George Turner Marsh papers

Finding aid prepared by Gina C Giang.
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Fax: (626) 449-5720
© June 2019
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: George Turner Marsh papers
Inclusive Dates: 1875-2001
Bulk Dates: 1875-1931
Collection Number: mssMarsh
Collector: Marsh, George Turner, 1857-1932
Extent: 26 boxes, 2 oversize folders, and 1 envelope (11 linear feet)
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: The George Turner Marsh papers consist of personal and professional material related to Marsh's business selling primarily Japanese arts and antiques.
Language of Material: The material is in English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site .

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], George Turner Marsh papers. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Caterina Marsh, June 2018.


George Turner Marsh (1857-1932) was born in Richmond, Australia; son of Stephen Hale Marsh, who was court musician to Queen Victoria. When George Marsh was 15 years old his family decided to move to America. On the journey to America they stopped in Japan and the young Marsh fell in love with both the country and culture; he then persuaded his parents to let him stay. His father found him work with a tea import/export firm in Yokohama, Japan. Several years later he joined his family in San Francisco where he went on to use the expertise he gained in Japan to open one of the first Asian art galleries in the United States. Sometime after 1876, G.T. Marsh & Company: Japanese Art Repository opened at 625 Market Street at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California. Marsh married Lucy Elvira Whiteside in 1880; the couple had one daughter and five sons. He passed away in 1932 at the age of 75.
G.T. Marsh & Company specialized in fine antiques, works of art and textiles; the store quickly flourished as the West embraced Japanese culture and became increasingly fascinated with all things Eastern. Marsh was keen to share his enthusiasm and interest in Asia with his clients and as his experience and success grew, he opened branches in Coronado, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, and Monterey. According to William Hertrich's (1878-1966) memoir The Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1905-1949 : personal recollections of William Hertrich curator emeritus, Henry E. Huntington purchased the house in the Japanese Garden, along with the ornaments and fixtures from Marsh's store located on Fair Oaks Avenue and California in 1911. Source: "Marsh & Co." Hancocks. Accessed 1 June 2019.  

Scope and Content

The George Turner Marsh papers consist of professional and personal correspondence, documents, ephemera, financial records, legal documents, negatives, photographs, and typescripts dating from 1875-2001. The bulk of the first series contains correspondence to and from customers, export agents, art, and antique dealers including Singleton, Benda & Co., Ltd, Zung Chang Ziang Company, and Zung Chang Trading Company, Ltd (1879-1970). Included are letters from C.R. Conway and legal documents related to San Fernando Petroleum and Mining Company; Conway claimed to be one of the original claimants with interest in the company. The more recent letters, with supporting enclosures, concern the origin of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California. The second series includes letters from Marsh's wife Lucy E. Whiteside Marsh writing from Pasadena, California (1903), grateful recipients of Marsh's book Citizenship for Nations (1931-1932), and direct mail from the International Coalition and the New Commonwealth (1928-1953). Included in the same series are research notes, possibly conducted by Marsh for his 1931 book. The third series includes numerous clippings, ephemera, and postcards concerning arts, culture, and politics (1881-2001). Also included is a box containing various drafts about Japanese sword mountings entitled Catalogue of Kozuka by George Turner Marsh. The fourth series consists of one daguerreotype, negatives, photograph albums, and photographs (1894-1986). Most of the photograph albums and photographs showcase Asian arts and antiques for sale at Marsh's stores and from dealers. Also included are scenes from the Japanese Village during the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. Note: There is an envelope of unavailable negatives too fragile to be handled.


Arranged in four series:
  • Series 1: Business material, 1875-2001
  • Series 2: Personal material, 1877-1953
  • Series 3: Ephemera, 1881-2001
  • Series 4: Photographs, 1894-1986

Indexing Terms

Personal Names

Janel, Emil G., 1897-1981
Marsh, George Turner, 1857-1932
Stilwell, Alison

Corporate Names

G.T. Marsh and Company
San Fernando Petroleum Mining Company


Antique dealers
Art dealers
Art, Japanese -- Collectors and collecting
Gardens, Japanese -- California
Gardens, Japanese -- Exhibitions
International cooperation
Oriental art
Petroleum -- California
Sword guards -- Japan

Geographic Areas

California -- Exhibitions
Coronado (Calif.)
Monterey (Calif.)
Santa Barbara (Calif.)


