Guide to the Walker Scott Department Store Records

© Copyright 2006 Special Collections & University Archives. All rights reserved.
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Guide to the Walker Scott Department Store Records 1915/1993

Special Collections & University Archives

Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: Walker Scott Department Store Records
Dates: 1915-1993
Bulk Dates: 1960-1969
Identification: MS-0265
Creator: Walker Scott Department Store
Physical Description: 16.61 linear ft
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Historical Note:

The Walker Scott Department Store was founded in downtown San Diego in 1935. The store's original owner, Ralf M. Walker, who already owned and ran Walker's Department Store in Los Angeles, passed away in New York six weeks before the San Diego store's opening. A former stock boy at the Los Angeles store, George A Scott, whom Mr. Walker had sent to the New York University of Retailing (1930) opened the San Diego store with Mr. Walker's widow, Eliza Fitzgerald Walker. Eliza Walker became president of the company while Scott held the title of vice president. Walker’s Downtown store opened on October 3, 1935, situated on 5th and Broadway. It eventually expanded to eight stories, and held San Diego County’s first escalators.
Upon the death of Eliza Walker in 1951, Scott became the president, director, chief executive and principle stockholder of the company. Three years later, the board of directors changed the company’s name to Walker Scott Department Store. In 1955, the company established a Service Center for additional accounting and shipping operations. In 1959, they purchased Stevenson’s in La Jolla, a store that continued operation under its original name. In 1960, the company opened what was the largest Walker Scott Department Store in the College Grove Shopping Center – San Diego's first suburban shopping center. It was situated on the north side of State Highway 94 at College Avenue with direct access from all major traffic roads in the area. The shopping center was surrounded by a parking area capable of accommodating 5,000 cars at one time.
Walker Scott’s Department Stores opened in the Linda Vista Shopping Center in 1963, the Escondido Village Shopping Center in 1964 and Oceanside in 1976. In 1970, the company added a fabric store in Lakeside, Ocean Beach and El Cajon. In 1968, Walker Scott purchased the Whitney’s Department Stores and operated two stores ran by that firm in Claremont and El Cajon. The company also operated branch stores in Palm Springs (1970), San Carlos (1973), Mission Valley (1973), Mira Mesa (1975) National City (1982) and Pacific Beach (1983). Each department store featured women’s, men’s, children’s apparel, and accessories, and sold yardage, bedding, appliances, radios, televisions, house wares, draperies, floor coverings, China, silverware, jewelry, furs, cameras, gifts, books, cosmetics, notions lingerie, millinery and toys.
In 1975, Robert J. Dicker and Boyd E. Alvord bought controlling interests of the company. The Board of Directors named Dicker as president and chief executive officer of Walker Scott Co. and Alvord as company vice president and secretary. Although sales peaked at $45.5 million in 1983, profitability declined. On January 5, 1989 the downtown store officially closed because it had lost its lease. The combination of a population shift to the suburbs and a new shopping center, Horton Plaza, with four major department stores, opening across the street from Walker Scott’s Department Store had pushed the company out of business. Dicker sold the chain to Harold Kapelovitz. He and his investors concluded that substantial loss for the company was imminent due to increased competition in the San Diego retail environment. Kapelovitz decided to close the remaining stores when the leases expired in 1986.
In addition to business affairs, George A. Scott was involved in numerous civic organizations such as the Boys Club, Salvation Army, USO Advisory Council, Community Chest, Fiesta de Pacifico, YMCA, San Diego Transit, San Diego Council of Churches, San Diego Hospital Association and many other committees. Scott was named “Mr. San Diego” by the Grant Club in 1954 and was the 1964 winner of the Golden Man and Boy Award of the Boys Club of San Diego. In 1976, the Central City Association named Scott “Man of the Century.” Scott wrote his book Your Future in Retailing in 1961 and donated all proceeds from the book to the National Distributive Education Clubs of America Program. Scott lectured extensively on retailing and merchandising as chairman of the Committee On Careers In Retailing of the National Retail Merchants Association. During his lifetime, he raised over $75 million dollars for local causes and received more than 200 civic and service awards.
Scott was born in Scotland in 1907, lived in Canada briefly and came to the United Sates and became a citizen in 1931. In 1952, he married Evelyn Hjelm. Their two children are George Walker Scott born in 1953 and Andrea Cox born in 1955. He died at the age of 86 in 1993.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Corporate Name:

Walker Scott Department Store Company -- Archives

Genre/Form of Material:

Corporate Records

Personal Name:

Scott, George A.
Scott, George A. -- Portrait
Walker, Eliza Fitzgerald
Walker, Ralf M.
Walker, Ralf M. -- Portrait

Topical Term:

California economic conditions of the 20th century
Department stores -- California -- History
Department stores -- California -- San Diego County -- History -- 20th century -- Sources

Administrative Information

Processing Information:

Processed by Alex Tea, May 2006.

