Finding Aid to the Elsa S. McGinn Papers, 1891-1971

Jack Doran
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
© 2012
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Elsa S. McGinn Papers, 1891-1971

Collection number: BANC MSS 99/318 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Finding Aid Author(s):
Jack Doran
Date Completed:
June 2012
Finding Aid Encoded By:
GenX
© 2012 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Elsa S. McGinn papers
Date (inclusive): 1891-1971
Collection Number: BANC MSS 99/318 c
Creator: McGinn, Elsa Searing
Extent: 2 cartons, 5 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder 4 linear feet
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Abstract: The Elsa S. McGinn papers consist of materials pertaining to her activity as a public figure in San Mateo County, as well as her personal life. The collection is divided into four series: Business Papers, Civic and Municipal Papers, Correspondence, and Personal Papers.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

Information for Researchers

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Conditions of Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Elsa S. McGinn Papers, BANC MSS 99/318 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Alternative Form of Materials Available

There are no alternate forms of this collection.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1998.069--ALB).
Posters have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
McGinn, Elsa Searing -- Archives
San Mateo (Calif.) -- Politics and government
Clippings
Scrapbooks

Administrative Information

The Elsa S. McGinn papers were given to the Bancroft Library by Thomas McGinn Smith on June 30, 1998.
No additions are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Jack Doran in 2012.

Biography/Organization History

Elsa McGinn was born Elsa Waller Searing on May 4, 1880 in Sherwood, New York. Her father, Edward Whelan Searing, was an attorney who served on the New York State Assembly and her mother, Laura Redden Searing, was an accomplished journalist and poet who wrote under the name Howard Glyndon.
Laura Searing’s declining health compelled her to take up and go West with Elsa in 1887. They settled in Santa Cruz, California, where Elsa spent her childhood before leaving to study at Miss Head’s Preparatory School for Girls in Berkeley, California. Upon completing her studies in 1898, she moved back to Santa Cruz and briefly took a job as a stenographer before marrying Roderick J. Marston in October 1899. She soon relocated to Dawson City, Yukon where Marston owned a gold mine. The two separated in 1901 (divorced in 1903) and Elsa took a job in Nome, Alaska as a stenographer and typesetter for John L. McGinn, a prominent mining attorney whom she would eventually marry on April 20, 1904.
Elsa returned to California in 1909 to care for her mother, eventually settling in San Mateo in January 1916. Here, she began a tireless public career. Some of the more prominent of her many titles over the next few decades were President of San Francisco Girls Welfare Home (1917-1920), Chairman of the Liberty Loan campaigns and head of the California State Council of Defense during World War I, Commissioner of Public Health and Safety of San Mateo (1920-1922), acting mayor of San Mateo (1920) and President of the San Mateo Women’s Club (1924-1928). As a member of the San Mateo County Planning Commission (1931-1952), Elsa helped establish some of the first municipal parks in San Mateo County. She was also the first woman nominated for a seat on the California State Assembly (1926), an election that she lost.
She gave birth to two children—Laura Edith and John W. McGinn—and was remembered by her friends and community as a fearless and tactful, yet compassionate leader. She died on May 13, 1963 at the age of 83.

Scope and Content Note

The Elsa S. McGinn papers consist of materials pertaining to her activity as a public figure in San Mateo County, as well as her personal life. The collection is divided into four series: Business Papers, Civic and Municipal Papers, Correspondence, and Personal Papers.
Business Papers, Series 1, consists of correspondence and titles for several mines in Mexico in which Elsa McGinn owned a share.
Civic and Municipal Papers, Series 2, includes correspondence regarding McGinn’s participation in World War I bond drives, women’s clubs, various civic and municipal positions in San Mateo and her run for State Assemblyman.
Correspondence, Series 3, consists of personal letters, primarily written by John L. McGinn and Laura E. McGinn, as well as holiday cards from friends of the McGinn family.
Personal Papers, Series 4, has been divided into six subseries: General; John L. McGinn; Laura E. McGinn; Laura C.R. Searing; Writings; and Ephemera. Included are scrapbooks kept by McGinn, mementos from her childhood and materials relating to her marriage to John McGinn. Also included are papers of both John L. McGinn and Laura E. McGinn and copies of two books published by Laura Searing (Howard Lyndon) as well as a variety of ephemera.

Container Listing

 

Series 1 Business Papers 1923-1933

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 1-4

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of correspondence and titles for several mines in Mexico in which Elsa McGinn owned a share.
carton 1, folders 1-2

Harrington, Knight and Smith Mexican Gold Mines - Correspondence 1923-1933

carton 1, folder 3

Harrington, Knight and Smith Mexican Gold Mines - Titles 1923-1928

carton 1, folder 4

San Mateo Tide Lands Company 1927, 1931

 

Series 2 Civic and Municipal Papers 1915-1953

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 5-10; oversize boxes 1-4; oversize folder 1

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically

Scope and Content Note

This series includes correspondence regarding McGinn’s participation in World War I bond drives, women’s clubs, various civic and municipal positions in San Mateo and her run for State Assemblyman.
oversize-box 1, volumes 1-2

