Scope and Content
Title: McComb (John D.) Scrapbook,
Date (inclusive): 1881-1891
Collection number: Mss278
A. Lamont Smith
Extent: 0.25 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], McComb (John D.) Scrapbook, Mss278, Holt-Atherton Department of
Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
McComb, John D. (1830-1896)
San Quentin Prison (Calif.) -History -Sources
Folsom Prison (Calif.) -History -Sources
Prison wardens -California
Prisons -California -History
Crime -California -History
Criminology -California -History
Prison administration -California -History
Prison industries -California -History
John D. McComb (1830-1896) came to California on the steamer Oregon (1849). He worked as
a printer in San Francisco, being associated with the Alta California for eighteen years,
the last five of which he was managing editor. He subsequently became manager of the
State Printing Office. From 1861 McComb was also associated with the California National
Guard and was ultimately appointed a Brigadier General (1875). Governor Perkins selected
him as Warden for Folsom Prison in 1881. He served there until transferred to San Quentin
(1887) by Governor Waterman. McComb retired in 1891.
Folsom Prison, east of Sacramento, was erected between 1878 and 1880. McComb was the
prison's second Warden. When he assumed the office, Folsom held 275 prisoners. The
convicts perfomed daily labor on a 489 acre prison farm, area roads, sewers and forests.
McComb also oversaw the erection of a dam and power house that furnished electricity for
the prison (1882). San Quentin Prison, on San Francisco Bay, was founded in 1852. When
McComb became Warden there the prison population was over one thousand and the principal
employment of that population was the manufacture of jute grain sacks.
Scope and Content
The John McComb Scrapbook contains 145 pages of clippings on McComb's career, Folsom and
San Quentin prisons and general criminology in California (1881-1891). There is a subject
index. Topics include: "prison reform," "prison investigations," "prison finance,"
"prison farms," graft, laws, and crimes.