Sacramento Museum and History Division
Blue Diamond Growers Collection
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The business papers and photographs of Blue Diamond Growers (previously California Almond Growers Exchange), California's major almond grower and marketing cooperative from 1910- present, were given to the City of Sacramento's Museum and History Division by vote of the Blue Diamond board of directors. The major portion of the collection was received in January 1981. The photographs were separated from the archival materials and are now in the photograph archives of the Sacramento Museum and History Division (SMHD). All records and photographs are accessible to the researcher with the exception of the Board of Director's Minutes, 1935-1949, and Pool Closings 1950-1953, which are sealed by request of the donor.
The archival collection consists of a variety of materials, including journals, correspondence, office papers, advertising and promotional materials, newsletters published by Blue Diamond Growers (or historically CAGE), newspaper clippings from other sources, and a selection of sales and "pool" ledgers. Also included are many published reports of hearings and briefs of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives on legislation for agricultural and foreign import tariff matters. The earliest dated item is an 1897 journal of a predecessor organization, the DavisVille Almond Growers Association. The most current documents are the Almond Facts publication, which is received every two months, and the Annual Report, an on-going acquisition.
Blue Diamond Growers (BDG) was organized in May 1910 as a wholly grower-owned processing and marketing outlet for the grower-members. Direction of the organization is set by a board of directors, which is elected by the general membership. The board, in turn, appoints the president, formerly called the general manager, who oversees all operations of the co-operative.
The main office of BDG is located at 1802 C Street, Sacramento, California.
Past Presidents/CEO's of BDG are:
- J. P. Dargitz (1910-1912)
- T.C. Tucker (1913 - 1936)
- D.R. Bailey Sr. (1936-1960)
- W. Stalker (1960-1975)
- Title Changed to President - 1965
- R. Baccigaluppi (1975-1991)
- W. Payne (1992-2001)
- D. Youngdahl (2001- Present)
Presidents and Chairman of the Board (full list available in The Almond People book)
- B.F. Walton (1910-1913)
- H.C. McMahon (1938-1943)
- Title Changed from President to Chairman - 1968
- Howard Isom (1992-2006)
- Clinton Shick (Present)
Collection Register: For the Researcher
Especially useful for an overview of all aspects of BDG are the Board of Director's Minutes (1910-1935), the Annual Report, 1911-Present, and the publication of Almond Facts (1922-Present). Researchers interested in agribusiness might profit from reviewing: Finance and Accounting series (especially the selected Ledgers, 1910-1967), Plant Manager Series (Audit Reports, Pool Closings and Plants Operations), Materials from Member Relations, Legal files (1932-1960).
Both domestic and foreign marketing and market expansion could by analyzed from several aspects: for instance, the time frame necessary to build what was a specialty product into an acceptable grocery store item, or the role of governmental regulation in marketing. See the following series: Marketing, Foreign; Crop and Sales Reports, Commodities Promotion, and Annual Reports.
For materials on government regulations and tariffs, consult the following series: Grower's Tariff League, Minutes, Tariff Readjustments 1929, Marketing, Domestic Orders, Studies, and Legislation 1920-1978, Legal Files 1922-1970
In 2000, BDG published a book called The Almond People, which describes the complete history of the cooperative from 1910-2000. Blue Diamond will provide an update of its history since 2000 in its Centennial Year of 2010. Thereafter, its history will be documented on this Web site. Blue Diamond will also consider an additional donation of its historical files at the end of 2010.
The book documents how BDG has led the California almond growing and marketing fraternity in opening markets, developing new products, and overcoming trade barriers around the world. Almost single-handedly it created an industry out of a loose collection of growers and shippers — an industry that swept from being a minor player in the world market to its current status as global leader in growing, processing and marketing almonds. The book also tracks the history of the world while the almond history was evolving and documents both with photos linked to the content itself.
All archival materials of the BDG collection have been processed according to the methods set forth in the Sacramento Museum and History Division Archival Manual. The records are analyzed and arranged according to their creator department or division, placed in acid-free folders and containers, and stores on steel shelving. A description of each kind of record was complied, typed on a 3" x 5" cards, and added to the card catalog. Where needed, container lists and inventories of contents were made to facilitate record retrieval.
The BDG collection consists of the following major series:
- Advertising and Sales Promotion, 17 Hollinger boxes, 1933-78
- Board of Directors, 49 Hollinger boxes, 1897-1980
- Finance and Accounting, 1 Hollinger box, 24 volumes, 1910-67
- Grower's Tariff League, 1 Hollinger box, 1923-34
- Marketing, domestic and Foreign, 15 Hollinger boxes, 1920-74
- Member Relations, 4 Hollinger boxes, 1914-present
- Personnel Department, 1 Hollinger box, 1969-80
- Plant Manager, 14 Hollinger boxes, 1919-69
- Statistics Department, 8 Hollinger boxes, 1938-53
In all, there are approximately 56 linear feet of archival materials.
The Blue Diamond Growers photograph collection originally consisted of some 10,000 photographs, of which approximately 2,500 were duplicate copies. These duplicates were de-accessioned and returned to CAGE (BDG) in acid-free folder and boxes. The remainders were stamped using acid-free ink with the SMHD label. They were given accession numbers, put in Mylar sleeves, and stored in the photograph archives in steel filing cabinets. These photographs were catalogued starting February 2, 1981 to present. Arranged according to provenance, they do not follow a comprehensive order. However, the majority of the collection had been stored by the donor according to subject. Therefore, groups of several hundred consecutively accessioned photographs are filed under such titles as "Bins," "Growers Meetings," "Orchard Scenes," "Designs" and "Export-Japan."
Though the bulk of this collection is comprised of photographs taken since 1950, the earliest images were made in the period around 1910. The collection consists of 5" x 7" and 8" x 10" black and white prints. Yet, it also includes smaller black and white photographs, some dozen over-sized prints, and approximately 700 images in the following formats: 35 mm, 2 ¼", and miscellaneous sized safety and nitrate negatives.
The collection contains several thousand marketing and promotional photographs of almonds, almonds products, and displays of almond products. These photographs would probably be most useful to the specialized researcher. Researchers interested in BDG corporate history should consider the numerous photographs of BDG executives, Board of Directors meetings, and growers meetings. Those interested in the industrial aspect of BDG's history might examine a variety of interior views of BDG plants. These show employees (some in uniform), machinery, and other scenes of almond processing. There are also photographs of warehouse interiors and exteriors, as well as other types of BDG buildings. The other major body of photographs would appeal to researchers of BDG history and to those people requesting beautiful pastoral scenes. These include close-ups and panoramas of almond orchards in various stages of growth and cultivation.