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Magnes collection on Adolph Sutro, 1858-1993.
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Magnes collection on Adolph Sutro, 1858-1993


Western Jewish History Center, 272.


Judah L. Magnes Museum, WJHC 1968.003.


Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life


Online Archive of California


The collection contains biographical material on Adolph Sutro; personal documents such as Sutro's citizenship certificate; correspondence, including seven letters to Sutro from James Phelan, who succeeded Sutro as the mayor of San Francisco; ephemera from Sutro's 1894 campaign for mayor of San Francisco; financial documents and ephemera for the Sutro Tunnel project; tickets for the Sutro Baths as well as Sutro's 1894 patent for the design of the baths; a card from the Sutro Railroad Company; business and calling cards; pamphlets, including Sutro's letter to the University of California Regents in 1895 and a pamphlet produced for the dedication services of the Sutro Monument in 1887; a variety of personal financial records, including real estate tax records, checks, invoices from a range of nineteenth-century San Francisco businesses, receipts from Jewish organizations (such as the Eureka Benevolent Society), estate documents, and deeds; and photographs and pictorial materials. Most of the photographs are reproductions from other collections. Original photographic prints include one of the entrance to Sutro Heights (c. 1895). The oversize folder includes Comstock Tunnel Company bonds, Sutro's citizenship papers, property tax records, and a California Senate resolution to Adolph Sutro (1867). The oversize box in the collection contains a congratulatory book presented to Sutro by representatives of the City of Boston on the occasion of Sutro's election as Mayor in 1894.


1858 (issued)


Sutro, Adolph -- 1830-1898 -- Correspondence
Sutro, Adolph -- 1830-1898 -- Estate
Sutro Baths (San Francisco, Calif.)
Cliff House (San Francisco, Calif.)
Sutro Railroad Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
Sutro Tunnel Company.
Mayors -- California -- San Francisco
Political campaigns -- California
Real property -- California -- San Francisco
Property tax -- California
Comstock Lode (Nev.)
Sutro Tunnel (Nev.)
Sutro Heights Park (San Francisco, Calif.)
A. Bertin, Dyeing and Cleaning (San Francisco, Calif.)
A. Vignier, Importer (San Francisco, Calif.)
A. Zellerbach and Sons (San Francisco, Calif.)
Albert Huber, German Confectionery (San Francisco, Calif.)
Alex W. Whelden, Carpet Beating and Renovating (San Francisco, Calif.)
American Biscuit Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
Anglo American Crockery and Glassware Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
August Schiller, Meat Dealer (San Francisco, Calif.)
B.M. Atchinson and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
B. Miller, Dealer in Poultry and Game (San Francisco, Calif.)
Baglietto and Cadenasso (San Francisco, Calif.)
Bennett and Company, Fish Dealers (San Francisco, Calif.)
Bibo, Newman and Ikenberg (San Francisco, Calif.)
Bibo Bros. Fine Groceries (San Francisco, Calif.)
Brown and Wells, Produce Dealers (San Francisco, Calif.)
Buchanan Bros, Dealers in Brushes, Brooms and Feather Dusters (San Francisco, Calif.)
C. Reuss and Bro. Bakery and Confectionery (San Francisco, Calif.)
Charles Brown and Son, Dealer in Stoves, Kitchen Supplies and Furnaces (San Francisco, Calif.)
D.N. and E. Walter and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
Lace House (San Francisco, Calif.)
Parisian Bakery (San Francisco, Calif.)
Mrs. F. Barr, Manufacturer of Unbrellas and Parasols (San Francisco, Calif.)
Fonge and Lehman (San Francisco, Calif.)
Friedman and Wolff, Pioneer Matzo Bakers (San Francisco, Calif.)
Goldberg, Bowen and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
H.A. Rosenbaum, Meat Dealer (San Francisco, Calif.)
H. Browne, Fish Dealer (San Francisco, Calif.)
Herrmann and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
J. Frank and Sons (San Francisco, Calif.)
J.J. Fenton and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
J.J. O'Brien and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
J.O. Meyerink (San Francisco, Calif.)
J.R. Gates, Wholesale Druggists (San Francisco, Calif.)
J. Straus and Company Crockery (San Francisco, Calif.)
John P. Elkind, Oyster Dealer (San Francisco, Calif.)
L. Altschul and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
Langley and Michaels, Wholesale Druggists (San Francisco, Calif)
M. Meussdorffer Fine Hats (San Francisco, Calif.)
M. Meyer and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
Mack and Company, Wholesale Druggists (San Francisco, Calif.)
Nathan Dohrmann and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
O'Connor, Moffatt and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
Pascal, Dubedat and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
The White House Department Store (San Francisco, Calif.)
Roos Brothers (San Francisco, Calif.)
Schuster Brothers (San Francisco, Calif.)
Swain's Bakery (San Francisco, Calif.)
T. Salomon, Grocer (San Francisco, Calif.)
Zentner, Cohn and Company (San Francisco, Calif.)


Formerly: Western Jewish History Center Collection Number 272.
Formerly: Judah L. Magnes Museum Collection Number WJHC 1968.003.
COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.
Magnes collection on Adolph Sutro, BANC MSS 2010/613, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro was born in 1830, in Aachen, Prussia. After immigrating to the United States, he moved to San Francisco in 1850. After starting as a merchant, Sutro planned and promoted a tunnel that he designed to drain the water from the mines of the Comstock in Nevada. The Sutro Tunnel faced many obstacles, including a lack of funding and opposition by some miners. Its completion, in 1878, made Adolph Sutro a very wealthy man. This wealth allowed him to buy one-twelfth of the land mass of San Francisco. In 1881, he bought the Cliff House Restaurant, which was located on the city's beach. In 1892, Sutro developed the Sutro saltwater baths to provide an entertainment for the city's inhabitants. The baths officially opened to the public in 1896. After a fire destroyed the Cliff House, on December 25, 1894, he spent $50,000 of his own money to have it rebuilt. As a bibliophile, he gave his enormous library of books and manuscripts, many of which were in the Hebrew language, to the State of California. Sadly, more than half of this collection was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. He also fought for good, cheap water, better mass transportation, and for the preservation of the environment. He made money as a real estate entrepreneur and later donated a great deal of his land to the city of San Francisco, including twenty-one acres that later became the site of the University of California, San Francisco's Medical Center. Sutro was sufficiently concerned about the politics of his day that he ran for and was elected mayor of San Francisco (1895-1896). He died a short time after he finished his single term. Though Sutro was not religious he maintained Jewish ties. At Sutro's funeral, the rabbi of San Francisco's Congregation Sherith Israel, Jacob Nieto, observed, "So long as one stone remains above the other in San Francisco... Sutro will be remembered as the one man who fearlessly fought against overwhelming odds to protect the rights of the people."


Political campaigns.

Physical Description:

1 box, 1 oversize box, and 1 oversize folder (.8 linear feet)





Copyright Note:

COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.