Guide to the Elon James Gilbert Papers 1890-1977
Cage 454

Summary Information

Repository
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Creator
Gilbert, Elon James
Title
Elon James Gilbert Papers
ID
Cage 454
Date [inclusive]
1890-1977
Extent
7300.0 items.
General Physical Description note
7 linear feet of shelf space.
Language
English
Abstract
Personal and business correspondence, financial records, photographs, and other papers relating to Richey and Gilbert Company, land subdivision, ranching and other ventures; includes some correspondence with William O. Douglas.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 454, Elon James Gilbert Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Elon James Gilbert was born at Genesco, Illinois, in 1897--one of seven children--to Horace M. and Marion Richey Gilbert. The Gilbert family moved to Yakima from Illinois in the late 1890s. There Gilbert developed a diversified series of businesses based in the fruit industry. The Gilberts soon became one of the prominent families in Yakima, figuring largely in both social and civic affairs. As a boy Elon Gilbert formed a close friendship with William O. Douglas, which he maintained throughout his life.

Gilbert received his B.A. from the University of Washington in 1920 and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1923. After his graduation from Harvard, he was given a position in one of his father's businesses--the Richey & Gilbert Company, a fruit brokerage house--and quickly became a successful businessman in his own right. The Gilberts were hit hard by the Great Depression, as were most growers in Yakima. By the time of Gilbert's death in 1934, the family business had acquired substantial debts. This was due in part to large investments in capital goods and commodities with little liquidity, e.g., orchards, equipment and warehouses. In these circumstances Elon and Curtis Gilbert set out to recover their losses. The Depression years were very difficult for the Gilbert brothers. When Curtis died in 1947 Elon became the principal owner of a still debt-plagued business.

During the mid and late 1950s, Gilbert began to sell and subdivide many of his orchard-land properties. During these years, he developed three subdivisions: Viewmont, Hilltop and the Uplands, all of which became part of Yakima proper. While in his early sixties, Gilbert invested in Charolais cattle, Arabian horse and Welsh ponies, and he settled into a life not unlike that of a country gentleman on his "Snow Mountain Ranch" on Cowychee Creek. His love for animals and for the outdoor life--shared with Justice Douglas -- continued up to the time of his death in 1978.

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Arrangement note

The records and papers of Elon J. Gilbert are arranged in four series: Financial, 1905-1977; Subject File, 1893-1977; Agriculture, 1890-1977; and Photographs and Slides, 1948-1969. Despite these divisions, all materials are somewhat interrelated. For example, the financial records and correspondence of the early years of the Gilbert family orchard business are included both in the Financial series and in the Agriculture series.

The Financial series, 1905-1977, has two major parts. The first consists largely of individual federal income tax returns of several members of the Gilbert family, all of whom were active in the family's orchard and fruit-related businesses. Tax documents include those prepared for: Curtis R. Gilbert (Elon's brother), 1935-1948; Elon J. Gilbert, 1935-1976; and Horace M. Gilbert (father of Elon Gilbert), 1908-1926. In addition, tax records of the Richey-Gilbert Company, a fruit brokerage house founded by Gilbert and later managed by Elon Gilbert, are included, covering the years 1905-1954. No other materials from Gilbert's various business ventures have been identified.

The Financial series also encompasses a subject file which contains business-related records (chiefly pertaining to concerns of Elon Gilbert) such as financial statements, credit ratings, disbursement and cash journals, insurance documents, property tax papers, and stock transaction records. All materials are in alphabetically arranged folders with subject headings. Materials are evenly distributed through the period from 1905 to 1977.

The Subject File series, 1893-1977, assembed as a unit by the processor, brings together loosely ordered materials. The series contains both personal papers and business records indirectly related to the Gilberts' businesses. The personal items include correspondence with various family members, items concerning family history and a group of William O. Douglas material, which includes newspaper clippings, correspondence and a fragmentary biography by Marian D. Irish. The business records are made up of job applications, general correspondence, court cases, employee records, maps and building plans. All folders are arranged alphabetically by subject headings. The bulk of the material dates from 1950 to 1977.

