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Guide to the Rodman M. Price papers, 1843-1892.
BANC MSS C-B 455  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Rodman M. Price papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1843-1892.
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 455
    Creator: Price, Rodman M. (Rodman McCamley), 1816-1894
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes
    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: 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], Rodman M. Price papers, BANC MSS C-B 455, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    Source: T.W. Norris Collection; and purchase from Edwin Grabhorn, Nov. 24, 1942.

    Scope and Content

    The papers in this collection were purchased from Edwin Grabhorn, Nov. 24, 1942. Some additional material came from the T. W Norris Collection.
    The collection includes correspondence relating mainly to Rodman Price's land in San Francisco and to the lawsuits concerning it. There are some letters and a few papers pertaining to Price's career as a purser in the U. S. Navy; a few letters written to Price as Governor of New Jersey; miscellaneous accounts and legal papers; correspondence and accounts of the Banking firm of Ward & Price.
    The bulk of the collection, however, centers around two law suits involving property in San Francisco. The first case was Du Pont vs. Wetherman, Price et al, 1857-1864. When Price and Du Pont were stationed in Monterey in 1846, Du Pont had Price buy some land for him in San Francisco. Du Pont later gave Price a power of attorney to sell the land. Price sold it for $8,000 to his lawyer, who, having Price's power of attorney, bought it for Price. When Price returned East, he gave Du Pont $4,000, the rest of his possessions having been burnt in a fire on the steamer. Du Pont, in the meanwhile, had been told the property was worth much more, and finally brought suit to get back the property. Since, by this time, Price had sold the property to Wetherman, Du Pont had to sue Wetherman.
    The second case, Price vs. Dewey et al, 1857-1864, is somewhat similar in nature. Price, when he went back to New Jersey, gave General Keyes his power of attorney, whereupon Keyes sold all Price's land for a low price to Dewey and Payne in 1853. Price, four years later, brought charges for fraud against Dewey and others.
    There are also a few papers relating to three other cases: Price Vs. Price, relating to his father's estate; the U. S. Government Vs. Price, pertaining to Price's accounts as Purser in the Navy; and Price vs. Ward et al.


    Rodman McCamley Price, naval officer and Governor of New Jersey, was born in New Jersey, went to Princeton and studied law. He married Matilda Trenchard, the daughter of a naval captain.
    In 1840 Price received an appointment as purser and was sent first to Europe. He was with the Cyane in 1846, became alcalde in Monterey, was sent back to Washington, returned to San Francisco after the gold discovery to facilitate the transmission of funds. At this time he made money in real estate and was involved in California politics, being a member of the first California constitutional convention. In December 1849 he was relieved of duty as naval agent. He lost receipts and vouchers as well as all his personal possessions when the steamer burned on his return trip to Washington. This loss resulted in a long litigation with the United States Government.
    In 1850 Price was elected to the House of Representatives in New Jersey, and in 1853 he was elected Governor, serving a three year term from 1854 to 1857. He showed a good record as a constructive legislator. Not being eligible for a second term, Price retired from politics to his farm in New Jersey.