Guide to the Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums, 1886-1924

Guide prepared by Leilani Marshall
Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0147
Phone: (408) 808-2064
Email: research@sourisseauacademy.org
URL: http://www.sourisseauacademy.org
©2011 Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums, 1886-1924

Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History

San Jose State University

Contact Information:

  • Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History
  • San Jose State University
  • One Washington Square
  • San Jose, CA 95192-0147
  • Email: research@sourisseauacademy.org
  • URL: http://www.sourisseauacademy.org
©2011 Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums
Date (inclusive): 1886-1924
Collection Number: ECS01.03
Creator: Charles B. Polhemus Family
Extent: 2 boxes Selected online items available
Repository: Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, San Jose State University,
San Jose, California
Abstract: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, these albums are a rare collection of photographs taken by members of this important California family of their various estates, family members and their activities, and early automobile excursions throughout Northern California.
Language: English
Selected digitized images from this collection.

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Sourisseau Academy. Neither the original photographs nor the digital images held by the Sourisseau Academy may be reproduced, published, or used on the Internet without the expressed, written permission of the Executive Secretary. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Sourisseau Academy as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher. The credit line, "Courtesy of the Edith C. Smith Trust Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History" must accompany any such use.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums, [Box number]: [Folder number], Edith C. Smith Collection, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, San Jose State University, San Jose, California

Acquisition Information

The Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums were donated to the Sourisseau Academy by the Edith C. Smith Trust in 2008.

Biographical History

Charles B. Polhemus (1888-1969) was the son of George B. and Jennie (Jane Eliza Ryder) Polhemus, and grandson of Charles Bispham Polhemus.
Charles Bispham Polhemus (1818-1904) was born in New Jersey, but like many Americans, had a restless spirit. At the age of seventeen he ventured to South America, living variously in Valparaiso, Guayaquil, Lima, and Payta. After serving as the United States Consul to Payta for four years, Charles returned to America and settled in San Francisco in 1850. He married Matilda Murphy in 1852 and they had three children: Mary Josephine (d. 1935), George Bissel (1857-1914) and Stanhope Prevost, who died in infancy. When Charles divorced his wife in 1862, his niece Ellen V. Polhemus took over the management of his large household.
In the 1850s, Charles Polhemus acquired a substantial portion of the Las Pulgas Rancho, a vast tract of land that encompassed most of the peninsula. He subdivided the land and the large parcels he sold off to friends became the estates now known as Atherton, Millbrae and Menlo Park. The Polhemus estate, where the family lived in until 1862, eventually became the City of San Mateo. After working to bring the railroad to San Jose from San Francisco, Polhemus purchased Laurelwood Estate from Peter Donohue, a colleague in the railroad business, and moved south into Santa Clara County in the late 1860s. He also bought a large portion of the Stockton Rancho (Potrero de Santa Clara) from Commodore Stockton. By 1873 the family was occupying an estate known as Pendennis, one of several well-known prefabricated houses that were brought around Cape Horn in the 1850s by Commodore Stockton. A lack of sawmills in the West made imported prefabricated houses a viable option for those with the means to establish substantial residences. The family lived at Pendennis, located at the corner of Stockton Avenue and Polhemus Street, until it burned in 1914. A new house was erected on the property in 1916, and was eventually moved onto the grounds of Bellarmine College Preparatory School in 1946, where it still stands.
Charles Polhemus also owned a nine-hundred acre ranch in Coyote, which his son George Polhemus managed until the late 1890s when it was sold to the Spreckles family. George and his wife Jennie (Jane Eliza Ryder, married in 1887), daughter of local jeweler George R. Ryder, retained ninety acres in Coyote where they built a house and kept orchards. In 1906, George was the local Winton Automobile dealer, and became a founding member and the first president of the Santa Clara County Automobile Club.
George and Jennie’s son Charles B. Polhemus, named for his grandfather, inherited the estate of Pendennis and constructed a new house on it in the 1950s after selling the Stockton Avenue property.
Charles Bispham Polhemus died in San Jose in 1904, followed shortly by his son George Polhemus in 1914. Jennie Polhemus died in 1938 at the age of seventy-four. George and Jennie’s son Charles B. Polhemus died in 1969, and his wife Irene in 1990. The couple left no heirs. Mary Josephine Polhemus moved to Italy with her long-time companion Adeline Mills prior to World War I. She died there in 1935.

