Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our County's School Board (not the Trustee type) Books!

When I began working in the California Room, I came across some early school books that were created in 1938. The Books (30 in total), were created in collaboration with the Madera County Office of Education, and each one was created by school students and staff during 1938.

In general, the School Board Books (as we call them) provide a considerable amount of detail regarding the area and population where the schools were located .  Several of the schools were located in the Eastern part of Madera County where a number of Native American families lived and where their children received their education.  The Books from Manzanita and Picayune are just a few examples that provide both written and photographic information about the native people and their culture during this time period. 

Picayune School Board Book 1938
Manzanita School Board Book 1938

The Chenot Family, Inez, Josie, Julia, Louisa and Viola
Picayune School Board Book, 1938.

Picayune School was located at Picayune, near Coarsegold, California.  Picayune is also the name of the Rancheria for the Chukchansi Band of Yokut Indians.  Many of the Chukchansi children, along with white children,  attended school at Picayune until it closed in the mid-1950's.

"Closing Day Ceremonies" Picayune School May 27, 1938

Isn't this picture a classic? Complete with handmade hats and flags-a-wavin'!  Love it!

Manzanita School Board Book 1938

Many of Madera's early residents worked for the Sugar Pine Lumber Company.  "In the early days, when the mills were running, nearly everyone was dependent on the lumber companies in some way or another.  Whether you were a logger, railroad engineer, Doctor, whatever...everyone, in some way, was dependent on the lumber companies" Lou Davis, North Fork Mono Indian. (1)

Manzanita School included these and other  pictures that reflected the importance of the lumber industry in their school's area.

Poor Old Betsie got melted down to make bullets.

Our School Board Book Collection is one that is appreciated by viewing in person. Whether you descend from one of our local Native American families, or are a Family Historian whose family member settled in Madera County during the Gold Rush, these Books provide a wealth of historical information and photos. For those patrons who are unable to personally come into the Library, I am working on an index for the School Board Books that I hope to have finished by the end of 2013.

(1) Oral History Interview with Lou Davis, Madera County Native American History Project, 2013, Madera County Library.

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