JUNE 20, 2009 MEETING
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Joint Conference Program
California Historical Society and the California Map Society
||Registration and morning refreshments
||Welcome, David Crosson, Executive Director, CHS
Welcome, Susan Caughey, President CMS
Overview of today's Conference, Phil Simon, VP CMS
||"San Francisco Water" by Deputy San Francisco City Attorney Jusua D. Milstein.
Mr. Milstein has been a member of the City's Public Utilities Team since 1985, where he works on issues associated with San Francisco Water Department and Hetch Hetchy Water & Power. His presentation will use historic photos and maps to tell the story of San Francisco's first major water utility, the Spring Valley Water Company and the Hetch Hetchy Project, which were controversial historically and remain controversial today.
|10:45 - 11:05
||Morning break and refreshments
|11:05 - 12:05
||"The History of Water in California and the West" by Rita Schmidt Sudman, Executive Director, Water Education Foundation.
"Since the earliest days of European settlement, water has been a controversial issue in California. Often the conflicts have resulted in famous gun fights, court cases and Hollywood movies! Today the people of the West are faced with making decisions about a water resource that must be stretched to supply growing cities and suburbs, continuing Agriculture development and an increasing need for the environmental uses."
|12:05 - 12:35
||"The Changing Nature of an Academic Map Collection" by Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Head Librarian; GIS & Map Librarian, Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections, Stanford University.
She will be talking about the growth of the map collections at Stanford in general, both in terms of taking in physical content (Rumsey Collection and the California State Automobile Association Collection), as well as digital content (Rumsey, Ruderman, Dennis Collections).
|12:35 - 1:35
|1:35 - 2:35
||"Water-the Historic Catalyst for Environmental Change in California" by Daniel O. Holmes, M.A., M.L.I.S. Dan is a Geographer and Librarian for the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
Water has literally shaped California, both naturally and historically. By characterizing natural hydrologic and hydraulic processes, this presentation puts selected historic and natural events and themes into a richer context. As shown, cartographic depiction has a grand effect on our perceptions about water. As explained, water users have had a profound effect on anthropogenic environmental change in California.
||Afternoon break and refreshments
|3:05 - 3:50
||"WWII Escape and Evasion Maps & Compasses" by Susan Caughey.
Susan is the outgoing President of the California Map Society, a map seller, and citrus grower. A major effort to bring our boys home, initiated by the British and later copied by the US. This required great ingenuity and skill to print 3.5 million maps on silk and rayon. The British also devised ingenious compasses for escape use.
|3:50 - 4:20
||Business meetings for both organizations
|4:20 - 5:45
||Wine and Cheese Social-chance to meet both CMS and CHS members informally.
|5:45 - 6:00
||Clean up and depart
David Crosson, Executive Director of the California Historical Society greeted us from the bottom of the Nancy Pelosi staircase in their headquarters on Mission St in downtown San Francisco. He cordially welcomed attendees from both Societies. Susan Caughey, President, and Phil Simon, Vice President, of CMS also expressed their pleasure at the large attendance from both groups.
Phil introduced our first speaker, Deputy San Francisco City Attorney Joshua D. Milstein. His topic was "San Francisco Water." Today, San Francisco's major water source is the Sierra Nevada Mountains with Hetch Hetchy Reservoir the collection point, some 130 miles from the City. It required 20 years to build the complete system, starting in 1914. Some twenty other communities also share this water.
San Francisco's first water distribution system was completed on July 4, 1862 by the Spring Valley Water Company. Over the years this system incorporated streams and built reservoirs in the Coastal hills to the south and west of the city. Spring Valley collected riparian rights on both sides of the Bay to keep up with the growing needs. The 1906 earthquake taxed the system and a further set back was the collapse of Calaveras Dam (designed by William Mulholland before the St. Francis Dam) in 1918.
Hetch Hetchy was proposed by Mayor John Phelan in 1901. Nature Lovers protested but the Army Corps of Engineers backed the plan and the courts allowed San Francisco to acquire water rights from Federal lands. A submarine pipeline at the Dumbarton Bridge carries this water across the Bay.
A current problem is finding ways to allow steelhead trout to migrate around current dams and reservoirs. Another problem statewide is increasing demand for water while rainfall to meet that demand is down.
Our next speaker was Rita Schmidt Sudman, Executive Director, Water Education Foundation, whose daunting task is to try to make sense of the varying needs of multiple factions within the State. Water has always been a controversial and sometimes contentious subject in California. Her organization publishes Western Water Magazine, numerous maps explaining water needs and makes documentaries about the problems. Their website is watereducation.org. Their California Water News Blog, containing abundant water-related news articles, is aquafornia.com. Their mission is explaining how we can put water to work but still maintain enough free flowing water for nature's needs. A recent example of that need is the drop in salmon returning to spawn through the Delta from 205,000 in 2002 to 58,000 in 2008.
