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Leask Family papers, 1861-2002.
MANUSCRIPT 2521-2600
Collection Overview


Leask Family papers, 1861-2002


The Leask family papers collection includes several generations of correspondence collected from the lives and works of patriarch Samuel Leask, Sr. and granddaughter, Peggy Leask Epstein:
Part I consists of the papers of the patriarch Samuel Leask, Sr., who lived between 1861-1964. Although these papers cover some of his boyhood days in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the bulk covers the history of his adult years in the city and county of Santa Cruz, California. 15 boxes contain his personal, business, civic and reference papers. In addition, one of the boxes contains the genealogy, photographs, memorabilia and awards of both the Leask family and the Epstein family.
Part II contains correspondence between granddaughter Peggy Leask Epstein and her husband Emanuel Epstein between 1942 and 1946. This correspondence gives insight to the life of Peggy before marriage, including farm experiences (harvesting peaches) at her father's (Haswell Leask) and uncle's (Sherwood Leask) farm at Waterford, in Stanislaus County, to the courtship and marriage of Peggy and Emanuel, and to the newly married couple during the strains of World War II. Other correspondence, during these years, is between Peggy and her grandparents (Samuel and Clara Leask), her parents, (Haswell Thomson Leask and Hazel Shepard Netherton Leask), and her children (Jared Epstein and Jonathan Epstein).
Part III contains chronological correspondence between Peggy and Emanuel Epstein and the vast and far-reaching community of family, friends and business contacts conducted between the late 1940's and 2000. Business letters, logs of travel, cards of remembrance, announcements, diaries, calendars and philanthropies are included.
Part IV contains biographical papers, speeches, radio broadcasts and photographs of Samuel Leask, Jr., who was also active in civic and public service. Samuel Leask, Jr. served as a general partner in the Leask store in Santa Cruz, became the Vice-President of the Los Angeles May Department Stores (later J.W. Robinson Company), served as director of the Federal Office of Price Administration, Southern California District, became a city administrative officer in Los Angeles and served as an administrator in the Health and Welfare Agency for the State of California.
Part V contains ephemera and papers of other family members as named: Clara Leask (including letters from Clara's mother and father, Fannie Haswell and Israel Johnson; Clara's final will and other memorabilia), Haswell Thomson Leask, Samuel Leask III, Stephen Martinelli, Jr., John William Linscott's (dear friend) autobiography; Mission School memorabilia and items of realia.


1861 (issued)


Part I (Samuel Leask, Sr.): 2521. Personal papers (1943): biographical, financial, financial correspondence, incoming -- 2522. Personal papers (1944-1948): financial correspondence, incoming and outgoing, legal and memorials -- 2523. Personal papers: Leask Grove Memorial, religion and travel diary (1914) -- 2524. Personal papers: correspondence incoming (A-T) -- 2525. Personal papers: correspondence incoming (U-Z); correspondence outgoing (1900-1964) -- 2526. Business papers: legal, historical and partnership.
Continued Part I (Samuel Leask, Sr.): 2527. Business papers: partnership, trusts, anniversary and correspondence (1902-1949) -- 2528. Business papers: financial, memorabilia, Gottschalk's and Seaside Company -- 2529. Civic papers: Santa Cruz City and Keith Memorial -- 2530. Civic papers: Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz Library, Retail Dry Goods Association, and Sequoia papers -- 2531. Papers: business subjects (A-Z) -- 2532. Papers: reference (A-P) -- 2533. Papers: reference (R-S) -- 2534. Papers: reference (S-Z) -- 2535. Ephemera: Leask family genealogy, Epstein family genealogy, scrapbook and realia.
Part II (Peggy and Emanuel correspondence, 1942-1945): 2536-2542.outgoing -- 2543-2551. incoming.
Part III (Name correspondence, 1946-2002): 2552-2554. Jared Epstein -- 2555-2556. Jonathan Epstein -- 2557-2558. Donna Epstein -- 2559. Jonathan D. Epstein and Nathaniel and Jessica Epstein -- 2560. Emanuel Epstein, business -- 2561. Emanuel Epstein, personal -- 2562. Theo and Gretal Epstein.
Part III continued: 2563. Gabriel and Josette Epstein -- 2564. Hannah Epstein -- 2565. Harry and Bertha Epstein (MUVA) -- 2566. Peggy Epstein, business -- 2567. Moma and sisters -- 2568. Garamendi, Hirtz, Oshman, Raveed, Roedder.
Part III: (Emanuel and Peggy Epstein's chronological correspondence, n.d.-2003 and Peggy's calendars and philanthropic activities): 2569-2582. Chronological correspondence, n.d.-2003. -- 2583-2585. Peggy's calendars. -- 2586-2587. Peggy's philanthropic activities).
Part IV: (Samuel Leask, Jr.): 2588. Personal -- 2589. Radio broadcasts, speeches and photographs -- 2590. Photographs and awards -- 2591. Administrative papers -- 2592. Administrative papers (book format).
Part V: (Other family members): 2593. Clara Haswell Johnson Leask, Fannie Haswell Johnson (Clara's mother) and Israel Johnson (Clara's father); Clara's final will; Samuel Leask III (correspondence and In Memoriam); Stephen Martinelli, Jr. (correspondence and European trip in 1960); John William Linscott (correspondence and autobiography); Mission Hill School.
Part V continued: 2594. "Connections with the Past" by Dorothy Leask Coles; "Kate's Memories about the Leask Family;" Susan Haswell Diary; Edwin Haswell correspondence; Haswell family genealogy; Haswell Leask autobioraphy, memorabilia (n.d.-1985), and genealogy.
Part V continued: 2695. Haswell Thomson Leask correspondence from school (1910, 1912; 1914), military (1917, 1918), letters to "Mamam", general correspondence (1909-1985) and letters to "Valley Growers" (1932-1982). -- 2596. Haswell Thomson Leask travel correspondence (1939-1968). -- 2597. Jared Epstein memorabilia. -- 2598. Jared Epstein memorabilia. -- 2599. Jared Epstein memorabilia. -- 2600. Realia: (Leather bag and tin box).


