This collection includes the Smith & Lang Co.'s by-laws, a minute book (1910-1947), a
general ledger (1910-1929), stock book (1910-1943), bank statements and checks
(1945-1946), and other financial documents (1922-1946).
Smith & Lang was Stockton, Calif.'s oldest department store, established in 1899 by
Alfred B. Lang and John H. Smith. Alfred B. Lang (b.1874), a founding partner, first
worked at the Alexander Chalmers Dry Goods Store where he met another clerk, John H.
Smith, with whom he opened a store at 124 E. Main. The company was incorporated in 1910
and six years later John Smith died leaving Alfred Lang President for over thiry-five
years. The partners took over the Hale Brothers building at Main and San Joaquin Street
(1915) and, in 1939, expanded this structure by an additional 7,700 feet. In July 1945
Smith & Lang was sold to J. Wesley Hearne, a veteran buyer and merchandise manager in
California and New York, and Alfred Lang retired, but Walter Sampson continued as manager
and the name "Smith and Lang" was retained by the new owner. In February 1946 C. M.
Dicker of Redding bought J W Hearne's interest in Smith & Lang and Dicker became the
general manager. By 1950 the company employed 125. On July 22, 1958 Smith & Lang burned
to the ground in a fire called the "worst national mercantile fire of 1958." Insurance
claims totalled $3,000,000. Plans were soon made to rebuild the store and, on August 25,
1959, it reopened in a building designed by Welton, Beckett and Associates of Los
Angeles. In February 1963 Weinstock-Lubin purchased Smith & Lang and the company ceased