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As the population of California ballooned, especially following the Gold Rush of 1849, the demand for education increased. In 1851 Santa Clara College (now University) was founded by the Jesuits at the site of Mission Santa Clara. 

The de Saisset's collection now houses objects that relate to the earliest days of the college, including school money and scientific instruments from the turn of the century and a painting of the college from circa 1903. The collection also includes materials related to some of Santa Clara College's most well-known faculty members: John J. Montgomery, the first American to fly a heavier-than-air craft; Fr. Jerome Ricard who made a name for himself with his theories about the relationship between sunspots and weather patterns; and Fr. Bernard Hubbard, who was instrumental in the exploration and documentation of the Alaskan frontier.  

Aerial image painting of Santa Clara College circa 1903.

Image of Santa Clara College painted by John Sykes c. 1903.