2:38

"Breeding Ideals and the Western Livestock Journal" November 18, 1936

Box: 2:39

"Reminiscences: Past vs. Present" January 18, 1938

Box: 2:40

"Robert Devlin Mem. Exercise" May 2, 1938

Box: 2:41

"$30 per Week" September 14, 1938

Box: 2:42

"Remarks: Mrs. McClatchy's Funeral" September 26, 1939

Box: 2:43

"McGeorge College Graduates" 1940

Box: 2:44

Del Paso Country Club, "Bar Assn Dinner" Fall 1940

Box: 2:45

X Club Paper, "The Courts" December 2, 1941

Box: 2:46

[Bear Flag Accepting and Address at Presentation] 1942

Box: 2:47

X Club, "Important Results of Small Things" 1943

Box: 2:48

"Philosophies" [1943]

Box: 2:49

X Club, [Post War Ruminations] November 1945

Box: 2:50

"Judge Lemmon's Qualifications" February 1947

Box: 2:51

"20-30 Club Notes" April 27, 1947

Box: 2:52

"Trifles that Changed Careers" 1947

Box: 2:53

[History of U.S. Presidents] [circa 1952?]

Box: 2:54

"Notes at 91st Birthday" [1953]

Box: 2:55

[Old Age Reminiscence] [circa 1953]

Box: 2:56

[Politics: Harry Truman and Communism] [1954]

Box: 2:57

"Judge Shields, at 92, Takes a Look into the Future...." 1954

Box: 2:58

[Manuscript Draft for The Birth of an Institution: The Agricultural College at Davis] [1954]

Box: 2:59

X-Club meeting at Shield's House, [Spiritual Needs of Country] March 31, 1955

Box: 2:60

"Judge Shields, 93, Finds Age Bring's a Richness..." April 4, 1955

Box: 2:61

[Journal Entry and Poetry] March 31, 1958

Box: 2:62

[Meaning and Obligation of Life] [1958]

Box: 2:63

[96th Birthday] [1958]

Box: 2:64

[Abraham Lincoln's 150th Anniversary] February 1959

Box: 2:65

"Judge Shields, at 97, Looks at the Future" April 4, 1959

Box: 2:66

"Judge Shields at 98 Says California was Eden in His Youth" April 4, 1960

Box: 2:67

[99th Birthday Notes] [April 4, 1961]

Box: 2:68

"Judge Shields, 99, Cites Extermination Threat in War" April 4, 1961

Box: 2:69

"Judge Shields Looks at Life -- and is Confident" April 4, 1962

Box: 2:70

"Comments on Flag Decision-Not Published" undated

Box: 2:71

"Comments on Hilgard Hall Speech" undated

Box: 2:72

"Community Chest Announcement to Rotary Club" undated

Box: 2:73

Corvallis College, Oregon, "Fifty Anniversary" undated

Box: 2:74

[Education] undated

Box: 2:75

[Eulogy to J.A.M.] undated

Box: 2:76

"Folsom Reception and Banquet to Soldiers" undated

Box: 2:77

[Foreign Policy] undated

Box: 2:78

["Great Fortunes of a Country Present the Greatest Danger"] undated

Box: 2:79

"John Floyd Newton, Speech at Memorial Exercises" undated

Box: 2:80

"Judge Hughes, Remarks at Memorial Exercise" undated

Box: 2:81

"Kuhn Banquet" undated

Box: 2:82

"Last of the Great Scouts" undated

Box: 2:83

"Mem. Holman's Farewell Dinner" undated

Box: 2:84

[Modern Men vs. Ancestors] undated

Box: 2:85

[Moral and Intellectual Development in Society] undated

Box: 2:86

[Notes and Quotes on Various Subjects] undated

Box: 2:87

Oroville, "Mem. of Speech at Banquet of Chamber of Commerce" undated

Box: 2:88

"Phelan Banquet" undated

Box: 2:89

[Philosophy of life] undated

Box: 2:90

"President Roosevelt Endorses Davis' Industrial School Bill" undated

Box: 2:91

[Soldiers Going off to War Speech] undated

Box: 2:92

[Speech on Agriculture] undated

Box: 2:93

[Speech on Schools in Folsom] undated

Box: 2:94

[Speech to Veterans] undated

Box: 2:95

"'Third Term' Answer" undated

Box: 2:96

"The Value of Games - Sports" undated

Box: 2:97

"Union Elected Pres. Wilson" undated

Box: 2:98

[Unidentified Speeches and Notes] undated


Series 3.2. Others' Work 1924-1962,

Physical Description: 10 folders

Scope and Content Note

Arranged chronologically by date. Includes works written by authors other than Peter J. Shields.
Box: 2:99

