Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding aid to the William D. M. Howard papers, 1823-1878, undated, Vault MS 30
Vault MS 30  
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Collection consists of San Francisco merchant and financier William D. M. Howard’s correspondence and business papers. Also includes business papers of William R. Warren, a Honolulu merchant; Howard’s brother George; Henry F. Teschemacher, tenth mayor of San Francisco; and William A. Liedesdorff. Collection contains correspondence relating to an 1852 plan to light San Francisco with gas. A small number of papers relating to the outfitting of the expedition to rescue the Donner Party are also part of the collection. Two volumes are included: a log from the schooner Julia Ann, and court records relating to the Lup-Yomi Rancho case.
William Davis Merry Howard was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1818 and became a sailor, eventually working on trading ships along the Pacific Coast. He settled in San Francisco and dealt in hides before partnering with Henry Mellus in 1845. Mellus and Howard were successful in the general merchandise business, especially as business boomed during the Gold Rush. Howard assisted in the financial organization and support of the expedition to rescue the Donner Party in 1847. His first wife, Mary Warren, died in 1849 and he soon married Agnes Poett, with whom he had one son, William. Howard became a community leader, serving on the first city council, and was a well-known philanthropist in San Francisco. He also owned a rancho on land near San Mateo. He died in 1856 and, after his death, his widow Agnes married his brother George. Howard Street in San Francisco is named after him.
4 boxes, 1 oversize box (2.75 linear feet)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Consent is given on behalf of the California Historical Society 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. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
CHS is not taking appointments for research at this time. Please check the Library's website updates: https://californiahistoricalsociety.org/collections/north-baker-research-library/