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Levy (Achille) papers
MVC043  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection pertains to Achille Levy's personal and business life. Levy was a businessman, banker, and community leader in Ventura County. Born in 1853 in Mommenheim, France, he was 18 years old when he immigrated to California. After a two-year stay in San Francisco, California, he moved to the farming community of Hueneme in Ventura County. He first worked with Moise Wolff and operated a successful general merchandise business. He returned to France briefly, married his wife, Lucy Meinette Levy, in 1882 and returned to Hueneme. Levy worked closely with many local farmers and businessmen and in earning their trust he began to offer banking services, eventually officially incorporating the Bank of A. Levy in 1905. The bank grew and became central to the local economy, until it was sold to a larger bank in 1995. This collection contains materials related to Levy's personal and family life, as well as the Bank of A. Levy's day-to-day activities. Materials include newspaper clippings, financial records, Bank of A. Levy calendars, assorted pamphlets and booklets related to banking, books and diaries that belonged to the Levy family, negatives and photographs, audio reels for radio advertisements, artwork for logos, a manuscript of A. Levy and the bank's history, photo albums, contracts, deeds, mortgages, and account registers.
Background
Achille Levy was a businessman, banker, and community leader in Ventura County. Born in 1853 in Mommenheim, France, he was 18 years old when he immigrated to California. After a two-year stay in San Francisco, California, he moved to the farming community of Hueneme in Ventura County. In 1873, at the age of 20, he partnered with Moise Wolff and opened a successful general merchandise business. Working at the Wolff and Levy General Store, Levy worked closely with many local farmers and businessmen. He returned briefly to Europe, where he married Lucy Meinette Levy in Paris. Upon his return, Thomas Bard and Levy, at the urging of local farmers formed the Bank of Hueneme. Levy was vice-president of the bank. He also started the Agricultural Brokerage, a new business that served as a middleman between the farmers of the Santa Clara River Valley and markets in San Francisco. For example, lima beans became a profitable product in the area largely due to Levy's advice and market research. In earning the trust of local farmers, his brokerage business led to the establishment of the Bank of A. Levy in the 1880s. The bank was incorporated in 1905 in California with Levy as president. Levy always remained very active in community affairs. He and his wife, Lucy, had four children: Julia Milligan, Joe Levy, Anna Waterman, and Palmyra Lucie Weil. The family maintained control of the Bank of A. Levy after Levy's death in 1922 through Joe Levy and the Milligan family line. As Oxnard and the Port of Hueneme boomed and became economic centers, the bank became an economic pillar of the county. Following Levy's death in 1922, his son Joseph was elected president of the bank. The bank was a central pillar of Ventura County's economy until it was bought by First Interstate Bank in 1995. By the time it was sold off to First Interstate Bank the Bank of A. Levy had 17 branches in the county and 65,000 customer accounts. The bank president at the time of the sale was Marshall Milligan, Achille Levy's great-grandson.
Extent
4.17 Cubic Feet (3 cartons, 1 small flat box, 1 oversize folder)
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 is minimally processed. All requests to access materials must be made in advance by contacting the Research Library staff via email: library@venturamuseum.org