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Guide to the Frank Colton Havens Papers, 1881-1935
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Frank Colton Havens Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1881-1935
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-I 64
    Origination: Havens, Frank Colton, 1848-1917
    Extent: Number of containers: 8 v. (in 4 pkgs.) and 4 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.
    Abstract: Relating mainly to his real estate developments in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, Calif., and association with Francis Marion ("Borax") Smith, Wm. J. Dingee and Horace W. Carpentier. Records for the Piedmont Development Company, Hotel Claremont Company, Realty Syndicate, Peoples' Water Company and other enterprises, included. Some reflect participation of his nephew, George Sterling.

    Also, ledger, 1881-1883: transactions of Havens & Company, stockbrokers, San Francisco.

    With these, correspondence and papers of Mrs. Havens relating to settlement of her husband's estate and her own association with the Villa Site and Development Company.

    Added to the papers; (Box IV): copy of report by Henry A. Lafler on water and water companies in Oakland, 1866-1910; album prepared by the Business Men's Club of Oakland, 1962, on Havens' tree planting in the hill area and other tree planting data for Alameda County; file of related maps from Havens' papers.
    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], Frank Colton Havens papers, BANC MSS C-I 64, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


    Frank Colton Havens (1848-1917) a native of Sag Harbor, New York, came to California in 1866, after a year's shipping experience in China. At first employed by the Savings and Loan Society in San Francisco, he formed a stock brokerage firm about 1880 in partnership with Van Dyke Hubbard. He also organized several insurance and investment firms previous to his organization of the Realty Syndicate in 1895 in association with F. M. ("Borax") Smith.
    This large scale enterprise involved real estate and utility developments for the whole East Bay. After 1906 Mr. Havens withdrew from active management of the Syndicate to devote himself to the affairs of the People's Water Company and various other real estate promotions in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, but particularly in Piedmont. The extensive plantings of pine and eucalyptus trees on the East Bay hills were a part of all these development activities.
    Mr. Havens was twice married. Of the first marriage, to Miss Sadie Bell (Sarah Pierson Bell. Born 4/7/53. San Francisco), of Virginia City, Nevada, there were four children, including his son, Wickham, who likewise became a noted realtor in the Oakland-Berkeley area. His second wife was Lila M. Rand whose sister, Caroline, became the wife of Mr. Havens' nephew, George Sterling, California poet.

    Scope and Content

    Some of the earlier material reflects the association of George Sterling in his uncle's business. Much of the later correspondence and many of the papers relate to Mrs. Lila R. Havens' efforts to collect money from her husband's estate; some pertain to her own association with real estate projects initiated by her husband.
    Groups of Havens' papers have been presented to the Bancroft Library over the period, December, 1960 to January, 1962, by David D. Oliphant, Jr., who had been attorney and executor for Mr. Havens' widow.
    These papers have been roughly sorted and arranged as follows: