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Register of the Shiman Family Papers, 1859-1921
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Shiman Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1859-1921
    Collection number: Mss31
    Creator: Reginald R. Stuart
    Extent: 7.5 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], Shiman Family Papers, Mss31, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    John L. Shiman and his wife Johanna J. Shiman came to California from Germany in the mid-19th century. John Shiman settled at San Lorenzo, Alameda county, where he operated a general merchandise store, and, in 1857, became first postmaster. For about twelve years he was in partnership with Lewis Lengfeld (1853-c1865) then remained in business for himself until his death in 1898.
    During the 1870s Shiman purchased substantial tracts of agricultural land east of San Lorenzo and north of San Lorenzo Creek where he grew cherries. He was one of the first California growers to ship fruit east by refrigerator railroad car.
    By the 1880s Shiman apparently owned stores in San Leandro, Mt. Eden and San Lorenzo. His Mt. Eden store stood on the north corner of present-day Hesperian Boulevard and Jackson Street. Shiman's insurance accounts reveal that he also owned a butcher shop and a cobbler shop, as well as residential properties in Oakland and southern Alameda county. From the late 1880s, three of his four sons, Louis G., William J. and Lorenzo also participated in the operation of the various family businesses. The original Shiman Store in San Lorenzo ceased operations after 1901.
    Southern Alameda county seems first to have been a German enclave, although by 1900 it was probably more widely known as a Portuguese colony. Many of the important pioneers of southern Alameda county--especially those with German and Portuguese surnames--did business with John L. Shiman. Biographies of nine of these individuals, including Edward Clawiter, Justus Gading, J.H. Gansberger, William Meek, Henry Meininger, George S. Meyer, Erik Ruus, and A.W. Schafer, are to be found in various histories of Alameda county.

    Scope and Content

    The Shiman Family Papers consist principally of the records of the San Lorenzo store. These records occupy six journals (1860-1863, 1869-1890), eleven day books (1859-1863, 1873-1885, 1888-1890), three cash books (1879-1896), an inventory book (1888, 1891) and a purchase order book (1866-1880). There is also a small collection of business correspondence (1870-1890), tax receipts and miscellaneous licences.
    A secondary collection within the papers consists of a scrapbook, scattered correspondence and some domestic accounts (1872-1875) produced by Mrs. Johanna Shiman. These materials are partly in German.