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Guide to the Chambers Family Papers MS 47
MS 47  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Comments
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information

  • Title: Chambers Family Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 47
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1884-1935
    Abstract: This collection contains correspondence, deeds, and business papers of the family of Olympic swimmer Florence Chambers, who lived in San Diego in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
    Language of Materials: English; Spanish.
    creator: Chambers Family

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    George and Emily Chambers moved to the San Diego area in 1886. They left their business in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Pacific Beach to open the Pacific Beach Hotel and a furniture store. In 1908 they had a daughter named Florence. At the age of nine Florence was in an accident in which she had to receive extensive physical therapy. The doctors decided to put Florence on a new experimental form of physical therapy, known as water therapy. From this experience Florence developed a love for swimming. She started to win local San Diego swimming contests and gained recognition in San Diego as a formidable swimmer. In 1924 at the age of sixteen she participated in the Paris Olympics and brought back a bronze metal for the 100-meter backstroke. In the 1930s Florence formed the Florence Chambers Swimming Club in Mission Bay and made it her goal to teach young people to swim.
    After the death of George J. Chambers, Florence and Emily purchased a ranch in Poway and began to raise cattle for dairy purposes and growing crops. Florence once again got county recognition, but this time for her work with agriculture. Florence held multiple positions in many agricultural bureaus and numerous civic positions. She was also involved with the Pomerado Soil Conservation District, and was a director of the San Diego Nutrition Society.
    Emily Chambers died in 1948 and left all her belongings to Florence. In the 1970s, Florence donated most of her parent’s belongings to the San Diego Historical Society. Along with multiple items of furniture from her parents’ store, Chambers donated her ranch to Brigham Young University, after which she was awarded the University’s Presidential Medal of Honor. Florence Chambers died September 28, 1979, at age 71.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains correspondence, deeds, and business papers of the family of Olympic swimmer Florence Chambers, who lived in San Diego in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Included are letters to and from members of the Chambers’ extended family throughout their lives. Some letters are in Spanish. There are also documents, deeds, and company papers related to George Chambers’ activities in both San Diego and Brooklyn, New York.


    This collection is arranged into three series, with materials arranged chronologically within each subject folder:
    Series I: Family Papers;
    Series II: Real Estate and Business Papers;
    Series III: Miscellanea.

    Preferred Citation

    Chambers Family Papers, MS 47, San Diego History Center Document Archives, San Diego, CA.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Related Archival Materials

    OH: Newkirk, Florence Chambers, March 8, 1975


    This collection gives an account of the life of a San Diegan family from 1884-1935. The letters addressed to and from Florence Chambers give insight into the life of a teenager at this time period.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession #841214A

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Andrew Wolfson on January 23, 2008.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Chambers, Emily
    Chambers, Florence
    Chambers, George
    Chambers, Joseph
    Chambers, Sarah
    Christensen, Mary
    Christensen, Mollie
    Hutton, Frank
    Jordan Iron & Chemical Company.
    Lyon, Albert
    Nichols, Frederick
    Nichols, Mary
    Vulcan Manufacturing Company.
    Women swimmers