Ephemera (general object genre)
Photograph albums
Sales catalogs

Alternate Authors

Conway, C.R.
Whiteside, Lucy Elvira



Business material 1875-2001

Physical Description: 9 boxes and 1 oversize folder
Box 3, Folder 1

Address books, undated

Japanese contacts.

Autograph albums

Box 1


Signed by customers.
Six albums.
Box 2


Signed by customers.
Six albums.


Box 3, Folder 2


Box 3, Folder 3


Related to San Fernando Petroleum Mining Company.
Box 3, Folder 4


Related to Japanese Tea Garden (Coronado).
Includes leases.
Box 3, Folder 5


Related to Singleton, Benda & Co., Ltd.
Box 4, Folder 1


Related to Singleton, Benda & Co., Ltd.
Box 4, Folder 2


Related to Singleton, Benda & Co., Ltd.
Box 4, Folder 3


Includes letters related to San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif. 1906.
Box 4, Folder 4


Related to Emil Janel.
Includes clippings, lists, negatives, photographs, and printed ephemera.
Box 4, Folder 5


Related Zung Chang Ziang Company and Zung Chang Trading Company, Ltd.
Includes invoices.
Box 5, Folder 1


Related to Jordan and Happa, Export Commission Agents.
Box 5, Folder 2

1940-1982, undated

Includes letters removed from "Work Organizer" folder.
Box 5, Folder 3


Primarily thank you letters from customers.
Removed from binder.
Box 5, Folder 4


Related to Huntington Botanical Gardens "school journey" program.
Box 5, Folder 5


Related to origin of the Japanese Tea Garden (San Francisco).
Includes enclosures provided by George T. Marsh and Lucy Wyckoff Marsh.
Box 5, Folder 6

Documents, 1931-1946

Includes Citizens' Building and Loan Association. Report of Audit, Telegraph Hill Property, McCloud Building and lots.

Financial records

Box 6, Folder 1


Miscellaneous bills, notes, receipts, and statements.
Box 6, Folder 2


Box 6, Folder 3


Account for goods sold at Coronado store.
Box 6, Folder 4


Possibly account for goods purchased in Japan.
Box 6, Folder 5


Consular Invoice of Merchandise.
Box 6, Folder 6


Statement of Proposed Quarry Enterprises to consist of Quarry, Quarrying, and Finishing Plants and Contracting Department.

Legal documents

Box 7, Folder 1


Related to San Fernando Petroleum Mining Company.
Includes interviews, memorandums, power of attorney, and stock certificates.
Box 7, Folder 2


Includes Deeds of Trust, Globe Indemnity Company, Re-Assignment of Promissory Note, War Damage Corporation policy, Contents of Safe Deposit Box of G.T. Marsh and Company, Settlement of M. Levy's consignment account with E. Amsden, and The Los Angeles Electric Company contract.
Box 7, Folder 3


Z. Yamabe sold, assigned, and transferred patents to George T. Marsh.
Box 7, Folder 4


Agreements between George T. Marsh and E.F. Wheeler and J. Allyn Ormond.
Box 7, Folder 5


Agreement between Companía Mexicana del Rosarito, S.A. and G.T. Marsh and Company.
Includes correspondence and stock certificate.
Box 7, Folder 6


In the Matter of the Application of G.T. Marsh and Company, a corporation, to Perpetuate Testimony.
Deposition of George T. Marsh, pages 1-181.
Box 7, Folder 7


In the Matter of the Application of G.T. Marsh and Company, a corporation, to Perpetuate Testimony.
Deposition of George T. Marsh, pages 182-428.
Box 7, Folder 8


J.D. and A.B. Spreckels Investment Company, a corporation, Plaintiff, vs. G.T. Marsh and Company, a corporation, Defendant.
Numbers 233727 and 69482.
Includes notes and "Extracts of Records Pertaining to Coronado Garden."
Box 7, Folder 9

Minutes, 1909-1934

Special meeting of the Board of Directors of G.T. Marsh and Company.
Box 8, Folders 1-2

Notebooks, 1875-1911, undated

Twelve notebooks.
Box 8, Folder 3

Notes, undated

Related to tsuba and menuke.
Box 8, Folder 4

Paintings, undated

Merchandise for sale at George T. Marsh and Company.
Oversize folder 1

Paintings, undated

Merchandise for sale at George T. Marsh and Company.
Box 9, Folder 1

Sketches, 1928

Sketches of "Vault at Monterey," Japanese Tea Garden (San Francisco), and merchandise for sale at George T. Marsh and Company.
Box 9, Folder 2

Stationery, undated

Box 9, Folder 3

Stock certificates, after 1909

Blank George T. Marsh and Company certificates.
Box 9, Folder 4

Stock certificates, 1912-1928

Includes United States Automotive Corporation; British and Australian Gold Mining Company Limited; Municipal Properties Company; and Sanitary Telephone Mouthguard Company certificates.

