Finding Aid for the Midnight Mission and Tom and Mary Liddecoat papers 0413

Finding aid prepared by John Howard Fowler
USC Libraries Special Collections
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189

Title: Midnight Mission and Tom and Mary Liddecoat papers
Collection number: 0413
Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 5.0 boxes 8 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1899-2005
Abstract: The papers of the Midnight Mission and of Tom and Mary Liddecoat consist of material that documents the personal and business history of the Liddecoat family, the Midnight Mission, and various other charities and individuals associated with the Liddecoat family; specifically, the collection documents two generations of the Liddecoat family and their involvement in charitable organizations such as the Midnight Mission, the Gospel Foundation of America, and charitable organizations on the family's ranch in Walnut Creek, California.
creator: Liddecoat, Mary

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the California Social Welfare Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the appropriate agency or person.

Preferred Citation

Midnight Mission and of Tom and Mary Liddecoat papers, Collection no. 0413, California Social Welfare Archives, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

Acquisition Information

The material was acquired by friends and associates of Miss Mary Liddecoat.

Processing Note

The papers of the Midnight Mission and of Tom and Mary Liddecoat were in less than perfect order and poorly preserved when they arrived at the CSWA archives. Much of the original collection consisted of unattributed photographs and highly deteriorated newspaper clippings collections. Samples of the photographs were given special attention for preservation. Newspapers were photocopied. The collection also contains a great deal of extraneous material, in particular that dealing with Death Valley. Given the intinsic interest of some of this material, it has been retained, but the researcher should note that some of this material is more germaine to California regional historical research than Social Welfare research.

Historical Note

Tom "Brother Tom" Liddecoat (1874-1942) owned a lucrative packing firm in turn of the century Los Angeles. In 1914, he turned away from this business and began a mission to help the poor and the homeless on LA's streets. This became the Midnight Mission. Liddicoat and his daughter Mary ran the Mission until shortly before his death.
The Mission was initially funded by $100,000 of Liddecoat's own money. Soon, other donations came in. From 1924 on, Liddecoat returned to the packing business in order to help fund the Mission. Aided by anonymous benefactors like Walter Webb, Liddecoat was ultimately to receive donations from several wealthy men.
Among the Mission's strongest supporters were Albert M. Johnson and Harry Chandler. Johnson owned a home in Chicago, 1620 acres of land in Death Valley including a "castle" he had built there, that was widely held to be the property of Johnson's friend, "Death Valley Scotty," and a 326 acre ranch in Ygnacio Valley, called Shadelands Ranch.
After Johnson's death, all this property was willed to the Gospel Foundation of California, a non-profit Christian charity established by Johnson in the mid-1940's. Mary Liddecoat became the president of the Foundation. Following her understanding of Johnson's intent, Miss Liddecoat systematically sold off the Gospel Foundation properties to support a wide variety of Christian charitable institutions over the years. The records indicate a special attention to children's charities, children's camps, and a school created on Shadelands property for children with cerebral palsy.

Scope and Content

The papers of the Midnight Mission and of Tom and Mary Liddecoat consist of correspondence, clippings, ephemera, photographs, and legal and financial documents that document the personal and business history of the Liddecoat family, the Midnight Mission, and various other charities and individuals associated with the Liddecoat family; specifically, the collection documents two generations of the Liddecoat family and their involvement in charitable organizations. Included are biographical and genealogical materials; papers relating to the founding and maintenance of the Midnight Mission by Tom Liddecoat; papers relating to the Gospel Foundation of America, founded by Albert Johson and managed by Mary Liddecoat; and materials relating to the development of Walnut Creek from properties managed by Miss Liddecoat. The material is sometimes sketchy, and the collection is haphazard, but there are remarkable holographic memoirs included as sketches found penciled into otherwise unrelated documents.