Woman's Club of San Mateo- Scrapbooks 1915-1929

carton 1, folder 5

National Woman's Liberty Loan Committee 1918-1919

oversize-box 1, volume 3

Women's Committee of National and State Defense Scrabpook 1918-1919

oversize-box 2, volumes 4-5

Correspondence 1918-1936

carton 1, folder 6

Correspondence 1922-1952

oversize-box 3, volume 6

Scrapbook of Political Activities and War Work 1919-1925

oversize-box 3, volume 7

Board of Trustees Scrapbook 1920-1923

oversize-box 4, volume 8

Board of Trustees and Police Deparment Scrapbook 1922-1923

carton 1, folder 7

Election materials 1923, 1926

carton 1, folder 8

San Mateo Women's Club- newspaper clippings 1924-1931

oversize-box 4, volume 9

Campaign Scrapbook 1925-1926

oversize-folder 1A

Assembly Candidacy- placards and ballot 1926

carton 1, folder 9

Correspondence- Political 1934-1943

oversize-folder 1A

War Finance Committee- ephemera circa 1945

carton 1, folder 10

List of Offices Held by Elsa McGinn 1953, undated

 

Series 3 Correspondence 1891-1959

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 11-21

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of personal letters, primarily written by John L. McGinn and Laura E. McGinn, as well as holiday cards from friends of the McGinn family.
carton 1, folders 11-13

McGinn, John L. 1904-1953

carton 1, folder 14

McGinn, John W. 1920

carton 1, folders 15-17

McGinn, Laura E. 1911-1931

carton 1, folder 18

Searing, Laura R. 1905

carton 1, folder 19

Various 1891-1959

carton 1, folders 20

Postcards 1925-1938

carton 1, folder 21

Holiday Cards, Announcements and Invitations circa 1917

 

Series 4 Personal Papers 1893-1971

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 22-40; box 1; oversize boxes 4-5; oversize folder 1

Arrangement

Arranged hierarchically.

Scope and Content Note

This series has been divided into six subseries: General; John L. McGinn; Laura E. McGinn; Laura C.R. Searing; Writings; and Ephemera. Included are scrapbooks kept by McGinn, mementos from her childhood and materials relating to her marriage to John McGinn. Also included are papers of both John L. McGinn and Laura E. McGinn and copies of two books published by Laura Searing (Howard Lyndon) as well as a variety of ephemera.
 

Subseries 4.1 General 1897-1971

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 22-33; oversize boxes 4-5

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
carton 1, folder 22

Miss Head's School for Girls- Berkeley, California 1897-1898

carton 1, folder 23

Divorce from R.J. Marston 1903-1904

carton 1, folder 24

McGinn, Elsa and John- Memory Book 1904

carton 1, folder 25

McGinn, Elsa- newspaper clippings 1904-1959

carton 1, folder 26

McGinn, Henry 1920

carton 1, folder 27

Scrapbook 1907-1925

carton 1, folder 28

Silhouettes of family members 1915

carton 1, folder 29

Scrapbook- World War I 1918-1919

oversize-box 4, volume 10

Scrapbook- Personal 1920-1931

oversize-box 5, volume 11

Scrapbook 1921-1923

carton 1, folder 30

McGinn Estate 1923-1957

carton 1, folder 31

McGinn, Elsa- Memory Book 1935-1963

oversize-box 5, volume 12

Scrapbook 1960-1961

carton 1, folder 32

Vital Records and Membership Cards 1954, 1961, undated

carton 1, folder 33

McGinn and Smith Families- Newspaper clippings 1923-1971

 

Subseries 4.2 McGinn, John L. 1893-1960

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 34-40; oversize folder 1

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
oversize-folder 1A

California State Bar- Certificate of Admittance 1893

carton 1, folder 34

Family Correspondence 1902-1948

carton 1, folder 35

Professional Correspondence 1909-1956

carton 1, folder 36

Newspaper Clippings 1928-1955

carton 1, folder 37

Canceled Will and Last Testament 1930

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
carton 1, folder 38

California State Bar Correspondence and Certificates 1931-1955

carton 1, folder 39

John McGinn v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue 1942

carton 1, folder 40

Biographical and Memorial Materials 1959-1960

 

Subseries 4.3 McGinn, Laura E. 1907-1926

Physical Description: box 1, folders 1-3

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
box 1, folder 1

Memorabilia of Birth and Infancy 1907-1908

box 1, folder 2

Correspondence 1920-1926

box 1, folder 3

Newspaper clippings 1922, 1925

 

Subseries 4.4 Searing, Laura C.R. 1897-1923

Physical Description: box 1, folders 4-5

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
box 1, folder 4

Books of Poems by Laura C.R. Searing (Howard Glyndon 1897, 1907

box 1, folder 5

Newspaper clippings 1923, undated

 

Subseries 4.5 Writings 1928-1935

Physical Description: box 1, folders 6-7

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically.
box 1, folder 6

Poems and Short Stories 1930, undated

box 1, folder 7

Speeches and Rememberances 1928, 1935

 

Subseries 4.6 Ephemera 1903-1960

Physical Description: box 1, folders 8-12

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
box 1, folder 8

Various 1903-1960

box 1, folder 9

Menus 1908-1924

box 1, folder 10

World War I 1918-1919

box 1, folder 11

San Mateo Politics and Women's Club 1919-1938

box 1, folder 12

World War II circa 1943