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Picnic Day: 1909-2009

Mar 2 - Apr 24, 2009

Shields Library Lobby - Entrance

Archives and Special Collections

Sara Gunasekara

Public Services Specialist

Special Collections presents an exhibit of photographs and ephemera highlighting nearly a century of the University’s annual event, Picnic Day.

The Picnic Day tradition started on May 22, 1909 with a “Dedication Basket Picnic,” said to have been suggested by Mrs. Carolee Shields, to honor the opening of North Hall, the first dormitory on the campus of the University Farm (now the University of California, Davis). Picnic Day has since become the annual open house for the campus and has grown into one of the largest student-run events in the U.S. with recent attendance averaging around 50,000 visitors.

Special Collections is charged with collecting, preserving, administering, and providing access to the University Archives. This exhibit draws on materials from several University Archives Collections including the Picnic Day Collection and University Archives Photographs.


Picnic Day, 1910.Picnic Day, 1910.