Register of the Shiman Family Papers, 1859-1921

Processed by Don Walker; machine-readable finding aid created by Don Walker
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University Library, University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2404
Fax: (209) 946-2810
© 1998
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Register of the Shiman Family Papers, 1859-1921

Collection number: Mss31

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections

University Library

University of the Pacific

Contact Information

  • Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
  • University Library, University of the Pacific
  • Stockton, CA 95211
  • Phone: (209) 946-2404
  • Fax: (209) 946-2810
  • URL:
Processed by:
Don Walker
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Don Walker
© 1998 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

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.

Series Description


San Lorenzo Store Records

Scope and Content Note


Box 1: Journals (1860-1875) Box 2: Journals (1876-1900) Box 3: Day Books (1859-1865) Box 4: Day Books (1873-Dec. 1, 1877) Box 5: Day Books (Dec. 2, 1877-Dec. 1, 1881) Box 6: Day Books (Dec. 2, 1881-Jun. 15, 1885) Box 7: Day Books (1888-1901) Box 8: Cash Books (1879-1896) Box 9: Other Business Records (1866-1894)

Shiman Family Personal Papers

Scope and Content Note


Box 1: Johanna J. Shiman Scrapbook; Correspondence; Clippings; Household Records

Container List


Series 1: Shiman San Lorenzo Store Records 1859-1901

Box Box 1:

Journals 1860-1875

Folder 1

1860-1863 [includes index]

Folder 2

1869-1871 [do.]

Folder 3

1870-1875 [do.]

Box Box 2:

Journals, 1876-1890

Folder 4

1876-1880 [no index]

Folder 5


Folder 5a

Index to #2

Folder 6

1885-1890 [no index]

Box Box 3:

Day Books, 1859-1865

Folder 1

Jun. 19, 1859-Aug. 15, 1859

Folder 2

Aug. 1, 1860-Aug. 15, 1861

Folder 3

Nov. 11, 1862-Dec. 31, 1863 [scattered dates in 1864 & 1865]

Box Box 4:

Day Books, 1873-Dec. 1, 1877

Folder 4


Folder 5

1876-Dec. 1, 1877

Box Box 5:

Day Books, Dec. 2, 1877-DEC. 1, 1881

Folder 6

Dec. 2, 1877-Aug. 19, 1879

Folder 7

Aug. 20, 1879-Dec. 1, 1881

Box Box 6:

Day Books, Dec. 1, 1881-Jun. 15, 1885

Folder 8

Dec. 1, 1881-Dec. 31, 1883

Folder 9

Jan. 1, 1884-Jun. 15, 1885

Folder Box 7:

Day Books, 1888-1901

Folder 10

1888-Oct. 11, 1889

Folder 11

Oct. 12, 1889-Dec. 31, 1890

Folder 12

1891-1901 [incl. employee payroll for 1901 in back]

Box Box 8:

Cash Books, 1879-1896

Folder 1

Cash Book, Feb. 3, 1879-Aug. 31, 1880

Folder 2

Cash Book, Feb. 5, 1886-Feb. 22, 1888

Folder 3

Cash Book supplement, Aug. 1, 1889-April 30, 1890

Folder 4

Cash Book, Mar. 17, 1890-Mar. 22, 1896

Box Box 9:

Other Business Records, 1866-1894


Purchase order book, 1866-1880


List of debtor names, 1871-1882


Wells Fargo & Co. Express Tariffs Book, 1881


"Inventory of stock," Dec. 26, 1888; "Inventory of stock sold to J. Lindsay," 1891 [lacks covers]


Misc. [store] Accounts, 1889-1894


Misc. Accounts, 1886-1891 [principally mortgage-secured loans to individuals and rent records]


Misc. business corresp., 1870s [5 items]


Misc. business corresp., 1880s [2 items, 3 l.]


Misc. stmts. & rcpts., 1870s [4 items]


Misc. stmts. & rcpts., 1880s [3 items]


Misc. tax rcpts., 1865-66, 69, 83-84 [9 items]


Misc. business licences [tobacco, liquor, etc.], 1885-86 [9 items]


Series 2: Shiman Family Personal Papers 1872-1921

Box Box 1:



Day Book [San Lorenzo store], Jul. 23, 1862-Jul. 29, 1862; Household expenses of Johanna Juliane Shiman, Oct. 9, 1872- Feb. 17, 1875; One page diary, Mar. 1875; Records of pay for household workers [washing, etc.], 1876 [lacks covers]


Cancelled checks written by John L. Shiman, 1887-91; by Johanna Shiman, 1906 [50 items]


Bay area business cards [5 items]


Johanna J. Shiman corresp., 1901, 1921


Johanna J. Shiman scrapbook, c1870-1910 [contains a few family clippings; chiefly news & oddities]


Loose scraps formerly laid-in scrapbook


Loose clippings formerly laid-in scrapbook


Misc. ballots, rcpts., ads, papers [13 items]