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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Liberty Farms Company Archives,
    Date (inclusive): 1916-1970
    Collection number: D-044
    Creator: Liberty Farms Company
    Extent: 1.2 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    100 North West Quad
    Davis, California, 95616-5292
    Abstract: The Liberty Farms Company, founded in 1919, reclaimed 5,000 acres of swamp and overflow land in the Sacramento Delta. The property, located eight miles north of Rio Vista and named Liberty Island by Robert K. Malcolm, was farmed by tenants on a share basis. They produced potatoes, asparagus, zucchini, onions, peas, tomatoes, and other row crops. Liberty Farms Company was sold to the Moresco Brothers Farming Company in 1973. The archives, which span the years 1916-1970, contain legal documents, minutes, correspondence, clippings, photographs, and maps.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis 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 researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Liberty Farms Company Archives, D-044, Department of Special Collections, University of California Library, Davis, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The archives of Liberty Farms Company were donated by Esther Malcolm, the last Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Company. The correspondence, maps, and legal documents were given in 1978; the minutes and incorporation documents were given in 1982.

    Processing Information

    Arranged and described by John Skarstad in May 1984. EAD finding aid created by Sara Gunasekara with assistance from student employee Jenny Hodge in August 2004.

    Administrative History


    Liberty Island lies eight miles north of Rio Vista, in California's delta region. According to Robert K. Malcolm, who reclaimed and developed it, the island received its name after a levee was built on the northern boundary. "When this was done, the property was completely surrounded by water and as this was during World War I when we were fighting for liberty, I named the property Liberty Island."
    On November 17, 1917, Malcolm, George E. Bryan, Thomas A. Keogh, George B. Montagne, and J. H. Rosseter formed Liberty Farm Company and merged their Liberty Island properties. The company was organized to construct levees and drain the land for farming. In February 1919, Liberty Farm Company sold its assets and liabilities to Liberty Farms Company, a second corporation headed by Robert K. Malcolm.
    The company expanded to own five thousand acres of highly cultivated land largely farmed by tenants on a share basis. In addition, Liberty Farms Company maintained a labor camp for one hundred permanent residents and accomodations for up to a thousand seasonal laborers. The rich soil of the island produced abundant crops. First potatoes, then other commerical crops from asparagus to zucchini were planted, sprayed, harvested, packed, and shipped by Liberty Farms during its fifty-four year history. In order to support its large scale farming operations, Liberty Farms Company built or acquired a station on the Sacramento Northern Railway, a secondary road to the property, a post office, and a school house for the children of its employees.
    From 1918 to 1973, Liberty Island flooded twenty-seven times. High yields from the richer land in the Yolo Bypass helped defray flood repair and maintenance costs. The discovery of natural gas on the property in 1955 and the gas depletion allowance also helped cover rising flood related expenses, but in 1965, after four consecutive flood years, the decision was made to sell because of low profits. The Moresco Brothers Farming Company bought the company property on November 1, 1973, and the Liberty Farms Company liquidated and distributed its remaining assets to the shareholders the following year.
    Source: The Story of Liberty Island: Robert K. Malcolm, Founder. Interviewed and edited by Avrom I. Dickman. Davis: Shields Library, Oral History Center, University of California, Davis, 1981

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Organized into six series: 1. Legal Documents, 2. Minutes, 3. Correspondence, 4. Clippings, 5. Photographs, and 6. Maps.

    Related Material

    Oral History
    The Story of Liberty Island: Robert K. Malcolm, founder. Interviewed and edited by Avrom I. Dickman. Davis: Shields Library, Oral History Center, University of California, Davis, 1981.
    Manuscript Collections
    D-118: Holland Land Company Archives
    D-196: Reclamation District No. 551 Archives

    Indexing Terms

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


    Liberty Farms Company
    Malcolm, Robert K.
    Agriculture--California--Solano County--Liberty Island
    Flood control--California--Yolo Bypass
    Floods--California--Sacramento River
    Reclamation of land--California--Solano County
    Liberty Island (Calif.)--History