Indexing Terms

The following terms may be used to index this collection.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Automobile travel
Automobiles – Societies, etc.
Cerro Allegre Rancho (San Jose, Calif.)
Pendennis (San Jose, Calif.)
Polhemus, Charles B. (1888-1969)
Polhemus, George B. (1857-1914)
Polhemus, Jennie (Jane Eliza Ryder) (d. 1938)
San Jose (Calif.)
Santa Clara County (Calif.)
Santa Clara County Automobile Club

Scope and Content

The Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums collection consists of two photo albums and several pieces of correspondence.
One photo album chronicles the 1908 outings of the newly-formed Santa Clara Automobile Club, which traveled throughout Santa Clara County and ventured south into Monterey and Carmel. The auto club organized tours and excursions throughout the county and ventured south to Monterey and Carmel. Scenic destinations for Polhemus family excursions as well as Auto Club tours included many points of local and regional interest such as the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines, the sumptuous Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, the famed Seventeen Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, Point Lobos and Gus Lion’s ranch near San Martin. One especially exciting and historic trip took the Club over the mountains to Santa Cruz in 1908 to see President Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet anchored off the coast in Monterey Bay.
A second photo album chronicles the excursions of the Polhemus family throughout San Jose and Santa Cruz, including Congress Springs.
The correspondence in this collection primarily relates to a trip Charles B. Polhemus took to Italy in 1924.

Container List

 

Series I. Photographs 1886-1908

Box 1, Album 1

Polhemus Family Photograph Album, 1886

Box 1, Album 2

Santa Clara County Automobile Club Photograph Album, 1908

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1839  George B., Jennie and Charles B. Polhemus

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1840  Polhemus' Winton Six-Teen-Six on the road with passengers

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1841  Outside Osen and Hunter Auto Co. on North First St.

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1842  George B. Polhemus' Winton

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1843  Almaden, on the first run of the Santa Clara Automobile Club

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1844  The Lake at New Almaden

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1845  The Lake at New Almaden, near Casa Grande

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1846  Lunch in the Garden

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1847  Scenes Around the Lake

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1848  Scenes around the lake

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1849  Scenes around the lake

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1850  Scenes around the lake

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1851  Scenes around the lake

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1852  Scenes around the lake

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1853  Lunch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1854  Superintendent's House

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1855  Chinese Pagoda

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1856  Two parked autos at New Almaden

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1857  Resting on the road home

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1858  Resting on the road home

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1859  Lunch under the palms

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1860  Arriving at Derby Home, Almaden

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1861  Lunch on the grounds of Casa Grande at New Almaden

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1862  Road trip stop

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1863  On the road in San Felipe

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1864  On the road in San Felipe

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1865  Winty, Dot and Ted on the porch at Pendennis, the Polhemus family estate

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1866  Winty, Dot and Ted

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1867  Winty, the Polhemus family dog

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1868  Pendennis, the Polhemus family estate

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1869  Stopping in Belmont

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1870  Through La Honda

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1871  Lunch on the Coast Range

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1872  Road to Mount Hamilton

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1873  Approaching Stone Bridge

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1874  Lunch at Smith's Creek

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1875  Bend in the Road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1876  Viewing the Valley at Grand View Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1877  Ready for Home

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1878  The Palisades

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1879  Approaching Long Bridge, San Benito River

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1880  Spreading gravel

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1881  Spreading gravel

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1882  Road Work Completed on Monterey Road on Coyote Hill

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1883  Road Work completed

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1884  Road work completed

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1885  Scenes between Salinas and Monterey

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1886  Scenes between Salinas and Monterey

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1887  Wreck of the St. Paul

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1888  On the road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1889  Views at the Casino Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1890  Views at the casino Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1891  Views of the Casino Santa Cruz, Balboa at sea

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1892  Views at the casino Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1893  Views at the Casino Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1894  Scenes between Salinas and Monterey

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1895  Teams Hauling Gravel for repair work on the road at Coyote

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1896  Lion Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1897  Incident on the Road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1898  Auto Picnic at Lion Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1899  Auto Picnic at Lion Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1900  Auto Picnic at Lion Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1901  Auto Picnic at Lion Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1902  Auto Picnic at Lion Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1903  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1904  Hotel Del Monte Run, the Bardin House in Salinas

