Guide to the Samuel N. Beard Papers

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The University Library
Special Collections and Archives
University Library
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California, 95064
© 1999
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Arts and Humanities--Literature Arts and Humanities--Film, Television, and Broadcasting Geographical (By Place)--California--Central Coast

Guide to the Samuel N. Beard Papers

Collection number: MS 86

The University Library

Special Collections and Archives

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California
Processed by:
Date Completed:
March 2002
Encoded by:
M. Carey
© 1999 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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

Collection Contents


Series 1 Correspondence, 1964-1968

Physical Description: Box 1:1-12

Scope and Content Note

The correspondence is concerned with the business side of Mr. Beard's writing efforts. Some of the institutions and persons involved are editor Nick Cominos, Executive Story Editor Barbara Schultz from CBS Television Network, Kim Novak, Scott Meredith from the Literary Agency, and Writers Guild of America West, Inc.


The material has been arranged alphabetically by correspondent, containing both incoming and outcoming letters.
Box-folder 1:1

CBS Playhouse, with submitted screen plays, November 1967

Box-folder 1:2

Cominos, Nick September 1964-May 1968

Box-folder 1:3

Imperial Productions Inc. (I.P.I), March 1968

Box-folder 1:4

Meredith, Scott, July 1965-August 1968

Box-folder 1:5

Novak, Kim (a signed letter) and William Morris Agency, October 1966-January 1967

Box-folder 1:6

Perl [?], February-May 1967

Box-folder 1:7

Schultz, Barbara, October 1967-February 1968

Box-folder 1:8

Vantage Press, October 1967-January 1968

Box-folder 1:9

Attached promotional material

Box-folder 1:10

Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., July 1965-May 1968

Box-folder 1:11

Manuscript registration receipts, 1965, 1967-1968

Box-folder 1:12

Miscellany, 1956, 1968


Series 2 Articles, 1965-1967

Physical Description: Box 1:13-17

Scope and Content Note

This series includes articles, essays and newspaper clippings used by Mr. Beard as a reference material, as well as an article published in The Packer celebrating Mr Beard's 50th year in the produce industry.


Arranged alphabetically by author.
Box-folder 1:13

Gindes, Andrew A Man on the Moon: The NFWA Political Farm Unionism in California

Box-folder 1:14

Gindes, Andrew Steinbeck's People: A Study in Cultural Despair of Oklahoma Migrants in California During the Years of Drought

Box-folder 1:15

Robison, Lewis (Ed.) "The International Harvesters", Western Grower and Shipper, February 1967

Box-folder 1:16

Roak, Jeff "Sam Beard in 50th Produce Year", The Packer, July 15, 1967

Box-folder 1:17

Newspaper clippings, 1965-67


Series 3 Writings, 1965-1968

Physical Description: Box 1:18-27, Box 2, Box 3:1-19

Scope and Content Note

This series contains many scenarios, first drafts, rewrites, and carbon copies of television scripts and screenplays, as well as a copy of the screenplay by Earl Haley of "The Vacuum Murders" (original story by Earl Haley and Sam N. Beard).


Material is arranged alphabetically by a title
Box-folder 1:18

"But for the Grace of God", typescript

Box-folder 1:19

"The Cabbage Deal", typescript

Box-folder 1:20

"Call My Banker", typescript

Box-folder 1:21-27

"Death on the Dogwood", typescript drafts, TV scripts

Box-folder 2:1-7

"The Drunken Irrigator", outlines, typescript drafts, TV scripts

Box-folder 2:8-9

"Fooled", TV scripts

Box-folder 2:10

"The Fruit Tramps", typescript

Box-folder 2:11-13

"Gas-Pipe", typescripts, TV script

Box-folder 2:14-15

"Getting Even", typescript, TV script

Box-folder 2:16

"Growers Soliloquy", typescript

Box-folder 2:17

"The House on Cedar Street", TV script

Box-folder 2:18-20

"King of the Valley", typescripts, TV script

Box-folder 2:21

"Mexicali Nights", typescript

Box-folder 2:22

"The Secret of the Moon", outine

Box-folder 2:23-25

"Shoestring to Shoestring", typescript, TV script

Box-folder 2:26-28

"Ten Chinamen", TV scripts

Box-folder 2:29-31, 3:1-2

"Theba", TV scripts, additional scenes

Box-folder 3:3-6

"The Vacuum Murder", typescript, TV script, screenplay, Agreement of Ownership

Box-folder 3:7-10

"Victim of Misplaced Confidence", typescripts, TV scripts

Box-folder 3:11-13

"Who's the Dame?", typescript, TV scripts

Box-folder 3:14-17

"The Wrong Crop", typescripts

Box-folder 3:18

"Tales of imperial Valley", a bound typescript

Box-folder 3:19

Incomplete manuscript, "Middleton is still talking ..."


Series 4 Photographs, 1930-1965

Physical Description: Box 3:20-22

Scope and Content Note

Includes photographs of various acquaintances and locations, with several of the Barbara Worth Hotel, in El Centro, CA, shots taken before and after the fire.


Arranged by size.
Box-folder 3:20

3x5, [2 color photos]

Box-folder 3:20

Barbara Worth Hotel, Aftermath of the fire, entrance, January 21, 1962

Box-folder 3:20

Barbara Worth Hotel, Aftermath of the fire, street corner, January 21, 1962

Box-folder 3:21

5x7, [7 photos]

Box-folder 3:21

Samuel N. Beard, in front of the Barbara Worth Hotel, June 1933

Box-folder 3:21

"The King of the Valley", Mr. Maljan in front of Barabara Worth Hotel, ca. 1930-1939

Box-folder 3:21

H.S. "Doc" Tusler, First West Coast buyer of Lettuce for the Kroger Baking and Grocery Comapany, Cincinnati, Ohio, ca. 1930-1939

Box-folder 3:21

"Tommie", Western Union messenger boy, El Centro, CA ca. 1930-1939

Box-folder 3:21

"Tommie", Western Union messenger boy, El Centro, CA, 35 years later, ca. 1960-1969

Box-folder 3:21

Barbara Worth Hotel, lobby, ca. 1950-1959

Box-folder 3:21

Barbara Worth Hotel, street corner view, ca. 1950-1959

Box-folder 3:22

8x10, [6 photos]

Box-folder 3:22

"The King" and his wife, Los Angeles, CA

Box-folder 3:22

"King's Row Brand: Grown & Packed by King Maljan and Co.", poster reproduction

Box-folder 3:22

Annex of Barbara Worth Hotel, scene 1, October 1965

Box-folder 3:22

Annex of Barbara Worth Hotel, scene 2, October 1965

Box-folder 3:22

The First F.O.B. lettuce auction held in the basement of the Barbara Worth Hotel, 1929-1930

Box-folder 3:22

"A Desert Tragedy", painting hanging in the lobby of the De Anza Hotel, Calexico, CA, 1965


Series 5 Miscellaneous, 1920-1965

Physical Description: Box 3:23-25

Scope and Content Note

Includes a list of Mr. Beard's personal files found in his Salinas Office, a few personal notes, and clippings
Box-folder 3:23

Inventory of Salinas Office Papers, August 1967

Box-folder 3:24

Newspaper Reproductions of images of Barbara Worth Hotel, 1920-1960

Box-folder 3:25