Gibson Family Papers

Portrait of Maude Gibson
Portrait of Maude Esther Gibson, 1902, Gibson Family papers, MS 6, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

The Gibson family can trace its roots back to the pioneering days of California. Charles Nelson Gibson was born in Sacramento in 1879. His parents, William Henry Gibson and Lucinda Ray Gibson, became part of the African American community of West Oakland in the late nineteenth century. William Gibson obtained a position as a dining and club car waiter on the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1898 and worked for the railroad for thirty years. Lucinda Ray was a descendent of Nelson Ray, a slave who obtained his freedom in 1864 and came out to California to mine for gold. Through his profits, Ray acquired enough money to pay for his wife and children's freedom and settled in Placerville, where he worked as a carpenter and blacksmith. The Ray family moved to Sacramento sometime prior to 1877.

The Gibson Family Papers encompass materials relating to six family members: Audrey Gibson Robinson; Charles Nelson Gibson; Lucinda Ray Gibson; Lois Gibson; Maude E. Gibson; and Frederick D. Robinson. Papers consist of clippings, biographical information, a scrapbook, photographs and assorted items such as postcards and poems collected by members of the Gibson family. Arranged by name of family member and thereafter by format and date.

Dates: 1887-1980
Collection number: MS 6
Collection Size: 1 linear foot (2 boxes)

Guide to the Gibson Family Papers

Available at the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO)

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