Finding Aid to the Henri Lenoir Papers, 1921-1994

Jack Doran
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
© 2012
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Henri Lenoir Papers, 1921-1994

Collection number: BANC MSS 92/842 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Finding Aid Author(s):
Jack Doran
Date Completed:
August 2012
Finding Aid Encoded By:
GenX
© 2013 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Henri Lenoir papers
Date (inclusive): 1921-1994
Collection Number: BANC MSS 92/842 c
Creator: Lenoir, Henri
Extent: 2 cartons, 1 box, 3 volumes, 2 oversize folders, 1 videocassette tape 4 linear feet 1 Digital Object (2 images)
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Abstract: The Henri Lenoir papers consist of personal correspondence, business correspondence and materials related to the management of Vesuvio Cafe and Lenoir's promotion and sale of art by the bohemian set he worked with in San Francisco. Also included are biographical materials, geneological materials and materials related to the history of San Francisco, specifically North Beach.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English

Information for Researchers

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Conditions of Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Henri Lenoir Papers, BANC MSS 92/842 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Alternate Forms Available

Digital reproductions of selected items are available.

Removed or Separated Material

Photographs and drawings have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of the Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 2004.158).

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
Lenoir, Henri--Archives
Beat generation.
North Beach (San Francisco, Calif.)-- Social life and customs.
Restaurants-- California-- San Francisco.
Restaurateurs-- California-- San Francisco.
Iron Pot (San Francisco, Calif.)
Vesuvio Cafe (San Francisco, Calif.)

Administrative Information

The Henri Lenoir Papers were given to the Bancroft Library by Bonnie McClintock in July, 2004. Additions were made in 2012.
No additions are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Jack Doran in 2012.

Biography/Organization History

Henri Lenoir was born Silvio Velleman on March 17, 1904 in Zuoz, Switzerland. His father was Antoine Velleman , a headmaster at a boys’ boarding school, and his mother, Ethel Ireland, was a homemaker. Silvio was sent to boarding school in England at an early age, and upon his parents’ divorce, took his mother’s maiden name. In 1920, he was enrolled at King William’s College on the Isle of Man, and was soon expelled. He then enrolled in the Ecole National d’Horticulture et de Viticulture in Geneva, but left in 1921.
Lenoir held a number of jobs over the next several years, including a drummer in a dance band in the Chateaux d’Oex, a tour guide in Italy, a claims adjuster in Paris and a ballroom dancer in Nice. He arrived in New York in the company of an American woman on July 5, 1929, and lived there for just over a year before departing for Hollywood in 1930. Broke and threatened with deportation for an expired work visa, he changed his name to Henri Lenoir and left for San Francisco.
Despite having no formal secondary art education, Lenoir had an eye for talented artists, and after holding another series of jobs throughout the 1930s, he began hanging art work at the Iron Pot in 1941. He gained a reputation for boosting clientele through the promotion and showing of art, and in 1949, Lenoir bought the Vesuvio Café. It quickly became a center of bohemian activity, and was famously a favorite spot of Beat poets and artists. Lenoir owned and operated the Vesuvio for nearly two decades until he sold it in 1968 amidst rising rent prices and a general decline of artistic activity in the area.
Lenoir continued to promote art throughout the rest of his life and was known to friends and tourists alike as the “King of Bohemia.” He died on March 30, 1994.

Scope and Content Note

The Henri Lenoir papers consist of personal correspondence, business correspondence and materials related to the management of Vesuvio Cafe and Lenoir's promotion and sale of art by the bohemian set he worked with in San Francisco. Also included are biographical materials, geneological materials and materials related to the history of San Francisco, specifically North Beach.
The collection has been divided into five series. Series 1 consists of personal correspondence, largely with artists Lenoir knew, promoted or otherwise worked with. Correspondence with artists may also contain clippings, exhibition catalogs and ephemera. Series 2 consists of Family Papers, and includes correspondence between Lenoir and his parents and brother, as well as materials related to his immediate and extended family and geneological materials. Series 3, Business Papers, consists of materials dealing with Lenoir's activities as an art promoter and consultant. The bulk of the series is made up of Lenoir's management of the Vesuvio Cafe. Also included are artist files. Series 4, Personalia, includes detailed biographical information on Lenoir and correspondence and ephemera related to the history of San Francisco, specifically North Beach. Also included in this series is a video cassette tape entitled, "Memories of North Beach" (cataloged as Motion Picture 1301D). Series 5, Clippings, includes writings from newspapers and other publications about Lenoir as a public figure and also his activities as a bar owner and promoter. A friend to Herb Caen throughout his career and life in San Francisco, Lenoir was frequently mentioned in Caen's San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle columns. There is also an extensive collection of clippings of Vern Wiman's work as an illustrator for the Examiner.

