Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Elise Stern Haas Family Papers
Date (inclusive): 1789-1992
Date (bulk): (1893-1990)
Collection Number: BANC MSS 92/810 c
Haas, Elise S. (Elise
Number of containers: 8 boxes, 8 cartons, 4 v., 1 oversize box, 14 oversize folders,
1 oversize item
Linear feet: 17
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: Contains correspondence, personal and family papers, providing an
intimate account of several generations of this distinguished San Francisco family. The bulk
of the collection dates from 1893 to 1990, and focuses on the immediate family of Elise and
Walter A. Haas, but also includes a significant amount of materials collected by Elise's
mother, Rosalie Meyer Stern. Elise's father, Sigmund Stern, was president of Levi Strauss
and Co., and nephew of the company founder. The collection spans Elise's life from birth to
great grandmother; aside from a few childhood mementos, Walter's contribution to the
collection begins with his courtship of Elise in 1914.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English, French
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials,
please consult the Library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
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.
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. See:
[Identification of item], Elise Stern Haas Family Papers, BANC MSS 92/810 c, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley
Title: The Appreciation of Quality: Elise Stern Haas Oral History,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 80/68 c
Title: Civic, Philanthropic and Business Leadership: Walter A. Haas Sr. oral history
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 76/137 c
Title: Levi Strauss and Company: Tailors to the World, Walter A. Haas Jr. oral history
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 77/76 c
Material Cataloged Separately
Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
Videotapes/sound recordings have been transferred to the Microforms Collection of The
Objects have been transferred to the Object Collection of The Bancroft Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog
Fleg, Edmond, 1874-1963. Juif du
Haas, Elise S., 1893-1990
Haas, Walter A., 1889-1979
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954
Stern, Rosalie Meyer, 1869-1956
Philanthropists--California--San Francisco Bay
The Elise Stern Haas Family Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Rhoda Haas
Goldman in 1992.
Funding for processing provided by an anonymous donor.
Elise Stern Haas was born in San Francisco on October 29, 1893, the only child of Rosalie
Meyer and Sigmund Stern. Her father was president of Levi Strauss and Co., and nephew of
Levi Strauss, a Bavarian immigrant who founded the firm in 1850.
Elise was raised in the family home on Pine Street and was taught to read and write at home
by Miss Katherine Burke, who later founded The Burke's School. At the age of nine,
Elise was sent to Pacific Heights School on Jackson Street, and she graduated from high
school in May 1911.
In 1914, Elise Stern married Walter A. Haas, president of Levi Strauss and Co. from 1928 to
1955. They had three children: Walter A., Jr., Peter, and Rhoda. Under the management of
their sons, the company became the world's largest apparel manufacturer. Walter A.
Haas, Jr. was also the owner of the Oakland Athletic's baseball team. His son,
Walter J. Haas recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the company. The
Haas family includes 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Elise Haas is remembered as a civic-minded philanthropist and devoted patron of the arts
and culture of the city. She served as the first female president of Mount Zion Hospital
from 1938 to 1940, and led the San Francisco League of Women Voters, the Visiting Nurses
Association, and Red Cross Blood Drives during World War II.
Mrs. Haas was involved with the Museum of Modern Art from it's inception in the
1930's and served as Chairman from 1964 to 1966. Under her leadership, the museum
solidified its financial base and built up its permanent collection.
Mrs. Haas, along with several family members, received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society
award from the United Way of America in 1985. The citation stated that the Walter and Elise
Haas Fund, founded in 1952, reflected "the family philosophy that wealth is a
responsibility and the sharing of it is a way of life".
Walter and Elise were married for 65 years. On their 60th anniversary, Walter said that of
all their accomplishments, their children were the most significant. The Haas family
continues to carry on the family legacy and makes generous contributions to educational and
health institutions, the environment, and social services organizations.
Elise Stern Haas died at Mount Zion Hospital on October 20, 1990.
Scope and Content
The Elise Stern Haas Family Papers, 1789-1992, contains correspondence, personal and family
papers, providing an intimate account of several generations of this distinguished San
Francisco family. The bulk of the collection dates from 1893 to 1990, and focuses on the
immediate family of Elise and Walter A. Haas, but also includes a significant amount of
materials collected by Elise's mother, Rosalie Meyer Stern. Elise's
father, Sigmund Stern, was president of Levi Strauss and Co., and nephew of the company
founder. The collection spans Elise's life from birth to great grandmother; aside
from a few childhood mementos, Walter's contribution to the collection begins with
his courtship of Elise in 1914.
Correspondents such as Dianne Feinstein, Clark Kerr and Albert Bender reflect the
Haas' interest in local politics, education and the arts. Personal papers include
birth certificates and genealogy information for both the Stern and Haas families, but the
focus is on Elise and Walter's life together and their philanthropic work. The
Walter and Elise Haas International Fund and gifts to the University of California, Berkeley
and Mills College are illustrated in detail. Their wedding anniversaries, travel and local
charity and social involvements are also fully documented.
Family papers include mementos, documents and clippings collected by Elise and her mother.
Most immediate and extended family members are represented; a significant amount of material
regarding the Meyer family is included. Rosalie Meyer Stern was the oldest child of Eugene
and Harriet Meyer, and her brother, Eugene Jr., was publisher of The Washington Post. The
newspaper was family owned and managed by Elise's cousin, Katherine Meyer Graham.
Elise met Michael and Sarah Stein in the early 1950s. She purchased two major works from
their collection, "Femme au Chapeau" and "Portrait of Sarah
Stein" by Henri Matisse, in 1953-54. Both pieces are now part of the permanent
collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The materials collected here focus on
the period after the purchase of these paintings and includes correspondence from
Matisse's granddaughter, Marguerite Duthuit and Alice Toklas. Exhibitions catalogs,
miscellaneous drawings by Sarah Stein, and clippings give details about the history of the
collection and the Steins friendship with Matisse.
Miscellaneous papers include personal and household accounts, as well as drafts from the
French play, "The Pope and the Jew" by Edmund Fleg, which Elise translated
into English, beginning in 1928.