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Boosterism - Humboldt County Souvenirs in the Humboldt Room

Compiled by Jacqualine Faria and Edie Butler, 2008

History | Examples | Chronological List


The Humboldt Room's collection of "souvenir" literature includes items written about Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity and Siskiyou Counties, as well as some cities and towns. While they span a century between 1877 and 1975 they were most popular from the 1890s to the 1930s. They cover agriculture, businesses, industrial production, civic organizations, sports, and festivals, and usually include fine photographs and elaborate illustrations.  Several are more like a business directory with generous accounts of the area's history and its local residents.

In the second half of the 19th century the United States was still expanding westward and although coastal California had been scouted it wasn't until the Gold Rush of the late 1840s and 50s that Euro-American industrial and commercial settlements were established.  Soon both civic institutions and local governments had an intense desire for economic prosperity.  Town governments, chambers of commerce and some industries printed booklets enumerating their communities' bountiful resources.  Railroad companies produced lavish advertisements extolling the virtues of living along the new rail lines extending farther and farther westward.

For California in particular, a reason for aggressive marketing campaigns urging settlement was the rootless nature of mining and logging communities. Far from the ideal of a family based society, mining and logging camps were comprised almost entirely of a highly mobile, young male population with no lasting ties to the region.  To counter this, community leaders attempted to entice businesses and individuals to invest time and money in the local economy through this promotional literature.  Some historians have called this sort of civic promotion "boosterism," and it was common throughout the West.


Humboldt County CaliforniaOne prime example was put out by the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce in 1904.  Humboldt County California is tiny at 3" by 5.5", yet its 60 pages feature a wide range of topics including a description of the land and climate, demographic statistics, discussions on industry and agriculture, and a "potent facts" section touting the county's assets and its need for new settlers "who mean business." There are also a number of excellent photo illustrations, some by A.W. Ericson, throughout this tiny volume, as well as a fold-out county map.


Trinidad Humboldt County in Northern California, the Best Part of the StateTrinidad Humboldt County in Northern California, the Best Part of the State boasts "It is here that the redwoods grow and where all growing things are lush and green the whole year through." This twenty page volume is also meant to entice newcomers to the area, "with glimpses here and there of places you will love to see," and claims it is "issued by them that know about it for the benefit of those who should."Trinidad Humboldt County in Northern California, the Best Part of the State


History and Business Directory of Humboldt County The History and Business Directory of Humboldt County for 1890-1 intersperses advertisements and business listings with a history of the county's "natural resources, delightful climate, picturesque scenery, beautiful homes."  And, like some other of these "souvenirs," its cover page announces that Humboldt is "the only county in the state containing no Chinamen," a reference to 1885 events revealing social attitudes held at the time.History and Business Directory of Humboldt County


Fifty Years of ProgressFifty Years of Progress: a memorial of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the business of A. Brizard, Inc. at Arcata, Humboldt County, California touts the self proclaimed accomplishments of one business.


Others are programs from fairs or festivals like the "Souvenir Programme" from the Humboldt Mechanical and Agricultural Fair of 1896.Souvenir Programme


Chronological List of "Souvenirs" in the Humboldt Room

An article describing several of these publications by Brett Melendy, "Humboldt County Wants You," appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Humboldt Historian, pp 18-21.

