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Guide to the Leonard McKay Research Papers, 1793-1991
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Collection Overview
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The Leonard McKay Research Papers consist of photographs and papers that document the history of the Santa Clara Valley region. These materials were gathered by the late printer and historian Leonard McKay during his personal research into the history of the region. The papers include approximately 2100 original and reproduced slides and negatives depicting agrarian and urban life, technology, and local events. The papers also include Spanish, Mexican, and American civil records, locally created scrapbooks, and a large assortment of topical research files. Collectively, these pictorial and textual resources form a significant body of research material spanning the late 18th- to 20th- centuries, documenting economic, cultural, and social development within San José and the Santa Clara Valley region.
Leonard McKay, Jr. was born to Leonard Mortimore McKay, Sr. and Eugenia Adelina Nenn on October 21, 1921 in San José, California. He was born to a family with pioneering roots in the Santa Clara Valley and a tradition deeply entwined with the printing press. After managing the family printing business for 37 years, Eliza “Bessie” Smith sold the business to her grandson Leonard McKay Jr. in 1956. McKay and Bessie also agreed to revert to the original company name, the Smith and McKay Printing Company (1). McKay ran the Smith and McKay Printing Company until 1983, when he sold ownership to his son David. In 1986, he opened Memorabilia of San José and operated the business until his retirement in 2003. Beginning in the 1960s, he started to exclusively collect art created by Santa Clara Valley artists such as A.D.M. Cooper, Andrew Putnam Hill, and Louis O. Lussier. To this day, the ensemble of art collected by McKay remains a distinctive record of social and cultural memory in the Santa Clara Valley. From 1994 to 1995, McKay served his community and fellow Rotary members as president of the San José Rotary Club. Following his passion for local history, McKay was active in the Santa Clara County Pioneers, History San José, and served several terms on the board of the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History. On October 17, 2006, McKay passed away in Santa Clara, California. (1) The Trailblazer (Quarterly Bulletin of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County) , Volume 39, Number 3, September, 1998
Containers: 12 boxes and 4 filing cabinet drawers

Volume: 11.5 cubic feet
Copyright has not been assigned to the Sourisseau Academy. Neither the original photographs nor the digital images held by the Sourisseau Academy may be reproduced, published, or used on the Internet without the expressed, written permission of the Executive Secretary. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Sourisseau Academy 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. The credit line, "Courtesy of the Edith C. Smith Trust Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History" must accompany any such use.
Collection is open for research.