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Finding Aid to the Adolph Sutro Papers, 1853-1915
BANC MSS C-B 465  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Adolph Sutro papers
    Date (inclusive): 1853-1915
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 465
    Creators : Sutro, Adolph, 1830-1898
    Extent: Number of containers: 23 boxes, 9 cartons, 1 oversize folder, and 1 tube Linear feet: 20.75
    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 Adolph Sutro Papers consists of correspondence, much of it relating to the Sutro Tunnel Company and to the Funding Bill; records of the Sutro Tunnel Company including cipher books; documents relating to property holdings in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo and Napa Counties; payrolls and reports for the Cliff House, Sutro Railroad, San Miguel Ranch, Sutro Baths, Sutro Library, and Sutro Heights; papers relating to Sutro's term as San Francisco Mayor; papers relating to Sutro's estate; and financial records.
    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, 94270-6000. 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Adolph Sutro Papers, BANC MSS C-B 465, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Letter book, Feb. 17, 1898-Apr. 14, 1899 (in Box 20) is also available on microfilm. Selected documents concerning the Populist Movement and the "Funding Bill" (in box 22) are also available on microfilm. (BANC MSS C-B 465 FILM)
    Additional Notes on Collection:
    Cartons 3-9 were formally boxes 20-40; boxes 20-23 were formally boxes 41-44. (See collection file for more detailed list)

    Related Collections

    Adolph Sutro miscellany (BANC MSS 2004/95)
    Adolph Sutro papers, 1874-1892 (bulk 1888-1892) (BANC MSS 91/195)
    Collection of Adolph Sutro papers, 1870-1913 (BANC MSS 2006/347)
    Sutro Tunnel Company collection (BANC MSS 87/158)
    Adolph Sutro papers and scrapbooks at the California Historical Society.
    Adolph Sutro collection at the California State Library.
    Adolph Sutro papers at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

    Separated Material

    Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library. (BANC PIC 1905.17164--PIC). Portraits transferred to the Portrait Collection 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.
    Sutro, Adolph, 1830-1898--Archives
    Sutro, Adolph, 1830-1898--Estate
    Sutro Library
    Cliff House (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Sutro Baths (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Sutro Railroad Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Sutro Tunnel Company
    Land tenure--California
    Land tenure--Nevada
    Mayors--California--San Francisco
    Pacific Railroad Funding Bill
    Real property--California--San Francisco
    Comstock Lode (Nev.)
    Sutro Tunnel (Nev.)
    Rancho San Miguel (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Sutro Heights Park (San Francisco, Calif.)
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Politics and government
    Deeds

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Adolph Sutro Papers were assembled from various sources by The Bancroft Library. Items purchased in 1939, have been stamped "Bancroft Library, Sutro, June 1939". Letterbooks, code books, and receipt books were purchased from Wreden. A scrapbook was purchased from the Plath sale in 1959. Letters and documents removed from another scrapbook were purchased from Albert Dressler in 1939. Some items relating to the Funding Bill came from the Lyman Library. Other items were purchased from John Howell Books or transferred from the T.W. Norris collection. Wherever the source was known, it has been indicated on the material.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the container level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Bancroft Library staff.

    Biographical Information

    Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro, originator of the Sutro Tunnel in Nevada and well-known figure in San Francisco, born of Jewish parents in 1830 at Aix-la-Chapelle in Germany, left school at sixteen, but continued his education by reading voraciously. From his father, a cloth manufacturer, Sutro learned factory management. After his father's death in 1847, with business ruined by the Prussian war, his mother, having to raise seven sons and four daughters, decided to emigrate to the United States in 1850.
    Adolph Sutro soon left for California via Panama, the rest of the family remaining in Baltimore. Sutro became a merchant in San Francisco and Stockton from 1851 to 1859. In 1855 he married Leah Harris, and from this marriage were born six children, four girls and two boys. As early as 1860, Sutro visited Nevada, learned to amalgamate tailings and created stamp mills in Carson and Virginia City. Here he planned his famous Tunnel, to drain and ventilate mines in the Comstock Lode, hoping to reach lucrative financial agreements with mining companies who would thus be benefited, hoping also to strike a rich vein himself while digging the tunnel. He eventually succeeded in obtaining financial backing in this country and in Europe, got a charter from Nevada in 1865 and an authorization from Congress in 1866. A company, known as the Sutro Tunnel Company, was formed, stock sold, and work started in October 1869.
    Until 1880 Sutro fought many legislative battles in Washington, D.C., against the Bank Ring and the Bonanza owners, traveled to New York and Europe incessantly to consult with engineers and capitalists, and at times stayed in his mansion in the town of Sutro to supervise the tunnel work. Although the tunnel reached the Comstock Lode in 1879, Sutro, weary of the constant hassles within the Company, sold his interests, investing the proceeds in real estate in San Francisco. He occupied the decade 1880 to 1890 with a trip around the world, a sojourn in Europe, one in Mexico, the organization of the Cliff House and Sutro Heights, tree planting, and the collection of rare books. In 1892 he constructed the Sutro Baths. In 1894 he was elected Mayor of San Francisco on the Populist Party ticket. The last year of his life his health declined greatly. He died in 1898.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Adolph Sutro Papers consists of correspondence, much of it relating to the Sutro Tunnel Company and to the Funding Bill; records of the Sutro Tunnel Company including cipher books; documents relating to property holdings in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo and Napa Counties; payrolls and reports for the Cliff House, Sutro Railroad, San Miguel Ranch, Sutro Baths, Sutro Library, and Sutro Heights; papers relating to Sutro's term as San Francisco Mayor; papers relating to Sutro's estate; and financial records.