• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The John Roland Calder Story, awarded the San Francisco Bridge Medal in 1908

8 posts in this topic

John Roland Calder, a San Francisco student, was awarded the Samuel Bridge Medal in 1908.


More on the Samuel Bridge Medal can be found here:



I became curious about John Roland Calder and tried to find out as much about him as I could.

He was a local boy as he never moved far from the San Francisco area.

Unfortunately, I have not found any record of active US military service or children.


John Roland Calder usually went by the name Roland Calder.



01. Samuel Bridge Medal awarded to John Roland Calder in 1908

Obverse: Bust of Samuel Bridge facing left / GIFT OF SAMUEL J. BRIDGE / MDCCCLXXVIIII [1879]

Reverse: Scroll and wreath / AWARDED TO / John Roland Calder / Pacific Heights School / June 1908

Silver (darkened over time), 35mm, 20.79gm


Early years in San Francisco:


John Roland Calder was born on May 29, 1893 in Massachusetts.


His family moved shortly thereafter to San Francisco.

From 1908-1916 his father William John Calder lived in San Francisco and worked as a manager for

D. N. & E. Walter & Company, a wholesale carpet and furnishing store.


In 1908 he attended the Pacific Heights School where he was awarded the Bridge Medal.


University of California at Berkeley:


Roland Calder attended the University of California at Berkeley, majoring in Agriculture.

He was a member of the Camera Club, Rifle Club, and Circulo Hispanico.

The membership in the Camera Club was to have importance later on.


Roland Calder was in a military training program or Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC),

and received a commission as a Lieutenant, US Army, in 1916.

I could not find any record of World War I military service either in the US or overseas.


He lived at Tilicum, a student residence club located in Berkeley.

Tilicum operated from 1914 to 1925, it then became the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.


Roland Calder graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1917.



02. Roland Calder University of California Yearbook Photos - 1915 and 1917


Marriage and Occupations:


Sometime before 1922 Roland married Marian Stiltz, also a 1917 California graduate.

Marian Stiltz was born in 1893 and grew up in Winters, California.

She was a trained singer, a mezzo-soprano.

Like Roland, she won an award in her grammar school, for the "Highest Record".


From 1924 to 1938 Roland and Marian lived in Berkeley.

Roland worked as a factory manager for a furniture and then as a salesman.

Marian was a public school teacher in Oakland.




In 1935 Roland started working as a salesman and photographer for the

Trainer & Parsons Optical Company at 228 Post Street in San Francisco.


In the 1930's he was a member of several photography and camera clubs.

He entered photographs in the Photographers' Association of California publication

Camera Craft, A Photographic Monthly and won several awards.




Roland's employer was located across the street from Ransohoffs, a women's clothing store.

In 1929 Roland was sent to make a film at Ransohoffs when the store was moving down the street from 225 Post Street to 259 Post.

Roland may have also made a comedy film at the store at the same time.


Roland filmed "Last Scenes of 225 Post" which has scenes shot in various departments of the store, sales, accounting, etc.

The film can be found on Archive.Com at: _Ransohoff_Collection_Last_Scenes_of_225_Post_01_00_58_24'>Last Scenes of 225 Post


Roland possibly also filmed "Just Any Day at Scandalhoffs".

This film tells a comical story set at Ransohoffs using store employees as cast members.

The film can be found on Archive.Com at: _Ransohoff_Collection_Just_Any_Day_at_Scandalhoffs_01_17_06_23'>Just Any Day at Scandalhoffs


Photography and Teaching:


In 1933 Roland taught photography classes in San Francisco.


In 1936 Roland was giving photography classes at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland.


From 1940 to 1967 the Calders lived in Oakland.

Roland and Marian taught in the Oakland public schools off and on during that period.


"Turban Power" Nightclub Photograph:


Roland Calder took this photograph in 1940 at a San Francisco nightclub:



03. Nightclub Performance "Turban Power"

The Music Box, 859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco, California

Photographed by Roland Calder, March 19, 1940


Photography and Retirement:


In 1943 Roland operated a photography store in Oakland.

In 1952 Roland was a judge at a photography contest.

In 1967 Roland was listed as "retired" in city directories and still living in Oakland.


Marian died in 1969 and in the early 1970's Roland moved to an apartment in Oakland.

He later moved to Winters, a small town near Napa, and died there in April 1981.

He was 87 years old.


Roland and Marian Calder are interned at a cemetery in Winters.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and what did the medal award? What had to be done to win the silver medal? You're leaving us in suspense -- like a tabloid headline. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites