Guide to the De Shields Family Papers

Elizabeth Happy; Maria Ortiz
African American Museum and Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2013
African American Museum and Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Guide to the De Shields Family Papers

Collection number: MS 20

African American Museum and Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Elizabeth Happy; Maria Ortiz
Date Completed:
09/30/1995
Encoded by:
Sean Heyliger
© 2013 African American Museum and Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: De Shields Family papers
Dates: 1862-1945
Collection number: MS 20
Creator: De Shields, Albert
Collection Size: .25 linear feet (1 box)
Repository: African American Museum and Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: The De Shield Family Papers document three generations from the De Shields family. The bulk of the papers document the life and businesses of Ivan De Shields.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

Access Restrictions

Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish from the De Shields Family Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

De Shields Family papers, MS 20, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Acquisition Information

These papers were donated by Albert De Shields on June 12,1992 to the Northern California Center for Afro-American History and Life.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Happy and Maria Ortiz (photographs) September 30, 1995

Biography / Administrative History

Benjamin De Shields
Benjamin De Shields was born in Camden, New Jersey on July 2, 1834. He married Anna M. H. Williams of Boston on September 1, 1862, and his occupation is listed as gilder on his marriage certificate. All that is evident of his early life from the collection is that he stayed in Boston, Massachusetts after his marriage, where his son Ivan was born. In 1872, a business letter is addressed to him in Fredericksburg, Virginia. However, that same year, a land survey was made in California (presumably for Benjamin), and by 1895 he had bought land in Oakland and Fruitvale. With his wife, Anna, he had two children: Ivan, and a daughter, Bernice.
Ivan De Shields
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1866, Ivan De Shields came to California with his parents, where he lived for the next 50 years of his life. He and his wife Eula adopted a boy, William, and had two sons of their own, John and Albert. The couple was divorced at the time of Eula's death on October 17, 1945. Ivan had a distillery in Fruitvale which distilled oils, primarily Eucalyptus oil, which he sold for aliments, including rheumatism, toothache, diphtheria, whooping cough, and asthma. He also was a driver for two laundry companies: Home Laundry and the Palace Hotel Laundry. A member of the Knights of Pythias, as well as a member of the Democratic party, Ivan died on May 3, 1945.
Albert De Shields
The youngest of the three sons of Ivan and Eula De Shields, Albert graduated from the McClymonds High School in Oakland, California in 1930. He is listed in the school yearbook as participating in the Dramatics Club, the Short-Story Club, and ROTC.
Horatio L. Scott
A friend of Ivan De Shields, Horatio Scott was born in Oakland. He travelled to Australia and then on to South Africa, where he worked in the Johannesburg gold mines. Unsympathetic to the Dutch in South Africa, he enlisted on the side of the British during the Boer War and served in the Light Horse Infantry. He was the only African American to obtain a gun permit in South Africa. Horatio returned to California and spent the remainder of his life touring the country giving lectures on his travels to churches and fraternal orders.

Scope and Content of Collection

The De Shield Family Papers document three generations. The bulk of the collection concerns the life and businesses of Ivan De Shields. His personal papers consist primarily of documents, such as a voter registration card, a poll tax receipt, and his death certificate. There are two postcards reminding him of Masonic Lodge meetings, and a deposit book for the Knights of Pythias, of which he was a member of the sick committee. Most of his materials, however, relate to his businesses, such as promotional materials for the Eucalyptus oils he produced in his distillery. There is also a business letter and some inventory slips for two laundry companies. Some files record Ivan's financial affairs, such as receipts for state and county taxes between 1904-1927, as well as a letter and receiver's certificate concerning debt refinancing of the California Safe and Deposit and Trust Company. A letter from Los Angeles, addressed "Dear Cousin," solicits his investment in a business venture.
The papers of his father, Benjamin De Shields, give only a brief glimpse into his personal life, such as a marriage certificate and a letter from a friend describing San Francisco in 1886. The bulk of his papers are legal documents regarding land titles, satisfaction of mortgage, and two surveys of land owned by him in 1872 and 1875.
Albert De Shields represents the third generation and his papers consist of his diploma from McClymonds High School, Oakland, California in 1930, as well as the school yearbook, in which he appears on page 19. The materials concerning Horatio L. Scott are miscellaneous items relating to his travels away from Oakland which are described in two biographical newspaper clippings enclosed. Among these items are a gun permit from South Africa, 3 letters, and a club sponsorship based on his service with the British infantry during the Boer War.

Arrangement

Series I. Ivan De Shields Series II. Benjamin De Shields Series III. Albert De Shields Series IV. Horatio L. Scott Series V. Photographs

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
African American families.
Medicine, Botanic--United States--History.
African American business enterprises.

Related Material

An oral history tape on the De Shields Family is part of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland oral history collection.