"The Most Beautiful Will Ever Written" November 15, 1924

Box/Folder: 2:100

"Hoover's Speech re: Abusing Hitler et als" 1940

Box: 2:101

Sacramento Rotary Club Meeting, "Tribute to Memory of Judge Peter J. Shields" October 11, 1962

Box: 2:102

[History of Legal Profession in California] undated

Box: 2:103

"Lester Hinsdale (?) re His Father" undated

Box: 2:104

"Memorial to Judge Plummer" undated

Box: 2:105

"Oliver Wendell Homes," by Walter Lippman undated

Box: 2:106

"Particularly Appropriate in the Bull Issue," by Wallace MacMonnies undated

Box: 2:107

"Shields Reaches for the Sublime but Finishes in the Ridiculous" undated

Box: 2:108

[Soroptimst Club] undated

Box: 2:109

Series 4. Peter J. Shields' Will December 4, 1950,

Physical Description: 1 folder

Scope and Content Note

Contains Peter J. Shields' handwritten will.
Box: 2:110

Series 5. Boye Scholarship Trust 1917-1959,

Physical Description: 1 folder

Scope and Content Note

Contains documents relating to the Boye Scholarship Trust.

Series 6. Ephemera 1876-1968,

Physical Description: 13 folders

Scope and Content Note

Includes an autograph album, awards and certificates, clippings, pamphlets, pedigrees, a program, and a report.
Box: 2:111

Autograph album 1876-1880

Box: 2:112

Dairy Shrine Club plaque honoring Judge Shields October 11, 1967

Box: 2:113

"Copy of Plaque Presented to Judge Shields" April 26, 1946

Box: 2:114

Resolutions to the Sacramento Bar Association 1896-1926

Folio Box: 3:2

Certificate of Election to the Office of Judge of the Superior Court in and for the County of Sacramento 1900-1944

Folio Box: 3:2

A tribute in recognition of Peter J. Shields October 23, 1939

Folio Box: 3:2

"The University of California to Peter J. Shields," certificate March 26, 1946

Folio Box: 3:2

Native Sons of the Golden West birthday resolution March 21, 1962

Folio Box: 3:2

Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Sacramento congratulating Judge Shields on his 100th birthday April 4, 1962

Folio Box: 3:2

"Citation to the Honorable Judge Peter J. Shields" from the California Jersey Cattle Club and All-Jersey Milk Producers of California Inc. [1962]

Box: 2:115

Clippings about Judge Shields (photocopies) 1913-1968

Box: 2:116

Clippings about Judge Shields (originals) 1913-1968

Box: 2:117

Clippings on other subjects (photocopies) 1913-1943, undated

Box: 2:118

Clippings on other subjects (originals) 1913-1943, undated

Box: 2:119

UC Davis pamphlets: "Shields Grove" and "A Guide to the Davis Campus" undated

Box: 2:120

Pedigrees for Jersey bulls 1931-1934

Box: 2:121

Program: 94th Charter Day Anniversary Ceremony at UC Davis April 5, 1962

Box: 2:122

Report of the College of Agriculture and the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of California July 1, 1917-June 30, 1918


Series 7. Photographs 1879-1962,

Physical Description: 14 folders

Scope and Content Note

Arranged chronologically. Included are both original and copy photographs of Peter J. Shields and others.
Box: 4:1

Shields, Peter J. and two unidentified women circa 1879,

Physical Description: 1 print, 1 negative
Box: 4:2

Shields, Peter J. with his portrait and unidentified men [1949]

Box: 4:3

Shields, Peter J., portrait circa 1949

Box: 4:4

Shields, Peter J. and Carolee Shields with Jersey cattle? circa 1950

Box: 4:5

Shields, Peter J. 1956

Box: 4:6-7

Shields, Peter J. circa 1957

Box: 4:8

Shields, Peter J. and [Harry Wellman on Charter Day] [April 5, 1962]

Box: 4:9

Curtis, N. Greene undated

Box: 4:10

[Jersey] cow undated

Box: 4:11

Copy photograph of Abraham Lincoln undated

Box: 4:12

Unidentified man undated

Box: 4:13

Unidentified man at desk undated

Folio Box: 3:3

Copy photograph of James Cabbroth undated

Folio Box: 3:3

Copy photograph of A.P. (Amos P.) Catlin undated

Folio Box: 3:3

Copy photograph of Henry Edgerton undated

Folio Box: 3:3

Copy photograph of Robert Robinson undated

Folio Box: 3:3

Copy photograph of T.B. McFarland undated

Folio Box: 3:3

Five unidentified copy photographs: Four unidentified portraits of men and one landscape undated


Series 8. Realia undated,

Physical Description: 3 items

Scope and Content Note

Box: 4:14

Shields' pince-nez (glasses) undated

Box: 5

Cut-glass dish (wedding present) undated

Row: 45a

Thermos-style pitcher (used by Shields in the courtroom) undated