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Finding Aid to the William Heath Davis Papers, 1840-1905
BANC MSS C-B 445  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: William Heath Davis Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1840-1905
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 445
    Origination: Davis, William Heath, 1822-1909
    Extent: Part I: 3 boxes and 5 volulmes Part II: 2 microfilm reels
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Heath Davis Papers, BANC MSS C-B 445, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Scope and Content

    This collection of his papers was assembled from several sources: some documents removed from the T. W. Norris, Robert B. Honeyman and Robert E. Cowan Collections of Californiana; some material purchased in 1956 from Miss Inez Estudillo; and photocopy and film from the California State Library in Sacramento. Sources are noted on the folders.


    William Heath Davis was born of a Boston sea-faring, ship-owning family, in Honolulu in 1822. Visiting California as a boy, he returned in 1838 to clerk in a store in Monterey owned by his uncle, Nathan Spear, and subsequently engaged in trading trips to Yerba Buena and the Hawaiian Islands. In 1845 he settled in San Francisco, established his own business and became one of the city's most prominent merchants and ship owners. In 1847 he married María de Jesús Estudillo, daughter of Joaquin Estudillo, a wealthy rancher. In addition to his mercantile activities he was instrumental in the founding of San Diego and Oakland. He died at Hayward, California, April 19, 1909.