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Guide to the James Rankin & Sons Records, 1921-1991 (bulk 1921-1958)
BANC MSS 92/96 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: James Rankin & Sons Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1991
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1921-1958)
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 92/96 c
    Creator: James Rankin & Sons
    Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 1 portfolio, 1 oversize folder Linear ft.: 1.7
    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], James Rankin & Sons records, BANC MSS 92/96 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The James Rankin & Sons Records were given to The Bancroft Library in December 1991, by James Rankin & Sons.

    Scope and Content

    Born in May 1851, James Rankin immigrated to the United States from Scotland when in his teens. He first found employment and learned the trade of plumbing from his uncle, Mr. Dalziel of Oakland. He continued to work with his uncle for about twenty years until he was able to establish, in partnership with a Mr. Moore, his own firm, Rankin & Moore. Five years later, Mr. Rankin sold his interest to Mr. Moore and began independently. In 1904 he took his two sons into partnership with him, the firm being known as James Rankin & Sons. Their business was very successful both as to quality and quantity of work, winning them many friends and patrons.
    In 1923 William Randolph Hearst contracted with James Rankin & Sons to install heating and plumbing facilities at Hearst Castle, San Simeon, then at Wyntoon Estate near McCloud, and also at Jolon, California. The James Rankin & Sons records contain correspondence, invoices, clippings, and a memoir which provide information about the installation process in these three locations. This collection supplements other records on the history of Hearst Castle, in particular concerning the plumbing and heating facilities in Hearst Castle, and at Wyntoon Estate.
    Along with the correspondence of William R. Hearst, the records also contain correspondence with Julia Morgan, the prominent architect who designed and supervised the constructions both in San Simeon and at McCloud. The invoices record in detail all aspects of the work.
    The most interesting item in this collection is Mr. James Rankin's reminiscence recounting his contact with William Randolph Hearst, Sr., regarding plumbing installations in Hearst Castle. Clippings, about Hearst Castle, Julia Morgan, and James Rankin are included, as is a drawing of the plumbing layout for the poultry farm at Hearst Castle.