Guide to the Baldwin & Howell Records

Collection processed and finding aid created by Conor Casey, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 557-4567
Facsimile: (415) 437-4849
Email: info@sfpl.org
2007


Title: Baldwin & Howell Records,
Date: 1891-1974
Date (bulk): (bulk 1891-1940)
Collection Identifier: SFH 17
Creator: Baldwin & Howell
Extent: 7 cubic ft. (7 boxes), 1 map folder
Contributing Institution: San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco History Center.
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4567
info@sfpl.org
Physical Location: Collection is stored onsite
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: This collection documents the business dealings of Baldwin & Howell--a firm which specialized in realty, insurance, property management, leasing, loans, insurance, and appraisal. The records in the collection span the years between 1891 to 1974, but the bulk of the collection contains material from the 1890s to the 1940s. These records provide insight into the residential housing developments of which the Baldwin & Howell Company was a part, documenting the origins of many contemporary San Francisco, Bay Area, and Northern California neighborhoods.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has been assigned to the San Francisco Public Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Baldwin & Howell Records (SFH 17), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Acquisition Information

The Baldwin and Howell Records--amassed as part of the personal collection of Elfreda Menzel--were acquired at auction from PBA Galleries, San Francisco, in August of 2005.

Processing History

The collection had undergone some preliminary preservation when it was purchased by the San Francisco History Center: some documents and photographs were sleeved in polyester envelopes. San Francisco History Center staff interleaved the pages of the photo albums with acid free paper and put them in archival boxes. Conor Casey processed the collection in the spring of 2007. During the processing, items that had been individually foldered were consolidated with like items to reduce bulk, most metal fasteners were removed, some photographs were sleeved in PAT-passed polypropylene sleeves, and the collection was housed in archival-quality containers. In addition, some oversized materials and photographs were removed to appropriate storage. Finally, some materials that were obvious inclusions to the fonds from Elfreda Menzel were removed from the collection.

History of the Firm of Baldwin & Howell

The real estate firm of Archibald S. Baldwin (1858-1924) and Josiah R. Howell (1868-1916) was one of the most important residential development companies in San Francisco and the Bay Area between 1890 and 1940. Baldwin & Howell was instrumental in the development of such San Francisco neighborhoods as Westwood Park, Forest Hills, Presidio Terrace, Balboa Park, the Richmond / Sunset, Forest Hill, West Portal, and St. Francis Wood. The company was particularly active in the development of the western portions of San Francisco during the first quarter of the 20th century.
The firm's reach extended beyond San Francisco: it spearheaded residential developments on the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo and Burlingame. The company's efforts extended to other areas of Northern California as well: It developed properties in the cities of Richmond, Clear Lake, and Sacramento.
The company that became Baldwin & Howell was founded in 1885 as the firm of McAfee & Baldwin. For a brief time around 1893, the firm was called McAfee, Baldwin, & Hammond. When Josiah Howell associated with the firm in 1897, the company incorporated and changed its name to Baldwin & Howell. In 1905, Howell became the first President of the San Francisco Real Estate Board. After the 1906 Earthquake, the company was one of the first to move to agressively rebuild San Francisco's decimated downtown area during the reconstruction era of 1907-1910. Throughout its history, the firm used a series of subsidiary companies to develop different housing tracts. Notably, under the name of the San Francisco Residential Housing Company, the company developed the neighborhoods of Westwood Park, Westwood Highlands, Monterey Heights, Mission Terrace, Geneva Terrace, and originated St. Francis Woods.
In 1910, Baldwin & Howell affiliated with Speck, Paschel & Company, thereby gaining Philip P. Paschel, who would become the firm's president after Baldwin's death in 1924. Also in 1910, longtime company vice-president Samuel Isralsky joined the firm. Josiah Howell died in 1916.
In 1937, Walter P. Laufenburg--who had been working for the firm since 1900--became the company's president. Laufenburg was also president of the San Francisco Real Estate Board. By 1955, the company's president and owner was George H. Thomas, Jr.. The company remained in business as a brokerage firm until 1999, when it was no longer listed in the San Francisco Phone Book. In that year, The Northern California Business Directory listed the firm at a Sacramento Street address, with less than five employees, and owned and managed by CEO Eugene Gillis. By 2000-2001, Baldwin & Howell was no longer listed in the directory, but the Office of the County Clerk listed Eugene Gillis as the firm's owner from a Pacific Avenue address as late as November 2003.

