Guide to the Chambers Family Papers MS 47

Finding aid prepared by Samantha Mills
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
February 14, 2017

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


Series I: Family Papers

Box-folder 1:1

Emily and George Chambers, 1892 September 24 – 1918 December 15


Letters from A. Brown; A. Stephens; the Frankfort Chair Co.; E. Zepeinel; Anna; Filipina J. de Manasse (in Spanish); Howenstine & Huston; Julius Chambers; Sam Ferry Smith; Mother; W.R.B.; Crouch & Crouch Attorneys at Law; John P. Sutherland; Rosa; Helen A. Feyon; Rupert; Ora McRae; Mandi; S.W. Shockey; and Mrs. Donald Curtis.
Box-folder 1:2

Emily and George Chambers, 1919 November 18 – 1935 February 21 and undated


Letters from L.I. Samuels; Mandi; Mrs. Donald Curtis; Margaret B. Chambers; Reliable Realty Company; Frank W. Holmes; H.A. Durham; R.W. Muker; Wayne A. Hood; May H. Holmes; G.J. Chambers; E.W. Britt; M.E. Jiblin; Filipina J. de Manasse (in Spanish); Manny; Maude; Florence; Stella Thamer; Emily; T.G. Lyn; Julius Chambers; and Annie.
Box-folder 1:3

Emily and George Chambers, 1889


One letter from George to Emily regarding marital infidelity.
Box-folder 1:4

Florence Chambers, 1916 February 15 – 1940 January 31 and undated


Letters to Florence from Amy; Wilfred Cudmore; E.W. Britt; O.L. Elliott; F. Macy; Clarence; Frances Coon; Clayton Bourne; Teddy, Helen Witzell; Mary; Dr. Painless Parker; Laura B. Anderson; Elise Bell; Mary C.B. Flitcher; Brulah; Hope Ranney; Nettie; Arnold Eddy; Gordon Thompson; Gerald Thomas; Alice Lee; and Lottie E. Eshliman. Also includes a clipping of a birthday cake, an invitation to National City High School graduation, and a Sabbath School Lesson quarterly publication.
Box-folder 1:5

Florence Chambers, 1917 February 25 and undated


Two letters from Florence, to Amy and Mr. Smith.
Box-folder 1:6

Sarah and Joseph Chambers, 1899 April 7 – 1908 June 3


Stock certificate; certificate of sale of delinquent lots; letters from Howenstine & Huston, Mrs. M. Campbell, and unknown writers.
Box-folder 1:7

Mary and Frederick Nichols, 1911 October 8 – 1916 May 7 and undated


Registry return receipts, and letters from Mother; Frederick Nichols; Mills College; Florence; Auntie and Uncle.
Box-folder 1:8

Frank Hutton, 1884 April 26 – 1899 September 14 and undated


Registry return receipt and letters from Mimie Hutton; Harry; Mother; Annie; Emma; Robert P. Horley; Marie Hutton; Bess; and unknown writers.
Box-folder 1:9

Mary and Mollie Christensen, 1924 October 23 – 1925 September 29


Letters from Jesse Travis and Carrie.
Box-folder 1:10

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lyon, 1905 February 13 – 1917 July 31


Letters from Samuel W. Forrest; John A. Bowman; Albert Lyon; G.A. Deiluphius(?); and B.M. Roszel.

Series II: Real Estate and Business Papers

Box-folder 1:11

Trust Deeds, 1934 March 5 – 1935 December 18

Box-folder 1:12

Vulcan Manufacturing Company and Jordan Iron & Chemical Company, 1882 December 12 – 1884 February 20


Invoices; business agreements; bills of sale; correspondence; assignments to secure notes; promissory notes; and receipts.
Box-folder 1:13

Vulcan Manufacturing Company and Jordan Iron & Chemical Company, 1884


Receipts; bills and paid invoices; business agreements; summons; correspondence; list of assets; list of creditors; list of liabilities; account sales ledger pages; and list of expenses.

Series III: Miscellanea

Box-folder 1:14

Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1899 February 28 – 1925 April 28 and undated


Letters between Gould, Hutton & Co.; W.H. Brawley; Melville; Rupert; Jack M.; J.W. Chiswell; S.S. Stirens(?); Mrs. Samuels; L. Worberg; Roberta; Order of the Sons of St. George; E.B. Preston & Co.; and Jessie. Many of the letters are to an unknown recipient.
Box-folder 1:15

Miscellaneous Materials, 1883 May 28 – 1931 November and undated


Notes; receipts and invoices; Ocean City, Maryland Ordinance No. 102; newspaper clippings; Knights of Columbus dues; San Francisco water bills; notice to election officers; Christmas and Easter cards; swim meet notice; and lists and advertisements.