The Finding Aid of the Jean Samwell Crawford Papers 0175

Brendan Morris Reilly Saint Amand (Contributed to Historical/Biographical Note)
Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
December 2019
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu 90263-4786

Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Title: Jean Samwell Crawford Papers
Creator: Jean Marie Glaser Samwell Crawford
Identifier/Call Number: 0175
Physical Description: 2.8 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger Box, 3 Oversize Boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1918-2019 [bulk 1930-1940]
Abstract: Jean Samwell Crawford spent time between Los Angeles and her family's cabin called "The Hide-Away" at Malibu Lakeside during the 1930s and 1940s. This collection includes a photograph album, guest books for "The Hide-Away," photographs, and newspaper clippings.
Physical Location: Payson 260, Row 4
Language of Material: English .

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given to Pepperdine University by Jean Samwell Crawford on March 29, 2019.

Biographical / Historical

Malibu Lakeside is a small residential community located in the Santa Monica Mountains, adjacent to Malibu Creek State Park. Los Angeles real estate developer H.L. Averil sold the first lots in 1924, two years after the foundation of nearby private community Malibou Lake Mountain Club. Many early residents were middle class Angelenos, using their cabins as a weekend escape from the city. Every homeowner held a stake in the Lakeside Mutual Water Company, which in turn helped fund the community center, which boasted a large clubhouse, swimming pool, softball and tennis courts, and a playground. Jean Samwell's family cabin, "The Hide-Away," was constructed between 1931-1932. Jean's mother, Marie Elizabeth Benkert, married Stephen Glaser in 1920 who was in the Navy, and the couple had Jean in February 1921. Shortly after, Marie and Jean travelled to the Philippines in order to be with Stephen who was stationed there. Stephen left the Navy in 1922 and the couple had another child, Ruth Nydine Glaser the following year, 1923. Marie and Stephen divorced thereafter and Marie remarried Leo Samwell in October 1930. The Samwells lived in Culver City, Leo first worked worked at Gaffers and Sattler appliance manufactures until layoffs during The Great Depression. He then worked for the Works Progress Administration and then MGM Studios as a security guard in the 1930s. Jean attended Shenandoah Elementary School and then Alexander Hamilton High School. On weekends, the Samwell family would drive to "The Hide-Away" and spend their weekends hiking, swimming, and entertaining visiting friends and family. During World War II, Jean worked for the Lockheed Corporation in Burbank where she did electrical work on B-17 bombers. At the time, Jean lived in Hollywood where she paid a mere $27 per month in rent. Towards the end of the war, Jean met her husband, William Elmo Crawford. William was from Georgia and served in the Navy during World War II and for a short time following the war. Jean and William were married during one of his leaves on October 14, 1946. The newlyweds then had their honeymoon at "The Hide-Away" at Malibu Lakeside which was Jean's final trip to the cabin. Leo Samwell passed away in December 1947, and the family sold the cabin shortly thereafter. Jean supported herself as a seamstress, often for Hollywood stars, while she waited for William to finish his service in the Navy. Eventually, the couple settled in Sacramento, California, where William worked at McClellan Air Force Base.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], [Jean Samwell Crawford Papers], Collection no. 0175, Malibu Historical Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

Related Archival Materials

Annette and Doris Anderson Family Photographs

Scope and Contents

The majority of the collection documents the Samwell family's time spent at their cabin at Malibu Lakeside between 1931-1948. The two guest books contain entries about what activities the family and their guests did while at "The Hide-Away" cabin. The photograph album, which was made for Jean, contains some photographs of their cabin during construction, landscape photographs of Malibu Lakeside, the Samwell family and friends, Jean at swimming competitions, and Jean with her friends in other areas of Southern California like Balboa Island and Catalina. The Crawford Family Photograph Scrapbook contains photographs of "The Hide-Away" Cabin while it was being built as well as photographs of the family. The collection also contains a few newspaper clippings and photographs about Leo Samwell's military service in World War I, photographs taken of Jean at various restaurants in Los Angeles in the 1940s, two photographs of Leo Samwell with fellow MGM security guards in the 1930s, and three headshots of three Hollywood actresses (Clara Bow, Lila Lee, and Loretta Young).

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Malibu (Calif.) -- History
Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History
Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.)
Photograph albums

box 1, folder 1

Malibu Lakeside Materials 1940-2019

box 1, folder 2

Destination Souvenir Photographs 1942-1954

box 1, folder 3

Leo Samwell Military Materials 1918

box 1, folder 4

MGM Studios Security Guard Photographs 1930s

box 1, folder 5

Female Celebrity Photographs Circa 1920s and 1930s


Clara Bow


Lila Lee


Loretta Young

photographs Box 1, folder 6-16

Crawford Family Photograph Scrapbook 1932 January

box 2

"The Hide-Away" Guest Book 1941-1947

box 3

"The Hide-Away" Guest Book 1937-1950 [bulk 1937-1940]

box 4

Jean Samwell Photograph Album 1934-1940