Finding Aid to the George Henry Cabaniss Papers, 1849-1967 MS 282

Finding aid prepared by Dr. Otto Pflueger; revised by Marie Dunlap in 2010.
California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA, 94105
2001, revised 2010

Title: George Henry Cabaniss papers
Date (inclusive): 1849-1967
Collection Number: MS 282
Creator: Cabaniss, George H. (George Henry), 1861-1934
Extent: 7 boxes and 1 volume (4.0 Linear feet)
Contributing Institution: California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA, 94105
Physical Location: Collection is stored onsite.
Abstract: Consists of papers pertaining to Cabaniss's naval career during World War II and to his law practice. The bulk of the papers pertain to execution of the estates of Sarah Elizabeth Chandler, Katherine M. Ball, Louise A. Sorbier and her daughters, Cecile and Marie, and Sara M. Boyd. Includes family papers of his uncle, Archibald A. Cabaniss, and his second cousin, Raymond Duncan. Among these are newspaper and passport photographs, and a sketch of Isadora Duncan. With these is a scrapbook in remembrance of Cabaniss's father, George Henry Cabaniss, Sr., containing letters of sympathy, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and a letter of sympathy and poem by Ina Coolbrith.
Language of Materials: Collection material is mostly in English. Some material relating to Raymond Duncan is in French.


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Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the California Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Research Collections. Permission for publication 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 of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], George Henry Cabaniss Papers, MS 282, California Historical Society.

Separated Materials

Photographs have been transferred to the California Historical Society's Photograph Collection, shelved as MSP 282. Oversize certificates have been transferred to Certificates Collection.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Ball, Katherine M., 1858?-1952
Boyd, Sara Megilligan
Cabaniss, Archibald A. ( Archibald Atkinson)
Cabaniss, George H. (George Henry), 1861-1934
Chandler, Sarah Elizabeth, 1863-1947
Coolbrith, Ina D. (Ina Donna), 1842?-1928
Duncan, Raymond, 1874-1966
Sorbier, Cecile Marie, 1875-1952
Sorbier, Louise, 1847-1929
Sorbier, Marie, 1873-1947
Lawyers--California--San Francisco.


Gift of George Henry Cabaniss, Jr., circa 1952.

Biographical Information

Attorney George Henry Cabaniss was born in 1900 to a prominent San Francisco family. He earned bachelor's and juris doctor degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1922 and 1924, respectively. In the 1940s, Cabaniss served as a legal specialist with the rank of lieutenant commander in the United States Naval Reserve. He also served as a San Francisco appeals agent for the Selective Service System from 1940 to 1942. As a private attorney in San Francisco, Cabaniss administered the estates of Sarah E. Chandler, Katherine M. Ball, Louise A. Sorbier, Marie Sorbier, Cecile M. Sorbier, and Sara M. Boyd.
Other notable members of the Cabaniss family include George Henry Cabaniss's father, George Cabaniss, Sr.; uncle, Archibald Cabaniss; and second cousin, Raymond Duncan. Cabaniss, Sr., served as a San Francisco Superior Court judge from 1908 until his death in 1934. Archibald Duncan was a United States Army officer and friend of San Francisco poet and librarian Ina Coolbrith. Raymond Duncan (1874-1966) was an artist, dramatist, poet, and journalist. He was also Isadora Duncan's brother. In 1912, he moved to Paris, where he opened the Akademia Raymond Duncan and edited the bilingual journal Exangelos.

