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Susie Baker Fountain Papers - Scope and Content

The Susie Baker Fountain Papers is one of the premiere historical sources for Humboldt County, California, and the surrounding region. It centers on Humboldt County, and also includes some information on the surrounding counties and the brief history of Klamath County. It covers the time period 1850-1966, with greater emphasis on the earlier years. The collection was created by Susie Baker Fountain (1893-1969), a local historian and journalist for the Blue Lake Advocate. When Mrs. Fountain left the area in 1966, she donated the collection to the Humboldt State University Library.

The collection is drawn from a variety of sources, primarily newspapers, but also diaries, letters, photographs, legal documents, historical publications and other sources, many of them not available elsewhere. Part of the value of the collection lies in its arrangement by subject and the juxtaposition of related items, reflecting her understanding of her subject matter. The original collection was arranged in notebooks and envelopes by subjects (geographical, temporal or thematic) and consists of handwritten notes on slips, newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, maps and other items. The collection's particular strengths include the early period of settlement and development, Indian-white interactions, early military history, real estate, the lumber and railroad industries, accounts of families and individuals, small communities, mining history and a wide variety of other subjects not found in other sources.

In 1966-1968, the HSU Library had two sets of photocopies made and bound into 119 volumes to provide users access to the materials. These volumes continue to be available for research at both the Cal Poly Humboldt Library and Humboldt County libraries and are heavily used. In 1999-2000, HSU had the originals microfilmed, with LSTA funding from the California State Library. Copies of the microfilm are available at the HSU and Humboldt County libraries and at the California State Library in Sacramento. There is an extensive (204 drawers of file cards) handwritten name index to the collection at the Humboldt County Library, prepared by Mrs. Ruth Brink, a volunteer. It has also been filmed and is available in microfiche at all three locations along with the microfilm of the collection.

Jean Perry
March 2001