Agriculture is the biggest user statewide, consuming 80% of our water. Distribution is complex because of overlapping Federal, State and local projects and rights. Moving water requires 20% of the state's electric generation. The discussion has shifted from a north-south argument to more of a central valley vs. coastal strip discussion. Federal government designation of wild rivers in the north of the state has shut off a large source of fresh water. Southern California has traditionally used more Colorado River water than our allotment. This is now being contested by other states as they expand in population. Water allocation has hit some agricultural areas a death blow, I-5 north of Coalinga being a prime example. Desalination is very expensive but may be used to solve extreme distribution problems. A major ray of hope is the use of reclaimed water for maintaining green areas without restricting our drinking water supply. Look for the purple pipes as an easily applied conservation measure. And look for more agreements between agriculture and cities to exchange excess agriculture water for cash.
The last speaker of the morning session was Julie Sweetkind-Singer. Julie is Stanford's Head Librarian for their GIS and Map Library and is instrumental in making this one of the outstanding collections in the country. Their recent acquisitions include the gift of some 30,000 maps from the California State Automobile Association beginning in 1950. This will be cataloged over the next several years. The Reid Dennis collection of about 45 bird's-eye views of San Francisco now graces the Branner walls. Map dealer Barry Ruderman has allowed Stanford to post images of some 2500 maps which he has sold. David Rumsey has given Stanford a large portion of his map collection and digitized images. Nearly 6000 images of the Rumsey collection are already available on-line, as are the Ruderman and Dennis collections. Simply go to collections.stanford.edu/image to see these maps in stunning color in high definition. They can be searched in many ways.
Julie is working with Glen McLaughlin to bring his outstanding collection of maps of California as an island to the web. This will make color images available as well as the data from his monumental "The Mapping of California as an Island." Julie has served our Society as a Vice President and we are very fortunate to have such a talented and persuasive person working on making so much of the map world visible to everyone in the world.
A box lunch was served and enjoyed by all as we made and renewed acquaintances with both CMS and CHS members. Our interests seemed to be parallel in many respects.
Our first afternoon speaker was Daniel O. Holmes, currently the Geographer and Librarian for the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Water has shaped the economic development of the State from the days of hydraulic mining through current proposals for another peripheral canal. The California Water Atlas of 1979 was a definitive work of its day. It tried to cover all aspects of water use and collection with many maps and essays. Since then there have been many changes in usage and availability. Many people criticize the use for growing rice and other crops using great quantities of water. We need to learn a lot more about ground water replenishment and other conservation methods. The speaker's suggestion is an updated Water Atlas, not necessarily in print form. A digital format would allow many to make contributions but it would need to be reviewed and monitored so not to become a shouting match between factions.
Dan also mentioned that the Rumsey Historic Map Collection from 1700 to 1925 now contains some 150,000 maps. Since being placed on the web it has seen 20 million visitors at a current rate of over 5000 per day. Who says old maps aren't interesting?
The final speaker was our own Susan Caughey, President of CMS and of Susan Benjamin Maps and Prints. She and her late husband began a collection of escape and evasion maps and ingenious compasses used in WWII. Maps printed on silk or rayon could be tightly rolled and hidden in uniforms and games. Special charity organizations were set up in Britain as fronts to deliver such maps and devices to prisoners of war. Christopher Clayton Hutton was a WWI flyer assigned the task of designing these. At his request Bartholomew maps gave permission to use their maps at no charge. He helped discover how to mix pectin with ink so the print would not run. Most maps were printed double sided to increase their usefulness. Tissue maps were inserted in playing cards, Monopoly boards and Ping Pong paddles. The United States contributed a million yards of slightly defective parachute silk.
American maps printed first in 1943 were typically printed on rayon. Some maps included "blood chits", a promise to pay for escape and evasion assistance which were printed in many different languages. With 3.5 million maps printed they are surprisingly hard to find today.
Compasses took many ingenious forms. Some were uniform buttons; some were small enough to be hidden inside a pencil eraser. Swinger compasses were simply strips of magnetized metal, marked for north. This was a fascinating talk on a contemporary use of maps as a tool which probably has saved many lives.
A short business meeting of each Society was then held. New CMS officers were announced, see page 6 for our new leaders. Outgoing President Susan Caughey was praised for her leadership during the last several years. Secretary Pat Boyce gave an overview of the newly revised website, to be released shortly.
Following adjournment most attendees stayed for a sumptuous wine and cheese social and helped put away chairs. We owe a debt of gratitude to the California Historical Society for the use of their splendid headquarters and for their staff making this a meeting to remember.