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December, 2002

The California Room Digital Archive: Marin County's Memory

Plans are afoot to better share Marin's rich historical resources with County residents. The California Room, located at the Civic Center branch of the Marin County Free Library, is working to create a digital archive showcasing its extensive collection of photographs, oral histories, and ephemera. The Library Foundation is determined to raise $30,000 to accomplish the following:

The oral history page will eventually feature the complete transcripts of 100 of the interviews conducted by Carla Ehat and Anne T. Kent from 1974-1984, complemented by photographs and biographies of the interviewees.

A special feature will be audio excerpts from the interviews, transmitting the voices of the many pioneers, politicians and citizens who have contributed to the history and culture of our county.

A pictorial history of Marin County and Northern California, via the extensive collection of photographs and photograph albums, will be created. Themes will include: Camp Taylor in 1889; Marin & Northern California during the first quarter of the 20th Century through the life of the Howitt family of San Rafael; San Quentin, 1910-1915; the Kentfield May Day Parade, 1910-1912; the building of Hamilton Air Force Base, 1933-1935; the Golden Gate International Exposition (Treasure Island) 1939-1940; the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, 1935-6; and scenes from the life of the Stinson Family. All of these themes will be highlighted by background material and historical essays.

Few of us will ever dig into the physical files, but we can all benefit from a digital archive available in our homes and classrooms. For now, "The Anne T. Kent California Room is the premiere resource for the Marin historian. The collections of newspapers, articles, books, photographs, and maps are unsurpassed. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Just as important, the collection is open to all, six days a week, without charge." (Barry Spitz, Marin County historian & author).

Not only has the Library Foundation committed to raising the funds for the digital archive, but also to continue raising funds for our endowment to help our libraries retain the free services and open hours we now enjoy. All funds for the endowment are invested with the Marin Community Foundation for the exclusive benefit of the Marin County Free Library.

Tax-deductible contributions to the Marin County Library Foundation may be sent to 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite #414 - San Rafael, CA 94903.

 

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