Ruth Newhall was a 35-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, editor of The Newhall Signal, authoress of books on Western history, and one of the founders of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.
Born Ruth Waldo in Berkeley in 1910, she graduated from UC Berkeley in 1931 as vice-president of her class. She became a teaching assistant in the UC art department where she met Scott Newhall. They quit school and eloped to Reno in November 1933.
Teaching assistant, 1933.
In 1935, Scott and Ruth bought a 42-foot ketch, the Mermaid, and set sail around the world. They got as far as Manzanillo, Mexico, where a storm damaged their boat. While riding horseback through the Mexican countryside, Scott was kicked by a horse. His leg became infected and had to be amputated.
Ruth worked for 20 years at the San Francisco Chronicle (1936-1956) as a reporter, editorial writer, and on the City Desk. She also worked as a police reporter in the Berkeley Hall of Justice and taught journalism at UC and at Mills College.
In 1958, Ruth authored "The Newhall Ranch," a history of the Newhall Land & Farming Company. In the 1960s she wrote other books: "The Folger Way" (a history of the Folger Coffee Company); "The History of the Spreckels Sugar Company"; "San Francisco's Enchanted Palace," (a history of the Palace of Fine Arts); and "1919 California Street" (the story of The Chronicle's De Young family).
In 1963 Scott and Ruth bought The Newhall Signal, and in 1968 they moved from Berkeley to the Piru Mansion. At The Signal, Ruth worked as editor during the 1970s and 1980s. She was also the author of the widely read "Mimi" column.
Ruth was one of the founders of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in 1975. In 1980 she served as president of the Society and led the rescue and move of the Saugus Train Station to its present site. She is also a past director of Historical Society of Southern California and has been an active volunteer with the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation, HMNMH Home Tour, SCV Boys & Girls Club, and the College of the Canyons Foundation.
While participating in these activities, Ruth was proceeding with the complete restoration of the Piru Mansion when, in February 1981, the house caught fire and burned to the ground. Scott and Ruth rebuilt the Mansion in time to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary there in November 1983.
In 1987, Ruth was named the Santa Clarita Valley's "Woman of the Year." In 1992, she completed the voluminous update of her first book by authoring "A California Legend: A History of the Newhall Land and Farming Company." Ruth died in Berkeley on November 24, 2003.
LW3031: pdf of original program book, collection of Connie Worden-Roberts. Download original images here