This collection is organized into the following series:
1. Liddecoate Family

2. Midnight Mission

3. Gospel Foundation of America

Conditions Governing Access


Subjects and Indexing Terms

Gospel Foundation of California. -- Archives
Johnson, Albert M., 1872-1948 -- Archives
Liddecoat family -- Archives
Liddecoat Packing Co.. -- Archives
Liddecoat, Mary -- Archives
Liddecoat, Tom, 1864-1942 -- Archives
Midnight Mission. -- Archives
Scott, Walter E., 1872-1954 -- Archives
Scotty's Castle (Calif.). -- Archives
Stocker, Clara Baldwin, 1847-1929 -- Archives
Walnut Creek Historical Society. -- Archives
Charities--California--Archival resources
Death Valley National Park (Calif. and Nev.)--Archival resources
Financial records
Legal instruments
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Genealogy
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Social conditions--Archival resources
Missions--California--Archival resources
Printed ephemera
Shadelands Ranch (Walnut Creek, Calif.)--Archival resources
Social service--California--Archival resources
Social service--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Youth--Services for--California--Archival resources
Youth--Societies and clubs--Archival resources


Liddecoat Family History

Scope and content

Includes genealogical material, correspondence, and memorabilia
Box 1, Folder 26

Ancestral Homes undated

Physical Description: 0.1 linear ft.

Scope and content

Box 1, Folder 53

Bicycle Racers undated

Physical Description: 0.1 linear ft.

Scope and content

Photograph, possibly including a young Tom Liddecoat.
Box 1, Folder 63

Biography of Tom Liddecoat undated

Scope and content

Written in Mary Liddecoat's hand. Only fragments.
Box 1, Folder 9

Correspondence undated

Scope and content

Christmas postcard from Florence Albright. Handpainted. Personal note on back "To Mary (Liddecoat)."
Box 1, Folder 68, Box 5, Folder 33

Family Photographs undated

Box 1, Folder 16

Family Trees circa 1935

Scope and content

Liddecoat and Imhoff families
Box 1, Folder 29

Friends and Family undated

Scope and content

Box 5, Folder 29

Geneaological research, Imhoff family 1932-1987

Box 4, Folder 34

Hymn book, inscribed "Thomas Liddecoat, Central City, Colorado" 1899

Box 2, Folder 3

Inheritance Tax Affadavit 1942

Scope and content

Inheritance from Thomas H. W. Liddecoat
Box 5, Folder 23

Liddecoat's medical condition 1924

Box 4, Folder 3

Notepad undated

Box 5, Folder 39

Obituaries 1943

Box 4, Folder 35

Photographs of houses (Bay Area?) undated

Box 5, Folder 52

Photographs undated

Box 5, Folder 34

Pillow slip with photographs of Mary's mother and San Francisco circa 1899

Box 3, Object 6

Tom Liddecoat and Mary Imhoff marriage certificate 1899

Box 5, Folder 18

Tom's devotional, "Daily Eight" 1923


Liddecoat Packing

Box 2, Folder 9

Company label undated

Box 1, Folder 58

Correspondence 1910-1911

Box 1, Folder 59

Correspondence 1924

Box 3, Object 5, Box 1, Folder 46, Box 4, Folder 9

Photographs undated


Mary Liddecoat

Box 5, Folder 40

Alberta and Lorene Davis undated

Box 4, Folder 44

Autobiography [photocopy of manuscript] undated

Box 1, Folder 12

Baby Book 1907 January

Box 1, Folder 14

Certificate of Registration as Registered Social Worker 1946 February 25

Box 3, Object 2

Certificate of membership, Betsy Ross Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association 1918