Series Description

Series I: Office Files 1891-1968 is comprised of Baldwin & Howell's office files and contains company histories, minutes of board of director meetings, financial ledgers and business correspondence, stock certificates, and other information related to the firm's overall business dealings. This series is divided into subseries by company functions, area of activity, and thereafter chronologically: Subseries A: General Office Files; Subseries B: Financial Records; and Subseries C: Legal Records.
Series II: Project Files, 1894-1974 is comprised of financial ledgers, correspondence, and other materials relating to distinct development projects in which Baldwin & Howell was involved. These range from the purchase and appraisal of single buildings to the construction and sale of entire housing tracts. This series is broken into subseries and arranged by size of property, geographical proximity to San Francisco, and thereafter chronologically: Subseries A: Buildings (San Francisco); Subseries B: Blocks (San Francisco); Subseries C: Developments (San Francisco); Subseries D: Developments (Peninsula); and Subseries E: Developments (Northern California).
Series III: Photographs, ca. 1905-1974 (Bulk 1910s-1920s) is comprised of photographs of various properties and residential developments with which Baldwin & Howell were involved. They document the construction and final states of various residences throughout San Francisco and Northern California. This series is broken into subseries and arranged by size of property, geographical proximity to San Francisco, and thereafter chronologically and is comprised of: Subseries A: Company History Photographs; Subseries B: Buildings (San Francisco); and Subseries C: Residential Developments.
Photographs are housed with the San Francisco Historical Photo Collection; see separate hours for viewing (See note in "Access" section above).
Series IV: Maps, Building Plans, and Oversize Ephemera ca. 1910-1948, is made up of various maps of housing developments and properties that Baldwin & Howell owned or had business dealings regarding. In addition, this series contains the plan for the Insurance Exchange Building, on California Street at Liedesdorff. Another segment contains two Oversize ephemera items: a Baldwin & Howell poster parodying municipally owned railroads and George Thomas, Jr.'s certificate of election to the Governing Council of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. This series is sub-divided by format into Subseries A: Maps; Subseries B: Building Plans; and Subseries C: Oversize Ephemera and arranged chronologically within these units.

Arrangement

The material has been arranged into four series: Series I: Office Files, 1891-1968; Series II: Project Files, 1894-1974; Series III: Photographs, ca. 1905-1974; and Series IV: Maps and Building Plans, ca. 1910-ca. 1933. Series are subdivided by company activity, document format, or geographical scope.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Baldwin, Archibald S., 1858-1924.
Howell, Josiah R., 1868-1916.
Land use--California--San Francisco Bay Area--History.
Real estate development--California--San Francisco--History.
Cities and towns--California--San Francisco County--History.
Cities and towns--California--San Mateo County--History.
Cities and towns--California--Contra Costa County--History.
Real estate business--California.
Suburbs--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Land subdivision--California--History.
Baldwin & Howell
Residential Development Company of San Francisco
Cluett Building (San Francisco, Calif.)
Davis-Schonwasser Building (San Francisco, Calif.)
MacDonough Building (San Francisco, Calif.)
Russ Building (San Francisco, Calif.)
Sloane Building (San Francisco, Calif.)
San Mateo Improvement Company

