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Finding Aid for the William Heath Davis Papers, 1840-1891
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Heath Davis Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1840-1891
    Collection number: 2041
    Creator: Davis, William Heath, 1822-1909
    Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: William Heath Davis (1822-1909) was born in Hawaii. He learned merchandizing from his uncle Nathan Spear. Davis was also a real estate developer and an author. The collection consists of correspondence, legal papers, accounts, bills, business records, cash and cargo books, and miscellaneous papers.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    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.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Additional Physical Form Available

    A copy of the original version of this online finding aid is available at the UCLA Department of Special Collections for in-house consultation and may be obtained for a fee. Please contact:
    • Public Services Division
    • UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
    • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
    • Box 951575
    • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
    • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
    • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Robert E. Cowan, 1945.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Heath Davis Papers (Collection 2041). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 964622 


    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.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Correspondence (Box 1).
    2. Legal papers, accounts and business records (Boxes 1-2).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Davis, William Heath, 1822-1909--Archives.
    Real estate developers--California--Archival resources.
    Merchants--California--Archival resources.
    Online resources.

    Related Material

    Manuscripts in the California State Library, Sacramento (Collection 104). Available at Department of Special Collections, UCLA.