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Guide to the George G. Pollock papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: George G. Pollock papers
    Dates: 1905-1975
    Bulk Dates: 1940-1975
    Collection number: MS0032
    Creator: Pollock, George G.
    Collector: Pollock, George G. Jr.
    Collection Size: 9.5 linear feet (9 boxes + 1 oversized map drawer)
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    Sacramento, California 95811-0229
    Abstract: The George Gordon Pollock Papers, held by the Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center, reflects the life work of the man himself. Before and after World War II, Pollock’s firm built some of the most important and recognizable features of California’s physical and cultural landscape, including the Shasta Dam, the All American Canal and Boulder Dam, and Tower Bridge of Sacramento. The collection contains four series: Business, Personal, Photographs, and Oversized Material. The earliest artifact in the collection dates from 1905, while the most recent document dates from 1975. However, most of the document dates range between 1940 and 1975. The wide array of materials in the collection include correspondence, legal and financial documents, newspaper clippings, books, scrapbooks, awards and certificates, photograph prints and negatives, maps, site surveys, and technical diagrams. George Gordon Pollock Jr., George Pollock’s son, created many of the documents in the collection.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research use.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item and/or item number], [box and folder number], George G. Pollock papers, MS0032, Center for Sacramento History.

    Acquisition Information

    Don Perry, Executor for Mrs. Gordon Pollock, donated the George G. Pollock Papers to the Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center in 1985 (accession #1985/088). The contents included a “collection of miscellaneous papers, photographs, and memorabilia of the Pollock Family”. The Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center transferred additional photographs and memorabilia relating to World War II to the San Joaquin Pioneer and Historical Society in Stockton.

    Processing Information

    George G. Pollock Papers processed by Sean de Courcy and Joy Rowe, 2009. Finding Aid prepared by Sean de Courcy and Joy Rowe.

