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Finding aid to the William A. Leidesdorff collection, MS 1277
MS 1277  
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The collection consists of Leidesdorff's correspondence (1845-1847) as vice-consul; correspondence, account books, orders, and receipts (1834-1848) reflecting Leidesdorff's activities as a merchant in Yerba Buena (later San Francisco), including accounts with the crew of the Schooner Julia Ann and Hawaiian and Indian sailors; papers relating to Leidesdorff's land grant, Río de los Americanos, and the legal battle between Joseph L. Folsom and Anna Maria Spark, Leidesdorff's mother, regarding the inheritance of Leidesdorff's estate; and papers of Henry W. Halleck from his law practice with Halleck, Peachy, and Billings, consisting of Halleck's drafts for clients' land grant claims and other legal documents, some dealing with Leidesdorff's grant.
William Alexander Leidesdorff was born in 1810 in the Danish West Indies. His father, Alexander Leidesdorff, was a Dane, and his mother, Anna Maria Spark, was a creole of mixed-race ancestry. After conducting trade in New Orleans, Leidesdorff came to California in 1841 as master of the schooner Julia Ann, making frequent trips between San Francisco (then Yerba Buena) and Honolulu to sell hides and tallow. In 1843, he purchased a lot in Yerba Buena at the corner of Clay and Kearny streets, building a large warehouse on the waterfront in 1844 and the City Hotel in 1846. Naturalized as a Mexican citizen in 1844, Leidesdorff obtained a 35,000-acre land grant on the American River known as Rancho Río de los Americanos. A prominent merchant and landowner, Leidesdorff also served in a number of civic positions, including United States vice-consul to Mexico (appointed by Thomas Larkin in 1845) and treasurer of San Francisco.
1.5 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
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