Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid to the Partington family papers, 1864-1987 (bulk 1864-1933)
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (114.87 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Partington family papers
    Date (inclusive): 1864-1987
    Date (bulk): 1864-1933
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-H 84
    Creator: Partington family
    Extent: 14 cartons, 13 volumes, 3 oversize boxes, 1 box, 1 oversize folder (24.5 linear feet) 1 Digital Object (1 image)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The correspondence and papers of the John Herbert Evelyn Partington, his wife Sarah, and their children: Blanche Partington, Gertrude Partington Albright, Phyllis Partington, and, to a lesser extent, Jack (John) Partington, Sr., Richard Langtry Partington, Edward Partington, and Kate Partington.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Partington family papers, BANC MSS C-H 84, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Alternate Forms Available

    The following items were microfilmed in 1997: Letters from Joaquin Miller to Blanche Partington, 1898-1910 (Carton 6, folder 18; BANC FILM 2207); Letters from Ambrose Bierce to Blanche Partington, 1892-1913 and undated (carton 5, folder 38-41; BANC FILM 2211); Letter from Ambrose Bierce to Gertrude Partington (carton 9, folder 31; BANC FILM 2211); Letters from Ambrose Bierce to John Herbert Evelyn Partington, 1892-1893 (carton 1; folder 64; BANC FILM 2211); Letters from Ambrose Bierce to Kate Partington, circa 1900 (carton 14, folder 16; BANC FILM 2211); Letters from Ambrose Bierce to Richard Partington (carton 14, folder 6; BANC FILM 2211); selected letters from Carrie Sterling to Blanche Partington (C-H 84 mf); and letters from Upton Sinclair to Blanche Partington (X-X FILM 5). Note that additions to the collection and additional processing since the microfilming in 1997 may have revealed more letters from Ambrose Bierce to the Partington family.
    Digital reproductions of selected items are available.

    Separated Material

    Photographs have been transferred to the Bancroft Library's pictorial collection (BANC PIC 1957.008-.013, BANC PIC 1957.017--POR, BANC PIC 1988.049--AX).
    Manuscripts of poems by George Sterling were removed from the Partington family papers and added to the Sterling Collection (BANC MSS C-H 60).
    Inscribed books have been removed from the collection and cataloged separately.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    Albright, Gertrude Partington, 1874-1959--Correspondence.
    Albright, Herman Oliver, 1875-1944--Correspondence
    Bancroft, Joseph, 1875-1936--Correspondence.
    Bancroft, Samuel, 1840-1915--Correspondence.
    Bierce, Ambrose, 1842-1914?--Correspondence.
    London, Charmian--Correspondence.
    London, Jack, 1876-1916--Correspondence.
    Miller, Joaquin, 1837-1913--Correspondence.
    Partington, Blanche, d. 1951--Correspondence.
    Partington, J. A. (John Allan), 1890-1944--Correspondence
    Partington, J. H. E., (John Herbert Evelyn), 1843-1899--Correspondence
    Partington, J. H. E., (John Herbert Evelyn), 1843-1899--Family--Archives
    Partington, Kate, b. 1871--Correspondence.
    Partington, Phyllis, 1883-1933--Correspondence.
    Partington, Richard Langtry, 1868-1929--Correspondence.
    Partington, Sarah Ann, d. 1909--Correspondence.
    Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968--Correspondence.
    Sterling, George, 1869-1926--Correspondence.
    Bancroft family
    Partington family--Archives
    Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.)
    Partington School of Illustration
    Stockport Art School
    Art schools--California--San Francisco
    Art schools--England--Stockport
    Art--Collectors and collecting--Delaware--Wilmington
    Art--England--19th century
    Art--Great Britain--19th century
    Artists--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Christian Scientists--California
    Illustrators--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Music critics--United States
    Opera--United States
    Painters--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Painters--England--19th century
    Painters--Great Britain--19th century
    Theater critics--United States
    Women artists--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Women in opera
    Family papers

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Partington family papers were purchased by the Bancroft Library from Jack Partington, Sr. in 1957. Additions were gifted by Nellie Barnes, Jack Partington, Sr. and Hedwig Evelyn Albright in between 1977 and 1995.


    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Collection fully processed in 2012 by Lara Michels.