Container Listing

Volume 2, Oversize-Folder 1A

Series 1 Correspondence 1939-1994

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 1-25, box 1, oversize folder 1

Arrangement

Arranged Alphabetically. Postcards filed separately at end of series.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of personal correspondence, largely with artists Lenoir knew, promoted or otherwise worked with. Correspondence with artists may also contain clippings, exhibition catalogs and ephemera. Also includes vintage postcards sent to Lenoir for his postcard collection or re-used by Lenoir as holiday cards.
carton 1, folder 1

Allbright, Thomas 1972-1985

carton 1, folder 2

Anderson, Alex 1977-1986

carton 1, folder 3

Anglem, Paule 1986

carton 1, folder 4

Bates, Bill 1985-1987

carton 1, folder 5

Brown, Michael 1992

carton 1, folder 6

Caen, Herb 1946, 1977-1991

carton 1, folder 7

Columnists (notes from) 1972-1991

carton 1, folder 8

Dunham, Ward 1987

carton 1, folder 9

Fowler, Mel 1977-1978

oversize-folder 1A

Fowler, Mel 1979, 1980

carton 1, folder 10

Holiday Cards Received 1961-1991

carton 1, folder 11

Koci, Frank 1972-1984

carton 1, folder 12

Letters to the Editor 1972-1985

carton 1, folder 13

A-M 1939-1994

carton 1, folder 14

Murray, Justin 1951-1987

carton 1, folder 15

Peacock, Frank 1983-1986

carton 1, folder 16

Postcards Received 1963-1991

carton 1, folder 17

Rezendes, Joyce 1975-1987

carton 1, folder 18

Rodman, J. 1979-1992

carton 1, folder 19

Schaeffer, Rudolph 1982-1987

carton 1, folder 20

Siegriest, Louis 1985-1989

carton 1, folder 21

Smith, Hassel L. 1976-1992

carton 1, folder 22

Surendorf, Charles 1975-1978

carton 1, folder 23

Temko, Allan 1990-1992

carton 1, folder 24

Wolo 1969-1989

carton 1, folder 25

N-Z 1944-1989

Box 1

Postcards 1942-1992

 

Series 2 Family papers 1928-1992

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 26-31

Arrangement

Arranged Alphabetically

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence between Lenoir and his parents and brother, as well as materials related to his immediate and extended family and geneological materials.
carton 1, folder 26

Correspondence- copies and transcripts 1929-1951

carton 1, folder 27

Ireland, Alleyne- Incoming 1928-1970

carton 1, folder 28

Ireland, Alleyne- Outgoing 1947-1971

carton 1, folder 29

Ireland, John 1934-1935, 1984-1985, undated

carton 1, folder 30

Swiss and American Citizenship 1934-1969

carton 1, folder 31

Velleman, Antoine 1929-1992

 

Series 3 Business Papers 1938-1992

Physical Description: carton 1, folders 32-53; carton 2, folders 1-17; oversize folder 1

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of materials dealing with Lenoir's activities as an art promoter and consultant. The bulk of the series is made up of Lenoir's management of the Vesuvio Cafe. Also included are artist files.
carton 1, folder 32

