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Finding aid for the Foley and Sepulveda family papers 7042
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William I. Foley 1874-1921, undated

Biographical / Historical

William I. (W.I.) Foley was born in San Francisco in 1861, son of 49er Francis Foley. He attended Saint Ignatius Jesuit College in San Francisco, and then earned his law degree from Columbia University in New York. He practiced law first in San Francisco, then Seattle, and eventually opened his first Southern California office in Pomona in 1884. In 1887 he opened an office in Los Angeles, and there met future Governor Henry Tifft Gage. When Gage was elected Governor in 1899, Foley accompanied him to Sacramento as his private secretary. Gage offered him a judgeship on the state Supreme Court, which he declined, but he did eventually serve as Attorney for the State Board of Health, in which position he drafted many acts which would be included in the state's health laws. Foley and Gage would later open a law practice together in Los Angeles, with offices in the Central Building.
In 1889, Foley married Sara Dolores Sepulveda, daughter of Jose Dolores de Jesus Sepulveda and Maria Antonia Lugo. The couple had four children, Zoraya Filema, Rupert, Elsa Zelinda, and Viola. In 1908, Foley built a family home at 751 South Catalina Street, designed by architect B. Cooper Corbett.
Foley was also an amateur poet, and collaborated on an opera with Mario Hediger (a copy of the libretto can be found in the collection). The two also composed some patriotic songs during World War I. Foley's daughter Elsa Zelinda, who made her career in music as a coloratura soprano, also collaborated with Hediger on a patriotic World War I song.
Sara died tragically in a street car accident in 1906; Foley died in Los Angeles in 1921.

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence, photographs, clippings, manuscripts, and legal documents. Of particular note are the letters from Foley to his future wife, Sara Dolores Sepulveda, which are in Spanish; Foley's manuscripts of poetry; deeds to various mining claims in which he was involved; and letters to Commodore James Barry, who was a personal friend.


The series is arranged chronologically.
Box 2, Folder 1

Clippings 1874-1914

Scope and Contents

Miscellaneous clippings collected by (?) W.I. Foley. Includes three issues of the San Francisco Star, the newspaper published by Foley's friend James H. Barry.
Box 1, Folder 1

Correspondence 1882-1910

Scope and Contents

Miscellaneous correspondence between Foley and various family and friends. Includes telegram from Foley to Francis Foley announcing the death of Sara Sepulveda Foley.
Box 1, Folder 2

W.I. Foley to Sara Dolores Sepulveda 1884 July-1886 April

Scope and Contents

Letters in Spanish to Sara prior to their marriage.
Box 1, Folder 3, Box 5, Folder 1, 6

Photographs 1887, undated

Scope and Contents

Photographs of Foley, Sara, Foley and Sara's wedding portrait, and houses on Menlo Street, Boyle Heights, and Central Avenue.
Box 2, Folder 2

Lease document for Maria Antonia Lugo de Sepulveda 1896 December 31

Scope and Contents

Lease document made by Maria Antonia Lugo Sepulveda to rent a portion of Rancho San Antonio to a farmer of barley crops; Rancho San Antonio now encompasses the cities ofd Bell, Bell Gardens, Vernon, Huntington Park, South Gate, and Commerce.
Box 2, Folder 3

Foley family members--drawings 1901, 1916, undated

Box 1, Folder 4

W.I. Foley and Sara Foley obituaries 1906, 1921

Scope and Contents

Newspaper clippings
Box 1, Folder 5

Letters to "Commodore" James H. Barry 1913, 1915

Box 2, Folder 4

Manuscripts and typescripts 1916, 1918, undated

Scope and Contents

Poems and essays by Foley.
Box 2, Folder 5

Mining deeds and placer claim 1916

Box 2, Folder 6

Los Angeles Times obituary 1921

Box 2, Folder 7, Box 5, Folder 7

Henry Tifft Gage undated

Scope and Contents

Typed biography of Gage and inscribed photograph.
Box 2, Folder 8

Composition books undated

Scope and Contents

Student workbooks.
Box 4

Photograph album

Scope and Contents

Photograph album depicting the family of W.I. Foley.
Box 9

W.I. Foley's copper engraved calling card plate


Viola Lillian Foley Morrow 1902-1944, undated

Biographical note

Viola Lillian Foley Morrow, daughter of W.I. Foley (1861-1921) and Sara Dolores Sepulveda (1965-1906), was born in Los Angeles. She married Bernard Morrow in April of 1921; they had a daughter Zelinda, from whom the collection originated. Viola had three siblings, Zoraya (who died in 1911), Elsa Zelinda, noted coloratura soprano, and Rupert. Her mother was the duaghter of Jose Dolores de Jesus Sepulveda and Maria Antonia Lugo. Her father was the son of Francis Foley, a 49er who settled in San Francisco. Viola died in Los Angeles in 1960.

Scope and Contents

This series contains photographs, letters and scrapbooks, created by Viola Lillian Foley (later Morrow), from the time she was a young girl through motherhood. Of particular note is the correspondence between Viola and her husband Bernard Morrow, from 1919-1922 (prior to and after their marriage).


