Despite the pervasive myth of the “stay at home” wife and mother, working women have been a mainstay of the Santa Clara Valley workforce for well over a century. In the July 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album retired Anthropology Professor Tom Layton celebrates this unsung labor force of cannery workers, telephone operators and clerks — not to mention the entrepreneurial founders of the Women’s Fruit Preserving Association, whose 1890s Honeysuckle Brand labels graced fruit cans from coast to coast.
In the July 2018 Sourisseau Academy news video Professor Layton tours the ceremonial gates, arches, and banners of the Santa Clara Valley orchards of yesteryear.
Half a century ago many of our elders complained that the garish in-your-face signage flashing along our main streets had become a public blight. The resulting sign ordinances limiting the size and placement of signs was a nail in the coffin of the Age of Neon. In the May 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album San José historian Heather David (leader of the San José Signs Project) tells the story of signage in San José.
In the May 2018 Sourisseau Academy news video Michael Pearce explores San Jose’s floods and the reservoirs designed to prevent them.
The New Almaden Mining Historic District takes its name from the Almaden mercury mines in Spain. Originally developed by the Romans, they were renamed by the Eighth Century Islamic conquerors of Spain and called “Al Madan” (The Mine). The name survived for well over a thousand years and was reused when mercury was discovered in California. In the March 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album Sourisseau Board Member and Anthropology Professor Charlotte Sunseri explores the history of New Almaden, from the California Gold Rush to the early Twentieth Century.
The New Almaden Quicksilver Mine brought technical expertise from around the world. Miners came from Mexico, from Chile, and from as far away as Cornwall. In the March 2018 Sourisseau Academy news video Ralph Pearce details the story of the tremendous growth of the ethnic diversity of the Santa Clara Valley’s populace during the decades of quicksilver production at New Almaden.
Today’s multilingual voter pamphlets do not have instructions in French, German, Italian, or Portuguese. But as historian Ralph Pearce reveals, between 1848 and 1920 those ethnic groups were among the most prevalent communities in the Santa Clara Valley. The February 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album explores San Jose’s early immigrants and their interesting ethnic neighborhoods.
From the 1860s to World War II, most of the money in Santa Clara County was stacked in the vaults of San José banks located within two blocks of First and Santa Clara streets. In the January 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album Michael Hurley, retired attorney and Sourisseau Board member, details the history of late 19th century and early 20th century banking in the region.
In the January 2018 Sourisseau Academy news video SJSU Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Tom Layton continues his exploration of unusual Santa Clara Valley architecture.