The donation of books accounts significantly for the growth in holdings of the California Genealogical Society Library over the past century. Library chair and board member Henry Snyder sent this update about recent donations to the library.
This has been a stellar year for book donations to the library. It began with a handsome gift of materials from the library of John Ellis Hale, a past-president of the California Genealogical Society. The gift was substantial and it was recently supplemented by another small group of books and unpublished materials for which we are most grateful.
At the beginning of the year we had a call from J. Ryan May. His grandfather, George S. May, another long-term member, had given up his apartment to move into a retirement home. Ryan and his father decided to donate his library to a worthy institution and Ryan called us to see if we were interested. Of course we were! Diana Wild and I met him at his apartment in San Francisco and packed up a number of boxes sufficient to fill my car. Ryan had only been able to bring half of them down and the following month he delivered the rest to our Oakland quarters. The donation was rich in family histories and historical materials, largely focused on the Northeast.
As many of you know, at one time the CGS shared quarters and a library with the California Historical Society (CHS). When we separated and moved to our own facility in San Francisco the library was divided up among the two institutions. The CHS kept the material on California and the Western States and we took the materials for the country east of the Rockies. The family histories largely came to the CGS but more have now been discovered at CHS. The indefatigable Jane Lindsey has been in discussion with Mary Morganti, CHS Director of Library & Archives, for years about books in storage at CHS that might be of interest to us. When I joined the library committee she suggested I follow up as I had worked previously with Mary on other projects. I did so last year and the result was that Mary graciously agreed to review the stored materials and pull items that were more germane to our mission than theirs. The result has been three substantial shipments since the first of the year with more to come. We have been particularly pleased that the preponderance consisted of family history charts and practically everything they offered was new to our collection. We are most grateful to Mary and the California Historical Society for turning over these items to us. To recognize their generosity, the Board has agreed to offer CHS members free use of our library.
Still another major gift was received when member Thomas Sinton called to say he was giving up his genealogy collection and offered it to us. Subsequently he delivered no less than thirty-six boxes of books to us at the beginning of the summer. They were again rich in New England material, including many Higginson reprints of scarce out of print works in stout library cloth bindings printed on acid proof paper, more durable than the originals. Also included was a nearly complete set of the Barbour collection, the essential source for Connecticut families, forty-five out of fifty-five volumes. We are in the process of purchasing the balance so we can proudly state we will have a complete set in essentially new condition. Finally there was an interesting group of materials, some unpublished, on San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara.
Barbara Silveira, another long-time member died this year and her family invited us to take what we wanted from her library. She had built a whole room on to her house to hold her collections! Jane Lindsey, Georgia Lupinsky, Pat Smith, and I responded to the invitation. The library was rich in manuscript materials but we also retrieved twelve boxes of books.
There has been a continuing flow of small donations which enrich the collection. Thanks to the generosity of our members and their families the library has grown substantially this past year. We are adding new shelving to accommodate the increase. So please keep the gifts coming! Our library is essentially the result of the gifts of our members and we count upon their continuing good will.
—Henry Snyder, 14 September 2012
Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library