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Guide to the Frederick Smith Stratton papers, 1900-1917
BANC MSS C-B 771  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Frederick Smith Stratton Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1900-1917
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 771
    Creator: Stratton, Frederick Smith, 1859-1915
    Extent: Number of containers: 23 boxes, 6 cartons & 1 oversize folder
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Includes correspondence, scrapbooks and miscellaneous papers concerning Stratton as Collector of the Port of San Francisco, 1900-1913; Republican party activities; and business interests in California and Oregon (including land holdings in Klamath County) Correspondents include many of the most prominent California political figures of Stratton's day, including U.S. Senators Thomas Bard, Frank Flint, George Perkins and John D. Works; Congressmen Julius Kahn and Joseph Russell Knowland; Presidents William McKinley and William Howard Taft; Governors George Pardee and James Gillette. Other correspondents include William H. Crocker, Charles Mills Gayley, John Hays Hammond, David Starr Jordan, Garret McEnerney and Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library 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 reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Frederick Smith Stratton papers, BANC MSS C-B 771, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was presented to the Bancroft Library in June 1958 by Stratton's nephew, Dr. James Malcolm Stratton, and Mrs. Stratton, of Berkeley. Papers of James T. Stratton, also presented at this time, have been separately catalogued as C-B 770.

    Biography

    Frederick Smith Stratton was born in Oakland in January 22, 1859, the son of James T. and Cornelia Smith Stratton. After attending Swett Grammar School and Oakland High School, he graduated from the University of California in 1881 and entered Hastings College of Law. Stratton entered into practice of law in the office of William W. Morrow, later Judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He established his own law firm with W. W. Kaufman as partner, and later they were joined by Henry A. van C. Torchiana.
    In 1896, Stratton was elected to the State Senate from Alameda County, and during his term of office he sponsored the legislation which established the primary election system in California. He also supported bills which raised the State University tax from one to two cents, and which exempted Stanford University from state taxation.
    President McKinley appointed Stratton as Collector of the Port of San Francisco in 1900, and he served in this post under Presidents Roosevelt and Taft. He was twice offered, but declined, the position of Under Secretary of the Treasury in the cabinet of Theodore Roosevelt. During this period he was also appointed special attorney for the United States in the Alabama Claims Commission case.
    Stratton's business interests included a directorship of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco, as well as land holdings in Contra Costa County, California and Klamath County, Oregon. In 1909, he was appointed Receiver of the Ocean Shore Railway of San Francisco. His club memberships included the Bohemian and Union in San Francisco, and the Claremont Country and Athenian in Oakland. His home was at 1377 Harrison Street, Oakland.
    Retiring in 1913 with the advent of the Wilson administration in Washington, Stratton announced his candidacy for Mayor of Oakland in 1915. A nervous breakdown in April of that year, however, forced him to withdraw from the race, and on November 30, 1915 he committed suicide at Pleasanton.
    Stratton's first wife, Alice Lee of Oakland, died in 1896, leaving a daughter, Cornelia, who later became Mrs. Carleton H. Parker. In 1898, Stratton married Grace Gregory and they had two children, Ann and Frederick Jr.; the second Mrs. Stratton died in 1913.

    Scope and Content

    The Correspondence and Papers primarily cover the period 1900 to 1913, during which time he served as Collector of the Port of San Francisco. There are no papers for the earlier years of Stratton's career, and but a few letters and documents for the period after 1913. There are no letters for the Alabama Claims Commission.
    The more than 5200 in-letters were originally hinged into binders by roughly chronological and alphabetical arrangement. These have now been removed and filed alphabetically in 23 boxes. There are several gaps in the alphabetical sequence occasioned by the fact that the Bancroft Library did not receive all of the binders of correspondence; it is presumed that these other binders were destroyed during the years following Stratton's death. No binders were found for the following: D, E, I, J, L, N, R and S. A few letters now filed under these initials were originally hinged into other alphabetical sequences.
    Stratton's correspondents included many of the most prominent California political figures of the day, including U.S. Senators Thomas Bard, Frank Flint, George Perkins and John D. Works; Congressmen Julius Kahn and Joseph Russell Knowland; Presidents McKinley and Taft; Governors George Pardee and James Gillette. Other correspondents included William H. Crocker, Charles Mills Gayley, John Hays Hammond, David Starr Jordan, Garret McEnerney and Benjamin Ide Wheeler. The Knowland and Works letters are especially rich in commentary on the Republican Party split of 1912.
    The 6000 out-letters, primarily letter-press copies in eleven volumes and one envelope, cover the period 1901 to 1915, with a few notable omissions: Mar. 1908-Dec. 1908, Dec. 1909-Sep. 1910, and Apr. 1911-Jul. 1913.
    The eighteen scrapbooks of Stratton cover the years 1886 to 1914 and contain clippings from San Francisco and Oakland newspapers, including items about Stratton and his family as well as political happenings.
    A few items relating to settlement of Stratton's estate, dated 1916-1917, are also included with these scrapbooks, as is a printed volume of "Appreciation" given to Stratton when he retired in 1913. Three scrapbooks kept by Frederick S. Stratton, Jr. and Ann Stratton are included.
    The collection was presented to the Bancroft Library in June 1958 by Stratton's nephew, Dr. James Malcolm Stratton, and Mrs. Stratton, of Berkeley. Papers of James T. Stratton, also presented at this time, have been separately catalogued as C-B 770.