Image courtesy of the
San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, San Francisco Public Library.
Leidesdorff-Folsom Estate Papers
William Alexander Leidesdorff was born in the Danish West Indies in 1810. He came to California in 1841 as captain of the schooner Julia Ann. Engaged in trading between California and Hawaii, he had settled in Yerba Buena by 1845. He became a Mexican citizen and acquired the Rio de los Americanos rancho near Sacramento. Buying up property in Yerba Buena, he built a warehouse and the City Hotel here, and had bought a home by 1847. He served as U.S. vice-consul under Thomas Larkin, beginning in 1845, and launched the first steamer to sail San Francisco bay, the Sitka (later, the schooner Rainbow). Besides becoming one of the town's most prominent merchants, he served on the Town Council as Treasurer, and as a School Committee member. He died of typhus May 18, 1848 in San Francisco, and his estate, though encumbered by debt, increased greatly in value following the gold discovery. William D. M. Howard was named administrator of Leidesdorff's estate in 1848, then removed from that position the following year; Joseph L. Folsom then searched out heirs and purchased title to the Leidesdorff estate, becoming one of the wealthiest men in San Francisco.
|Joseph L. Folsom, from |
The Annals of San Francisco
The collection includes receipts, promissory notes, leases, correspondence, power of attorney and other papers collected by Leidesdorff, and later by Howard, administrator of Leidesdorff's estate, and finally, by Folsom, who purchased title to the estate. Claims submitted to Leidesdorff, and paid by him or by Folsom, make up the bulk of the collection. See our catalog record for this small manuscript collection: Leidesdorff-Folsom Estate Papers
You can see records for other manuscript collections by going to our online catalog and doing a call number search: SF MSS.