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Henry Scamman Papers: Finding Aid
mssScamman papers  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing: Subjects
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Henry Scamman Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1849-1963
    Bulk dates: 1870-1895
    Collection Number: mssScamman papers
    Creator: Scamman, Henry.
    Extent: 2,063 items in 14 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains papers of prominent Northern California banker Henry Scamman (1831-1893), who had investments in mining, real estate, shipping, and wheat ranching. Materials include financial records; correspondence, including letters from the early 1890s detailing Scamman's discovery of an employee's embezzlement of money, as well as letters to and from captains of Scamman’s ship, the bark “Wildwood.” Subjects in the collection include: agriculture; banks and banking; Butte County and Downieville (Calif.); merchant ships; mining; Saco (Maine).
    Language: English.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Henry Scamman Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Dr. Michael Canoso, June 4, 2004.

    Biographical Note

    Henry Scamman (1831-1893) was a prominent banker in northern California with investments in mining, real estate, shipping, and wheat ranching. Born February 12, 1831, Scamman spent his early years in Saco, Maine, and left around 1850 to seek his fortune in the then-booming California Gold Rush in hopes of making enough money to pay off debts he had accrued in Saco and put himself on sound financial footing. Scamman and his two brothers bought the bark “Wildwood” in 1871. This ship brought freight to ports worldwide while Scamman owned it, and ended up sold along with real estate in Maine to pay off debts after his death. Scamman, however, was not a sailing man, and spent most of his time working at the House of Scamman bank in Downieville, managing his gold mines in the Sierras, and seeing to his wheat ranch in Butte County.
    Throughout his years in California, his brothers also kept him abreast of the news from home, in particular the news about the local “Allen girls,” who, though distant, figured largely in Scamman’s life. He remained a bachelor most of his days until on January 13, 1881, when he married one of the Allen girls, Francesca. The records do not indicate how their arrangement came about, but Francecsa remained in Saco while Henry managed his business investments in northern California during the twelve years between their marriage and his death in 1893. Just prior to his passing, Scamman had made plans to meet his wife and child in Chicago for the World’s Fair, but had to postpone his plans when his business affairs took a turn for the worse. Though no records indicate the exact cause, Scamman passed away in August shortly after the reversal of fortunes in his businesses.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains papers of prominent Northern California banker Henry Scamman. The first six boxes consist entirely of correspondence, the lone exception being a manuscript entitled “Mind your Business,” one of Scamman’s school papers. Highlights include an extensive series of correspondence between the husband and wife from the early 1890s detailing Scamman’s discovery that one of his trusted employees, Henry T. Briggs, had embezzled thousands of dollars from Scamman’s bank in Downieville. Though Scamman did not prosecute Briggs criminally, he ordered his disgraced clerk to hand over all of his life insurance, his stock in the gold mine in which both men had invested, and any money in his possession. Also prominent in the correspondence are letters to and from captains of Scamman’s ship, the bark “Wildwood.” The collection’s ephemera component is its largest, and includes business ledgers, checks, legal documents, receipts, bills, mortgages, promissory notes, insurance policies, deeds, and tax forms. There is also an autographed copy of a book given to Scamman’s daughter in 1932 in oversize.
    Subjects in the collection include: agriculture; banks and banking; Butte County and Downieville (Calif.); merchant ships; mining; Saco (Maine).

    Arrangement

    Arranged alphabetically by author, or in the case of ephemera, by type.

