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Finding Aid to the James Mack and Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley family papers and photographs, 1867-2003, bulk 1910-1985
BANC MSS 2010/607  
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Collection Details
 
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: James Mack and Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley family papers and photographs
    Date (inclusive): 1867-2003,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1910-1985
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2010/607
    Creators: Gerstley, James M. Gerstley, Elizabeth Lilienthal
    Extent: Number of containers: 11 cartons, 13 oversize boxes, and 4 oversize folders Linear feet: 17.2
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The collection consists of the papers, scrapbooks, photographs, and photo albums of the family of James Mack and Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley. The family papers include some correspondence, a small amount of material from James Mack Gerstley's tenure at Borax, and historical/ biographical materials about the Gerstley and Mack families. There are a few autograph albums and scrapbooks in the collection as well. The bulk of the collection is made up of photographs and photo albums documenting the history of the Gerstley, Mack, Lilienthal, and Sloss families as well as the travels and milestones of James Mack and Elizabeth Gerstley and their children.
    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

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    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. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.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], James Mack and Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley family papers, BANC MSS 2010/607, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Gerstley, James Mack, 1907-2007--Archives
    Gerstley, Elizabeth, 1913-2007
    Gerstley family
    Gerstle family
    Mack family
    Lilienthal family
    Sloss family
    Borax Consolidated, ltd
    Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
    Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Avery Brundage Collection
    Gerstley, Elizabeth, 1913-2007
    Judah L. Magnes Museum. 2009.5
    Bancroft Library. Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The James Mack and Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley family papers were gifted to the Bancroft Library by the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 2010.

    Accruals

    No future additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life staff in 2011.

    Biographical Information

    James Mack Gerstley (1907-2007) was born in London to James Gerstley and Adele Mack. The Gerstle(y) family can be traced to Ichenhausen, Germany, where the oldest identifiable ancestor appears to be Abraham Gerstle (1740-1796). Abraham's son, Isak Michael Gerstle (1787-1851) married Sara Sofie Weil and had seven children: Abraham, Karoline, Sophie, Handele, Löb, Jette, and Moritz. Löb Gerstle eventually moved to San Francisco, changed his name to Lewis, and became the patriarch of the Bay Area branch of the Gerstle family. Lewis married Hannah Greenebaum in 1858 and played key roles in several successful business enterprises, including the Alaska Commercial Company. Moritz, Lewis' brother, moved to London, where he changed his first name to Maurice and his last name to Gerstley. Maurice was a successful "fancy goods" wholesaler until his death in 1900. Maurice and his wife Paulina (Cohn) had four children: Sophia, Frederick Julius, James, and Louisa Paulina. James, born in 1867 (died 1955), was to be the last of the English Gerstleys. James Gerstley Sr. worked for Redwood and Sons, a chemical firm specializing in food preservatives. Borax or boron was an important ingredient in their enterprise. In 1895, Lewis Gerstle of San Francisco arranged a meeting with Redwood and Sons and a Bay Area company called Pacific Coast Borax. This meeting led to a merger between the companies. In 1904, James Gerstley Sr. married Adele Hannah Mack, a granddaughter of Lewis Gerstle. The company merger and the marriage cemented the links between the San Francisco and London branches of the family.
    The Mack family originates in Reckendorf, Bavaria. Abraham Mack (1775-1857) and his wife Luala (1777-1831) had a son named Lawrence in 1819. Lawrence immigrated to New York in 1836. There he met and married Miriam Massenbacher in 1849 and together they had nine children. In 1880, Lawrence and Miriam and most of their children moved to San Francisco. One of the Mack children, Adolph, married Clara Gerstle (born in Sacramento to Lewis and Hannah Gerstle in 1861). Adolph and Clara were the parents of Edith Miriam (1883-1963), Harold Lewis (b. 1884), and Adele Mack (b. 1886-1973).
    James Mack Gerstley, son of James Gerstley Sr. and Adele Mack, grew up in London and attended Cambridge University. He came to San Francisco in 1929 and worked initially for the Great Western Electric Company. Shortly after arriving in the Bay Area, Gerstley met Elizabeth Lilienthal (1913-2007), daughter of Samuel Lilienthal and Alice Haas (both from prominent California Jewish families). Elizabeth was raised in San Francisco and spent her young life in the Haas-Lilienthal House on Franklin Street. She attended the Burke School, Stanford University and Smith College. James Mack Gerstley and Elizabeth Lilienthal married at the home of Madeleine Russell in Atherton in 1934. In the mid-1930s, James Mack Gerstley started working for the Pacific Borax Company in Los Angeles. By 1950, he had become president of the company, which later became known as U.S. Borax and Chemical Co. The company was cemented in the popular imagination by its 20-mule team, which became an icon of the American West. James Mack and Elizabeth had two children, Ann and Jimmy (James). Gerstley was also an active philanthropist in the Bay Area, working particularly on local arts and culture. He was one of the co-founders of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and was instrumental in securing for the new museum the Avery Brundage collection. Elizabeth was also an active philanthropist. James and Elizabeth both died in 2007 at the respective ages of 99 and 94.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of family papers, scrapbooks, photographs, and photo albums. The family papers include some correspondence, a small amount of material from James Mack Gerstley's tenure at Borax, and historical/ biographical materials about the Gerstley and Mack families. There are a few autograph albums and scrapbooks in the collection as well. The bulk of the collection is made up of photographs and photo albums documenting the history of the Gerstley, Mack, Lilienthal, and Sloss families as well as the travels and milestones of James Mack and Elizabeth Gerstley and their children.