Personal material 1877-1953

Physical Description: 3 boxes and 1 oversize folder
Box 9, Folder 5

Biography, 1916-1958

Related to George T. Marsh.
Includes extract from "Who's Who in California."


Box 9, Folder 6

1879-1949, undated

Box 9, Folder 7


Letters from Lucy Elvira Whiteside.
Box 9, Folder 8

1928-1953, undated

Direct mail only.
Includes publications from International Conciliation, The New Commonwealth, The Home Financer, and The Landmark.
Box 10, Folder 1


Related to Citizenship for Nations by George T. Marsh.


Box 10, Folder 2


George T. Marsh's trip to British Columbia, Canada and Yokohama, Japan.
Box 10, Folder 3


Lucy Elvira Whiteside's trip to Japan.
Box 10, Folder 4


Related to unidentified individual's travel in Japan.
Account written on onionskin paper.
Box 10, Folder 5

Disks, undated

Unidentified 6-inch disk.
Box 10, Folder 6

Financial records, 1893-1902

Related George T. Marsh's personal property.
Box 10, Folders 7-8

Notebooks, undated

One notebook related to patriotism and religion; and the second notebook consists of one page related to garment measurements.


Box 10, Folder 9

after 1912

"From the Personal Notes of G.T. Marsh."
Box 10, Folder 10


Possibly research related to Citizenship for Nations by George T. Marsh.
Box 10, Folder 11

Paintings, undated

Image of a hand and man by Emil Janel.
Box 10, Folder 12

Poems, undated

Entitled "Pungle" by H.H.J.
Oversize folder 2

Scrapbooks, 1877-1930

Laid-in articles, clippings, and letters related to economics, international relations, society, and politics.
Box 10, Folder 13

Sketches, undated

Six miscellaneous sketches.


Box 10, Folder 14

The Lords of Sengami: A Tale of the Dawn of an Empire by Ronald Temple and George T. Marsh., 1930s

Box 11, Folder 1

Citizenship for Nations by George T. Marsh., before 1931

Box 11, Folder 2

Armageddon: A Foreshadow of the World's Great War: A Novel of Old and New Japan by Ronald Temple and George T. Marsh., undated

Box 11, Folder 3

"Eight Boots and Yellow Booty: An Article on China" by Harry W. Wyckoff in collaboration with George T. Marsh., undated

Box 11, Folder 4

"The Silent Army -- The Reserves. An Article" by Harry W. Wyckoff., undated

Box 11, Folder 5

The Ten Demon Rulers of the Chinese Buddhist Hells.", undated


Ephemera 1881-2001

Physical Description: 6 boxes and 2 oversize boxes.
Oversize box 12

Black-and-white prints, undated

Images from various gardens in Japan.
Oversize box 13

Black-and-white prints, undated

Images from various gardens in Japan.


Box 11, Folder 6

Books, 1916

The Lords of Dawn by Gorge T. Marsh and Ronald Temple.
Box 11, Folder 7

Books, 1931

Citizenship for Nations by George T. Marsh.
Box 11, Folder 8

Books, 1924

The Gōda Collection of Japanese Sword Fittings by Robert Hamilton Rucker.
Box 14, Folder 1

Business cards, 1971, undated



Box 14, Folder 2


Box 14, Folder 3


Box 14, Folder 4


Box 14, Folder 5


Two articles written by George T. Marsh.
Box 14, Folder 6


Related to Marsh family.
Box 14, Folder 7

1940s-1950s, undated

Box 14, Folder 8


Related to Japanese Tea Gardens and George T. Marsh and Company.
Box 15, Folder 1

Descriptions, 1937-1968

Descriptions and historical notes about oriental art.
Box 15, Folder 2

Greeting cards, 1910-1930

Box 15, Folder 3

Empty envelopes, 1916-1961



Box 15, Folder 4

American, Canadian, Chinese, and Japanese arts and culture, 1930-1948

Includes booklets, exhibition catalogs, fliers, index, newsletters, prints, and a map of Dairen.
Includes typewritten copies of excerpts and notes related to Alison Stilwell.
Box 15, Folder 5