The series is arranged chronologically.
Box 6

Autograph/friendship book 1902 November-December

Box 1, Folder 6

Emile Choffet 1909-1919

Scope and Contents

Letters and postcards, in French. Includes an inscribed photograph of Choffet.
Box 1, Folder 7

Zoraya Foley 1910-1911

Scope and Contents

Letters to Viola.
Box 1, Folder 8

Mario Hediger 1916-1917

Scope and Contents

Letters to Viola in Spanish. Also includes photographs of Hediger, some in costume, some inscribed to Viola. Hediger was a composer who worked with both William I. Foley and Elsa Zelinda Foley.
Box 1, Folder 9

Ephemera 1922, undated

Scope and Contents

Viola's calling card and wedding announcement.
Box 1, Folder 10

Unidentified letter 1923

Box 1, Folder 11, Box 2, Folder 11, Box 5, Folder 1

Photographs undated

Scope and Contents

Group photograph of Viola, Bernard (Morrow), Elsa, and Mr. I.E. Levi. Portrait photographs of Viola.
Box 2, Folder 9

Bernard Morrow correspondence 1919-1921

Box 6

"Wedding Memories" scrapbook 1921 April

Scope and Contents

Viola's wedding scrapbook, containing notes, clippings, guest lists, honeymoon itinerary, and photographs.
Box 3

Photograph albums 1923-1944

Scope and Contents

Two photograph albums in which photographs of Zelinda Morrow as a baby and young girl feature prominently. Probably compiled by Viola who also featured prominently in both. Two photograph albums of Viola and family and friends.
Box 6

The Longfellow Year-book

Scope and Contents

"A Year Book of Quotations from the writings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with spaces for autographs and records", annotated with notes by Viola.
Box 9

Bernard Morrow realia

Scope and Contents

Bernard's naval epaulettes; copper engraved plate for Bernard's calling card.
Box 1, Folder 17

Elsa Zelinda Foley

Biographical / Historical

Elsa Zelinda Foley (1904-1953), sister of Viola and daughter of W.I. and Sara Sepulveda Foley, was a singer who began her career as a young child. She often sang on the radio in Los Angeles, and made many public appearances in Los Angeles. She married Frank Carlson.

Scope and Contents

Hand written biography; photograph of Zelinda with Viola and Rupert, and unidentified individuals.

Zelinda Morrow 1920s-1945, undated

Biographical / Historical

Zelinda Morrow was the daughter of Viola Foley and Bernard Morrow, granddaughter of W.I. Foley and Sara Dolores Sepulveda, and granddaughter of Jose Dolores De Jesus Sepulveda and Maria Antonia Lugo.

Scope and Contents

This series consists primarily of photographs, with some clippings and other ephemera. The photographs of Zelinda range in age from infant to young woman. Included are photographs of Zelinda as a young child when she performed as a gypsy girl at the Ebell Theater in 1929.
Box 1, Folder 19

Photographs 1920s-1945

Box 2, Folder 10

Clippings, photographs and ephemera 1928-1940, undated

Scope and Contents

Clippings of Zelinda as a child performer; photographs of a performance; 1 postcard; high school diploma.
Box 5, Folder 5

Studio photographs


Foley family 1850-1953, undated

Scope and Contents

This series consists primarily of photographs, but also includes some letters and printed ephemera created and collected by various members of the extended Foley family. Included are items created by Zoraya Filema Foley, W.I. Foley and Sara Sepulveda Foley's eldest daughter, who died in 1911 at age 18.
Box 10

Hanora Foley's Ursuline Manual (prayer book) 1850

Scope and Contents

Inscribed "Hanora Foley/San Francisco/1856" on front flyleaf. Inside front cover is inscribed (in a different hand) "Hanora Godfrey Foley/Buried San Francisco/Mission Dolores Cemetery/1856".
Box 10

Foley family [?] Catholic devotional prayer book 1862

Box 1, Folder 12

Reverend William Foley 1871

Scope and Contents

Printed letter to Reverend Foley from citizens of San Francisco regarding his trip to the city to collect funds to complete the cathedral in Cloyne, Ireland; "Oration Delivered by Rev. William Foley at the California Theater, on St. Patrick's Day, 1871".
Box 1, Folder 16, Box 9

Zoraya Foley 1902, 1911, undated

Scope and Contents

Zoraya's calling card; letter to Rupert; letter to William I.; handwritten and illustrated poem. Box 9 contains the original copper plate for Zoraya's card.
Box 1, Folder 18, Box 5, Folder 2-4

Foley family photographs 1953, undated

Scope and Contents

Elizabeth Foley (Sister Mary Perfecta); Francis Foley. Unidentified individuals, presumably Foley family.
Box 1, Folder 20

Foley family ephemera

Scope and Contents

Calling cards for Francis Foley, Mrs. W.I. (Sara Sepulveda) Foley; invitation to the Woman's Christian Temporance Union gathering; miscellaneous printed ephemera; Irish-related items.
Box 1, Folder 21, Box 4, Box 5, Folder 7, Box 7, Box 8

Unidentified family photographs and photograph albums

Box 8

Commercial photographs and postcards

Box 9

Embroidered silk portrait of Charles Steward Parnell, M.P.


Sepulveda family 1870-1902, undated

Scope and Contents

This series contains printed ephemera, photographs, some letters and a diary, created by various members of the Sepulveda family. Of particular note is the daily diary of Jose Dolores de Jesus Sepulveda, which contains notations on the births of various members of the extended Sepulveda family, as well as a letter (in Spanish) from W.I. Foley to Jose Dolores de Jesus Sepulveda.
Box 10

Maria Antonia Lugo de Sepulveda prayer book 1870

Scope and Contents

Includes a small envelope encasing a lock of hair; envelope is inscribed "Your Dear Departed Mother's Hair".
Box 1, Folder 13

Death announcements for Vicente Lugo and Maria Albertina Sepulveda 1879, undated

Box 1, Folder 14

Jose Dolores Sepulveda 1884, undated

Scope and Contents

Pocket diary with entries in Spanish detailing births; letter to William I. Foley (in Spanish); 2 photographs.
Box 1, Folder 15

Albertina Sepulveda--Rupert Sepulveda [Foley] 1902 June 28

Scope and Contents

Letter to Albertina Sepulveda from Rupert Sepulveda [Foley].
Box 9

A. [Albertina?] Sepulveda handkerchiefs