    Biography / Administrative History

    John Pollock and Katherine Rachel Mitchell gave birth to George Gordon Pollock in Charleston, Indiana in 1885. George G. Pollock began studying civil engineering at Purdue University in 1901. After graduation in 1905, Pollock moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he took his first engineering job.
    Pollock worked in Omaha until 1909, when the Western Bridge and Construction Company enticed the ambitious young engineer to come to Sacramento, where he worked for the next nine years. During his time with the Western Bridge and Construction Company, Pollock saved enough to start his own construction firm, and in 1918, Pollock founded his first business, the Pollock Construction Company.
    In 1913 Pollock married Irma Phleger. While his career expanded, so too did the Pollock family. The Pollock-Phleger union produced three sons: George G. Pollock Jr., Alan Harper Pollock, and John Phleger Pollock.
    Over the next twenty years, Pollock’s company had both good times and bad. These trends were exacerbated by the booms in the 1920s, followed by the hardships during the Great Depression. However, with the outbreak of World War II, Pollock began to rethink his construction operation in Sacramento, and in 1942 Pollock and his firm moved to Stockton, California. Stockton’s large inland ship channel proved invaluable for Pollock’s new Pollock-Stockton Shipbuilding Company. Pollock’s shipbuilding efforts in Stockton, fueled by wartime industrial investment, flourished until the end of the war. Pollock’s operation in Stockton followed American troops across the Pacific Ocean, undertaking projects in Hawaii, the Philippine Islands, and Guam.
    After the war, Pollock and his family returned to Sacramento in 1946, where Pollock restarted his Pollock Construction Company. Before and after World War II, Pollock’s firm built some of the most important and recognizable features of California’s physical and cultural landscape. These projects include the Shasta Dam, the All American Canal and Boulder Dam, the dry docks at the Alameda Naval Air Base, the Ruck A Chucky Dam on the American River, the Docks for the naval fleet at San Pedro, the Cruiser dry dock at Mare Island, the naval operations base at Long Beach and Point Hueneme, and the famous Tower Bridge in Sacramento.
    Aside from his professional endeavors, George Pollock and family owned a large ranch south of the City of Sacramento. Pollock took an active role in ranch activities, raising Hereford cattle for both selective breeding and exhibitions in California’s State Fair. Additionally, Pollock emerged as an active leader in the Sacramento business and civic community. Pollock was extremely active in the Boy Scouts of America, donating a tract of land on the American River that is now Camp Pollock Boy Scout Camp. Pollock also served on the Sacramento Valley Council, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Centennials Commission, the Masons in Sacramento, the California State Life Insurance Company, and the World Trade Center Authority.
    On January 15, 1950, Pollock passed away suddenly at his home at the age of just 55. Pollock was survived by his wife Irma, and their three sons: George Jr., Alan, and John.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Arranged into four series, the items in the collection span the years 1905 to 1975, with the bulk of the items dating from 1940-1975. The four series are 1. Business, 2. Personal, 3. Photographs, and 4. Oversized Material. The collection includes documents, photographs, scrapbooks, maps, artifacts and ephemera that reflect the personal and business life of George G. Pollock Sr. (1885-1950). Eldest son George G. Pollock Jr. or “Gordon” Pollock created many of the later materials in the collection.
    The first series, Business, consists of 30 folders and includes two subseries: Construction and Family Ranch. Arranged chronologically within each subseries, the items comprise minutes, contracts, correspondence, financial documents, and newspaper clippings between 1939 and 1974. This subseries primarily documents the construction projects of George G. Pollock Sr.; a large portion of the material details his World War II projects.
    The second subseries, Family Ranch, spans 1949 to 1974 and includes property assessment reports, appraisal reports, property transfer agreements, correspondence, and cattle periodicals. Documents in this subseries chronicle the lengthy process of selling the Pollock Ranch.
    The second series contains personal records of both George G. Pollock Sr. and Gordon Pollock, Jr. and includes documents from 1905-1975 as well as some undated material. Arranged chronologically, the series consists of 15 folders containing awards and other materials. It includes yearbooks, awards and certificates, boat building books, and Bible study material. In addition, this series includes a multi-page typewritten chronology of the Pollock family, diagramed in the form of a family tree.
    The third series consists of one cubic foot of approximately 100 prints and 200 negative photographs. While the negatives predominantly document shipbuilding projects during World War II, the prints largely capture social engagements, professional society events, and California-based construction projects between 1947 and 1962. Photographs are arranged by topic.
    The fourth series contains 26.5 linear feet and 2 cubic feet of oversized material, arranged into four subseries and covers the period from 1929 to 1973, with some undated material. The first subseries, Scrapbooks, contains four scrapbooks that document Pollock’s World War II shipbuilding and Gordon Pollock Jr.’s high school and professional years. The second subseries, Newspapers, contains whole newspapers and clippings between 1937 and 1958. The third subseries, Memorabilia, consists of various certificates and awards and includes a bound copy of the Pollock News, printed during the war years and distributed to employees of Pollock-Stockton Shipbuilding Company. The fourth and final subseries, Maps, consists of 84 items, primarily maps of the Sacramento area between 1953 and 1973.


    Series 1. Business Subseries 1.1 Construction Subseries 1.2 Family ranch Series 2. Personal Series 3. Photographs Series 4. Oversized material Subseries 4.1 Scrapbooks Subseries 4.2 Newspapers Subseries 4.3 Memorabilia Subseries 4.4 Maps

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    “Boy Scout Fund Raised to $1,113,800.” Sacramento Bee. May 8, 1933, 5.
    “Community Builder.” Sacramento Union. January 17, 1950.
    “G.G. Pollock, Builder, Civic Leader, Dies.” Sacramento Bee. January 16, 1950.
    “He Made Five Trips To East Last Year.” Sacramento Bee. November 2, 1940.
    “Pollock PAM File.” Sacramento Room: Sacramento City Library, February-May (2009).
    “Pollock’s Have Served Scouts for Years.” Sacramento Bee. December 17, 1938.
    “Purchased Purebred Horses.” Sacramento Bee. November 26, 1932, 2.
    “Remember When.” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 1981, F6.
    Wenzel, Caroline. “Pollock George Gordon—Obituary.” California Historical Society Quarterly March (1950): 84-85.