Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Copies of William Heath Davis Manuscripts Holdings in the California State Library, Sacramento, ca. 1840-1909
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
William Heath Davis (1822-1909) was a merchant in San Francisco, a real estate developer in San Diego, and an author. The collection consists of 2 reels of 35mm. positive microfilm of correspondence and other material related to Davis' business in Northern California.
William Heath Kanaka Bill Davis was born in Hawaii in 1822, the grandson of a Polynesian princess; accompanied his stepfather on voyages to Alaska, and when he was ten, to California; learned merchandizing from his uncle Nathan Spear, a wealthy merchant with stores in San Francisco and Monterey; operated store in San Francisco, served briefly on the town council, and became a millionaire by age 28; invested in 160 acre waterfront property, now located between Front Street and Broadway in San Diego; sent for six prefabricated buildings from Portland, Maine in 1849 and built a wharf and warehouse called New Town; however it did not attract sufficient business, and became known as Davis' Folly; Davis wrote Sixty Years in California (1889) and Seventy-Five Years in California (published posthumously in 1929); he died in 1909.
1 oversize box
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.