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Guide to the Samuel N. Beard Papers
MS 86  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Samuel N. Beard Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1929-1968
    Collection number: MS 86
    Creator: Beard, Samuel N.
    Extent: 3 boxes

    1.3 linear ft.
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection consists mostly of television scripts and short stories by Mr. Beard about life in the agricultural packing industry of California's Salinas and Imperial Valleys. A small portion of the material includes correspondence, photographs, and articles.
    Physical location: Collection stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Samuel N. Beard Papers, MS 86, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Dhilip Basu in 1995.


    Biography/Organization History

    "For an exciting, always interesting endeavor -- each day fascinatingly different -- I can think of no activity that matches the produce business. It demands resourcefulness, initiative, hard work and dedication. But it lavishes great rewards to those who can qualify, and who can capably perform the needed services. It is the last frontier of free enterprise..." --S.N. Beard
    "The gaunt, black-haired 23-year-old bond salesman, who stood on the corner of 15th and Champa Streets in Denver, Colorado, in a snow storm in the late winter of 1917, watching the funeral cortege of Buffalo Bill wending its way to the famous frontiers-man's last resting place on Lookout Mountain, would have thought these strange words indeed. Not until a few months later when S. N. (Sam) Beard joined T. F. Lynch & Company in the old city market of Denver at 12th and Champa Streets did he even know the world of fresh fruits and vegetables existed." --Jeff Roark, The Packer, July 15th, 1967.
    Samuel N. Beard (S.N. Beard), was born in 1894, in Colorado. Early in 1924, he moved to California with his wife, Ocean and their two children, taking a job with C. I. Sawdey of Sawdey and Hunt, one of the largest lettuce growers-shippers on the West Coast. After a year with the Sawdey California Company, Beard started his own brokerage and merchandising business. He was among the first 500 granted licenses under the Perishables Agricultural Commodities Act when it was activated in 1930. The business thrived from 1927 until the early 1930s when the stock market crash of 1929 and following depression caught up with the fruit and vegetable business. Early in 1934, the Beards moved north to Salinas, re-establishing, S.N. Beard & Company, the brokerage and merchandising operation which used the Salinas River Valley area as a base, while working the winter months in the Imperial Valley. There he spent the next thirty years at the fore-front of the fruit and vegetable business in California's central valley.
    In the early 1960s, Beard developed into a heavy speculator. It was an experience that left him financially depleted and indepted. To recover financially, Beard took to writing. Encouraged by his friends in and out of the produce business, he used his recollections of the early produce days as subject matter for his stories. His first book, Tales of Imperial Valley, with titles like "King of the Valley", The Cabbage Deal", and "The Wrong Crop", told of the ups and downs of the vegetable and melon business in the Imperial Valley early in the century. Beard also wrote scripts for motion pictures and for TV. The story "The Vacuum Murder" was being developed into a full length TV movie at the time of his death.
    Sam Beard died Phoenix, AZ in 1969 and is buried in Salinas, CA.

    Scope and Content

    The bulk of the material consists of television scripts and short stories about life in the agricultural industry of California's Salinas and Imperial Valleys. The colorful group of characters depicted include brokers, buyers, growers, packers, shippers, and field workers, who juggled the unpredictable cycles of the fresh produce industry in locales such as, San Diego, Los Angeles, Calexico, Mexicali (Mexico), and El Centro during the 1930's. The scripts themselves were written by Mr. Beard in the 1960's, and collected into a book format Tales of Imperial Valley. The collection of stories was never published. The archive also holds correspondence, receipts, a few photographs and newspaper clipping all relating either to the scripts, or the agricultural culture.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Beard, Samuel N.
    Television Scripts--1960's
    Lettuce Industry--California
    California--Salinas River Valley