    Indexing: Subjects

    Banks and banking
    • Subject in Scamman, Francesca B. 21 letters (1883-1893) to Henry Scamman. 21 items. Box 3 (16).
    • Subject in Scamman, Henry. 1 letter (1885, Dec. 21) to Rideout & Smith. 1 item. Box 3 (32).
    • Subject in Scamman, Henry. 20 letters (1891, May & June) to Francesca B. Scamman. 20 items. Box 4 (5).
    • Subject in Scamman, Henry. 20 letters (1891, July) to Francesca B. Scamman. 20 items. Box 4 (6).
    • Subject in Scamman, Henry. 18 letters (1891, Aug. & Sep.) to Francesca B. Scamman. 18 items. Box 4 (7).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Account books (1879). 2 items. Box 7 (1).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Account books (1879). 2 items. Box 7 (2).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Account books (1879). 2 items. Box 7 (3).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Account books (1879). 2 items. Box 7 (4).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Deposit slips (1874-1889). 49 items. Box 8 (4).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Promissory notes (1872-1900). 45 items. Box 12 (8).
    Butte County (Calif.)
    • Subject in Ephemera: Tax statement - Butte County, CA (1883). 1 item. Box 14 (10).
    Merchant ships
    • Subject in Ephemera: Sawyer, Chas. A. 29 letters (1875-1881) to Henry Scamman. 29 items. Box 3 (3).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Sawyer, Chas. A. 16 letters (1882-1883) to Henry Scamman. 16 items. Box 3 (4).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Sawyer, Chas. A. 19 letters (1884-1886) to Henry Scamman. 19 items. Box 3 (5).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Sawyer, Chas. A. 19 letters (1887-1889) to Henry Scamman. 19 items. Box 3 (6).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Balance sheets for ship “Wildwood” (1876-1885). 15 items. Box 7 (8).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Bill of sale & registration for ship “Wildwood” (1875-1887). 3 items. Box 7 (9).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Bill of sale for Sailing Ship “Orpheus” (1873, June 30). 1 item. Box 7 (10).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Invoices for ship “Wildwood” (1886). 14 items. Box 9 (2).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Insurance Policies for Ship “Wildwood” (1876-1886). 9 items. Box 9 (5).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Ledgers for Ship “Wildwood.” (1873-1879). 27 items. Box 9 (8).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Ledgers for Ship “Wildwood.” (1880-1881). 17 items. Box 9 (9).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Ledgers for Ship “Wildwood.” (1882-1888). 4 items. Box 10 (1).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Ledgers for Ship “Wildwood.” [undated]. 10 items. Box 10 (2).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Miscellaneous notes and ledgers from ship “Orpheus” (1873-1876). 5 items. Box 11 (5).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Miscellaneous records from ship “Wildwood” (1876-1886). 22 items. Box 11 (6).
    Mines and mineral resources
    • Subject in Ephemera: Mining Co. prospectus [undated]. 1 item. Box 10 (8).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Mining survey note [undated]. 2 items. Box 10 (9).
    Real property
    • Subject in Ephemera: Affirmation of Real Estate Transaction (1894, Nov. 20). 1 item. Box 7 (6).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Crop Mortgages (1894-1900). 6 items. Box 8 (1).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Deeds (1850-1909). 19 items. Box 8 (3).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Land Leases (1887-1895). 4 items. Box 9 (5).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Mortgage form [undated]. 2 items. Box 11 (7). Blank.
    • Subject in Ephemera: Mortgages (1881-1903). 12 items. Box 11 (8).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Ranch lease documents (1880). 2 items. Box 12 (10).
    Saco (Me.)
    • Subject in Scamman, Francesca B. 21 letters (1883-1893) to Henry Scamman. 21 items. Box 3 (16).
    • Subject in Scamman, Henry. 7 letters (1851-1881) to Tristan Scamman. 7 items. Box 5 (5).
    • Subject in Scamman, Tristan. 11 letters (1869-1877) to Henry Scamman. 11 items. Box 5 (12).
    • Subject in Ephemera: Tax forms - ME (1887-1912). 26 items. Box 14 (9).
    Wheat
    • Subject in Scamman, Henry. 1 letter (1884, Mar. 29) to Stockton Combined Harvester and Agricultural Works. 1 item. Box 5 (9).
    • Subject in Crop Mortgages (1894-1900). 6 items. Box 8 (1).
    • Subject in Stockton Combined Harvester & Agricultural Works. 9 letters (1884-1885) to Henry Scamman. 9 items. Box 5 (30).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Scamman, Henry.
    Agriculture -- California.
    Banks and banking -- California.
    Gold mines and mining -- California.
    Merchant ships -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Mines and mineral resources -- California.
    Real property -- California.
    Wheat -- California.
    California -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.

    Forms/Genres

    Financial records -- California -- 19th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 20th century.