Guide to the Chestnutwood Photo Album Collection (1888)

Overview +


Collection Number



This collection was assembled by the Chesnutwood Business College Class of 1888.


Number of Containers: 1
Linear Feet: 1.5 Linear Feet 

Repository :

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Archives
705 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


This collection consists of one (1) embossed leather bound album about 16 ½” x 13 ½” x 3 ½”. The album was donated by Linda Porter and Robert Wootten in 1991 and was presented to J.A. Chestnutwood of the Chesnutwood Business College in 1888. The album contains one hundred thirty-eight black and white 4 x 6” studio portraits and four (4) large oval (approx. 4×4”) portraits. Some portraits feature autographs or captions identifying the individual or photography studio, many do not. There are also two small (approx. 3×3”) photos, and some loose photos in the pages.


The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Preferred Citation

Chestnutwood Album Collection, The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the head of Archives at MAH. Researchers may be responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.

Process By

Renata McRee

Date Completed


History +

The Chesnutwood Business College was founded by J.A. Chestnutwood on February 4th, 1884 in Santa Cruz. Located on Walnut and Pacific Avenue near what was then known as the Hihn Block, the college featured a large study hall and office for individual instruction for students interested in learning skills necessary for secretarial and other positions in business and commerce (131). The college was open to both women and men, who learned such skills as computing United States currency and that of foreign currencies (132). The Chesnutwood Business College was known for being up to date with the current operations of business and commerce of the time, teaching methods that were relevant to the establishment of a modern business (132). The college was praised for having two banks, one focusing on foreign exchange and one for domestic, and students were instructed in the handling of both currencies. Professor and Principal J.A. Chestnutwood, was also lauded for abandoning “rusty methods”, to teach based on his own ideals and goals for students (pg.132). He was also praised for teaching his students practical skills beneficial for business work and for immersing them in such work rather than focusing on “theory” and the teachings of textbooks (132). Chesnutwood Business College became a nationally renowned school, known for its well-prepared and high number of graduates. Graduates came from all over California, the Pacific Coast, from across the United States, and from as far away as England, Mexico and Central America. [Citation: pg.131-132 Santa Cruz County. A Faithful Reproduction in Print and Photography of its Climate, Capabilities and Beauties.H.S.Crocker Company, San Fracncisco, 1896.]

The following compilation was created by Stanley Stevens: Chesnutwood’s (.pdf) (30 May 2014).

Contents +


One (1) Box

Series Scope and Content Summary

This collection consists of one (1) large 16 ½”x13 ½ ”x3 ½” leather bound photo album dating from c.1888. The photo album features a cover embossed with a pattern of poppy flowers and dragonflies with a geometric border and gold metal hinges. A pattern of swirls decorates the back cover. The spine of the album is cracked, rendering the binding fragile. The back cover has some tape to aid in holding it together. The inside front cover features a notation in script stating “Presented to J.A. Chestnutwood by his class of 1888.” Inside the album are approximately one hundred thirty-eight studio portraits total. One hundred thirty two of these photos measure 4×6” while four (4) are oval shaped portraits (approx. 4×4”) and two are small 3×3” photos. Photos are mounted in frames within the cardboard pages of the album. Photos are black and white bust-style portraits of men and women shot from the shoulders up, or feature the individual(s) standing or seated amongst props in a studio setting. Some of the photos feature autographs in ink or captions in pencil identifying the individual. There are twelve (12) unoccupied spaces for photos in this album indicating that these spaces were either not occupied by photos or the photos (mostly oval shaped) are either absent or missing from their frames. Four (4) photos complete with cardboard frames are loose in the pages. Some identified individuals include: Ida Miller, Santa Cruz; J. Secara (or possibly Sears), Modesto; Jep Toft, Miola S. Townsend;Jessie A. Joyce, H.J. (?) Wood Templeton; O.G. Brundage, Farmersville, Cal.; R.G. Codoni; O.F. Tucker Templeton; U.M. (?) Hawler , Paso Robles; R.A. (?)New–,Oakland; C.O. Goold (?), Paicines; E.R. Hoffman; U.S. Holmes, San Miguel; G.W. Barnett, Coleville; G.W. (?) Hope, Borden, Cal. Some identified photography studios include: McKean &Ort 125 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz, Ca; Grove Santa Cruz, CA; Novelty Studio 282 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz, CA; and Smith 1055 Broadway, CA.

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