    Biographical Information

    John Herbert Evelyn Partington (1843-1899) was a painter in the Manchester School of Painters, which was founded in 1870 by artists in Manchester, England who were disgruntled with the traditional Victorian art education they were receiving at the Manchester Art School. Partington and his fellow painters were interested in painting and drawing from life and were strongly influenced by French painting, especially the Pont-Aven School. J.H.E. Partington opened the Stockport Art School, modeled on the Academie Julian in Paris, in the late 1880s.
    In 1865, J.H.E. Partington married Sarah Ann Mottershead. They lived in Stockport and, for a time in the 1880s, on the Isle of Man. John and Sarah had seven children: Blanche, Richard Langtry, Edward, Gertrude, Jack (John) Allan, Phyllis, and Kate. In 1890, Partington moved his family to Oakland, California, where they mingled with local artists and writers, including Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, George and Carrie Sterling, and Joaquin Miller. J.H.E. Partington established himself as a local portrait painter and painted portraits of both Bierce and Miller. In 1895, J.H.E. Partington and his son Richard Langtry Partington founded the Partington School of Illustration on Pine Street in San Francisco. Daughter Gertrude taught classes in the school. Many of the Partington children went on to have successful careers in the arts.
    Blanche Partington (1866-1951) was a music and drama critic for The Call newspaper in San Francisco. She was the friend and confidante of many literary figures including Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Joaquin Miller, and George Sterling. She was also a noted Christian Science practitioner in San Francisco.
    Richard Langtry Partington (1868-1929) taught at the San Francisco School of Illustration and did some newspaper illustration until 1906, when the school was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Richard then moved back to Oakland, where he served as curator of the Piedmont Art Gallery. In 1916, he moved to Philadelphia and became a much-respected portrait painter of Philadelphia society.
    Gertrude Partington Albright (1874-1959) was a painter and etcher who studied with her father as well as in Europe (between 1900 and 1912). She was a well-known local painter and one of the only woman magazine and newspaper illustrators on the west coast. Gertrude married artist Herman Oliver Albright (1875-1944) in 1917. Albright's first wife, Kate Peterson, died in 1907. Hedwig Evelyn Albright was Gertrude's and Herman's only child.
    Phyllis Partington (1883-1933) was an opera singer whose career started in 1912-1913 on a road tour of Gypsy Love, a Broadway adaptation of Franz Lehar's Zigeunerliehe. In 1913, Phyllis went to Europe to study under Salvatore Cottone and Jose Mardones. While in Europe, she adopted the stage name Frances Peralta. Upon returning to the United States in 1915, Peralta sang soprano roles with Opera companies in Boston, Saint Louis, Chicago, and Memphis. In 1920, Peralta joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, where she remained until 1930. Her most famous role was Dorabella in the U.S. premiere of Cosi fan Tutte in 1922. Phyllis Partington died in 1933 in New York City.
    Jack (John) A. Partington, Sr. (1889-1944) built a career as an operations manager for theaters such as San Francisco's Imperial Theater and New York's Paramount.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Correspondence and other papers of John Herbert Evelyn Partington and Sarah Partington and their children: Blanche Partington, Gertrude Partington Albright, Phyllis Partington, and, to a lesser extent, Jack (John) Partington, Sr., Richard Langtry Partington, Edward Partington, and Kate Partington. Correspondence is mostly between members of the Partington family, but the collection does include incoming correspondence from prominent California artists and writers. Particularly noteworthy in the correspondence are the following: J.H.E. Partington's letters to his wife, Sarah, from his painting excursions throughout Britain and Europe during the 1870s and 1880s; letters to the Partingtons, especially Blanche, from Ambrose Bierce, Jack and Charmian London, George and Carrie Sterling, Upton Sinclair, Joaquin Miller, and the family of Samuel Bancroft (Delaware textile industrialist and early collector of Pre-Raphaelite art); the letters Gertrude Partington sent to her family during her art studies in Paris and other European cities between 1900 and 1910; and the letters Phyllis Partington wrote from New York and other cities during her travels and performances with various opera companies between 1913 and 1930. Other materials in the collection include notes and notebooks, sketches and sketchbooks, scrapbooks, clippings, biographical files, and ephemera. These materials document, among other things, J.H.E. Partington's career as painter and director of art schools in Stockport, England and San Francisco, California; Blanche Partington's work as a Bay Area music critic and her relationships with prominent writers and artists; Gertrude Partington's work as a painter and newspaper illustrator; and Phyllis Partington's opera career under the stage name Frances Peralta.