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Guide to the Beck Family Papers MS 204
MS 204  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

  • Title: Beck Family Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 204
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 4.5 Linear feet (9 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1874-1995
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English and German.
    Abstract: The collection contains personal and business papers of the Beck family, with particular focus on Violet Beck.
    creator: Beck family

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Alison Hennessey on March 21, 2012.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Preferred Citation

    Beck Family Papers, MS 204, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 901313.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    August Beck (b. January 26, 1845) married Louise Edith Myers (b. February 4, 1860) on November 4, 1882. August served in the Army for 30 years becoming head Chief Clerk in Omaha, NE and Chicago, IL. In Chicago, they had two daughters, Evalinda (Eva) Estella (b. 1884) and Violet Miriam (b. December 15, 1886). In the late 1880s, the family moved to San Diego, CA. Around 1895, August was sent to Fort Stockton. In the late 1890s, they moved into a house at 612 Hawthorn. August Beck died in November 1917 in Honolulu, HI. In 1919, Louise purchased a house in the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego, at 411 21st St. Louise lived in the home until her death in 1933. Later, Violet and Eva rented out rooms at the home on 21st Street and other family-owned properties.
    Eva became a nurse and worked throughout California. She married James Clark Earl on May 20, 1909 and had three children, Lillian (b. circa 1910), John, and David. Lillian married Claude Sutton in 1932 and had two children, David and Charles. Eva died in 1965.
    Violet graduated from Fowler High School in Fresno, CA, in 1904 before attending the University of California, Berkeley where she received her B.L., M.L., and teaching certification. Violet taught all over California including San Diego, Banning, Blythe, Patterson, Esparto, Covelo, Lompoc, Ramona, Lakeside, National City, and Mt. Empire. Violet was a substitute teacher for 29 years in National City, Coronado, and San Diego and also taught at the Junior College of San Diego.
    Violet was a devout Christian. Church activities and bible study were a dominant part of her life. She was a member of the Philathea Class at the First Baptist Church of San Diego from 1901 to 1957.
    While living in Golden Hill, Violet actively fought for the preservation of the community, specifically opposing the building of high-rise structures. From 1935 to 1957, Violet was Head of the Restriction Committee of the Golden Hill Improvement Association. Working with the association, she helped with the acquisition of Grant Hill Park and in obtaining a bridge over the freeway at 22nd Street.
    Violet died on July 3, 1989 at the age of 102.

    Scope and Content

    A substantial amount of the material in the collection belongs to Violet M. Beck including diaries, scrapbooks, articles, and journals documenting her life and interests growing up and teaching in California. Violet’s diaries and writings begin during her high school years and continue through the late-1980s. Violet’s diaries mention her religious beliefs, family events, and daily activities, including her rental properties and tenants. While teaching, Violet wrote about her pupils and experiences. She also discusses her activities toward preserving Golden Hill. The collection also includes Violet’s poetry journals and clippings from 1926 to the 1950s, including her own poetry and the works of other poets she admired. Violet also displays her drawing skills throughout her scrapbooks, diaries and journals.
    The collection also contains materials pertaining to family genealogy, real estate, and personal activities. Journals entitled “Home Folks” record genealogical information about the Beck family, as well as personal entries by Violet Beck. The collection also includes the diaries of Louise E. Beck and Eva E. Earl as well as a scrapbook of Lillian Sutton. Photographs of relatives and friends are also included. There are materials related to the rental properties owned by the Beck Family. Guestbooks document tenants that rented from Violet M. Beck and Eva Earl. The Guestbooks also include photographs of tenants.


    The collection is arranged into four series:
    Series I: Beck Family
    Series II: Violet Miriam Beck
    Series III: Rental Property
    Series IV: Miscellanea
    Items within each series are arranged by subject.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Diaries, journals, scrapbooks, and guestbooks have some fragile pages. Some pages in the diaries are partially detached from their bindings. Guestbook covers with mold have been separated to Box 7 for the protection of other materials. Human and horse hair have also been separated to Box 7. (March 21, 2012)

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Beck family
    Beck, August
    Beck, Louise E.
    Beck, Violet Miriam
    Crowell, Grace Noll, 1877-1969
    Earl, Evalinda E.
    Esparto Union High School (Calif.).
    Grierson, Francis, 1848-1924
    Grossmont Union High School (Calif.).
    Keller, Helen, 1880-1968
    Panama-California Exposition (1915 : San Diego, Calif.).
    Sutton, Charles
    Sutton, David
    Sutton, Lillian
    University of California, Berkeley.
    Balboa Park (San Diego, Calif.)
    Christian poetry
    Esparto Union High School (Calif.)
    Golden Hill (San Diego, Calif.)
    Grossmont Union High School (Calif.)
    Landlord and tenant
    Real property
    Rental housing
    San Diego (Calif.)
    San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906
    Spanish-American War, 1898
    United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 United States History Revolution, 1775-1783
    Villa Montezuma (San Diego, Calif.)
    World War, 1914-1918
    World War, 1939-1945