Economics, international relations, society, and politics, 1925-1930

Includes booklets, pamphlets, and publications.
Box 16, Folder 1

George T. Marsh and Company, undated

Shopping bags only.
Box 16, Folder 2

George T. Marsh and Company and Japanese Tea Garden (San Francisco), 1894-1998

Includes a bulletin, fliers, invitations, Orientations 29, no. 4, and photocopies.
Box 16, Folder 3

League of Nations, 1927-1930

Includes draft of a memorandum, program, flier, and publications.
Box 16, Folder 4

Miscellaneous, 1889-1931

Includes booklets, brochures, fliers, newsletters, and theater programs.
Box 16, Folder 5

Miscellaneous, 1912-1947

Includes The Forum, Western Livestock Journal, and Overland Monthly.
Box 16, Folder 6

Monterey Peninsula, 1963-1972

Includes booklets, magazines, and travel guides.
Box 17, Folder 1

Travels, 1896-1931

Includes passenger ships' passenger lists, menus, and booklets.
Box 17, Folder 2

Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901, 1900-1901

Includes songbook and funeral program.
Box 17, Folder 3

Lists, 1931-1939

Miscellaneous contacts, goods, and historical facts.
Box 17, Folder 4

Postage stamps, 1969-1985

Removed from envelopes.
Box 17, Folder 5

Postcards, undated

Primarily related to Japanese Tea Garden (Coronado).

Sales catalogs

Box 17, Folder 6


Includes order forms.
Box 18, Folder 1


Catalogue of Kozuka by George T. Marsh.
Box 18, Folder 2


Catalogue of Kozuka by George T. Marsh.
Fragments only.
Box 18, Folder 3


Catalogue of Kozuka by George T. Marsh.
Notebooks with pasted fragments only.

Photographs 1894-1986

Physical Description: 7 boxes, 1 oversize box, and 1 envelope.
Box 19, Folder 1

Daguerreotype, undated

Unidentified girl.


Box 19, Folders 2-4

Negatives, 1904-1941, undated

Box 20, Folders 1-2

Negatives, undated

Envelope 1

NOT AVAILABLE: Negatives, undated

Negatives are too fragile to be handled.

Photograph albums

Box 20, Folder 3

George T. Marsh and family, undated

Box 20, Folder 4

George T. Marsh and Company store, 1928

Box 20, Folder 5

George T. Marsh and Company store, 1930

Box 21, Folders 1-3

George T. Marsh and Company (Monterey and/or Santa Barbara), undated

Box 22, Folder 1-2

George T. Marsh and Company (Santa Barbara), undated

Box 22, Folder 3

Japanese Tea Garden (Coronado), 1905-1915

Box 22, Folder 4

Miscellaneous, undated

Furniture and household goods.
Includes loose pages.
Box 23, Folders 1-3

Oriental art, undated

Includes furniture, household goods, and printed papers.
Oversize box 24

Oriental art, undated

Bronze wares.


Box 23, Folder 4

Containers, undated

Box 23, Folders 5-6

Figurines, 1957-1969, undated

Box 25, Folder 1

Furniture, 1937-1969, undated

Box 25, Folder 2

George T. Marsh and Company (Los Angeles and Pasadena), 1904, undated

Box 25, Folder 3

George T. Marsh and Company (Monterey), 1956-1986, undated

Box 25, Folder 4

George T. Marsh and Company (San Francisco), undated

Box 25, Folder 5

George T. Marsh and Company (Santa Barbara), 1930-1955, undated

Box 25, Folder 6

Japanese Tea Garden (Coronado), undated

Box 25, Folder 7

Japanese Tea Garden (San Francisco), 1894, undated

Scenes from California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894.
Box 25, Folder 8

Mill Valley home, undated

Box 26, Folder 1

Miscellaneous objects, undated

Box 26, Folder 2

Miscellaneous people and places, undated

Includes may be photographs from George T. Marsh's gardens, stores, or travels.
Box 26, Folder 3

Stone lanterns and pagodas, undated

Box 26, Folder 4

Travels to Arizona, Baja California, and other unidentified locations, undated

Box 26, Folder 5

Travels to Asia, 1935, undated

Box 26, Folder 6

Tsubas, undated

Box 26, Folder 7

Portraits, 1901-1930, undated

Includes Charles Doyle, J. Allyn Ormond, and George T. Marsh.
Mostly unidentified.