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Elise Stern Haas Family Photographs, circa 1855-circa 1987
BANC PIC 1992.078  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Introduction
  • Notes on Albums

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Elise Stern Haas family photographs
    Date (inclusive): circa 1855-circa 1987
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 1992.078
    Extent: ca. 6,425 items: ca. 5,700 photographic prints (ca. 2,700 comprised in 29 albums); ca. 660 negatives; ca. 65 miscellaneous items (e.g. slides, postcards, drawings, maunscripts). 42 digital objects (42 images)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Permission for the use of negatives, slides, and objects must be obtained in writing from the Curator of the Bancroft Pictorial Collections or authorized designate.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library 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], Elise Stern Haas Family Photographs, BANC PIC 1992.078, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital reproductions of selected images are available.

    Related Collections

    Title: Elise Stern Haas Family Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 92/810 c

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Elise Stern Haas Family Photograph Collection was transferred from the Elise Stern Haas Family Papers (BANC MSS 92/810 c).


    Elise Stern Haas was born in San Francisco, California on October 29, 1893, the only child of Rosalie Meyer and Sigmund Stern. Her father was president of Levi Strauss and Co., and nephew of Levi Strauss, a Bavarian immigrant who founded the San Francisco firm in 1850.
    Elise was raised on Pine Street and was taught to read and write at home by Miss Katherine Burke, who later founded Miss Burke's School (now the Katherine Delmar Burke School). At the age of nine she was sent to Pacific Heights School on Jackson Street and she graduated from high school in May, 1911.
    In 1914, Elise Stern married Walter Abraham Haas. He was president of Levi Strauss and Co. from 1928-1955. They had three children: Walter A. Jr., Peter and Rhoda. Under the management of their sons, Levi's has become the world's largest apparel manufacturer. Walter A. Haas, Jr. was also the owner of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. His son, Walter J. Haas, recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the Athletics. Elise and Walter had 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
    Elise Haas is remembered as a civic-minded philanthropist and devoted patron of the arts and culture of San Francisco. She served as the first female president of the city's Mount Zion Hospital from 1938-1940. She led the San Francisco League of Women Voters, the Visiting Nurses Association and Red Cross Blood Drives during World War II.
    Mrs. Haas was involved with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from it's inception in the 1930's and served as Chairman from 1964-1966. Under her leadership, the museum solidified its financial base and built up its permanent collection.
    Mrs. Haas, along with several family members, received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society award from the United Way of America in 1985. The citation stated that the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, founded in 1952, reflected "the family philosophy that wealth is a responsibility and the sharing of it is a way of life".
    Walter and Elise were married for 65 years. On their 60th anniversary, Walter said that of all their accomplishments, their children were most significant. The Haas family continues to carry on the legacy and makes generous contributions to educational and health institutions, the environment and social services organizations.
    Elise Stern Haas died at Mount Zion Hospital on October 20, 1990.
    By Linda Jordan

    Processing Archivist

    The Bancroft Library

    Scope and Content

    The Elise Stern Haas Family Photograph Collection contains circa 5,700 photographic prints taken from ca. 1855 to ca. 1987. The collection also contains circa 660 negatives, and circa 65 postcards, drawings, manuscripts, slides and other miscellaneous items. Compiled by Elise Stern Haas throughout her lifetime, the collection offers a broad pictorial sweep of several generations of a distinguished Bay Area family. The primary focus of the collection is Elise Stern Haas and her husband Walter A. Haas, Sr. Also pictured prominently are their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; their parents and siblings; and many other relatives, friends, and associates. While not thoroughly representative in its depiction of the family's various business and civic endeavors, the collection is exceptionally rich in its portrayal of the family's social activities and leisurely pursuits. A large portion of the collection documents Elise and Walter's travels abroad. Another sizeable portion depicts family gatherings and recreational outings. Smaller portions of the collection contain material pertaining to the Sigmund Stern Grove and to the Michael and Sarah Stein Memorial Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Many of the nineteenth century photographs contained herein were originally collected by Elise's mother, Rosalie Meyer Stern. Nearly half of the collection's prints are contained in 29 albums.
    In addition to the many family members pictured in the collection, a diverse assortment of other notable persons also appears. Included among them are U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, U.S. Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz, San Francisco mayors George Christopher and Joseph L. Alioto, San Francisco businessman Raphael Weill, University of California Chancellor Clark Kerr, writer and art collector Gertrude Stein, U.S. Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, Golden Gate Park Superintendent John McLaren, photographer Ansel Adams, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, performer Maurice Chevalier, Prince Charles of England, Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel, actor Boris Karloff, Washington Post publisher (and first cousin of Elise Stern Haas) Katherine Graham, conductor Pierre Monteux, U.S. Ambassador Henry Grady, violinist Isaac Stern, and printer and poet Raymond Duncan.
    Although the bulk of the photographs in the collection are snapshots, many professional portraits are also included. Among the more noteworthy photographers whose work is contained in the collection are Dorothea Lange, Arnold Genthe, Edward Weston, Johan Hagemeyer, Edward Steichen, Baron Adolph de Meyer, Kenneth Alexander, Ira L. Hill, Consuelo Kanaga, and Isaiah W. Taber.
    Among the locations pictured in the collection are the family's Atherton and San Francisco residences, Stern Grove, the Lake Tahoe area, the McKenzie River and Rogue River regions of Oregon (favorite Haas family fishing locations), and several international locales visited by the Haases on their many travels.


    The following section outlines the arrangement of the collection's series and subseries and provides a description of their contents. In the cases where a series contains subseries, a general series description is followed by more in-depth subseries descriptions. Each in-depth description - except for those of albums (see "Notes on Albums" below) - includes a container note referring to the location or various locations where the material is shelved.
    The photographs and albums have been divided into the following series and subseries based on the primary subject matter they depict or, in some cases, the events or activities which they document. A group of photographs taken at the birthday of Elise Stern Haas - for example - will be found under the subseries "Elise Stern Haas," whether or not she appears in all the photographs of that group, and regardless of whomever else may appear in those photographs.
    Only clearly identified persons, locations and photographers are listed in the following descriptions. All locations listed are in California unless otherwise stated. Various Haas residences appear frequently throughout the collection, and so are not listed as locations. Wherever possible, women are listed with both their maiden and married names, regardless of when they were photographed.
    Unless otherwise stated, the contents of each series and subseries have been arranged in rough chronological order.
    To facilitate access, the number of the series and, where applicable, subseries is included on the label of each folder and negative sleeve.
    Negatives and glass slides are stored separately from prints. The general subject matter and matching print status of negatives is included throughout the descriptions. (See "Access Restrictions" under ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION regarding restrictions on this material.)

    Notes on Albums

    All albums are categorized within various subseries of Series 1. Album descriptions will follow the description of the non-album material of each subseries. All albums are shelved in "ALB."
    Some albums originally contained material which, over time and through repeated usage, became unglued or otherwise detached from the album leaves. For preservation purposes, these items have been removed from the albums and stored with the non-album PIC-sized material. The following descriptions include references to any such removed material and its location.
    To better ensure the preservation of their contents, several of the albums have undergone various degrees of conservation treatment.