Saturday, April 11, 2009

Charles Crocker Letters 1890s

Charles Henry Crocker was born August 29, 1865, in Sacramento, the son of H. S. (Henry Smith) Crocker and nephew of Charles Crocker (of the group railroad barons that built the Southern and Central Pacific Railroads, as well as the Crocker National Bank). When nine years old he came to San Francisco with his parents. He later attended the University of California, graduating in 1887 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

His business training began at once. C. H. Crocker went to work in his father’s printing and publishing company, the H. S. Crocker Company, as an apprentice in the lithographing department. Gaining experience from the ground up, young Charles proved his general capability and was elected one of the company directors. Subsequently he became treasurer, then vice-president, and upon the death in 1904 of his father, assumed the presidency. He grew the business to be the largest of its kind west of Chicago.

Mr. Crocker was married to Carlotta L. Steiner in 1905 at the Hotel del Monte Resort of Monterey. Charles and his family lived north of San Francisco in Belvedere. He passed away in 1935 and his wife five years later.

I happened across this collection of letters from and to Charlie, aka C. H. Crocker. The dates are all in the late-1890s. They are varied in content and include correspondence with his parents and many young ladies. They range from mundane to steamy!It seems that Charles followed the lead of his father in requesting that personal letters be held for one year after his death, unopened, and then burned or destroyed. Most of these were in packets with a note to that effect and many were charred, as someone obviously saved them from the flames.

These are two of the interesting ones. The first is a love letter that had a flower dried into it. Over the years, the flower has left its mark on the letter.The other is curious. “No letter came to-day, so I won’t write either. I think it is a shame to treat me so, there now.” The “no letter” was then sent!There were also many letters sent from hotels and other places bearing engraved letterheads with real class. Included were the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza Hotels in New York, the famous Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park, the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Steamship Doric, and the H. S. Crocker Company and Koch Stationers of Berlin, Germany. The local California hotels included the best there were: the St. Francis in San Francisco, the Vendome in San Jose, the del Monte in Monterey and the Van Nuys in Los Angeles.All of these original letters are available in our shop. Some are online at Pretty Ribbons. We sell packets of three non-letterhead letters or two letters on letterhead for $6.95 per packet. We also have individual letters that have special content for a variety of prices.

1 comment :

  1. I got some of these and they are great! It's amazing that they have been around for so long and are still in such good shape. Thanks.


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