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises correspondence, certificates, legal records, newspaper clippings, and other papers and ephemera documenting the history of the Cabaniss family. The bulk of the material pertains to George H. Cabaniss in his roles as legal specialist for the United States naval reserve (circa 1941-1949); San Francisco appeals agent (1940-1942); attorney for various federal work agencies (circa 1938-1942); and private attorney in San Francisco. These papers include extensive legal records concerning the estates of Sarah E. Chandler, Katherine M. Ball, Louise A. Sorbier, Marie Sorbier, Cecile M. Sorbier, and Sara M. Boyd, all of which Cabaniss administered.
The collection also contains scattered papers of or about other members of the Cabaniss family, notably George Cabaniss Sr., Archibald Cabaniss, and Raymond Duncan. These include records of San Francisco superior court proceedings that Cabaniss, Sr., adjudicated (1933-1934); a scrapbook of obituaries and condolences commemorating Cabaniss, Sr., on his death (1934); military certificates awarded to Archibald Cabaniss by the United States Army (circa 1849-1911); a poem and letter written by Ina Coolbrith on the death of the infant Lucile (1899); and miscellaneous papers documenting the literary and dramatic career of Raymond Duncan.


This collection has not been arranged into series. In general, materials have been arranged topically as follows: Box I: Miscellany and family papers; Box 2: Correspondence and district legal office logs; Box 3: Military, civil service, and legal papers, particularly for the Chandler estate; Boxes 4-6: Legal papers for the Ball, Sorbier, and Boyd estates. Box 7: Boyd estate papers and miscellany.

Box 1, Folder 1-3

General Miscellany 1873-1966

Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence, diplomas, military certificates, legal documents, newspaper clippings, and other papers documenting the history of the Cabaniss family and, especially, of George Henry Cabaniss, Jr.
Box 1, Folder 4

Archibald A. Cabaniss circa 1849-1911

Scope and Contents

Mostly consists of military certificates awarded to Archibald A. Cabaniss.
Box 1, Folder 4a

Archibald A. Cabaniss 1899

Scope and Contents

Includes an 1899 letter and poem by Ina Coolbrith commemorating the death of Archibald Cabaniss' infant daughter, Lucile.
Box 1, Folder 5-6

Raymond Duncan 1946-1967

Scope and Contents

Includes poems by Raymond Duncan; programs for dramatic performances by Duncan in France and the United States; correspondence from Duncan to his cousin, George H. Cabaniss, Jr.; and incomplete copies of Exangelos, a bilingual newspaper edited by Duncan and published in Paris, from the years 1946-1945, 1949-1950, 1952, 1957, and 1960-1962.
Also includes the second and third editions of Etincelles de mon Enclume, or Pages from my Press, by Raymond Duncan, published in 1939 and 1947, respectively, by the Akademia Raymond Duncan in Paris.
Box 2, Folder 7-10

Correspondence 1940-1943

Scope and Contents

Contains letters addressed to and from George Henry Cabaniss, Jr.
Box 2, Folder 11

Orders, Naval Reserve 1941 April-1943 June

Box 2, Folder 12-13

Naval Correspondence 1944-1949

Box 2, Folder 14

Speeches and Publications 1941-1942

Box 2, Folder 15

Logs, Legal Section, District Morale Office, United States Navy 1943-1944

Box 3, Folder 16

Military Law Course 1940-1941

Box 3, Folder 17-18

Selective Service Memoranda 1940 December-1942 March

Box 3, Folder 19

San Francisco Appeal Agents (Selective Service), Minutes 1940 November-1942 October

Box 3, Folder 20

Civil Service 1938-1942

Scope and Contents

Includes letters to and from George Henry Cabaniss, Jr., the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, the Federal Works Agency, and the United States Civil Service Commission regarding employment.
Box 3, Folder 21-23

Sarah E. Chandler Estate 1947-1949

Box 4, Folder 24-25

Katherine M. Ball Estate 1952-1953

Box 4, Folder 26-29

Louise A. Sorbier Estate 1929-1954

Box 4, Folder 30

Marie Sorbier Estate 1937-1950

Box 4-5, Folder 31-37

Cecile M. Sorbier Estate 1952-1956

Box 6-7, Folder 38-53

Sara M. Boyd Estate 1939-1941

Box 7, Folder 54

George H. Cabaniss, Sr., Court Proceedings 1933-1934

Volume 1

Scrapbook 1934

Scope and Contents

Includes newspaper clippings and sympathy letters regarding the death of George H. Cabaniss, Sr.