Leask, Samuel -- 1861-1964 -- Archives
Epstein, Emanuel -- Archives
Epstein, Hazel Margaret (Peggy) -- 1919- -- Archives
Epstein, Jared Haswell -- 1945-1967 -- Archives
Epstein, Jonathan Harry -- 1948- -- Archives
Turner, Donna Brown Epstein -- Archives
Epstein, Jonathan David -- 1967- -- Archives
Leask, Samuel Johnson -- 1894-1990 -- Archives
Leask, Samuel -- 1920-1981 -- Archives
Leask, James Bonar -- 1901-1982 -- Archives
Leask, Clara Johnson -- 1869-1947 -- Archives
Leask, Haswell Thomson -- 1895-1998 -- Archives
Leask, Hazel Netherton -- 1895-1974 -- Archives
Hart, Roberta Leask -- Archives
Hirtz, Walter -- Archives
Hirtz, Martha -- Archives
Raveed, Deborah -- -2002 -- Archives
Johnson, Israel -- 1842-1895 -- Archives
Johnson, Fannie Haswell -- -1929 -- Archives
Leask family.
Santa Cruz (Calif.) -- History
Aberdeenshire (Scotland)
Waterford (Calif.)
World War, 1939-1945
Los Angeles County (Calif.) -- History


Samuel Leask Sr., son of Samuel Leask and Ann Thomson, was born December 26, 1861 in Tarves, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Although his formal education ended at the age of thirteen, he acquired a taste for knowledge generated from the instruction he received in those thirteen years. His schooling consisted of mathematics, English Grammar, composition, Latin (through the first book of Euclid), penmanship, history and Presbyterian Church catechism. Samuel attained the ability to recite and remember the best literature of Scotland and England and years later, as a centenarian, he could still recite Gray's "Eulogy in a country church yard!"
After leaving school, Samuel apprenticed as a draper in Aberdeen, Scotland and was later employed for two years as a journeyman. He was 19 years old when he moved to London, England. On May 23, 1883, Samuel Leask bought a cheap steerage ticket and immigrated to the United States. The voyage included a stopover at Antwerp, Belgium before arriving at Castle Garden, New York City, the immigration station prior to Ellis Island.
Samuel Leask sampled employment in Boston, Massachusetts, New York City, Memphis, and the small frontier community of Abilene, Texas before moving west to San Francisco in March, 1884. In San Francisco Samuel began employment with Murphy, Grant and Company, then worked for Charles Ford and Company for seven years, then moved to Santa Cruz in 1892. Santa Cruz would become home for Samuel Leask and his wife, Clara Lydia Johnson Leask. Santa Cruz is where Samuel and Clara Leask raised their five children: Samuel Johnson Leask, Haswell Thomson Leask, Sherwood Robert Leask, Fannie Margaret Leask and James Bonar Leask, and where Samuel opened Leask's Department Store.
Samuel Leask Sr. believed in self-improvement throughout his life. He read numerous books and maintained a great interest in local politics and social problems. Samuel's public service in Santa Cruz began when he served on a committee to build a public library. He remained a library trustee in Santa Cruz for 40 years.
Other community service included serving on the Santa Cruz city school board for two terms, serving an appointment by Governor C.C. Young in 1929 on a commission to survey educational conditions in the State of California, serving as a member of the Board of Freeholders to write a charter for the City of Santa Cruz, serving to establish Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton (Calif.), serving as a member of the first State Board of Minimum Wages for Women, serving on the Park Commission and serving as President of the Dry Goods Association.
After 70 years of prominent active service in the civic affairs of Santa Cruz City and County and living a legacy of 102 years, true to his Scottish heritage of demonstrating passionate involvement with his family and community through loyal service and committment, Samuel Leask Sr. passed away August 20, 1964.
Leask family papers, 1861-2002.
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.
Gift ; Samuel Leask's granddaughter, Mrs. Emanuel Epstein (Peggy Epstein) ; 1995.
Gift ; Mrs. Roy M. Holmes ; 2005.


Photographic prints.
Group portraits.

Physical Description:

80 manuscript boxes : ill., ports.




MANUSCRIPT 2521-2600



Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.