The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

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Online History Journal

Since 1994, the Museum has published printed journals on the history of the Santa Cruz County region. These journals have sometimes been devoted to a specific topic; at other times they have covered topics of general interest.

In 2013, the Museum launched the Online History Journal of Santa Cruz County. This online journal provides historians and others with a flexible, ongoing platform for publishing original research on regional history. We hope that with the gradual addition of articles each year, the online journal will grow into a valuable and unique community resource.

Recent Articles (all available as PDF downloads)

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An Alternative History of Santa Cruz County by Frank Perry
Imagine a 260-foot-high dam across the Soquel Valley, a submarine port at Santa Cruz, a 13-story apartment building on the beach at Capitola, or a giant nuclear power plant near Davenport. These are just a few of many projects that were proposed but never built.

A Gift to the City: The Post Office Murals of Henrietta Shore by Joan Martin Arguably more talented than Georgia O’Keefe, Henrietta Shore’s paintings have been lost in obscurity. Outside of the MAH’s collection, the only place you can find them in Santa Cruz today is surprisingly in the Santa Cruz Post Office.

Dissecting “Jumbo”: A Picture Postcard History By Frank Perry  How many stories can a single postcard tell? An early postcard of a tree named “Jumbo”—mailed from Santa Cruz in 1917—was found to contain over twenty topics for investigation. These include explorations of the image, message, sender, receiver, postmark, stamp, and publisher. Careful observation and the use of a wide variety of research tools helped illuminate this postcard’s many historical features.

From Natural Bridges to Bird Rock: An Exploration Through Vintage Postcards and Photographs By Frank Perry. How picture postcards were used as an archival tool, beginning with an iconic image– that would later be altered– of Natural Bridges.

The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Santa Cruz County, California by Greg Gardner 

Every Structure Tells A Story By Various Authors. Explore how to research historical properties in Santa Cruz, research techniques, and material sources.

roserostronRose Rostron: Santa Cruz County’s First Female Supervisor By Greg Gardner. Dive into the history of Santa Cruz’s strongest advocate of her time for public works and women in the workforce.

Keywords: Rose Rostron, feminism, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

eggsSanta Cruz Egg Laying Contest: 1918-1931. By Jill Ramar.  Chronicles the history of these popular contests during a time when poultry was a major Santa Cruz industry.

Keywords:  chickens, eggs, contest, egg-laying, poultry, Santa Cruz

estyLee Dill Esty: Architect from Soquel.  By Norman Poitevin.  Biography of architect Lee Dill Esty (1876-1943) who designed at least twenty-three homes and other buildings in the Santa Cruz area, some of which still stand.  PDF

Keywords: Esty, architect, Soquel, Santa Cruz, Pogonip, Chaminade

Elihu Anthony (1818 – 1905): A Pioneer of the Pioneers of California. A biography by his brother, the Rev. Charles Volney Anthony (1831–1908), transcribed and annotated by Stanley D. Stevens. Elihu Anthony, who came to Santa Cruz from upstate New York in 1847, was a blacksmith by trade who became much more: Methodist minister, local and state elected official, first Santa Cruz Postmaster, investor and builder.

Submission of Articles

Articles for the online journal can be on any subject related to Santa Cruz County history. Like articles for the printed journals, they must be historically accurate, well documented, and written in a manner that appeals to a general audience. Authors are encouraged to include illustrations such as photographs, documents, and maps to help tell the story.

Articles are to be peer-reviewed for accuracy and edited by members of the History Publications Committee. All reviewers sign a confidentiality agreement prior to reading submissions.

Articles are accepted on an ongoing basis; there is no deadline for submissions and no waiting for the next issue to be printed. The number of articles accepted each year depends on the number and quality of submissions and on the availability of peer reviewers and committee members to perform the editing and layout.

There is no printed version of the journal. Anyone may, however, download and print copies of the articles, which will be in PDF format. Readers may submit comments on the articles. Authors can protect their articles with either a standard copyright or a creative commons license that allows their work to be shared.

For detailed information on how to submit articles to the online journal, read the MAH Guidelines for Authors.


We welcome constructive comments on OHJ articles. Please indicate the name of the article, page number, and column number. We will forward comments to the author. Corrections or revisions may be made if appropriate. Articles that have been revised show the date of the current version.  Email comments to

Index to Regions in Hardcopy Publications

This index to Museum’s hardcopy publications shows the contents of each arranged alphabetically by region.  Most are still in print and are available in local bookstores, at the Museum, and in libraries.