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Joseph Libbey Folsom collection

Call Number: WA MSS S-2394
Scope and Contents
The Joseph Libbey Folsom Collection consists of correspondence, documents, bills and receipts and writings by and relating to Joseph Libbey Folsom, a California pioneer who invested in real estate in San Francisco and beyond soon after gold was discovered in California. The collection appears to have been formed by the executors of his estate, the San Francisco firm Halleck, Peachy & Billings, as it includes both material belonging to Folsom shortly before his death in 1855 as well as material addressed to the executors after his death. The collection is organized into four series: Correspondence, Documents, Bills and Receipts and Writings, and spans the dates 1849-1862.

Series I, Correspondence , is organized into three subseries: Joseph Libbey Folsom; Halleck, Peachy & Billings; and Others. The correspondence is organized alphabetically in each subseries; individuals or businesses with more than three letters are listed alphabetically. Folsom's correspondence (including drafts of letters from Folsom) consists of about twenty letters. Among the letters are six between Folsom and Suydam, Reed & Co., lawyers in New York who represented Folsom during his legal battle with Anna Maria Spark, the mother of William A. Leidesdorff, from whom Folsom purchased the rights to Leidesdorff's estate in California. The Halleck, Peachy & Billings subseries contains approximately 150 letters to (and occasional drafts of letters from) the firm. This correspondence concerns Folsom's legal affairs before his death and the disposition of the estate. Principal correspondents with Halleck, Peachy & Billings include Peter Morris and James B. Wilson. Morris purchased land from the Folsom estate and writes of troubles with squatters and miners encroaching on his lots. Wilson, apparently an administrator of the estate in Folsom, also writes of squatters and problems with woodcutters operating illegally on the estate lands.

Series II, Documents , is organized into two subseries: Leases and Other Papers. There are approximately 160 leases for property in San Francisco owned by Folsom, many of them duplicates. Each lease carries the name of the renter, address, and amount of the rent. Some of the renters are Chinese men, some are women; some leases include other information, such as the one for Samuel Hort which has a schedule of furniture included. The leases for 1851 are made out as indentures between Anna Maria Spark of Saint Croix, Danish West Indies, by her Attorney-in-fact Joseph L. Folsom. The leases have been arranged alphabetically, by name of renter. Those names represented by more than three leases are listed individually.

The Other Papers housed at the end of the series include an account of sale of "grey domestics" (plain cotton cloth) from Leidesdorff's estate, costs claimed in the case of Folsom vs. Sands & Lewis, and proposals to the executors to purchase land in Folsom and on the Rancho Rio de Los Americanos.

Series III, Financial Papers , is organized into Bills and Receipts and Other Financial Papers. The Bills and Receipts are organized into two sections: Joseph Libbey Folsom and Others, and then arranged alphabetically by the name of the individual or business issuing the bill or receipt. Individuals or businesses are listed individually if they are represented by more than three items. The Bills and Receipts record both personal and professional purchases, including daguerreotypes from Hamilton and Starr, the services of R. W. Laine, a night watchman, laundry service by D. Landis, materials used in constructing various buildings Folsom owned in San Francisco, and receipts from the hotel Tehama House, also in San Francisco. Other papers include canceled checks written by both Folsom and the executors.

Series IV, Writings consists of two miscellaneous one page essays, probably by Folsom.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Joseph Libbey Folsom Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Lindley Eberstadt, 1959.
3.02 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Related Names
Folsom, Joseph Libbey, 1817-1855
Language of Materials