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Stephens (Jess E.) papers
MVC058  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Saint Francis Dam disaster took place in the late night and early morning hours of March 12-13, 1928. The concrete gravity dam collapsed and sent a tide of water through the Santa Clara River Valley and out to the coastal plains of Ventura and Oxnard. The death toll was estimated at 431. Jess E. Stephens was a Los Angeles city attorney known for his work on behalf of the city regarding property and injury claims filed by Ventura County residents. This collection contains Stephens' papers relating to his handling of the claims against the City of Los Angeles following the Saint Francis Dam Disaster. Materials include correspondence, handwritten speeches and manuscripts, notes, newspaper clippings, copies of official reports.
Background
The Saint Francis Dam disaster took place in the late night and early morning hours of March 12-13, 1928. The concrete gravity dam collapsed and sent a tide of water through the Santa Clara River Valley and out to the coastal plains of Ventura and Oxnard. The death toll was estimated at 431; however, this may not include migrant workers and the death toll may have been higher. Jess E. Stephens, born May 4, 1882 in State Line, Indiana, was a Los Angeles city attorney known for his work on behalf of the city regarding property and injury claims filed by Ventura County residents. He was also a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Stephens graduated from Stanford University and practiced law in Los Angeles. In handling the city's legal response to claims following the disaster he obtained settlements from all the claimants but one and the city won the single suit that was filed against it. He was also known to have represented Oscar T. Conklin, a Ventura resident who challenged the legality of Ventura's city charter. Stephens retired in October 1953, and died at the age of 71 on December 2, 1953, in his home in West Hollywood.
Extent
0.57 Cubic Feet (1 half-size box and 1 flat box)
Restrictions
Property rights to the physical object belong to the Museum of Ventura County. Literary rights, including copyright, have not been determined. Contact the Research Library for further information: library@venturamuseum.org
Availability
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Open for research. Collection has been minimally processed. All requests to access materials must be made in advance by contacting the Research Library staff via email: library@venturamuseum.org