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1905  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1906  Hotel Del Monte Run, Watsonville

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1907  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1908  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1909  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1910  Del Monte Hotel Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1911  Wharf at Del Monte Baths

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1912  Del Monte Hotel Run, crossing a bridge

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1913  Del Monte Hotel Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1914  Del Monte Hotel Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1915  Del Monte Hotel Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1916  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1917  Hotel Del Monte Run

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1918  Through Crittenden Pass

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1919  Through Crittenden Pass

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1920  On an estate

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1921  Car Wreck at the Del Monte Race Course, Roy Rehm killed

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1922  Santa Cruz beach and pier

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1923  Sea Beach Hotel, Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1924  Monterey drive

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1925  17-Mile Drive

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1926  Polhemus family members viewing fruit drying at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1927  Drying trays and agricultural laborers at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1928  Polhemus family memebrs having lunch under a vine-covered arbor

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1929  Agricultural laborers working at drying fruit at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1930  Balboa in the Bay

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1931  Casino

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1932  Beach at Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1933  Capitola Hotel

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1934  Apricot tree, laden with fruit, likely at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1935  Broken fruit tree, likely at Coyote Ranch orchard

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1936  Apricots on a tree at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1937  Polhemus family toddlers in an orchard

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1938  Polhemus family toddlers in an orchard

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1939  Fruit drying field at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1940  Polhemus family members visiting fruit drying facility at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1941  Fruit drying in a field at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1942  Polhemus family members viewing fruit drying at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1943  Trays of fruit set out in the sun to dry at Coyote Ranch

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1944  Members of the auto club gathered in front of the Warm Springs Hotel

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1945  Members of the auto club parked in front of the Warm Springs Hotel

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1946  Automobiles on the road outside the town of Warm Springs

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1947  Unidentified orchard home

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1948  Three automobiles paused on the road for a group photo

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1949  Flat tire stop

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1950  Road trip stop, unknown village

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1951  Lunch at San Leandro

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1952  Lunch in San Leandro garden

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1953  Picnic among the rocks

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1954  Picnic among the rocks

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1955  A pause on the road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1956  Great White Fleet at anchor in Monterey Bay

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1957  Hotel Del Monte Grounds

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1958  Carmel Hill

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1959  Nearing Watsonville on the road from Monterey to Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1960  In the pines on 17-Mile Drive

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1961  Santa Cruz with the Great White Fleet anchored off shore

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1962  Santa Cruz with the Great White Fleet anchored off shore

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1963  Viewing the Great White Fleet anchored off Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1964  Great White Fleet anchored off Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1965  Members of the auto club in Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1966  Members of the auto club in Santa Cruz

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1967  Picnic area in the park at Pebble Beach

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1968  Great White Fleet in Monterey Bay, under steam

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1969  Cars parked during a race, possibly part of the Stanford racing team

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1970  Single roadster at a bend in the road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1971  Single touring car in front of house

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1972  Great White Fleet at night, anchored off San Francisco

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1973  Pendennis, the Polhemus family estate

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1974  Polhemus family in the Winton on a road trip, possibly 17-Mile Drive

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1975  George B. and Jenny Polhemus

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1976  Auto touring through a forest, possibly on 17-Mile Drive

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1977  Trio of touring cars pausing on the road in front of houses

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1978  Poor forest road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1979  Cars pulled up in front of a hotel

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1980  Auto parked at the curb

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1981  Road construction with teams of horses

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1982  Stopping near a park

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1983  Auto rollover on forest road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1984  Two cars parked in front of a house

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1985  Road construction with teams of horses

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1986  Crossing a temporary bridge on a dry bed

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1987  Climbing turn

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1988  Road Construction

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1989  Dirt road tow

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1990  Automobile paused on the road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1991  Montgomery Glider aircraft frame

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1992  Pond Road

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1993  Montgomery Glider aircraft frame

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1994  Members of the Santa Clara County Automobile Club

Box 1, Album 2

 ecs1995  Members of the Santa Clara County Automobile Club

Box 2, Folder 1

Loose photographs, circa 1900

 

Series II. Correspondence 1924

Box 2, Folder 2

Correspondence

Box 2, Folder 3

Travel documents