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Register of the Bendel Family Papers, 1862-1965
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bendel Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1862-1965
    Collection number: Mss62
    Creator: Winifred Handley Bendel Stuart
    Extent: 9.75 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bendel Family Papers, Mss62, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

    Access Points

    personal name

    Bendel family
    Stuart, Winifred Handley Bendel (1889-1981)
    Bendel, Roland (1886-1965)
    Bendel, Roland, Jr.
    Bendel, Herman (1846-1920)
    Bendel, Cornelius Stockmar (1879-1964)
    Lombardi, Winifred Bendel
    Lombardi, Frank

    corporate name

    Decoto (Calif.) Volunteer Fire Department
    Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District
    United States. Navy -Enginemen
    United States. Navy -Airmen
    Fremont, City of -Records and correspondence


    Merchant mariners -United States -Diaries
    Merchant ships -United States
    Seafaring life -United States
    Brickworks -California -Niles
    Vaudeville -United States
    American diaries -California
    University extension -California
    Politics, Practical -California -Fremont
    Municipal government -California -Fremont
    Missouri -History -Civil War, 1861-1865
    Fremont (Calif.) -History
    Hawaii -History -1900-1959


    The Bendel Family lived for some one hundred years in Alameda County, California. The first generation were prosperous merchants with a strong interest in military affairs. In the second generation, two sons pursued military careers. The younger of these two, Roland Bendel, created most of the papers in this collection. His son, Roland Jr. became a US Naval aviator.
    Herman Bendel (1846-1920) was born in Oldenburg, Germany and came to the United States just before the Civil War. He raised a company of German volunteers for the Union Army in the St. Louis area and was Captain of this group (Co. "C," 2d Missouri Volunteers) until severely wounded (1862). Following his recovery, Bendel settled in San Francisco where he engaged in mercantile business. He spent some time in Honolulu (1866) manufacturing sugar. Returning to California he was active in the grape, wine and fruit packing industries in the Bay Area, before returning briefly to Germany (1870) to marry Cornelia Stockmar. Bendel and his wife, who had four sons and two daughters, settled in Oakland, where their Alice St. home was considered one of the finest in the city. Herman Bendel was one of the founders (1875) of the San Francisco firm of Tillman and Bendel, wholesale grocers and importers of teas, coffees and cigars. The Bendel's second son, Cornelius Stockmar (1879-1964), was a graduate of West Point (1903). He served in the Spanish American War, the Philippines, and World War I, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (1930). Herman and Cornelia Bendel's fourth son, Roland (1886-1965) attended the University of California (1908-1913), where he studied engineering. Roland Bendel worked as a merchant seaman during the summers of his youth, sailing as far afield as Sydney, Australia. During World War I he joined the US Navy and trained as a ship's engineer. In 1919 he married Oakland librarian (1912-19) Winifred Handley (b. 1889). Together they settled in Niles, California, where he operated a ranch and worked as plant foreman at the California Brick Co. In later years Roland Bendel was chief of the Decoto (Calif.) Fire Department and was also employed by the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District. His duties with the latter organization included repairing tide gates, inspecting marshes, and draining and cleaning ponds in southern Alameda County. He and his wife, Winifred, were active in the Washington Township Historical Society for whom Mrs. Bendel wrote a history of the Township (1949-50). They fought for the establishment of Fremont, a new city of created through the union of several hamlets in the vicinity of Niles (1956). Mrs. Bendel was a member of the first Fremont City Council, serving also as Vice Mayor between 1956 and 1959. In the latter year, she and two co-plotters staged a sudden coup, firing the City Manager in a special meeting at which they were the only Council members present. The firing probably had more to do with personality conflicts than with city business or the Manager's competence. In the uproar that followed, Mrs. Bendel was recalled. A right-wing Republican, she blamed "Communists" for attempting to take control of the city. Roland Bendel retired from the Decoto Fire Department in 1961. From that date until his death (1965), the Bendels continued to participate in Fremont affairs. Mrs. Bendel later married historian, Reginald Stuart (1967). She died in 1981.
    The Roland Bendels had two children: Winifred and Roland Jr. (b. 1920). Winifred married Frank Lombardi, an urban planner. He was appointed Territorial Planner for Hawaii (1957) and served as State Planner following Hawaiian statehood. Mrs. Bendel received a substantial body of correspondence from her daughter (1957-63) that is part of this collection. Roland Jr. attended the US Naval Academy, graduating in 1944. Following graduation he received training as a pilot and became a naval aviator.

    Scope and Content

    Series 1 of the Bendel Family Papers contains diaries, correspondence and biographical material pertaining to various members of three generations of the Bendel and Handley families (1861-1963). Through Rudolph Bendel, Sr.'s journals, these Papers are also a source for study of American maritime activities in the Pacific during the first two decades of the twentieth century. In Winifred Bendel Lombardi's Honolulu letters to her mother one gains an insider's glimpse of political life in Hawaii at the dawn of statehood. Series 2 contains drafts and notes generated by Winifred Handley Bendel in the course of her activities as a local historian and author in the City of Fremont and in Washington Township, Alameda County (Calif.). Series 3 contains minutes, reports and other documents pertaining to the affairs of the Fremont city government (1956-1959).