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Register of the Title of collection: Stuart (Reginald R.) Papers, Unit date: 1904-1975
Call number: Mss6  
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The Stuart Collection is arranged in eight series. Series I contains family pedigrees, genealogy correspondence and narrative accounts of the lives of members of Stuart's extended family. This series also contains a complete run of Reginald Stuart's "Clan Stuart Dial" (1935) and "Clan McMillen Memories" (1935-1940). Series II contains Reginald Stuart's diaries and datebooks (1922-1975) as well as Grace Dell Harris' early diaries (1911-1913); Series III contains Reginald, Esta Ross and Grace Dell Stuart's personal and business correspondence (1904-1970). Series IV consists of the business papers of Reginald Stuart and his first two wives. This series is subdivided into three categories: property and financial records; realtor's papers; and, educator's papers. Series V contains Reginald Stuart's writings, including a five volume autobiography and typescript drafts of his various published articles and books on local history topics. Series VI consists of Stuart family wills, memorabilia and audio tapes. Series VII contains writings by others, including family friends and other local historians. Topics include 19th c. family and travel narratives, as well as essays on various aspects of Western American history. Series VIII consists chiefly of framed plaques, certificates and other oversize materials.
A historian, educator, businessman and collector, Reginald R. Stuart (1882-1975) enjoyed a long, varied and productive life. Raised on an Iowa farm, Stuart received business training at Iowa State Teachers College (1900-1904) and first taught at a commercial school in his home state (1904-1908). During this time he met and married shorthand teacher, Esta Ross (1906). Following the lead of other members of his family, Stuart moved west, first becoming head of the commercial department at Vancouver [Wash.] High School (1908-1910) and, a short time later, at San Jose [Calif.] High School (1910-1914). Here was born the Stuart's only child, "Red" (Reginald Ross Stuart, 1910-1946). In pursuit of a better salary, Stuart left San Jose to become head of Adult Education at Oakland (Calif.) Technical High School (1914-1929). Stuart also formed an Oakland real estate company and acquired through this enterprise a considerable fortune (1922-1929). Mrs. Stuart meanwhile taught shorthand in the Berkeley school system. During these years Reginald and Esta Stuart purchased several Oakland houses and commercial buildings as well as a Santa Cruz Mountains ranch known as the "John Brown Ranch" because the great Abolitionist's widow had owned the property during the 1860s. This remote acreage caused the busy Stuarts considerable difficulty, since they were obliged frequently to seek caretaker tenants for the property and were often disappointed in their choices. During the 1920s Stuart's interest in California family and local history also began to develop. In 1929 he became Principal of the Adult Division at Oakland's Merritt Business School (1929-1932), and shortly afterward the Stuarts were divorced (1932). That same year Reginald Stuart moved to Castlemont High School where he remained until retirement. In 1934 he married another fellow teacher, Grace Dell Harris (1890-1966), and together they embarked on a life dedicated to "exploration," research, writing, and collection of local history materials. From 1935 through 1940 Reginald Stuart published genealogical periodicals dedicated to news and information about clans Stuart and McMillen. He subsequently published numerous articles on East Bay history in the Oakland Tribune and the San Leandro Reporter (1942-1952) and gradually acquired a 10,000 volume library of Western Americana, as well as a substantial collection of manuscripts. When Reginald and Grace Stuart retired from teaching (1947) they turned eagerly to writing. Within a decade the Stuarts had published six books, including: The Burrell Letters (1950); San Leandro, A History (1951); How Firm a Foundation; a centennial history of the San Leandro Methodist Church (1953); The Fred Finch Children's Home (1955); and, Tully Knoles of Pacific (1956). In 1953 Reginald Stuart gave his library and manuscript collections to the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Shortly thereafter he became Director of the California History Foundation at the College and Grace Stuart became Curator of the Stuart Collection (1955-1964). During his years as Director of the Foundation Stuart participated in the establishment of the Jedediah Smith Society and the quarterly Pacific Historian. The Stuarts completed two more volumes: Calvin B. West of the Umpqua (1961) and Corridor Country [a history of the Amador-Livermore Valley] (1966) before Grace Stuart's death (1966). From the early 1960s Reginald and Grace Stuart also fostered an annual conference on world and national problems at Lynnewood, their Pleasanton, Calif. estate, and, following Grace Stuart's death, Stuart gave this property to the University of the Pacific. He subsequently married Winifred Bendel of Fremont, an amateur historian and long-time family friend (1967).
Collection is open for research.