Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Inventory of the C. M. Silva & Son Correspondence
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (100.03 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms
  • Access
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights

  • Creator: C. M. Silva & Son
    Title: C. M. Silva & Son Correspondence
    Date (inclusive): 1874-1886
    Extent: 1.4 linear feet
    Abstract: Charles M. Silva (1823-1894) and his son Edward B. Silva (1854-1952) operated C.M. Silva & Son, a nursery specializing in fruit trees and plants, in Newcastle, California. This collection contains 135 letters written to C. M. Silva & Son from 1874-1879. Also included is one volume of outgoing correspondence from July to December 1886. The correspondence discusses growing fruit trees and plants, orders for their fruit and plant stock, shipping procedures, the quality of their products, and account debits and credits.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Davis, California 95616-5292
    Collection number: D-417
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English.


    Charles M. Silva (1823-1894) was a native of Richmond County, New York who moved to California in 1849. A resident of Newastle, California from 1864 to 1894, Silva first planted several fruit trees and strawberry vines there in 1868. He was one of the first to discover the adaptability of Newcastle's soil for growing fruit trees and plants and became one of the pioneers of the fruit and nursery business in Placer County. Silva and his son, Edward, operated a nursery, C.M. Silva & Son, in Newcastle.
    In 1870, the Silvas had about ten acres under cultivation, and although their fruit trees had not matured, they received approximately nine hundred dollars per acre each year from different kinds of berries. They marketed five tons of strawberries in 1870, averaging twenty cents per pound. They shipped thirty thousand dollars worth of fruit in 1874 and the business had doubled annually for the preceeding four years. In 1875, they had thirty acres planted in fruit trees and strawberries.
    Charles Silva had three children: Edward Burton Silva (February 16, 1854-April 24, 1952), Jennie Culver (July 17, 1858-April 27, 1941) and Elizabeth Oldham (September 7, 1860-June 14, 1948). He passed away on November 7, 1894.
    Gittings, Samuel Evans. The foundations of Placer County horticulture, 1850-1900. Auburn, CA: Placer County Historical Society, 1996.
    Lardner, William Branson. History of Placer and Nevada counties, California: with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present. Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1924.
    Obituary of Charles M. Silva. Placer Republican, November 9, 1894.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains 135 incoming letters to C.M. Silva & Son from 1874-1879. One volume of outgoing letters from July to December 1886 is also included.
    Correspondents include other nurserymen such as J. Capps and Sons of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, McKinley Brothers of Los Angeles, John Rock of San Jose, and Shinn's Nurseries of Alameda County and fruit and produce merchants such as M.T. Brewer of Sacramento and Hixson, Justi and Co. of San Francisco, among others. Also present are three letters from Edward Payson Roe, a novelist and cultivator of small fruits. The correspondence discusses growing fruit trees and plants, orders for Silva's products, shipping procedures, the quality of Silva's products, and account debits and credits.

    Arrangement of the Collection

    The collection is arranged in two series: Incoming and Outgoing.

    Related Material

    The Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection (O-009) contains price lists and descriptive circulars from C.M. Silva & Son from 1878-1887.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    C.M. Silva & Son
    Silva, Charles M., 1823-1894
    Silva, Edward B., 1854-1952
    Rock, John, 1836-1904
    Roe, Edward Payson, 1838-1888
    Shinn's Nurseries
    J. Capps and Sons
    Newcastle (Calif.)--History
    Nurseries (Horticulture)--California
    Nursery growers


    Collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    Sara Gunasekara processed this collection and created and encoded this finding aid.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], C. M. Silva & Son Correspondence, D-417, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.

    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 the Department 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.