Box 5, Folder 17

Childhood hymn book 1914

Box 5, Folder 15

Correspondence 1938-2002

Box 5, Folder 45

Franklin High School benefit performance playbill circa 1926

Box 4, Folder 48

Franklin High School, Los Angeles, yearbooks 1925-1926

Box 4, Folder 49

High school diploma 1926

Box 4, Folder 19

Hollington K. Tong speeches, clipping, letter 1930-1957

Box 5, Folder 51

Last will and testament 1943 December 7

Box 3, Object 3

Los Angeles Examinder Certificate of Merit 1920

Box 4, Folder 1

Notebook undated



Box 1, Folder 17

Photographs 1904-1953

Box 1, Folder 11

Breakfast in Hollywood undated

Box 1, Folder 27

Grandparents undated

Box 2, Folder 1

Trip to Holy Land 1930

Box 1, Folder 15

Red Cross Service Award 1946 January

Box 5, Folder 41

Safe deposit receipt 1931, 1973

Box 1, Folder 25

Short Story circa 1927

Box 5, Folder 38

Unidentified photographs undated

Box 4, Folder 50

USC diploma 1931

Box 5, Folder 20

USC graduation announcement 1931

Box 1, Folder 13

USC graduation program 1931 June 6

Box 5, Folder 19

USC school paper on Lloyd George circa 1931

Box 4, Folder 51

USC social work certificate 1931

Box 3, Object 4

World Opportunities Inc. Certificate of Appreciation circa 1960s



Box 1, Folder 65

Bethany Girls 1922 April 27

Scope and content

Mary Liddecoat's Enrollment Card
Box 1, Folder 49

Masonic Bulletins 1922, 1942

Scope and content

Containing Mention of Liddecoat's Mission

Midnight Mission

Scope and content

Covers the period of the founding of the Midnight Mission and the ministry of Tom Liddecoat.
Box 5, Folder 36

Advertisements for speeches 1922-1927

Box 2, Folder 11

Agreement with Los Angeles Police 1925 February 27

Scope and content

Loan of jail cots to Mission
Box 4, Folder 30

Alexander Hardie, "The Atonement" 1931

Box 4, Folder 15

Articles of Incorporation 1922 May 12

Box 4, Folder 2

Bible inscribed to Brother Tom 1922

Box 1, Folder 64

Billy Sunday undated

Scope and content

Box 4, Folder 14

"Brother Tom and his Midnight Mission" pamphlet 1928

Box 4, Folder 11

Brother Tom radio address, KJH 1931 June 9

Box 5, Folder 10

Brother Tom radio address, KJH 1931 June 30

Box 5, Folder 42

Cancelled check 1909

Box 1, Folder 56

Clara Baldwin Stocker Estate 1931 May 8

Box 1, Folder 61, Box 5, Folder 16

Correspondence 1909-1942

Box 1, Folder 10

Devotional Materials 1930

Scope and content

Poems, photos of the Holy Land, pamphlets.
Box 4, Folder 5

Evangelistic party photograph 1923

Box 1, Folder 67

Friends and Associates undated

Scope and content

Box 1, Folder 62

Fundraising Letters 1987

Box 1, Folder 71

Harry Chandler's Speech 1933 June 8

Box 5, Folder 27

Leaflet undated


Liddecoat Photographs

Box 1, Folder 51

Casual undated

Box 2, Folder 8

Studio Portraits undated

Box 1, Folder 44

Funeral 1942

Box 1, Folder 54

Liddecoat letters to Mary 1941

Scope and content

Including claim by Tom Liddecoat that Mission had been stolen from him by embezzlers.
Box 1, Folder 57

Liddecoat Condolence letters 1943

Box 5, Folder 37

"Mealtime" [photograph] undated


Midnight Mission News

Box 2, Folder 10

Vol. I, no. 4 1925 May

Box 2, Folder 14

Vol. I, no. 29 1927 June

Box 5, Frame 8

Midnight Mission News 1925-1927

Box 5, Folder 9

Midnight Mission News 1929

Box 2, Folder 16

Mission Pamphlet 1931

Box 1, Folder 60

Mission Pamphlet 1932

Box 1, Folder 50

Mission Christmas Pamphlet 1987-1990

Box 1, Folder 52

Mission Printing Press undated

Scope and content

Box 1, Folder 70

Mission Views undated

Scope and content

Glass Photographic Plates
Box 2, Folder 13

Mortgage Extension 1920 December 2

Box 4, Folder 7-8, 10, 13, Box 5, Folder 35, Box 1, Folder 1

Newsclippings 1923-1962

Scope and content

Xeroxes of highly deteriorated clippings files. Most are from the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Herald Express.
Box 1, Folder 45