Conditions Governing Use:

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, folder title, box number, Walker Scott Department Stare Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Arrangement of Materials:

I. Management Files, 1930-1985
   1.) Business Files, 1930-1985
   2.) Civic Files, 1943-1983
II. Minutes, 1939-1974
III. Newsletters, 1915-1986
IV. News Clippings, 1935-1993
V. Photographs, 1954-1976
VI. Artifacts, 1930-1993

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the activities of the Walker Scott Department Store Company, run by George A. Scott. The records date from 1915-1993, with the bulk of the documents created in the 1960s during the company’s expansion to other branch stores. The series are Management Files, Minutes, Newsletters, News Clippings, Photographs and Artifacts. The Management Files are further divided into Business files and Civic files. The Minutes include records of company meetings. The Newsletters include various company publications. The News Clippings include articles from local newspapers. The Photographs include pictures from formal events. The Artifacts include various audiovisual materials, attire, scrapbooks and portraits.
The Management Files series includes Business Files and Civic Files. The Business Files document the activities and business throughout the company’s existence, and contain such topics as advertising, store openings, stock, leases, financing, insurance, contracts and interactions with other retailers. It also includes opening plans of the College Grove branch and its groundbreaking ceremony which included family night, constructors’ night, symphony night and all faiths night. The Civic Files contain certificates, correspondence, budgets and project plans that Scott sponsored. He planned fundraisers for organizations such as the Boys Club, Salvation Army, USO and the War Chest. These files are labeled by subject and filed alphabetically.
The Minutes document the board meetings from 1939-1986. The minutes document issues, events and personnel affiliated with the department store. They reflect the efforts of department managers, executives, fashion, expense or salary committee members. A range of topics such as sales, promotions, and customer service are covered and range from specific store issues to overall district trends. They illustrate the problems the company had encountered in retail competition and loss of profits. The minutes are labeled by date and committee and filed chronologically.
The Newsletters include various company publications including The Clarion, Time and Tide, The Friendly Chatter and Walker Scott News. The Clarion documents the earliest newsletters from Walker’s Department Store in Los Angeles. Time and Tide and The Friendly Chatter document the first newsletters in Walker’s Department Store in Downtown San Diego. The bulk of the company newsletters are Walker Scott News which range from 1955 to 1986. The department store had expanded during this time so the newsletters included columns for each branch store as well as overall trends for the district. It also featured employee accomplishments, store events and sales advice. The newsletter issues are labeled by date and filed chronologically.
The News Clippings include articles from various local San Diego newspapers from the Downtown Store opening in 1935 until his death in 1993. The clippings include the department store’s advertisements, sales, promotional events and philanthropist events. Many of these articles discuss the success of the company. There are two large sections of a newspaper covering the opening of the Walker’s Department Store in Downtown San Diego in 1935. There is also a large section in the College Grove Independent in 1960 that advertised Walker Scott merchandise. The bulk of the clippings are small articles. The clippings are labeled by date and filed chronologically.
The Photographs collection consists of photographs from 1954-1976. It includes photographs of Scott with friends, colleagues and associates at various events and associations. These photographs have no internal arrangement and are housed in 11 folders.
The Artifacts consist of booklets, scrapbooks, loose pages of scrapbooks, portraits, posters, attire, awards and other memorabilia. The scrapbooks and loose scrapbook pages include newspaper articles, photographs, certificates, programs and other paper material. They are numbered in no discernible order. The posters and booklets describe the company or store events. The awards include a bronze plaque and a large certificate for Scott’s philanthropist work. There are several sound recordings including 7 magnetic tapes records of store meetings, a cassette of Scott’s memorial service and a record of the company’s 25th anniversary. Attire includes commencement gowns and a mortarboard, traditional Mexican clothing and a sombrero. The portraits are of Walker and Scott. The smaller artifacts are labeled by subject and filed chronologically in folders while the larger artifacts have no internal arrangement.

