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Print of the Month
This month we are featuring the Lick Observatory covered in snow, c.1935. 
Click here to check out this image and hundreds more available for purchase from our online 

Each photograph you buy supports the History San José Research Library.

Dear Friends,
Mayor Sam Liccardo and Dan  Erceg  driving the 1899 Osen & Hunt.
I want to acknowledge our talented and dedicated  small staff at History San José, and thank all the individuals and organizations who volunteered to help us and sponsor us in 2016. Please take a few minutes to review our 2016 Program Highlights to see everything that together we proudly accomplished!  

With your help we keep exploring the rich and diverse cultural heritage of this Valley, and continue to bring it to light in new and engaging ways.This year we featured the art of tattoos and sign painting; we "popped up" in new places like the Tabard Theatre and the ballet; we had new partnerships with the Italian American Heritage Foundation and the Bay Area Glass Institute; we reexamined and created new school programs like History Detectives; and we received incredibly generous donations from folks like Sam Seibert who gave us the very first car (above) ever built in San José!

On behalf of everyone at History San José thank you once again for your help in making one more year history!  Have a safe and wonderful holiday, and we'll see you in the New Year! 


Alida J. Bray
President & CEO
Helping Celebrate the Holidays 
with the San Jose Nutcracker!
This year, History San José partnered with the New Ballet School on their production of the San Jose Nutcracker. Our Curators assisted in providing historical and cultural information to transport this winter classic to the Valley of Heart's Delight.
Costumes for the first act were inspired by period dolls from HSJ's collection. Our Curators put  together a lovely pop-up exhibit in the Hammer Theatre featuring dolls and toys from History San José's Collection. 
Save the Date: Lecture & Book signing
with author Tom Zaniello
February 22 at 6:30pm at the Fallon House
The book features images used from the HSJ's Library & Archives
On Memorial Day 1933, Stanford executive David
Lamson found his wife, Allene, dead in their Palo Alto
home. As the only suspect, he became the face of California's most sensational murder trial of the century.

After a judge sentenced him to hang at San Quentin prison, a team of Stanford colleagues stepped in to form the Lamson Defense Committee. The group included poets Yvor Winters and Janet Lewis; as well as the Sherlock Holmes of Berkeley, criminologist E.O. Heinrich. They managed to overturn the verdict and incite a series of heated retrials that gripped and divided the community.

Was Lamson the victim of aggressive prosecutors, or was he a master of deception whose connections helped him get away with murder? Author and Stanford alum Tom Zaniello meticulously examines the details of a notorious case with a lingering legacy in his book - California's Lamson Murder Mystery: The Depression Era Case that Divided Santa Clara County. Join us February 22 at the Fallon House, where Tom will be doing a book signing and discusion of the case. 

HSJ Members - Free 
Public - $5 at the door
RSVP today! Call 408.918.1049 or email
Collections Corner

I Want Candy! New Pop-up Exhibit 
at the Pacific Hotel
This holiday season come explore sweets and treats from San Jose's past in a pop-up exhibit in the Pacific Hotel lobby at History Park. 

The exhibit features vintage candy advertisements, candy packaging, tools of the trade and much more. Discover some of the candy manufacturers that called San Jose home and some fun candy facts. 

The Candy pop-up exhibit is on display daily from 11:00am - 5:00pm through January in the Pacific Hotel Lobby at History Park.

Two Years a Slave in the 
Santa Clara Valley
Manumission paper for Sampson Gleaves, 1854.
In early October 1852, James Washington Finley arrived in the Santa Clara Valley with his wife and seven children following an arduous overland journey from Missouri. With them traveled two men, perhaps unwillingly, who might otherwise have been lost to history...

Checkout our latest blog post on the the manumission papers of Sampson Gleaves and Plim Jackson housed in the History San Jos é Library & Archive, that show clear evidence of African American slavery in the Gold Rush. Read More Here. 

Museum Mysteries - What is that?!
Can you guess what this object is or what it was used for? Email your responses to , and one lucky person with the correct response will win a special prize  courtesy of History San José!  We'll post the answer in next month's  newsletter .

 Last Month's Object
Did you figure out what last month's artifact was? If you guessed Indian fitness club   you are correct! 
Indian clubs derive their name from the much larger and heavier objects of similar shape traditionally used by martial artists and Kushti wrestlers in India to strength train. The practice of swinging such clubs to develop physical fitness was first introduced to England by British soldiers who had studied the discipline while stationed in India during the 1800s. They were exceptionally popular during the health craze of the late Victorian era, used by military cadets and well-heeled ladies alike, and even appeared as a gymnastic event in the 1904 and 1932 Olympics.
Upcoming Events

The San Jose Nutcracker
December 16-24
The Hammer Theatre Center
Tickets start at $19

T his year, in partnership with HSJ, the New Ballet School will be preforming The San Jose Nutcracker, a classical holiday ballet unique to our hometown. Be sure to see HSJ's pop-up exhibit in the lobby. For tickets and more info, visit:

Book Signing & Discussion with Tom Zaniello
Author of California's Lamson Murder Mystery: The Depression Era Case that Divided Santa Clara County
Wednesday, February 22
Fallon House, 175 West Saint John Street 
Admission $5, HSJ Members Free!

Join Stanford Alum and Author Tom Zaniello for a discussion of his book examining one of the most sensational murder trials in California history. To RSVP call 408.918.1049 or email 

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