Night In Night Court 1929 April 17

Scope and content

Newsclipping. Original. Xerox in "clippings" folder.
Box 1, Folder 48

Note pad circa 1941

Scope and content

Penciled notes, possibly in Mary Liddecoat's hand.
Box 1, Folder 47

Pamphley for Kingsway Social Club undated

Box 5, Folder 32

Photographs of Brother Tom 1915-1935

Box 4, Folder 4

Proposed appraisal plan, Midnight Mission 1929

Box 1, Folder 66

Purpose of Mission undated

Scope and content

Fragment in Tom Liddecoat's hand.
Box 5, Folder 47

Resolution on passing of Brother Tom 1942

Box 2, Folder 12

Signatures undated

Scope and content

Several pages of signatures, bound as if part of a legal petition.
Box 5, Folder 11

Statement by Tom Liddecoat circa 1938

Box 4, Folder 6

Testimonial and letter from Harry Chandler 1942-1943

Box 5, Folder 14

Testimonials and letters of introduction for Brother Tom 1926-1943

Box 4, Folder 12

"Tom Preaches/Tom Speaks" audio cd 2005

Box 4, Folder 16

"Tom Preaching" vinyl recording undated

Box 1, Folder 55

USO Correspondence 1942


Gospel Foundation of California

Scope and content

Mostly funded by a bequest from Albert Johnson
Box 4, Folder 24

Aimee Semple McPherson 1929-1932


Albert Johnson Estate

Box 2, Folder 6

Articles of Incorporation 1948

Box 4, Folder 45

Biography [by Mary?] undated

Box 1, Folder 21

Chicago Property 1948

Box 2, Folder 5

Inventory 1948 January 7

Box 5, Folder 7

Johnson's intent [fragment] undated

Box 5, Folder 28

Obituary 1948

Box 1, Folder 35

Outstanding Assets 1949

Scope and content

Suit in Federal Court, with copies of materials presented.
Box 5, Folder 22

Photographs 1937, undated

Box 2, Folder 7

Tax Exempt Status 1948-1954

Box 1, Folder 36

Tax Refunds 1944-1954

Box 1, Folder 23

Annual Meeting 1948

Box 5, Folder 50

Annual meeting minutes 1963-1970

Box 4, Folder 39

Articles of incorporation 1946


Camps and Children's Charities

Box 2, Folder 18

Hume Lake Wagon Train 1964-1966

Scope and content

Large Photographs
Box 1, Folder 69

Snapshots undated

Box 4, Folder 29

Charles J. Froehler 1995

Box 4, Folder 17

Cordie May Ditto memorial 1959

Box 1, Folder 18

Correspondence 1943-1996

Box 1, Folder 31

Donations 1971-1976

Box 4, Folder 26

Dove of Hope mission 1950

Box 1, Folder 19

Eulogy and Account Book circa 1952

Scope and content

Spiral notebook with signed eulogy of "Brother Tom," accounts (1948-1951), and statement about purpose of Johnson in funding the Foundation, written in Mary Liddecoat's hand.
Box 5, Folder 46