Bibliography

Additional information about Baldwind & Howell's role in real estate development in Northern California may be found in the following resources:
Bastin, Donald. Richmond. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, c2003.
Brandi, Richard. San Francisco's West Portal Neighborhoods. San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Pub., c2005.
Jebe, Walter G. San Francisco's Excelsior District. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, c2004.
Loeb, Carolyn S. Entrepreneurial Vernacular: Developers' Subdivisions in the 1920s. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
mtdavidson.org Mt. Davidson and Westwood Park Neighborhood History http://mtdavidson.org/westwood_park Accessed April 16, 2007.
Proctor, Jacqueline. San Francisco's West of Twin Peaks. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., c2006.
Stanger, Frank M. From Suburb to City; 50 Years in Burlingame. Burlingame, CA: San Mateo County Historical Association/ La Peninsula, California 1958.
Ungaretti, Lorri. San Francisco's Richmond District. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, c2005.
Ungaretti, Lorri. San Francisco's Sunset District. Chicago, Ill.: Arcadia, c2003.
VerPlanck, Christopher P. Glen Park?The Architecture and Social History. http://www.sfaa.org/magazine/archives/01/1201/1201.verplanck.html; San Francisco Apartment Association Magazine, December 2001.
Western Neighborhoods History Project. Western Neighborhoods History Project. http://www.outsidelands.org/ Accessed April 16, 2007.
Zompolis, Gregory N., San Mateo. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, c2004.

Container List

 

Series I. Office Files, 1891-1968

Physical Description: 1 cubic ft. plus 5 bound ledgers.

Scope and Content

Series I: Office Files 1891-1968 is comprised of Baldwin & Howell's office files and contains company histories, minutes of board of director meetings, financial ledgers and business correspondence, stock certificates, and other information related to the firm's overall business dealings.

Arrangement

This series is divided into subseries by company functions, area of activity, and thereafter chronologically.
 

Subseries A:  General Office Files ca.1912-1960

Physical Description: 1 cubic ft. plus 6 scrapbooks
Box/Folder 1:1

Philip Paschel articles on real estate development, ca. 1917

Box/Folder 1:2

Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1912, 1950-1953

Box/Folder 1:3

Correspondence, Business Documents, and Ephemera, 1910-1948

Box/Folder 1:4

Baldwin & Howell History, 1936, ca. 1950s

Box/Folder 1:5

Bay Bridge, 1926-ca. 1930

 

Subseries B:  Financial Records 1897-1939

Physical Description: 9 folders plus 13 ledgers
 

Part 1: Taxes, 1917-1925

Box/Folder 1:6

Taxes 1917-1918

Box/Folder 1:7

Taxes 1919-1925

Box/Folder 1:8

Taxes 1922-1923

Box/Folder 1:9

Taxes 1924-1925

Box/Folder 2:1

Tax Returns and Financial Ledgers from Trust & Kleinsorge Ice Cream and Candy Store 728 K Street and 917-919 6th Street Sacramento, CA; 1750 Mission Street San Francisco, 1919-1925

 

Part 2: Auctions, Property Sales, and Appaisals 1897-1929

Box/Ledger 1:11

Record of Sales Baldwin & Howell, Jan. 1, 1897-Dec. 1902

Scope and Content Note

Contains property description, purchaser, price, and address.
Box/Ledger 1:12

Auction Sales Baldwin & Howell, March 25, 1909-1923

Scope and Content Note

Contains lot, block, address, price, deposit, and name of purchaser, remarks, and information on Dingee Park, Redwood City; and Sutro Estate Auction.
Box/Ledger 1:13

Appraisement and Estimates Ledger, Renting and Leasing Propositions, June 1911-Aug 5, 1922

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence and materials relating to activity and building-level descriptions of appraised worth of a property.
Box/Ledger 1:14

Appraisals?Properties of the California Transit Company and Pickwick Corporation Value as of June 10, 1929 June 10, 1929

Scope and Content Note

Includes land all over California, with sketch maps.
 

Part 3: Stock 1908-1949

Box/Folder 1:15

Stock Share Dealings, 1908-1939

Box/Folder 1:16

Stock Shares, 1908-1948

Box/Ledger 1:17

Stockton Development Company Stock Certificates, 1910-1924

Box/Ledger 1:18

Residential Development Company of San Francisco Stock Certificates, 1912-1949

Box/Ledger 1:19

Residential Development Company of San Francisco Assessment Book Baldwin & Howell, July-August, 1913

Box/Ledger 2:2

Residential Development Company of San Francisco Stock Certificates 1-100, 1911-1915

Box/Ledger 2:3

Residential Development Company of San Francisco Stock Certificates 101-200, 1915-1933

Box/Ledger 2:4

Residential Development Company of San Francisco Stock Certificates, 101-200, undated

Box/Ledger 1:20

Residential Development Company of San Francisco Dividend Book, April 1928-March 1930

Box/Folder 1:21

Copeck Oil Company, 1915

Scope and Content Note

Stock certificates and correspondence relating to Baldwin & Howell's interest in Copeck Oil Company.
 

