My California Home Page State Library Home Page Connection Home Page The California State Library CONNECTION ~ Library of California
California State Library ~ Founded 1850
Return to Table of Contents
State Librarian Update
Read for the Record
Gala reception at CSL set
State Spotlight
California State Tartan arrives
New and renovated library openings around the state
Completed CCHE projects
CSL Research Bureau DVD illustrates youth mental issues
CSL programs support California's youngest learners
Institute on library services for baby boomers
CSL training and resources at work in tribal libraries
LSTA grant supports technology
The ILS process at CSL
Field Feedback
Return to Connection Home page
Contact Information

  Printable Version

California State Tartan arrives at California State Library

According to the most recent US Census, California has up to 5 million residents of Scots-ancestry. To honor those residents, California now has an official tartan, which, like the 2005 addition of the official State Silver Rush Ghost Town, has recently joined the California quail, and gold, on the roster of California insignia.

Tartans are woven fabrics Scottish people and their descendants have long used to represent their families and their cultural heritage. California’s tartan, derived in part from the Muir family tartan, evokes California’s history and natural splendor. The tartan's blue reflects the sky, the Pacific, the rivers and mountains, while the green reflects the Sierras, fields, forests, and parks. The red, gold, and blue signify the arts, sciences, and industry of the people of the state of California.

California History Librarian and state insignia specialist John Gonzales and Susan Hildreth with the California state tartan.

The California Assembly unanimously enacted legislation in 2001 that made the tartan official. Now, any California resident may “claim” the California tartan and share in this distinguished Scottish tradition. In June 2006 at the California State Library, State Librarian Susan Hildreth, on behalf of the California State Library, and Blaine Lamb, on behalf of State Archivist Nancy Zimmelman and the California State Archives, received official tartan banners from Jim Andersen, a key promoter of the tartan legislation.

Yolo County Supervisor Helen Thompson and State Librarian Susan Hildreth with the California tartan.

Also receiving the tartan in the State Librarian’s office was Yolo County Supervisor Helen Mac Leod Thompson who while a California Assembly person shepherded the tartan legislation through the Assembly. Thompson, who “grew up very Scottish,” says California’s popular Highland games illustrate how Californians enjoy connecting to Scottish traditions. The Sacramento area’s Highland Games are held every year in Woodland, a bucolic town in Thompson’s district. The Highland games held every year in Pleasanton are the biggest in the world, including Scotland.

For more information about the California State Tartan, please contact Jim Anderson at (818) 716-0963 or email






  © 2004 The California State Library.  All rights reserved.

The California State Library
914 Capitol MallP.O. Box 942837 • Sacramento, CA 94237-0001