Financial notes 1948-1949

Box 5, Folder 12

Financial notes 1982-1983

Box 5, Folder 4

Financial statement 1948

Box 5, Folder 3

Financial statement 1989

Box 5, Folder 49

"God's Hand over Hume", inscribed to Mary undated

Box 5, Folder 48

Gospel Foundation history undated


Hollywood House

Box 2, Folder 15

Appraisal undated

Box 2, Folder 2

Deed Transfer undated

Box 5, Folder 44

Letters from Harold S. Pandy to "Dave" 1940-1941

Box 4, Folder 23

Little Country Church of Hollywood 1983

Box 5, Folder 13

National Park Service oral history with Mary Liddecoat 1983 March 17



Box 4, Folder 22

Finis E. Yoakum 1930

Box 4, Folder 36

Pisgah home songs undated

Box 4, Folder 20

Pisgaph newsletters 1909-1922

Box 5, Folder 31

Pisgah notes undated

Box 4, Folder 21

Pisgah pamphlet undated

Box 4, Folder 28

Sister Alice M. Kidd, "Ten Years in Pisgah" circa 1920

Box 4, Folder 18

Plaque to Mary Liddecoat from Christian Jail Workers, Inc. 1985 February 1

Box 4, Folder 33

Plaque to Mary Liddecoat from Hospital Chaplains Ministry of America undated

Box 4, Folder 32

"Rebuilding Palestine According to Prophecy" 1935

Box 1, Folder 24

Request for exemption 1951 March 13

Scope and content

Petition to Internal Revenue Service.
Box 4, Folder 27

Roy B. McKeown 1974


Scotty's Castle and Death Valley

Scope and content

Covers history of the Castle and Liddecoat involvement in the estate. Mostly clippings and memorabilia.
Box 1, Folder 22

Correspondence 1951-1971

Box 4, Folder 47

Castle Chronicle Quarterly 1939 April-June

Box 5, Folder 30

Death Valley 1975-2002

Box 1, Folder 4

Death Valley Anniversary booklets 1983-1993

Box 5, Folder 21

Horace M. Albright 1959-1991

Box 4, Folder 42

Letter from Scotty to Albert Johnson 1932 February 8

Box 1, Folder 3, Box 4, Folder 40, Box 5, Folder 1

Newsclippings 1940-1982

Scope and content

Xeroxes of highly deteriorated clippings files. Most are from Los Angeles or San Diego.
Box 1, Folder 28, Box 4, Folder 41

Photographs undated

Box 1, Folder 7

Postcards circa 1947

Box 1, Folder 8

Religious Services 1949-1994

Box 4, Folder 43

Recollection of Scotty [by Mary?] undated

Box 1, Folder 6, Box 4, Folder 46

Tour Guides 1943-1985

Box 1, Folder 5

Where are You 1954

Scope and content

Sheet Music Dedicated to Death Valley Scotty


Scope and content

Covers properties held in Walnut Creek area, in particular those that were originally part of the Shadelands Ranch.
Box 5, Folder 6

Board report draft undated

Box 5, Folder 2

Children's camps circa 1970s

Box 4, Folder 38

Children's retreat 1984

Box 2, Folder 4

Nutshell News 1967

Box 1, Folder 30

Ranch expenses undated

Box 1, Folder 33

Sales of Real Property 1955-1980

Box 1, Folder 43

School for Cerebral Palsied Children undated

Box 2, Folder 17

Shadelands Development undated

Box 5, Folder 5

Shadelands financial report 1980

Box 3, Object 1

Shadelands Park aerial photo and engineering map 1978 June


Shadelands Museum

Box 1, Folder 37

Photographs undated

Box 1, Folder 38

Brochures undated

Box 1, Folder 40

Foundation Donations 1974-1983

Box 5, Folder 25

Shadelands real estate development undated

Box 1, Folder 39

Walnut Creek Historical Society meeting 1971 February 8

Box 5, Folder 24

Walnut Creek Historical Society 1971-2000

Box 1, Folder 34

Shadelands News 1979 January 30

Box 5, Folder 44

Shadelands plantings 1928

Box 1, Folder 32

Sign design 1979

Box 4, Folder 37

Thank you note and photographs of children sent to Mary undated

Box 5, Folder 26

Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church 1985

Box 4, Folder 32

"Spare Moments" By Mrs. Julia Goodman undated

Box 1, Folder 42

Various Charities undated

Box 1, Folder 2

Walnut Creek and Shadelands 1952-1985

Scope and content

Newsclippings. Xeroxes of highly deteriorated clippings files. Most are from local news sources.
Box 1, Folder 20

Walter Webb 1966-1977

Scope and content

Box 4, Folder 25

William Cameron Townsend 1995

Box 1, Folder 41

Youth Camps undated

Scope and content

Mostly "Thank You" notes