Part 4: Cash Book 1923-1924

Ledger 1:22

Cash Book, 1923-1924

 

Subseries C: Legal Records 1929-1933

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box/Folder 1:23

Court, Estate, and Probate Records, 1929-1933

 

Series II: Project Files, 1894-1974

Physical Description: 8 files, 9 ledgers

Scope and Content

Series II: Project Files, 1894-1974 is comprised of financial ledgers, correspondence, and other materials relating to distinct development projects in which Baldwin & Howell was involved. These range from the purchase and appraisal of single buildings to the construction and sale of entire housing tracts.

Arrangement

This series is broken into subseries and arranged by size of property, geographical proximity to San Francisco, and thereafter chronologically: Subseries A: Buildings (San Francisco); Subseries B: Blocks (San Francisco); Subseries C: Developments (San Francisco); Subseries D: Developments (Peninsula); Subseries E: Developments (Northern California)
 

Subseries A: Buildings (San Francisco) ca. 1910s-1947

Physical Description: 4 folders
Box/Folder 3:1

1958 Vallejo Street, 1934

Box/Folder 3:2

Alexander Building announcement and Owl Drug Company lease in building announcement, undated

Box/Folder 3:3

Russ Building, investment in the Russ Building Company, Annual Reports of Russ Building Company, Correspondence Relating to, 1926-1944

Box/Folder 3:4

The White House? Post and Grant Streets, San Francisco, 1947

 

Subseries B: Blocks (San Francisco) ca. 1891-ca.1907

Physical Description: 4 ledgers
Ledger 3:5

Abstract of Title and List of Incumbrances on Block Bounded by Grove, Laguna, Ivy, Western Addition, (ca. 1894)

Ledger 3:6

Abstract of Title and List of Incumbrances on Block Bounded by Union, Front, Commerce, and Battery Streets Simpson & Miller Examiners of Deeds Searchers of Records, San Francisco January 5th 1891 Vol. 9, p. 62; January 5, 1891

Ledger 3:7

Sacramento and Presidio Property San Francisco, October 5, 1904

Scope and Content Note

Includes Sub.[Western Addition] Block No. 623 (Sacramento and Presidio) San Francisco, October 5, 1904 and documents and correspondence relating to the property.
Ledger 3:8

Commercial Block, California and Front Streets, San Francisco, ca.1907

 

Subseries C: Developments (San Francisco) 1911-1956

Physical Description: 5 ledgers, 1 folder
Ledger 3:9

Record of Sales Mission Terrace, San Francisco, 1911-1923

Scope and Content Note

Contains date, lot, block, purchaser, address, first payment, mortgage, financial terms of purchase, and the solicitor, date closed.
Ledger 3:10

Westwood Park, San Francisco, 1916

Ledger 3:11

Mission Terrace, San Francisco Correspondence, 1923

Folder 3:12

Diamond Heights, San Francisco Appraisal for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, 1955-1956

Ledger 4:1

Thomas Bros. Block Book of San Francisco Vol. 15: City Land, Columbia Heights, Hillcrest, Ingleside Terrace, Lake Geneva, Lake View, Mission Street, Ocean View Park, Railroad Homestead Association, Railroad Homestead Association 2, San Miguel City, West End undated

Ledger 4:2

Thomas Bros. Block Book of San Francisco Vol. 16: Excelsior, Crocker Amazon undated

Scope and Content Note

Ledger includes University Extension, University Mound, Visita[c]ion Valley, West End, and "Sunnyvale" (A southeastern San Francisco neighborhood; possibly in the Sunnyside or Bernal Heights districts).
 

