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Guide to the Ruth Horel Caskey Collection, 1890-1977
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical History
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ruth Horel Caskey Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1977
    Origination: Caskey, Ruth Horel
    Extent: 25 cu. feet
    Repository: Historical Sites Society of Arcata
    Arcata, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    In 1977 Ruth Horel Caskey donated her possessions to the Historical Sites Society of Arcata. The collection remained in storage until 1992. The Historical Sites Society of Arcata now uses the household furnishings in its Phillips House Museum. This finding aid describes the 25 cubic feet manuscript portion of the collection which is housed at the Phillips House Museum. It is accessible by appointment with the archivist. The museum is open Sundays 1-4 pm and other times by appointment.


    Collection is open for research by appointment only.

    Publication Rights

    The society can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claimants of literary property.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ruth Horel Caskey Collection, Historical Sites Society of Arcata.

    Biographical History

    Dr. Francis R. and Mrs. Lois Horel moved to Arcata, CA in 1891. Dr. Horel was an 1885 graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago. Dr. Horel established his medical practice at the Arcata Sanatorium. Daughters Ruth and Lois were born in 1895 and 1903 respectively. After her high school graduation in 1913 Ruth attended the University of California at Berkeley earning a bachelor's degree in 1917 and a Masters in Dental Pathology degree in 1918.
    In 1920 Ruth Horel and Dr. Charles Rice Caskey were wed in Oklahoma City. They moved to Arcata in 1922 where Dr. Caskey joined Dr. Horel's medical practice. While living in Arcata Ruth taught piano. In 1927 Ruth and Dr. Caskey moved to Los Angeles. Dr. Caskey moved to Oklahoma in 1942 and the couple divorced a year later. Ruth continued living in Los Angeles. She continued a social work career that she began in 1931. Ruth's long association with David Seabury began in 1944. In 1950 she was employed with Mr. Seabury's psychology school, practice and publications. During the 1950s Ruth's employment with Mr. Seabury took her to Olga, WA for the summer months. Then in 1959 Mr. Seabury started to operate seasonally in Olga, WA and Tucson, AZ. After David Seabury died in 1960 Ruth continued editing his writings until 1967. She was living in Tucson at the time of her death in 1980.

    Scope and Content

    The collection represents Ruth's daily activities throughout her life. Its strengths are: photographs of Arcata and northwest California (1890 - 1920), documents and ephemera pertaining to Humboldt County and Dr. Horel's practice (1890-1925), Horel Family photographs and correspondence, Caskey Family photographs and correspondence, mid-20th Century practice of psychology and the development of self-help methodologies, travel itineraries and memorabilia (major trips to Europe in 1928 and Latin America in 1936), ephemera and travel materials from frequent journeys in the western United States, including Alaska, in the 1940s-1970s.
    Additional research potential exists in the correspondence, diaries, notes and lists, and extensive accumulation of self-help literature. Ruth Horel Caskey kept paper records of every-day activities including materials pertaining to investment and real estate properties she owned, drafts of social correspondence, letters and notes she received (some from life-long correspondents), promotional information about books, programs and products for maintaining physical, spiritual, and psychological health. These materials reveal the person behind the artifacts: what she bought, what she aspired to, what she worried about, her striving for happiness.
    When the processing project started in 1995 the materials were haphazardly stored in grocery store cardboard boxes. Information from a person who packed up Ruth Caskey's household in 1977 indicates that there was little or no organization to the materials in Ruth's home. Consequently processing consisted of grouping like materials together, paying closer attention to Humboldt County related items due to the likelihood that these would be more immediately useful to the Historical Sites Society of Arcata.


    The collection is arranged in fourteen series:
    • Photographs
    • Diaries
    • Horel Family mementos and ephemera
    • Humboldt County, CA ephemera
    • Ruth Horel Caskey's career
    • Ruth Horel Caskey's mementos
    • Correspondence - received
    • Financial and business
    • Files
    • Notes
    • David Seabury materials
    • Health, religion, spirituality, self-help materials
    • Ephemera
    • Travel materials