Collection Contents

 

Ivan De Shields

 

Biographical

Physical Description: 4 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Includes a handwritten ledger of family births, marriages, and death dates. A few documents concern his personal records, such as a voter card and poll tax receipt.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
Box 1:1

Family birth and death registry undated

Box 1:2

Voter registration cards 1910, 1938

Box 1:3

Postcards 1916-1917

Box 1:3

Death certificate 1945

Box 1:3

Knights of Pythias card 1945

Box 1:3

San Francisco ferry commuter 1901

Box 1:4

Memorandum book 1927

 

Business activities

Physical Description: 7 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

These files concern Ivan De Shields' financial affairs, such as state and county tax receipts and his deposit books, as well as materials for businesses: the selling of Eucalyptus oil and two laundries. The materials concerning Eucalyptus Oil include letterhead, promotional literature and labels. For the Palace Hotel Laundry and the Boston Quick Laundry, there is a letter, an account and an inventory form.

Arrangement

Arranged by format and thereafter by date.
Box 1:5

Tax receipts 1904-1927

Box 1:6

Deposit books 1907-1927

Box 1:7

Correspondence circa 1890s-1910

Box 1:8

Business receipts 1890-1925

Box 1:9

Advertisements 1900 and undated

Box 1:10

Letterhead and business cards undated

Box 1:11

Laundry tickets 1907-1909

 

Benjamin De Shields

 

Biographical

Physical Description: 2 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

The files contain a marriage certificate, a character affidavit, and a letter.

Arrangement

Arranged by format and thereafter by date.
Box 1:12

Marriage certificate 1907-1909

Box 1:13

Correspondence 1872-1886

 

Business activities

Physical Description: 2 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

These files contain legal documents relating to property transactions, such as deeds, titles, and two surveys of land tracts.

Arrangement

Arranged by format and thereafter by date.
 

Legal documents

Box 1:14

Lease, Benjamin De Shield to Augustus Salisbury 1895

Box 1:14

Agreement between Benjamin De Shield and J.H. Kruse 1893

Box 1:14

Recorders receipt 1896

Box 1:14

Satisfaction of mortgage, A.J. Samuel to Benjamin and Anna M. De Shields 1903

Box 1:14

Deed of gift, Benjamin De Shield to Anna M. De Shields 1897-03-05

Box 1:14

Deed of gift, Benjamin De Shield to Anna M. De Shields 1897-02-12

Box 1:14

Summons and complaint, City Street Improvement Company vs. Benjamin De Shields 1900

Box 1:15

Field notes of section 10 township 13 north range 10 west M.D.M. undated

 

Albert De Shields

 

Biographical

Physical Description: 2 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This material contains Albert De Shield's high school diploma from McClymonds High School in Oakland, California in 1930 and the school yearbook.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by format.
Box 1:16

High school diploma 1930

Box 1:17

McClymonds High School yearbook 1930

 

Horatio L. Scott

 

Biographical

Physical Description: 1 folder

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Contains biographical sketches of Scott from two newspaper clippings, his gun permit, an affidavit for membership into the British and American Club, and three letters.

Arrangement

Arranged by significance (clippings) and thereafter by date.
Box 1:18

Correspondence: William McMillan to Horatio L. Scott 1901-1909

Box 1:18

Newspaper clippings undated

Box 1:19

Certificate authorizing the purchase of guns, powder, etc. 1896

 

Photographs

Physical Description: 2 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Consists of 16 photographs of the De Shields family; includes an ambrotype, tintype, cartes de visites, and a cabinet card.

Arrangement

Arranged by accession number.
Box 1:19

Portrait of unidentified man holding book [001] circa 1850s-1860s

Box 1:20

Portrait of Anna M. De Shields [002] circa 1860s

Box 1:20

Portrait of Anna M. De Shields holding Ivan De Shields (infant) [003] 1866

Box 1:20

Portrait of unidentified man [004] undated

Box 1:20

Portrait of Sheldon Ides [005] undated

Box 1:20

Portrait of Doris Leurs [?] [006] circa 1928

Box 1:20

Ivan De Shields [007] circa 1920s

Box 1:20

Ivan De Shields sitting on park bench listening to concert in San Francisco [008] circa 1943

Box 1:20

Portrait of Eula De Shields [009] circa 1895

Box 1:20

Albert Ivan De Shields (left) and John De Shields (right) [010] circa 1915

Box 1:20

Portrait of John De Shields (infant) [011] circa 1910

Box 1:20

Class photograph Melrose School, Oakland, California [012] 1924

Box 1:20

Portrait of Eula De Shields in wedding dress [013] circa 1890s

Box 1:20

Class photograph Melrose School, Oakland, California [014] 1926

Box 1:20

Portrait of unidentified man [015] circa 1920s

Box 1:20

Ivan De Shields sitting on park bench listening to concert in San Francisco [061] circa 1943