Subseries D: Developments (Peninsula) 1916-1945

Physical Description: 1 ledger
Ledger 3:13

Appraisal as of December 10, 1916 of 525.4 Acres in Hillsborough San Mateo County, California Belonging to Provident Securities Company Appraised by Philip P. Paschel Harry C. Jenkins, April 20, 1945

Additional Note

Contains a fold-out fabric-backed map of lots.
 

Subseries E: Developments (Northern California) 1909-1930

Physical Description: 1 ledger
Box/Folder 3:14

Pullman Park?Richmond, California, 1909-1914

Box/Ledger 3:15

Buckingham Park?Clear Lake, California, 1930

 

Series III: Photographs, ca. 1905-1974 (Bulk 1910s-1920s)

Physical Description: 5 folders, 10 ledgers.

Scope and Content

Series III is comprised of photographs of various properties and residential developments with which Baldwin & Howell were involved. They document the construction and final states of various residences throughout San Francisco and Northern California.

Arrangement

This series is broken into subseries and arranged by size of property, geographical proximity to San Francisco, and thereafter chronologically and is comprised of: Subseries A: Company History Photographs; Subseries B: Buildings (San Francisco); and Subseries C: Residential Developments.
 

Subseries A: Company History Photographs 1906-1974

Physical Description: 1 folder
Box/Folder 5:1

Baldwin & Howell Company History Photos, 1906-1974

 

Subseries B: Buildings (San Francisco) ca.1890-ca.1920

Physical Description: 5 ledgers
Box/Ledger 5:3

MacDonough Building, Northeaster corner of Sutter and Grant Ave., MacDonald and Dean, architects undated

Box/Ledger 5:4

Northeast corner of 4th and Welsh Streets, December 1905

Box/Ledger 5:5

The Cluett Building, Northeast corner of Howard Street and Howard Court between 4th and 5th Streets MacDonald and Dean, Architects undated

Additional Note

Caption: "Kindly return to Baldwin & Howell 1692 Fillmore Street
Box/Ledger 6:1

Davis-Schonwasser Building, Macdonough Estate Company, Owner, ca. 1908

Scope and Content Note

With 25 photographs of the construction of the building at Sutter and Grant streets in 1908.
Box/Ledger 7:1

Sloane Building (San Francisco), 1908 Emma Rose, Owner; 1908

Scope and Content Note

29 photographs of the construction of the Mission Street building, 1908.
 

Subseries C: Residential Developments ca. 1900s-1940s

Physical Description: 8 ledgers, 1 folder
 

Part 1: Residential Developments (San Francisco) ca. 1905-1939

Box/Ledger 7:2

Presidio Terrace (San Francisco), ca. 1905-1915

Scope and Content Note

Album; 34 photographs of houses and neighborhood.
Box/Ledger 7:3

Estate of Adolph Sutro, Deceased. Appraised by A.S. Baldwin, March-April, 1910

Scope and Content Note

Album; 47 leaves printed on rectos only, plus 62 original silver photographs (5 of them fold-outs), of the vast real estate holdings of Adolph Sutro, mostly in San Francisco but a few outside.
Box/Ledger 5:6

Westwood Highlands undated

Scope and Content Note

94 photographs of residences, some under construction, and the land being cleared.
Box/Ledger 6:2

Westwood Park, undated

Scope and Content Note

With 83 photograph of residences, some under construction.
Box/Ledger 6:3

Westwood Park, undated

Scope and Content Note

With 23 photographs.
Box/Folder 6:4

World's Fair, San Francisco, 1939 Baldwin & Howell model home. 1939

 

Part 2: Residential Developments (Peninsula) ca. 1909-ca. 1930

Box/Ledger 7:4

Redwood City and Dingee Park, ca.1909

Scope and Content Note

Album; 35 photographs of newly built residences, also the 1909 auction of building sites conducted by Baldwin & Howell and the train station.
Box/Ledger 7:5

San Mateo, undated

Scope and Content Note

54 photographs of residences, etc., also the train station, with a map of Hayward Park, Subdivision Three.
 

