Scope and Content
Title: Gibbons (Stuart) Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1911-1976
Collection number: Mss225
Sally Gibbons Wright
Extent: 2 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Gibbons (Stuart) Collection, Mss225, Holt-Atherton Department
of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
Stuart Gibbons was born at Sonora, California on April 19,1896. He was educated in the
Sonora Public Schools, graduating from Tuolumne County Union High School (1915). After
graduation, Gibbons worked at various commercial jobs before enlisting in the Navy
(1917). Following his discharge (1919), Gibbons returned to work at a Sonora bank, later
becoming a life insurance salesman (1921). The following year, he married Frances Bromley
and went into partnership with a navy friend at a small Lake Tahoe resort. In 1922,
Gibbons moved to Stockton where he became manager of the California-Western State Life
Insurance Co. By 1929, he was president of the Stockton Underwriters Association. Gibbons
continued to work for California-Western State Life until 1943. In that year, he became a
private insurance carrier and operated his own business until 1951, when he joined the
firm of Frank Williams and Company as a real estate and insurance salesman. Gibbons was
for many years an active member of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of
their "Welcoming Squad," and, in 1976, the Chamber dubbed him "Mr. Stockton" for this and
other community activities.
During the 1950s, Stuart Gibbons gained a reputation as a conservationist for his
successful efforts to arrange the purchase--by the State of California--of the South
Grove at Calaveras Big Trees. In 1952, Gibbons spearheaded another successful drive to
have Caswell Grove, an oak forest on the Stanislaus River in southern San Joaquin County,
also declared a state park. Stuart Gibbons was active in a variety of ways in Stockton
and San Joaquin County public affairs. In 1948, he helped to form the Stockton Recreation
Commission. This agency oversaw the development of many park sites throughout the greater
Stockton area. From 1958 through 1960, Gibbons was a member of the Stockton City Council.
He later served on many civic improvement committees, including the Sperry Building
Restoration Committee (1968) and the Cultural Heritage Board (1969-85). In 1976, he was
instrumental in saving the El Dorado School from demolition. Gibbons was also active in
local history organizations. The most notable of these were: the Pacific Center for
Western Studies, the Jed Smith Society, and the San Joaquin Pioneer and Historical
Society. Gibbons influenced the state legislature to create the "Mr. California" award to
honor excellence in local history scholarship. His friends, Rockwell D. Hunt and R. Coke
Wood, were the first recipients of the award.
Scope and Content
The Stuart Gibbons Collection consists of Gibbons' Sonora (Calif.) childhood papers and
photographs , as well as later papers delineating Gibbons' involvement with business,
politics and historic preservation in Stockton (Calif.).