Detailed List of Contents


Management Files 1930-85


Business Files 1930-85

Box 1, Folder 1

Advertising Club 1965

Box 1, Folder 2

Anniversary Programs 1930-78

Box 1, Folder 3

Broadway-Hale 1960-67

Box 1, Folder 4

Broadway-Hale 1960-67

Box 1, Folder 5

College Grove All Faiths 1960

Box 1, Folder 6

College Grove Constructor's Night 1960

Box 1, Folder 7

College Grove Cornerstone 1960

Box 1, Folder 8

College Grove Correspondence 1960

Box 1, Folder 9

College Grove Family Night 1960

Box 1, Folder 10

College Grove Financing 1960

Box 2, Folder 1

College Grove Financing 1960

Box 2, Folder 2

College Grove Financing 1960

Box 2, Folder 3

College Grove Groundbreaking Ceremony 1960

Box 2, Folder 4

College Grove In-Store Organization 1960

Box 2, Folder 5

College Grove Opening 1960

Box 2, Folder 6

College Grove Symphony Night

Box 2, Folder 7

Corporation Stock 1965-76

Box 2, Folder 8

Corporation Stock 1965-76

Box 2, Folder 9


Box 2, Folder 10


Box 3, Folder 1

Walker Estate 1952-53

Box 3, Folder 2

Walker Estate 1952-53

Box 3, Folder 3

Enterprise 1955-59

Box 3, Folder 4

Equitable 1950

Box 3, Folder 5

Fitzgerald Stockholders' Agreement

Box 3, Folder 6

Fitzgerald Corporation Proceedings 1945-50

Box 3, Folder 7

Fitzgerald Corporation Proceedings 1945-50

Box 4, Folder 1

Fixture Agreement 1961-63

Box 4, Folder 2

Lease Indenture 1950

Box 4, Folder 3

Lease Indenture 1955

Box 4, Folder 4

Lease Memorandum 1956

Box 4, Folder 5

Loan from E.F. Walker 1953

Box 4, Folder 6

Long Term Financing 1960-64

Box 4, Folder 7

May Co. 1962

Box 4, Folder 8

May Co. 1962

Box 5, Folder 1

Memorandum 1959-60

Box 5, Folder 2

Mira Mesa Opening 1974-75

Box 5, Folder 3

Mira Mesa Proposal and Investment 1974

Box 5, Folder 4

Name Ownership 1967

Box 5, Folder 5

Notes and Correspondence 1976-85

Box 5, Folder 6

Reliance Insurance 1989

Box 5, Folder 7

Rotary Event 1961

Box 5, Folder 8

Sears 1978

Box 5, Folder 9

S.E. Economic Development

Box 5, Folder 10

Service Center 1972

Box 5, Folder 11

Sperry-Hutchingson Contracts

Box 5, Folder 12

Voting Trusts 1965-71

Box 6, Folder 1

Voting Trusts 1965-71

Box 6, Folder 2

Warehouse 1955-57

Box 6, Folder 3

Whitney's Department Store 1963

Box 6, Folder 4

Walker Scott Image 1974


Civic Files 1943-83

Box 6, Folder 5

Boys Club 1981

Box 6, Folder 6

Civic Tribute 1943-70

Box 6, Folder 7

Commencement 1968-75

Box 6, Folder 8

Commercial Value Analysis 1969

Box 6, Folder 9

Fiesta Budget 1956-58

Box 6, Folder 10

Fiesta Correspondence

Box 7, Folder 1

Jones Elementary School

Box 7, Folder 2

Mission Bay Project 1935-70

Box 7, Folder 3

Mission Bay Project 1935-70

Box 7, Folder 4

Personal Correspondence

Box 7, Folder 5

Salvation Army 1954-87

Box 7, Folder 6

USO 1945-83

Box 7, Folder 7

War Chest 1943

Box 7, Folder 8

Who's Running SD? 1977


Minutes 1939-74

Box 7, Folder 9

Department Managers 1939-40

Box 8, Folder 1

Department Managers 1941

Box 8, Folder 2

Department Managers 1942

Box 8, Folder 3

Department Managers 1943

Box 8, Folder 4

Department Managers 1944

Box 8, Folder 5

Department Managers 1945

Box 8, Folder 6

Department Managers 1946-47

Box 8, Folder 7

Department Managers 1948-49

Box 8, Folder 8

Department Managers 1950-51

Box 8, Folder 9

Department Managers 1952-53

Box 9, Folder 1

Department Managers 1954-55

Box 9, Folder 2

Department Managers 1956-57

Box 9, Folder 3

Department Managers 1958-59

Box 9, Folder 4

Department Managers 1960-61

Box 9, Folder 5

Department Managers 1962-63

Box 9, Folder 6

Fashion 1963-64

Box 9, Folder 7

Department Managers 1964-65

Box 10, Folder 1