Part 3: Residential Developments (Northern California) undated

Box/Ledger 5:2

Projects: undated

Scope and Content Note

66 small photographs of houses in Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco, with several typed pages describing the different types, also a blueprint.
 

Series IV: Maps, Building Plans, Oversize Ephemera, ca. 1910-1948

Physical Description: 1 folder, 7 maps, 3 oversized items.

Scope and Content

Series IV is made up of various maps of housing developments and properties that Baldwin & Howell owned or had business dealings regarding. In addition, this series contains the plan for the Insurance Exchange Building, on California Street at Liedesdorff. Another segment contains two Oversize ephemera items: a Baldwin & Howell poster parodying municipally owned railroads and George Thomas, Jr.'s certificate of election to the Governing Council of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers.

Arrangement

This series is sub-divided by format into Subseries A: Maps; Subseries B: Building Plans; and Subseries C: Oversize Ephemera and arranged chronologically within these units.
 

Subseries A: Maps ca. 1900s-1940s

Physical Description: 1 folder, 7 maps.
Map Folder Drawer 1, Folder 1

Maps and Project Descriptions: Western San Francisco Neighborhoods, 1914, 1921

 

"Map of Forest Tract and San Miguel Ranch Showing Lands Owned by Estate of Adolph Sutro deceased with projected avenues throughout the same and referred to in the report of A.S. Baldwin May 1910. Map drawn and areas computed by John M. Punnett, Civil Engineer and Surveyor." 1910

 

"San Francisco's Water Front: Only 18 percent of San Francisco's Water Front is Now used?82 percent is Still Undeveloped" undated

Additional Note

Shows property owned by the state, property owned by state and improved with modern concrete work, property owned by state with wooden construction, what can be done by the state to improve the property then owned (primarily constructing piers and docks), and property then owned by the city.
 

"Map of Presidio Terrace Baldwin and Howell Agents 318 Kearney St. San Francisco Cal." ca. 1908

Additional Note

Annotated with lot buyers and selling price listed, including many prominent San Francisco residents
 

"Map of City of San Mateo Town of Burlingame and surrounding properties showing also public and private roads compiled by Davenport Bromfield C.E. 1906. Tracing made in office of W.C. Hammett, April 2nd, 1915." 1906-1915

 

"New Relief Map of San Francisco and Vicinity Harr Wagner Publising Co. 149 New Montgomery Street, S.F." Back: "City and County of San Francisco Main Office Baldwin & Howell" ca. 1900-1925

Additional Note

Annotated with July 1925 districts with populations.
 

"Map of the Major Part of the San Francisco Business District compiled and published by Thomas Bros. Compliments of Baldwin & Howell, Licensed Real Estate Brokers 318-324 Kearney Street Realtors, Insurance, Renting, Leasing, Loans, Insurance, Appraising, Subdivisions." undated

 

"Comparative data for Lake Merced Lands" ca. 1930s

Scope and Content Note

Map of subdivisions and acreages sold
 

Three Connected maps: M-4027, M-4028, M-2049 "State of California Department of Public Works San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge San Francisco Approach Property Maps Feb. 7, 1933" ca. 1930s

Scope and Content Note

Shows the impact of the Bay Bridge on Baldwin and Howell properties
 

Subseries B: Building Plan 1909

Physical Description: 1 connected oversize item
 

"Building plans for The Insurance Exchange, Southeast corner of California and Leidesdorff , Willis Polk & Co. Architects 1909" Published by Dakin Publishing Company March 29, 1913

Scope and Content Note

Several sheets of architectural plans for Insurance Exchange Building's basement, first, mezzanine and third floors.
 

Subseries C: Oversize Ephemera, 1901-1946

Physical Description: 2 oversize items
 

Poster: Political cartoon "The Street Railways Should be Owned and Operated by the City", 1901. Published by Baldwin & Howell undated

Scope and Content Note

Poster parodying municipally owned railways and mentioning Baldwin and Howell, McAfee Brothers, and other real estate companies and the Geary Street Electric Road.
 

George H. Thomas, Jr. Certificate of election to the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, 1946