Monday, August 28, 2017

1932 Picnic Day Snapshots by Arnold Rosenwald (272)

Picnic Day page, 1932 El Rodeo
In post 266 on this blog, I reported on Dr. Arnold Rosenwald’s amazing home movies of ‘60s UCD Picnic Day parades and related public events. That report is at the URL immediately below and the movies themselves are at the URL below it.

Dr. Rosenwald was a poultry disease researcher and extension practitioner at UCD for some seven decades, dying at age 98 in 2008. He was also an undergraduate at the “Branch College,” graduating in 1930 (and subsequently earned a DVM degree, an MA in bacteriology, and a PhD in veterinary science).

Apparently also a “shutter bug,” the materials I acquired from his estate sale included not only the movies mentioned, but also an envelope containing 12 snapshots stamped on the back as developed in May of 1932. He had completed a BA at Davis in 1930, and was apparently visiting the campus and made nine photos of Picnic Day and three of Labor Day. (I report on them in the next DHT post, #273.)

The envelope also had negatives of 11 of the 12 snapshots and I have used them to make fresh images for this and the following post.

Rosenwald’s snapshots mean nothing without context, of course, and I begin with a portion of Editor Scott’s report of that day appearing in the April 22, 1932 Davis Enterprise and with the 1932 El Rodeo page on that year’s Picnic Day.

Davis Enterprise, April 22, 1932 -- 1

The Picnic Day we read about in the Davis Enterprise is radically different from those in recent decades. Two aspects are especially striking. One, there were literally dozens of formal competitions in athletic events and in agricultural products and practices. The list of results that begins in the Davis Enterprise excerpts goes on in great small print detail on another Enterprise page. Picnic Day was awash with giving out award ribbons! This means that a very large portion of that Day’s participants were active, engaged competitors. That feature has, of course, virtually vanished. Participants now tend to be fairly passive spectators

Two, as I have indicated with red underlings in the Davis Enterprise report, heavy-duty public figures showed up in goodly numbers. I get the impression that 1932 was not unusual. High-level civic leaders commonly “did” Picnic Day in the early decades. That is no longer the case, of course. 

There are many other equally or more interesting contrasts between Picnic Day “then” and “now,” but this is not the place to pursue them.

Finally, let me remark that Dr. Rosenwald may have been an avian health and disease treatment maven, but he was not among the most accomplished of snapshot photographers. Often, he snaps his shutter rather too early or too late. But still, he did take pictures and he did save them. And, they are, nonetheless, enchanting each in its own way.

Davis Enterprise, April 22, 1932 -- 2

Davis Enterprise, April 22, 1932 -- 3

1. When enlarged, the white sign on the side of the car
 reads "Davis Chamber of Commerce."




5. This year's theme, "Back to the Farm," appears on the rear of the wagon.

6. Apparently the speakers' stand. The first two words of the theme,
"Back to the Farm," are seen to the left of the woman in white in the middle.

6a. Enlargement of the speakers' stand portion of Image 6.
 Judge Shields is second from the left. Davis Enterprise excerpt #
2 provides the likely names of the others in the photo.
7. Another apparent shot of well-known people present.

8. Davis Enterprise excerpt # 3 provides clues regarding this scene.