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History of the California Dream, 1850-present

Liz du Plessis

9/14 to 10/5, Weekly on Thursdays, 6:00-8:00 PM (4 Sessions)
Santa Rosa Junior College, Emeritus Hall Room: 1597
Instructor: Liz du Plessis, PhD in U.S. History
The California of Americans’ historical imagination – of adventure, opportunity, and happiness –and the California of historical fact – with its struggles and hardships -- have had strikingly discordant effects on the larger American historical narrative from the mid-19th century to today. This course explores California’s mythology and historiography through artifacts of popular culture including films, songs, and journalistic sources as well as sources that reveal the gritty realities of fires, floods, earthquakes, migrant laborers, and gangs. The instructor holds a PhD in History and will present primary sources from digital archives, slideshow lectures, and film clips. The extensive writings of historian Kevin Starr will receive attention along with works by Carolyn Merchant and other environmental historians of the California region since 1850. 
Lectures will be followed by hands-on activities and group discussions to explore selected primary and secondary sources. Participants will have opportunities to play an active role in the course by sharing artifacts and ideas during in-person discussions and in online discussion forums. Multimedia and print materials will be made available online in advance of course meetings to support and extend discussion. Participants will learn not only about course topics but also how to find and interpret historical sources.

Charlie Siebenthal presents expanded talk on the Sonoma Valley Railroad


The next program will be on Monday October 27, 2014

THE RAILROADS OF SONOMA VALLEY. NWPRRHS President Charlie Siebenthal will present a much expanded talk on the Sonoma Valley Railroad, its successor as the Sonoma Valley Branch of the NWP and the Sonoma Valley Branch of the Southern Pacific. Field work plus recently discovered maps and newspaper articles will be used to answer the many questions asked during his first talk on the railroads of Sonoma Valley.

Monroe Hall, 1400 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa. Parking in the rear of the building. Take 101 to the College Avenue exit. Turn west onto College Avenue. Monroe Hall is on the left just past the G&G Shopping Center. For further information please contact Charlie Siebenthal at 707-838-8882 or Please mark this date on your calendars. If you wish to receive an email reminder of each program please send an email entitled "WN list" to Charlie Siebenthal at your email address will be held confidential.

Dr. Daniel Markwyn will weave the scanty particulars of The Man Who Was Torn By the Bear and Body Found in the Laguna

Brief Lives of the North Bay: The Man Who Was Torn By the Bear and Body Found in the Laguna Thursday, March 27, 2014, 7:00pm Two men, one in 1833 and one in 1878, worked in the region north of San Pablo Bay that we know as Sonoma County. Both died violently and unexpectedly and both were buried in unmarked graves. Both of these men died where they did and when they did because of their participation in the continuing scramble to control and to exploit the land and the resources of northwestern North America and the opportunities offered by the region's location on the Pacific shore. Dr. Daniel Markwyn, Professor Emeritus in history at Sonoma State University, will weave the scanty particulars of these two men's lives into the larger history of nineteenth century Sonoma County and show how two obscure and under-documented events, widely separated in time and hardly noticed in the documentary record can reveal patterns and connections and deepen our understanding of Sonoma County's history. Dr. Markwyn taught at SSU until his retirement in 2001. Among the papers he has delivered are "Americanizing Early Sonoma County: A Process and a Place" and "The Long Reach of the Search for Luxury, Warmth, and Profit: The Sonoma County Region and the Nineteenth-Century Fur Trade." This event will be held at the University of San Francisco's Santa Rosa Campus, located at: 416 B Street Santa Rosa, CA, US, 95401 Museum Members $7.50 / General $10.00 Tickets can be purchased at our website under events or by contacting Michelle Novosel at 707 579-1500 x 13 or (Michelle will be out on Monday, March 24 but you can still leave a message or e-mail)

Dr. Markwyn speaks at Sonoma County Museum Nov 7th, 2013


NOVEMBER 7- 7 PM - at the Sonoma County Museum

 Presented by Daniel Markwyn, PhD., Emeritus Professor of History, Sonoma State University Dr. Markwyn will examine the violent and untimely deaths of two men, one who died in 1833 and the other in 1878, while working in the region north of San Pablo Bay that we know as Sonoma County. Both men died as a result of their participation in the continuing scramble to control and exploit the land and the resources of northwestern North America. Piecing together the scanty particulars of these two men's lives, Dr. Markwyn will show how two obscure and under-documented events, widely separated in time, can reveal patterns and connections, connect us to an earlier time and deepen our understanding of Sonoma County's history.

Sonoma County Museum 425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 $5 SCM members/ $7 Non members


Those Were the Daze, My Friend! (from Londonside Lodge to the Rustic Inn)

On November 2nd the Glen Ellen Historical Society will present the next in their popular series of Saturday afternoon programs on the heritage and legacy of the Valley of the Moon. Titled "Those Were the Daze, My Friend! (from Londonside Lodge to the Rustic Inn)" it will feature a rambling and far-ranging conversation with live music by Those Who Were There, all about what can be remembered of the valley scene during the Sixties and Seventies (a half century or so ago). Read more

What caused the fire? Was it an accident, or the work of an arsonist?

 Burning Down the House – A talk on the fire at Jack London’s Wolf House at the SonomaCounty Museum. August 22, 2013 at 7pm.

  100th anniversary of the Wolf House fire SSU Professor Emeritus, Jonah Raskin, to Talk About the Fire at Jack London’s Wolf House on Its 100th-Anniversary, August 22, 2013 at the Sonoma County Museum. 425 Seventh Street Santa Rosa, CA 95401 Talk begins at 7 PM. FREE for members of SCM, $7 for non-members. Call 707 579-1500 or register online here: Sonoma County Museum Event Fires and floods play famous roles in Sonoma County. Few fires have captured the popular imagination as intensely as the fire that devastated Jack London’s mansion, Wolf House, in 1913. On August 22, 2013, the 100th anniversary of the fire, SSU Professor Emeritus, Jonah Raskin puts on his detective cap, sifts though the evidence and cross-examines the major and the minor suspects. Raskin’s talk takes place at the Sonoma County Museum. Local historian and Press Democrat columnist, Gaye Le Baron, introduces the speaker, and adds comments of her own.

Free Training - Protecting Cultural Collections

A Free training coming to Petaluma Historical Museum thanks to a grant from the Getty Foundation and the California Asc. of Museums providing the training and trainers. Please see link below for your registration.

Protecting Cultural Collections: Disaster Prevention, Preparedness, Response & Recovery

  Part 1: Prevention & Preparedness – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Petaluma: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – Petaluma Historical Museum Part 2: Response & Recovery – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Petaluma: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 – Petaluma Historical Museum Read more