Peterson, Harry C. (Harry Claude), 1876-1941

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Peterson, born in Iowa in 1876, was curator of the Stanford Museum from 1900-1917; after leaving Stanford, he directed the Sutter's Fort Museum in Sacramento.

From the description of Harry C. Peterson papers, 1879-1936. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122553667

Harry Claude Peterson was born in Algona, Iowa, in 1876, son of Julius E. Peterson, a Norwegian mechanician. Leland Stanford had learned of the elder Peterson in Europe and brought him to Stanford University to teach machine shop. Young Harry was educated in public schools in Algona and Palo Alto. He was in the photographic business in Palo Alto for a time. He married in 1902 and had one son, Austin Peterson. Named the Director and Curator of the Stanford University Museum in 1899, he remained there until 1918, adding collections to the Museum and writing historical papers. During his residence in Palo Alto, he served on the city council for eight years. After leaving the Stanford Museum he was head of field research for the California History Department of the California State Library for three years. In 1925, he was named curator of Sutter's Fort Museum in Sacramento, California.

From the description of Harry C. Peterson papers, ca. 1880-1944. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122510845

Director of Stanford University Museum for 16 years. Also Director of California Historical Landmarks League and Vice-president of Exactus Photo.

From the description of Harry C. Peterson papers, 1894-1935. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 703840639

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Peterson, born in Iowa in 1876, was curator of the Stanford Museum from 1900-1917; after leaving Stanford, he directed the Sutter's Fort Museum in Sacramento.

From the guide to the Harry C. Peterson papers, 1879-1936, (Department of Special Collections and University Archives)

Biography

Harry Claude Peterson never met a historical fact or artifact that he didn't like. The inveterate historian spent his entire adult life in one position after another related to history, particularly California Gold Rush Days.

Harry was born in Algona, Iowa, in 1876, son of Julius E. Peterson, a Norwegian mechanician. Leland Stanford had learned of the elder Peterson in Europe and brought him to Stanford University to teach Machine Shop Practices. Young Harry was educated in public schools in Algona and Palo Alto, California. He was in the photographic business in Palo Alto for a time. He was married in 1902 and had one son, Austin Peterson.

Harry was named Director and Curator of the Stanford University Museum of Fine Arts (now the Cantor Center) in 1899, where he remained until 1918, adding collections to the Museum and writing historical papers. He also acquired his own collection of historical books and documents while serving as Curator. During his residence in Palo Alto, he served on the city counsel for eight years.

Harry's next endeavor was as head of Field Research for the California History Department of the California State Library. He remained in that position for three years, and then joined the Oakland Tribune as feature writer of California history for the paper, for another three years. In 1925, he was named Curator of Sutter's Fort Museum in Sacramento, California, and became a charter member of the American Association of Museums.

Harry Peterson's credits are many, from over three hundred published stories and speeches and countless photographs concerning California History, many for professional and trade publications and meetings. He was responsible for energizing the public to the historical value of Sutter's Fort. He served on the Southern Pacific Railroad Company's selection committee to identify historical sites along its lines. He also acted as historical consultant on several Hollywood films of the Gold Rush days, such as The Pony Express, The Big Trail, the Fighting Caravan, and Sutter's Gold.. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Golden Empire Centennial in 1939. His energy, exemplified by his many activities, appeared to be unstoppable, but Harry Peterson died suddenly of a heart attack, in his office at Sutter's Fort, in 1941. His series of articles on the Gold Rush for the Oakland Tribune were collected in book form, The 49er, published posthumously by the Doubleday Company in 1949.

From the guide to the Peterson, Harry C. Papers, ca. 1880-1944, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

History of Company

Established in 1914, the Exactus Photo-Film Corporation and the Palo Alto Film Corporation were based in Palo Alto, California. They produced educational and historical films for use in the classroom. Harry C. Peterson served on the board of directors and as an officer in both companies as well as curator for Sutter's Fort. Various of his papers are included in this collection.

From the guide to the Exactus Photo-Film Corporation Archive, 1914-1940, (California State Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Orrin Leslie Elliott papers, Bulk, 1891-1936 1860-1940, 1891-1936 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Peterson, Harry C. Papers, ca. 1880-1944 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Exactus Photo Film Corporation Records, 1914-1918 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Peterson, Harry C. Harry C. Peterson papers, 1879-1936. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Peterson, Harry C. Harry C. Peterson papers, ca. 1880-1944. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Elliott, Orrin Leslie, 1860-1940. Orrin Leslie Elliott papers, 1891-1936. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Peterson, Harry C. Sunset Daily journal of 1898: diary, 1898. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Peterson, Harry C. Harry C. Peterson papers, 1894-1935. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Exactus Photo-Film Corporation. Exactus Photo Film Corporation records, 1914-1918. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Harry C. Peterson papers, 1879-1936 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Exactus Photo-Film Corporation. Exactus Photo-Film Corporation archive, 1914-1940. California State Library
creatorOf Harry C. Peterson papers, 1894-1935 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Exactus Photo-Film Corporation Archive, 1914-1940 California State Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Berner, Bertha. person
associatedWith Berner, Bertha. person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Couper, William. person
associatedWith Couper, William. person
associatedWith Coutts, Peter. person
associatedWith Coutts, P. J. F. (Peter J. F.) person
associatedWith Covey, F. W. person
associatedWith Covey, F.W. person
associatedWith Davis, Horace. person
associatedWith Davis, Horace. person
associatedWith Davis, Horace, 1831-1916. person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Elliott, O. L. (Orrin Leslie), 1860-1940 person
associatedWith Elliott, Orrin Leslie, 1860-1940. person
associatedWith Exactus Photo-Film Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Ferguson, Chester. person
associatedWith Gross, H. H. person
associatedWith Gross, H.H. person
associatedWith Hewes, Anna Lathrop. person
associatedWith Hewes, Anna Lathrop. person
associatedWith Hewes, David. person
associatedWith Holzman, R. O. person
associatedWith Holzman, R.O. person
associatedWith Jordan, David Starr, 1851-1931. person
associatedWith King-Richardson Publishing Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Lathrop, Charles G. (Charles Gardner), 1849-1914. person
associatedWith Leib, Samuel Franklin, 1848-1924. person
associatedWith Nash, H. C. person
associatedWith Nash, H.C. person
associatedWith Palo Alto Film Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Schmid, Rupert. person
associatedWith Schmid, Rupert. person
associatedWith Spencer, Francis. person
associatedWith Stanford, Jane Lathrop, 1828-1905. person
associatedWith Stanford University corporateBody
associatedWith Sutters' Fort. corporateBody
associatedWith Wilbur, Ray L. (Ray Lyman), 1875-1949. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
Sutter's Fort (Sacramento, Calif.)
Oregon
Subject
College students--Recruiting--19th century
Museums
Instructional materials industry--California
Booksellers and bookselling--Colportage, subscription trade, etc.--19th century
Gold Spike
Motion pictures in education--California
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1876

Death 1941

Information

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