This post was written by Isabel Brady (ECON, ’20), a student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.
This quarter, Special Collections and Archives digitized Howard Louis’ scrapbook from the Louis Family Papers. Howard, known to his friends and family as Toby, was the youngest son of Ah Louis. The scrapbook chronicles the young adult life of Howard through photographs of his time as an athlete at San Luis High School to his days as a student at UC Berkeley. The photographs depict a life full with friends, family, and the occasional appearance from one of the many family dogs. Most of the photographs fall between the years 1927 and 1933.
The first pages of photographs show Howard as an accomplished athlete participating in both track and field and football for San Luis High in 1927 and 1928. Photographs show the races and games that he participated in against local rivals, Paso Robles and Santa Maria. On a trip to Yosemite in 1929, Howard and his companions captured beautiful pictures of Half Dome, Mirror Lake and Glacier point. Photographs of other trips to beaches and other sights in the San Luis Obispo area and around California are in the scrapbook pages. Even a trip to the University of Chicago is included.
Photographs of the Yoke Choy Club playing football in Golden Gate Park and out on various activities show the club’s prominence in Howard’s young life. During Howard’s time at the UC Berkeley, many photos are portraits of his college friends around campus. International House, Bowles Hall, the Faculty Glade and the Campanile are all fixtures in the photographs. Nearly 90 years later, these places look almost identical as they did in 1930. Contrarily, photographs of San Luis Obispo from 1933 show a very different downtown than today. Chorro Street and Palm Street are nearly unrecognizable.
In digitizing this scrapbook, I got a look inside the life of a young person in the 1920s and 1930s. Surprisingly, it is not all that different from mine. Growing up in Berkeley, my friends and I frequented many of the same places as Howard Louis. We’d climb up the Campanile to take pictures, eat lunch on the Faculty Glade and the few days a year it was warm enough, we’d make the trip to Stinson Beach to soak up the sun. Now, living in San Luis Obispo, hiking the mountains surrounding SLO, going to Pismo Beach and walking around downtown SLO are things I do regularly. It’s fascinating to see how 90 years later not all that much has changed.
Learn more about Special Collections and Archives at http://lib.calpoly.edu/search-and-find/collections-and-archives/.