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Shaw family papers
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Shaw family papers
    Dates: 1845-1963
    Collection Number: mssShawfamily
    Creator: Shaw family
    Extent: 837 items in 24 boxes and 1 folder
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of material relating to the Shaw family. The bulk of the collection was created by Hartley and Fern Shaw, with additional material from Lucien Shaw and other Shaw family members.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration 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

    Shaw family papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Barbara D. Shaw Topping, April 2015.


    Lucien Shaw was born on March 1, 1845, on a farm near Vevay, Switzerland County, Indiana. Lucien Shaw was the 18th Chief Justice of California and a prominent Republican politician in California during the early 20th century. Shaw served as judge on the Superior Court of California from 1899 to 1902, and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1903 until he was promoted to the position of Chief Justice in 1921. After Shaw retired from the court, he joined the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Board of Directors.
    Shaw resided in Hermosa Beach, California, and died on March 19, 1933 in Glendale, California. He was married to Hannah Hartley Shaw. They had one son: Hartley Shaw born on June 2, 1874.
    Hartley Shaw graduated from the University of Southern California with the degree of Ph.B. He received the degree of LL.B. from Hastings College of Law. Shaw held a number of public offices before he elevated to the bench. He was Assistant City Attorney of Los Angeles, 1902-1905; Chief Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles County, 1905-1911; and successively City Attorney of Eagle Rock, of Tropico and of Glendale. Shaw was appointed to the Superior Court in 1923. He was designated by the Chief Justice as one of the three judges of the Los Angeles Appellate Department when that court was established in 1929. He served as the Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1933. Twice he was assigned for duty as Justice Pro tem. On the District Court of Appeal. In 1934 he became Presiding Judge of the Appellate Department, and continued in that office until his retirement in 1955.
    Shaw had a stroke while on a trip in New Zealand and passed away on April 16, 1958. He was married to Fern West Shaw. The couple had three children: Dorothy (Mrs. Faust), Evelyn (Mrs. Veach), and Lucien W. Shaw.

    Scope and Content

    The family correspondence spans from 1919 to 1961. The letters are primarily from Hartley and Fern Shaw, writing to their daughters, Dorothy and Evelyn, at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Most of the letters are written from Glendale, California. Occasionally, the letters are written in an automobile, which they frequently refer to as the “machine.” There are a couple of letters from Lucien Shaw, written on his Supreme Court of California letterhead. In one letter, Lucien Shaw offers some sage advice on the consequences of procrastination to Dorothy: “It is an awfully bad habit, making inconvenience for yourself, and what is worse, causing inconvenience to nearly everybody with whom you are associating. And there is no excuse for it” (1922, Jan. 8). The contents of the letters are general updates on family, friends, church, finances, and travels. However, in the wake of certain events, remarks about the Great Depression, World War II, Japanese relocation, the Korean War, racial segregation, and the advent of color television are mentioned.
    The diaries and notebooks primarily pertain to Hartley and Fern Shaw’s travels. In most of the diaries, Fern meticulously details the itinerary, general expenses, auto expenses, and miscellaneous notes. The entries are general remarks, for example, on the Redwood Highway the “road was very crooked, much of it rough or under construction. Beautiful scenery and much of it along ocean” (1940).
    The subject files primarily include material related to Lucien Shaw, Hartley Shaw, and Fern W. Shaw. There are mostly newspaper clippings related to Lucien and Hartley Shaw’s career and death. The printed material related to Los Angeles High School belonged to Fern W. Shaw. The letters found in this section are mostly sympathy letters.
    The remainder of the collection consists of photographs, photo albums, and scrapbooks. They include family photographs of the West and Shaw family. One of the photo albums includes photographs as early as 1845. The scrapbooks contain many postcards and printed matter, particularly of national parks, related to the Shaw’s travels around the United States and Canada. The newspaper clippings are mostly related to court cases Hartley Shaw presided over.
    There is one oversize folder containing a play entitled: Merchant of Venice.
    Cataloger’s note: Cataloger attempted to keep the original album number as they were received; however, due to the size of some of the volumes, they had to be separated. If a new number was assigned, the original album number is noted.


    The collection is arranged in the following order: Boxes 1-5 (correspondence); Boxes 6-8 (diaries and notebooks); Boxes 9-10 (subject files); Boxes 11-12 (photo albums); Box 13 (scrapbooks); Boxes 14-15 (photographs); Box 16 (miscellaneous); Boxes 17-24 (oversize photo albums and scrapbooks); and 1 folder.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Shaw, Hartley, 1874-1958
    Shaw, Lucien, 1845-1833
    Shaw family
    West family


    National parks and reserves--United States

    Geographic Areas

    California--History--20th century
    California--Politics and government
    California--Religious life and customs
    California--Social life and customs
    United States--Description and travel


    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Family papers
    Letters (correspondence)
    Photograph albums