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Register of the Paden (Irene Dakin) Papers, 1931-1953
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The Paden papers consist of notes, research materials, and portions of the drafts of her three books. They are contained in seven manuscript boxes (3 linear ft.), the first four of which contain 18 ringbinders of notes, quotations, and transcripts that Mrs. Paden collected in the course of her research. Included among the transcriptions are some full length diaries written by travelers on the Overland Trail as well as many shorter quotations from published and unpublished accounts. The next two boxes contain 48 notebooks--journals of Mrs. Paden's travels along the Overland Trail. Virtually every year, from 1931 t0 1952 the Padens spent a month or more traveling the region by automobile; the journals constitute a day-to-day account of her observations. The final box contains partial drafts of each of Mrs. Paden's three books.
Irene Dakin Paden (1888-1974), self-styled "housewife," lived and pursued the study of the history of the American West for more than forty years in Alameda (Calif.). Her husband, Dr. William G. Paden, a descendant of the Locke family of San Joaquin Valley pioneers, was the Alameda Superintendent of Schools. Together the Padens spent many summers during the 1930s and 1940s seeking and following the 19th century emigrant trails that lead to California. Mrs. Paden kept copious notes of these explorations and during the winters carried out preparatory research for the following summer's excursions. She is the author of three books on western history: The Wake of the Prairie Schooner (1943), an overview of travels on the Overland trail from the Missouri River to the California gold fields; Prairie Schooner Detours (1949), an extension of the first book, examining alternative routes on the Overland Trail; and The Big Oak Flat Road (1955), a history of the route from Stockton to the Yosemite Valley.
Collection is open for research.