Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Softening the Great Depression: Touting Civic Organizations and Other Woodland Democrat 1930s Feel-good Stories (251)

In the same January 28, 1932 issue of the Woodland Democrat as the story on Davis crime previously posted (#250), Hiram Jackson also discovered an approving account of civic organizations in Davis.

It is a valuable depiction of such entities in Davis at that time.

We do not know what prompted the Democrat to assign reporters to work up this and other “feel-good” stories on Davis in this period.  (DHT posts 249, 250, and 251 are among a larger number of such stories.)

But, if I had to guess, I would call attention to the 1929 crash of the American economy and the possible efforts of the Yolo County privileged to respond with a campaign of “many things are still just fine” stories.

This effort to blunt--or even to deny--economic collapse appears also to have been embraced by the Davis Enterprise and others in Davis itself (discussed in Davis: Radical Changes, Deep Constants, pp. 109-110).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Crime in Davis c. 1931 (250)

Hiram Jackson continues his browsing for Davis stories in the early 1930s Woodland
Democrat. This time we have a January 28, 1932 report on crime in Davis and the vicinity.

It is amusing to notice that already in 1932 Davis was perceived as a “regional center” of sorts that drew “hundreds of pleasure and joy riders from the nearby large cities . . . .” But, equally of note, this activity did not appear to generate the kinds of crimes of concern in Davis in the recent period (or much crime at all, for that matter).

Friday, December 18, 2015

1931 Rotary Club Comedy Show at the Varsity Theater (249)

Thursday evening April 23, 1931, the Davis Rotary Club staged a comedy show at the Varsity Theater on Second between G and F. The apparently all-male cast consisted of pretty much “everyone who was anyone” in Davis at that time, including Calvin Covell  and Chester Roadhouse attempting to perform other than their usual gender. 

A rather detailed account of the event was printed in the Woodland Democrat of April 24, 1931 and discovered by the indefatigable Hiram Jackson, who sent me a copy. I have segmented, enlarged and “enhanced” the microfilm image for publication here. (A few sections are still difficult to read and may be upgraded.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Puzzle of 44 Years of Davis High Senior Class Photos (248)

About a year ago, I contacted a Davis school district official about older color photographs of its facilities. As an incidental part of that conversation, I was told the District has in storage large-scale mounted photographs of the graduates of the first 44 graduating classes of the Davis High School. This would be, it seems, the classes of 1928 through 1972. Because they were not in color, I did not inquire further about them.

I did, though, mention a vague memory of that exhibit being the subject of Davis Enterprise stories some years ago. I was asked to give this official a copy of those stories. I could not recall where I saw them, so I did nothing further.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

From New Resident Optimistic and Inviting to Pessimistic and Uninviting (247)

The February 15, 1888 issue of the Sacramento Daily Union-Record reprints an article from the short-lived Davisville Signal extolling the virtues of Davis and the surrounding farmland and inviting people to come and “assist in building up our schools, churches and public institutions.”  “We want every class of good citizens -- those who are in earnest about making homes, and we will assure all such a hearty welcome to this hospitable portion of the Pacific coast.”*

Such articles and related statements were not uncommon in civic life and discourse for more than a hundred years of Davis history -- from its start in the late 1860s up to the early 1970s.

Indeed, only a few weeks ago I featured a leaflet published by the Davis Chamber of Commerce in 1939 aimed at much the same immigration task (post number 237, September 11, 2015).   

Reading such statements today, they seem remarkably remote and even quaint.