Natural Resources

The development, allocation, and use of California’s natural resources are the focus of collections in this category. Materials regarding land formations, water pathways, and climate range from the scientific to the lyrical, the pragmatic to the ideal, and the environmental awareness expressed in each of the collections is of particular interest.

The diaries and personal correspondence of individual miners describe the fear, hunger, and lonliness of the pioneer, as well as the excitement, awe, and hope found in the mountains of California in the last half of the 19th century. The Mining Records Collection depicts the stark reality of the Gold Rush era through production records, stock ledgers, payroll accounts, and grocery and supply lists of several working mines in California.

In the early half of the century, the Holland Land Company was formed to drain, reclaim, and develop delta marshland in Yolo and Solano counties. In the archives of this company and that of Reclamation District #551, the influence of both state and private enterprise on farmland and real estate becomes clear. Preservation of these same prime agricultural lands figures prominently in the Rominger papers, which also include a significant amount of material on soil erosion and water appropriation.

Water control and distribution form the foundation of modern agriculture in California. The Gilmore papers reveal in vivid detail the effects of flooding on the Yuba River in the Sutter county area, and the subsequent damage to farmland around Marysville and Yuba City areas. Dam construction and the surrounding water politics is the focus of the Gray collection: Gray, while a journalist for the Fresno Bee, collected research materials supporting both sides of several controversial dam projects, including material on environmentalist groups protesting the effects of such projects. The Prokopovich papers focus on water engineering, including geological data and canal alignment, and the Veihmeyer papers describe on soil erosion and the use of watersheds for conservation.

Both the Earthmind archives and the papers of Seymour Gold contain material relating to the economical use of energy and space in modern times. The Earthmind Collective was a skilled group of people dedicated to a lifestyle based on solar and wind power, and to assisting others in moving towards alternative energy generation. The papers of Seymour Gold focus on urban planning, including the preservation of open spaces and recreational areas within the city living environment.

Collections in this subject category comprise over 150 linear feet of manuscript material and are primarily in English. Although there are no geographical limits, most materials focus on California’s natural resources. Related materials may be found under the headings of Agriculture, California History, and Plant Science.

Natural Resources Manuscripts