  • 1877  Business directory of San Francisco and principal towns of California and Nevada.  L. M. McKenney (Pub.); San Francisco, Calif.  (F869.S3 A184)
  • 1879  Humboldt County, California: Its scenery, climate, resources and advantages described in a series of letters to the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, by A.T. Hawley.  J.E. Wyman & Son (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H3)
  • 1890  History and Business Directory of Humboldt County [Calif.]: Descriptive of the natural resources… climate… scenery….  Hamm, Lillie E.; Daily Humboldt Standard (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F869.E8 A16)
  • 1893 In the redwood's realm; by-ways of wild nature and highways of industry as found…in Humboldt County, California. Eddy, John Mathewson, D. S. Stanley & Co., San Francisco, Calif. (F868 H8 E18 and F868 H8 E18 1987)
  • 1896?  Eureka and Humboldt County: A compilation of facts for the information of business men, tourists and the world at large.  R. M. Thompson (Pub.); San Francisco, Calif.  (F868.H8 E8)
  • 1896  A California principality: Humboldt and its redwoods.  Vaughan, Melville M.; San Francisco, Calif.   (F868.H8 V38)  - "In a detached copy of Overland monthly, v. 28 (2d ser.), no. 165, Sept., 1896., 'Prominent men of Humboldt': p. 364-368."
  • 1896  Souvenir Programme: [Humboldt Mechanical and Agricultural Fair] Eureka, Sept. 21-26, 1896.  Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H86)
  • 1897  The Home of the Redwood: A souvenir of the lumber industry of California, Redwood Lumber Manufacturers Association.  Pacific Coast Wood and Iron (Pub.); San Francisco, Calif.  (SD397.R3 R42)
  • 1899  The Wave: Humboldt County Number (v.20 no.16)  Wave Publishing Company; San Francisco.  (F868 H8 W32 1899)
  • 19??  Del Norte County, California, Crescent City Union School District Crescent City, Calif.  (F868.D4 C7) - "Lacks title page and Statistical information supplement. Prepared by the Crescent Elk 8th grade under a co-operative agreement with the Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce."
  • 1902  Official Guide Elks.  Eureka Lodge No 652 BPOE; August 16, 1902.  (HS1510 E45 1902)
  • 1902  Souvenir of Humboldt County: Being a Frank, Fair, and Accurate Exposition, Pictorially and Otherwise, of the Resources, Industries and Possibilities of this Magnificent Section of California.  Times Publishing Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 S7) - "Issued by the Humboldt times, under the auspices and direction of the supervisors of Humboldt County and the Humboldt Chamber of commerce." *First edition of Humboldt County Souvenir [F868.H8 S7 1904] below.
  • 1903  Souvenir: Eureka Volunteer Fire Department, 1864-1903.  (TH9505.E85 A29 1903)
  • 1904  Humboldt County California.  Humboldt Standard Press; Eureka, Calif.  (F868 H8 H8137 1904) - Includes fold-out county map, Ericson photos?
  • 1904  Humboldt County Souvenir: Being a frank, fair and accurate exposition, pictorially and otherwise of the resources, industries and possibilities of this magnificent section of California.  Humboldt County Board of Supervisors; The Times Pub. Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 S7 1904) - "First ed. pub. under title: Souvenir of Humboldt County." *Second edition of Souvenir of Humboldt County [F868.H8 S7] above.
  • 1908  Official souvenir program. 4th July Celebration and Fleet Reception: July 3, 4, and 5, 1908, Eureka, Cal.  Ryan, J. Frederick; Guide Pub. Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 O44 1908) - Mostly advertisements
  • 1909  Del Norte County, California: It's industries, resources and capabilities.  Lumbering, dairying, fishing and mining.  Scotton, Steve W.; Crescent City News Job Print (Pub.); Crescent City, Calif.  (F868.D4 S3)
  • 1909  The Californian.  California Pub. Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 C275 vol.25 1909)
  • 1910  The Californian.  California Pub. Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 C275 vol.26 1910)
  • 1910  Humboldt County, California: a region of great natural resources as yet but little developed.  Kellogg, George A.; San Francisco, Calif.  (F868 H8 K43 1910) - "Issued by Sunset Magazine Homeseekers' Bureau"
  • 1912  The Californian.  California Pub. Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 C275 vol.29 no.15)
  • 1913  What Humboldt Offers You.  Irvine, Leigh H.; Humboldt Chamber of Commerce (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 I695) - "Cover title: Humboldt County, California."  Reissue