Bay Area Artists Group circa 1947

carton 1, folder 33

Black Cat Cafe 1938-1983

carton 1, folder 34

Business Correspondence 1959-1992

carton 1, folder 35

Butterfield and Butterfield 1990-1991

carton 1, folder 36-38

Cable Car Exhibit 1947

carton 1, folder 39

Committee for Municipal Art/ San Francisco Art Commission 1946, 1957, 1979

carton 1, folder 40

Contacts 1983, 1988

carton 1, folder 41

Duena, Victor 1963, 1973-1976

carton 1, folder 42

Enrico's 1986-1991

carton 1, folder 43

Exhibition Catalogues 1940-1952

carton 1, folder 44

Fechheimer, David and Diana 1982, undated

carton 1, folder 45

Gibney, Luke 1952-1953, undated

carton 1, folders 46-47

Inventories- Art and Antiques 1973-1990

carton 1, folder 48

Inventories- Loaned Art 1978-1979, undated

carton 1, folder 49

Inventories- Post Cards undated

carton 1, folder 50

Iron Pot undated

carton 1, folder 51

Kuh, Fred 1984, 1987, undated

carton 1, folder 52

Lenoir- Copyrighted Postcards 1962-1968, undated

carton 1, folder 53

Oakland Museum 1984

carton 2, folder 1

"Poets and Painters" (incomplete) undated

carton 2, folder 2

Johnson, Sargent 1971-1978

carton 2, folder 3

Transamerica Exhibit 1980

carton 2, folder 4

Vesuvio- Agreement and Sale of Stock 1968

carton 2, folder 5

Vesuvio- Bartender Instructions and Cocktail Guide undated

carton 2, folder 6

Vesuvio- Beatnik Kit 1958, 1965, 1984

carton 2, folder 7

Vesuvio- Employee Surveillance 1956-1977

carton 2, folder 8

Vesuvio- Financial Statements 1965

carton 2, folder 9

Vesuvio- Guest Book 1954-1967

carton 2, folder 10

Vesuvio Guest Book- Loose Pages 1950-1954

carton 2, folder 11

Vesuvio- Inventory and Distributors 1966, undated

carton 2, folder 12

Vesuvio- Lease Correspondence 1960-1965

carton 2, folder 13

Vesuvio- Name Contest 1950

carton 2, folder 14

Vesuvio- Placards undated

oversize-folder 1A

Vesuvio- Placards undated

carton 2, folder 15

Vesuvio and Lenoir Holiday Cards 1950-1967, 1979, 1983, 1985

carton 2, folder 16

Wickham, Fred 1983-1984

carton 2, folder 17

Wiman, Vern 1977, undated

 

Series 4 Personalia 1921-1992

Physical Description: carton 2, folders 18-41; oversize folder 1; volumes 2-3; motion picture 1301D

Arrangement

Arranged Alphabetically

Scope and Content Note

Includes detailed biographical information on Lenoir and correspondence and ephemera related to the history of San Francisco, specifically North Beach. Also included in this series is a video cassette tape entitled, "Memories of North Beach" (cataloged as Motion Picture 1301D).
carton 2, folder 18

271 Lease 1977-1988

carton 2, folder 19

Appointment Book 1992

carton 2, folder 20

Awards and Certificates 1980, undated

oversize-folder 1A

Awards and Certificates 1981, 1983

carton 2, folder 21

Bad Debts (Bob Jonson) 1972-1978

carton 2, folder 22

Books- signed and inscribed 1939, 1965, 1968

carton 2, folder 23

Commendations 1941-1987

carton 2, folder 24

The Edificator 1941

carton 2, folder 25

Ephemera 1934-1980

carton 2, folder 26

FBI and Frederick Bense 1952

carton 2, folder 27

Gomez, Isadore 1934-1977

carton 2, folder 28

Gross, Marge 1982, undated

volume 3

Guestbook- Saloonkeepers Party for Henri Lenoir 1980

carton 2, folders 29-30

Lenoir Biography 1986-1991

carton 2, folder 31

Lenoir Interview Transcript 1976

Motion-Picture 1301D

Memories of North Beach- Lenoir video undated

carton 2, folder 32

Montgomery Street Block 1968-1984

volume 2

Personal References and Employment- scrapbook 1921-1968

volume 2, page 3

Vesuvio. BANC MSS 92/842 c

Additional Note

This material was selectively digitized from a larger resource or collection.
volume 2, page 68

Bruce Weiss, tending bar. BANC MSS 92/842 c

Additional Note

This material was selectively digitized from a larger resource or collection.
carton 2, folder 33

References 1947, 1980-1981, undated

carton 2, folder 34

Russian Hill Runt 1940-1942

carton 2, folder 35

Skylight 1940-1946

carton 2, folder 36

Street Fairs (Upper Grant Avenue) 1980-1983

carton 2, folder 37

Street Names 1987-1989

carton 2, folder 38

Tenancy (247 Columbus) 1970-1980

carton 2, folder 39

Translations by Lenoir undated

carton 2, folder 40

Washington Square Bar and Grill 1979-1986

carton 2, folder 41

Will 1983-1991

 

Series 5 Clippings 1940-1994

Physical Description: carton 2, folders 42-45; volume 1; oversize folder 2

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes writings from newspapers and other publications about Lenoir as a public figure and also his activities as a bar owner and promoter. A friend to Herb Caen throughout his career and life in San Francisco, Lenoir was frequently mentioned in Caen's San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle columns. There is also an extensive collection of clippings of Vern Wiman's work as an illustrator for the Examiner.
carton 2, fodler 42

Caen, Herb 1950-1991

carton 2, folder 43

Izzy Gomez and Press Club Scoop 1940-1989

carton 2, folder 44

Lenoir, Henri 1946-1989

carton 2, folder 45

Vesuvio 1954-1985

volume 1

Wieman, Vern- scrapbook 1943