Guide to the Traver Family Papers MS 274

Finding aid prepared by Katrina White
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
May 15, 2012

Title: Traver Family Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS 274
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1873-1972
Abstract: The collection contains papers relating to the Traver family, their businesses, properties and investments, as well as Walter Traver’s service in the U.S. Army, and his resulting disability.
creator: Traver family

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the genealogical papers and family documents of the Traver family, as well as their business papers, and documents relating to their properties and investments. The majority of the documents pertain to Walter and Letty Traver and their children. The collection includes paperwork relating to Walter’s army service as well as his disability pension. In addition, there are documents regarding Walter’s death and ensuing burial fees, as well as the widow’s pension his wife received. Of particular interest is personal correspondence between R.A. Traver and his son Walter, and later correspondence between Walter and his son Leslie. Another pertinent item is William Traver’s travel log that documents his personal travels across the country between 1938 and 1939.


Collection is arranged by subject.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Traver family is originally from Illinois but Robert A. Traver (known as R.A. Traver) and his family moved to San Diego in the late 1880s. R.A. Traver was born on August 19, 1837 in Schenectady, NY. In 1987, he opened Traver and Nixon, a broom manufacturing company with his business partner M.C. Nixon in Charleston, Illinois. He had two children with his first wife Nancy, Ida and Norman. R.A. married his second wife Margaret Clark in 1873 in Charleston, Illinois. His wife and children resided in San Diego beginning in the late 1880s while Traver travelled for work. His two sons, Walter A. Traver and Robert E. Traver, grew up in San Diego. Walter A. Traver married Letitia Jane Reynolds in 1899, following his discharge from the army. The couple had two children, Leslie V. Traver and Ethel A. Traver. Walter served as a Private in Company B of the 7th Division of the California Infantry in the Spanish-American War in 1898. He fell ill while on active duty and his illness rendered him permanently disabled, thus earning him a discharge from the army and a disabled veterans pension. Following his discharge from the army, Walter worked as a men’s and women’s clothing tailor briefly in Coquille, Oregon from 1909 to 1910, and later in downtown San Diego. Walter died on July 19, 1942 and was buried in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. After his death, his wife Letty was left to deal with the remaining property and getting together the documentation necessary to obtain widow’s benefits from the army. Their son Leslie married twice and had twin boys, Norman L. Traver and Andrew W. Traver. Ethel (Walter and Letty’s daughter) married Francis Packard Campdora in 1923. Letty Traver died in 1950, eight years after her husband’s death.

Preferred Citation

Traver Family Papers, MS 274, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Katrina White on May 15, 2012.
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Campdoras, Arlene
Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940 : San Francisco, Calif.).
Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (San Diego, Calif.).
Morrison, Hattie
Traver family
Traver, Leslie
Traver, Letitia Jane
Traver, Maggie
Traver, Maria
Traver, Robert A.
Traver, Walter Augustus
United Spanish War Veterans.
United States. Veterans Administration.
Berkeley (Calif.)
Birth certificates
Boulder Dam (Ariz. and Nev.)
Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Chicago (Ill.)
Coquille (Or.)
El Paso (Tex.)
Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
La Mesa (Calif.)
Olympia (Wash.)
Pismo Beach (Calif.)
Portland (Or.)
Salt Lake City (Utah)
San Diego (Calif.)
San Francisco (Calif.)
San Jose (Calif.)
Stock certificates
Tilamook (Or.)
Travel writing
Ventura (Calif.)
Yellowstone National Park
Zion National Park (Utah)

Box-folder 1:1

Family papers, 1873 April 23-1949 March 29 and undated


Marriage certificate for R.A. Traver and Maggie Clark, April 23, 1873
Marriage certificate for Walter Traver and Letitia Reynolds, February 19, 1899
Autopsy report for Walter A. Traver, July 20, 1942
Box-folder 1:2

Personal correspondence, 1887 March 7–1972 May 17 and undated

Box-folder 1:3

Walter Traver's army service, 1898 May 5–1942 August 12 and undated


Walter Traver’s discharge papers, May 5, 1898
Affidavits from military personnel confirming Walter Traver’s illness while on active duty, May 9, 1933
Walter Traver’s written testimony regarding his illness and resulting disability, undated
Box-folder 1:4

Walter Traver’s burial and his widow’s pension papers, 1942 July 22–September 11 and undated

Box-folder 1:5

Walter Traver's Tour Log, 1938 May 25–1939 June 30

Scope and Content

Documents two personal trips taken by Walter Traver. Both trip logs primarily record the dates and cities travelled through, and describes landscapes and nature.
First trip (May 25-December 31, 1938) records personal travels from San Diego, California throughout the southwest including Los Vegas, NV, through the Midwest, including Zion National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Chicago, Illinois, through New Orleans, and back to California through Texas.
Second trip (May 20-June 30, 1939) records personal travels of Walter and Letty through Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. They visited friends and family along the way, and returned to their old hometown of Coquille, Oregon to see old acquaintances.
Box-folder 1:6

Property documents, 1908 May 4–1947 May 20

Box-folder 1:7

Stock certificates, 1921 October 12–1924 December 10

Box-folder 1:8

Business papers, 1892 August 15–1924 March 25 and undated


Postal card from R.A. Traver of Broom Corn Co.
Business card for W.A. Traver from Coquille, Oregon
Box-folder 1:9

Miscellanea, 1958 January 1–1965 January 21 and undated


Partially completed job application to The Texas Company
Peninsula News article on Leslie Traver’s interest in car racing
Burnell Photo Shop film developing sleeve with W.A. Traver’s handwritten information
Leslie Traver’s War Ration Book
Letter about and photograph of Traver coat-of-arms