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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



An ambition for the acquisition of a profound knowledge of the science of optics has been the impelling influence in the studies of the popular and successful optician whose name introduces this article, whose personality is familiar to the people of Sacramento, and whose professional and business standing as the president of the Chinn-Beretta Optical Company has brought him into prominent association with leading people of Northern California. From youth he has been a close student of this, his chosen calling and has made a scientific study of every phase of investigation pertaining to vision. The result of such long-continued concentration has been the attainment of an enviable reputation in his specialty and this led in its turn to an appointment as a member of the state board of optical examiners, of which he officiated as secretary for a considerable period of helpful association.

Descended from an old and honored southern family, Frederick C. Chinn was born in the city of Baton Rouge, La., November 2, 1870. While that family, like all others of its locality and generation, had suffered heavy losses by reason of the devastating effects of the Civil War, he nevertheless enjoyed exceptional advantages, although these were partly made possible through his own determined efforts.

An early attendance at the public schools was followed by a period of study in private institutions, after which he resumed attendance at a public institution of great value, the state university, where he continued his. earnest endeavors to acquire an education satisfactory to his aspirations. The year 1887 witnessed his arrival in San Francisco and his fortunate association with the profession of an optician, which ultimately led to greater successes than even the most glowing dreams of his youth had prognosticated. Coming to Sacramento in 1897, the following year he organized the optical company which he now serves as president and which has the reputation of being the largest firm of the kind in the world. Besides the establishment at Sacramento, the company owns and conducts stores at Oakland, San Francisco, Vallejo, Fresno and Stockton, each of which has a gratifying patronage in its own city.

Necessarily the demands upon his time made by a business so extensive and engrossing leave Mr. Chinn little leisure for participation in public affairs, yet he keeps well posted concerning all movements for the general welfare and is especially interested in enterprises for the advancement of his home city of Sacramento. In politics he votes with the Republican party. Fraternally he holds membership with the Elks and the Knights of Columbus. February 22, 1892, when little more than twenty-one years of age, he was united in marriage with Miss Rose McKenna, of San Francisco. They are the parents of three sons, namely: Frederick Harold and Boiling Robertson, who have enjoyed the excellent advantages offered by St. Mary's College in Oakland, this state; and Francis Conrad, who was born in 1902 and is now a student in the public schools of Sacramento. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011