  • 1913  Fifty Years of Progress: A Memorial of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the business of A. Brizard, Inc., at Arcata, Humboldt County, California.  Murdock, Charles A.; Arcata, Calif.?  (HF3023.B7 M8)
  • 1913  Trinity County, California.  Egilbert, W. D.; San Francisco, Calif.  (F868.T6 E4 1913) - "Issued by Sunset Magazine Homeseekers' Bureau for the supervisors of Trinity County, California."
  • 1914? The Californian.  California Pub. Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 C275 Suppl.)
  • 1914? Humboldt View Book.  Eureka Printing Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 A224)
  • 1914  Souvenir: Fifty years, 1864-1914.  Eureka Volunteer Fire Depart.; Eureka Printing Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (TH9505.E85 A3) - "Compiled by Crawford P. McDonald."
  • 1915?  Siskiyou County, California.  French, Harold; Board of Supervisors and Panama-Pacific International Exposition Commission (Pub.); Siskiyou County, Calif.  (F868.S6 F74)
  • 1915  Humboldt County, California.  Lambert & McKeehan (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H814 1915) - 2 copies, "Printed for distribution at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, San Francisco, Calif., 1915 (p. 31)."
  • 1915  Humboldt County, California: The land of unrivaled undeveloped natural resources on the westernmost rim of the American continent.  Ward, Charles Willis; Ward-Perkins-Gill Co. (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 W3)
  • 1916 Dairy, Land and Development Edition, supplement to the Humboldt Times. Times Publishing Company; Eureka, Calif. (SF232 C2 R62)
  • 1921?  Humboldt County, California.  s. n. (?); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H815 1921) - "Prepared by the 'Federated Commercial Bodies of Humboldt County,' with authorization of the Board of Supervisors of Humboldt County."
  • 1923  Classified directory: Containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of representative manufacturing, business and professional interests and institutions of Eureka, California, and vicinity.  Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H88) - Other title: Humboldt Standard
  • 1923  Humboldt County, California: On the Redwood Highway.  Humboldt County Board of Trade (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H815 1923) - "Rev. ed."
  • 1924  Humboldt County, California: On the Redwood Highway.  Humboldt County Board of Trade (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H815 1924) - "Rev. ed."
  • 1924  Trinidad, Humboldt County in Northern California: The best part of the State… a word about its past, present and its future.  Smith, Norman R.; Eshelman Printing Co.; Trinidad; Long Beach, Calif.  (F869.T7 T7)
  • 1926  Trinity County, California: Its geography, by Trinity County Board of Education; and a summary of its history from May, 1845, to September, 1926, by James W. Bartlett.  News Pub. Co.; Sacramento, Calif.  (F868.T6 B37)
  • 1936?  Humboldt County, California: The Redwood Wonderland.  Humboldt County Board of Trade (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 H815 1936)
  • 1940  Humboldt A to Z Directory & Guidebook, 1940-1941.  Skaggs, Owen M.; A to Z Publishers; Eureka, Calif.?  (F868.H8 E868 1940/41) - "Issued by the Humboldt Times."
  • 1947  Redwood Trails in Adventureland, Klamath River Conservation Club with Redwood Sportsmen's Assoc. and Eel River Assoc. Sportsmen; W. E. Smythe (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (SK1.R43) - Promoting sports and fishing
  • 1948  Business and professional directory.  The Eureka Newspapers, Inc.; Eureka Newspapers, Inc. (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 E87 1949)
  • 1951-52  Classified Directory and Guide Book, 1951-52.  Eureka Newspapers, Inc. (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 E87 1951/52)
  • 1955-56  Classified Directory and Guide Book, 1955-56.  Eureka Newspapers, Inc. (Pub.); Eureka, Calif.  (F868.H8 E87 1955/56)
  • 1959  The Pictorial History of Southern Oregon and Northern California.  Sutton, Jack; Grants Pass Bulletin (Pub.); Grants Pass, Oreg.  (F876 S8) - "A condensation of the writer's ... The state of Jefferson."
  • 1964  100 Years of Service, 1864-1964.  Eureka Volunteer Fire Depart.; Times Printing Co.; Eureka, Calif.  (TH9505.E85 T5 1964)
  • 1975  Ferndale Today and Yesterday: Being a brief history of Ferndale's past, a recount of its virtues today, and containing maps and information for a self-guided tour to 86 sites of historic interest.  Young, Jan; Low Tide Lumber Co. (Pub.); Ferndale, Calif.  (F869.F47 Y68) - Drawings and publication by L.N. Eifert.