Buyers 1964-72

Box 10, Folder 2

Expense 1964-65

Box 10, Folder 3

Executive 1964-66

Box 10, Folder 4

Fashion 1965-66

Box 10, Folder 5

Department Managers 1966,1968

Box 10, Folder 6

Expense 1966-69

Box 10, Folder 7

Fashion 1967-76

Box 10, Folder 8

Execute 1967-69

Box 11, Folder 1

Salary 1968-72

Box 11, Folder 2

Department Managers 1969-70

Box 11, Folder 3

Executive 1970

Box 11, Folder 4

Executive 1971

Box 11, Folder 5

Department Managers 1971-72, 1974

Box 11, Folder 6

Executive 1972-74


Newsletters 1915-86

Box 11, Folder 8

The Clarion 1920-25

Box 12, Folder 1

The Clarion 1926-27

Box 12, Folder 2

Time and Tide 1936-37

Box 12, Folder 3

The Friendly Chatter 1943,1948

Box 12, Folder 4

Walker Scott News 1955, 1959

Box 12, Folder 5

Walker Scott News 1960-61, 1964

Box 12, Folder 6

Walker Scott News 1965

Box 12, Folder 7

Walker Scott News 1966-67

Box 12, Folder 8

Walker Scott News 1968-69

Box 13, Folder 1

Walker Scott News 1970-71

Box 13, Folder 2

Walker Scott News 1972-74

Box 13, Folder 3

Walker Scott News 1975-79

Box 13, Folder 4

Walker Scott News 1980-83

Box 13, Folder 5

Walker Scott News 1984-86


News Clippings 1935-93

Box 13, Folder 6


Box 13, Folder 7

Walker's Opening 1935

Box 13, Folder 8


Box 14, Folder 1


Box 14, Folder 2

College Grove Independent 1960

Box 14, Folder 3


Box 14, Folder 4


Box 14, Folder 5



Photographs 1954-76

Box 14, Folder 6


Box 14, Folder 7


Box 14, Folder 8


Box 14, Folder 9


Box 14, Folder 10


Box 15, Folder 1


Box 15, Folder 2


Box 15, Folder 3


Box 15, Folder 4


Box 15, Folder 5


Box 15, Folder 6


Box 16, Folder 1


Box 16, Folder 2



Framed portrait


Framed portrait


Artifacts 1930-93

Box 16, Folder 3

17 Years Booklet 1952

Box 16, Folder 4

Favorite Songs of Walkers 1946

Box 16, Folder 5

Friendly Store Booklet 1944

Box 16, Folder 6

Guestbook 1950

Box 16, Folder 7

Loose Papers

Box 16, Folder 8

Loose Papers

Box 16, Folder 9

Loose Papers

Box 17, Folder 1

Negative Slides

Box 17, Folder 2

Portraits and Sketches

Box 17, Folder 3

Scrapbook 1

Box 17, Folder 4

Scrapbook 2

Box 17, Folder 5

Scrapbook 3

Box 17, Folder 6

Scrapbook 4

Box 17, Folder 7

Scrapbook 5

Box 17, Folder 8

Scrapbook 6

Box 17, Folder 9

Srapbook 7

Box 17, Folder 10

Scrapbook 8

Box 18, Folder 1

Scrapbook 9

Box 18, Folder 2

Scrapbook 10

Box 18, Folder 3

Scrapbook 11

Box 18, Folder 4

Scrapbook 12

Box 18, Folder 5

Scrapbook 13

Box 18, Folder 6

Scrapbook 14

Box 18, Folder 7

Scrapbook 15

Box 18, Folder 8

Scrapbook 16

Box 19, Folder 1

Scrapbook 17

Box 19, Folder 2

Scrapbook 18

Box 19, Folder 3

Scrapbook 19

Box 19, Folder 4

Scrapbook 20

Box 19, Folder 5

Downtown Meeting Tape 6 January 1959

Box 19, Folder 6

Store Meeting Tape 15 September 1960

Box 19, Folder 7

Beginner's Luncheon Tape 3 October 1962

Box 19, Folder 8

College Grove 35th Anniversary Tape 7 October 1969

Box 19, Folder 9

Company Meeting Tape 21 January 1970

Box 19, Folder 10

Jobholder's Meeting Tape 13 January 1972

Box 19, Folder 11

Jobholder's Meeting Tape 2 October 1973

Box 19, Folder 12

Scott's Memorial Service Cassette 22 October 1993

Box 20, Folder 1

25th Anniversary Record 3 October 1960

Box 20, Folder 2


Box 20, Folder 3

Walker Sketch

Box 20, Folder 4

SD Store-y

Box 20, Folder 5

503 San Diegans

Box 20, Folder 6

Walker's Store Sketch

Box 20, Folder 7


Box 20, Folder 8

R. M. Walker

Box 20, Folder 9

3 Large Photographs

Box 20, Folder 10

Walker's Silver Jubilee 1930

Box 20, Folder 11

Drugstore Picture

Box 20, Folder 12


Box 21, Folder 1

Commencement Attire

Box 22, Folder 1

Fiesta Attire

Box 23, Folder 1