The Agricultural series, 1890-1977, is the largest series within the papers. It covers four catagories: cattle, horses, land, and subject file. The Cattle section is made up of advertising for Snow Mountain Ranch; artificial insemination information; breeding records; correspondence from various associations, individuals and customers; notes; pedigree certificates and veterinary treatment records. Principal correspondents are Perry and Howard Blackham and Maynard Veum. The Horse file contains advertising; breeding records; correspondence with various associations, individuals and customers; memberships; notes and sales records. The Land subseries is divided into three sections: leases, orchards and subdivisions. The lease file includes records of various leases of Indian lands which Gilbert used for grazing and orchard purposes, as well as deeds of Gilbert. Orchard material is made up of general correspondence and correspondence from several nurseries; newspaper clippings; notes; patents for fruit box labels; photographs of fruit; postcards depicting the prize-winning fruit display of Gilbert; Snow Mountain Orchard materials and Woods Industries materials. The Subdivision records pertain to three areas of orchard land near Yakima, where Gilbert developed three residential subdivisions--The Hilltop, Viewmont, and The Uplands--during the 1950s. The Hilltop material consists of brochures, correspondence, general files, and protective covenants. Viewmont materials include brochures, correspondence, general files, "Mrs. America Home" promotional materials, a purchase contract, percolation records, general promotional material, real property petitions, soil data and survey maps. The Uplands file contains an abstract-of-title and correspondence. Also included within the Agricultural series is a subject file containing agreements with various persons, articles on subdivisions, Department of Natural Resources correspondence, court cases, general files, grazing permits, improvements on and leases of the Gilbert ranch at Cowychee, Nob Hill Water Company stock and soil conservation information.

All folders in this last series are arranged alphabetically by subject, with the exception of the leases where the arrangement is numerical by allotment number. The bulk of the material is from 1950-1977.

The fourth series, Photographs and Slides, 1948-1969, was also assembled from dispersed materials. The majority of the photographs bear no labels and accordingly they are grouped by subjects. Included are phtographs and negative of a livestock show, cattle and horses, as well as Elon Gilbert and his home. The folders are arranged alphabetically and most material is undated.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1982

http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers of Elon James Gilbert were donated to the Washington State University Libraries in June of 1979 (MS 79-24) by Mrs. Joan Gilbert.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Richey and Gilbert Company

Personal Name(s)

  • Douglas, William O. (William Orville), 1898-
  • Gilbert, Elon James, 1897-1978 --Archives
  • Gilbert, Joan Mrs. waps

Subject(s)

  • Agriculture
  • Land subdivision--Washington (State)--Yakima
  • Orchards -- Washington (State)--Yakima County
  • Ranches -- Washington (State)--Yakima County
  • Washington (State)

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Bibliography

For anecdotal information on the Gilbert family, see: Winfield Boyd, Recollections and Impressions. (Yakima: Published by the author, n.d.), pp. 51-55.

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Financial 1905-1977 

Curtis R. Gilbert: 

Box Folder

Affidavit on the Estate of Curtis R. Gilbert 1948   2.0 items.

1 1

Financial Statement 1947   1.0 item.

1 2

Tax Records   315.0 items.

1 3-15

Elon J. Gilbert: 

Box Folder

Tax Records 1935-1976   279.0 items.

2 16-34

Horace M. Gilbert: 

Box Folder

Tax Records 1911-1926   90.0 items.

3 35-43

Check Stubs 1919-1923   35.0 items.

3 44

Promissary Notes 1908-1921   26.0 items.

3 45

Richey and Gilbert Company: 

Tax Records: 

Box Folder

 1905-1920   251

4 46-57

 1944-1954   239

5 58-69

Subject File: 

Box Folder

Analytical Report of Credit Rating for Richey & Gilbert Company 1955   1.0 item.

6 70

Boyd 1968   2.0 items.

6 71

Constructive Balance Sheet - Elon J. and Curtis R. Gilbert 1944 1947   4.0 items.

6 72

Correspondence - General 1943-1963   8.0 items.

6 73

Disbursement and Cash Journals 1967-1974   163.0 items.

6 74-75

Estimated Taxes 1975   1.0 item.

6 76

Financial Statements: 

Box Folder

Elon J. and Joan S. Gilbert 1944-1954   9 items.

6 77

Horace M. Gilbert 1927   2 items.

6 78
Box Folder

Financial Statements, Audit Reports and Constructive Balance Sheets for Richey and Gilbert Company 1935-1961   30.0 items.

6 79

General File 1959-1975   5.0 items.

6 80

Insurance: 

Box Folder

 1926-1976   100

6 81

Policies and Claims 1961-1975   31 items.

6 82
Box Folder

Property Taxes 1969-1976   170.0 items.

6 83-85

Ranch Division - Balance Sheet Accounts, Real Estate Contracts and Notes Receivable 1960   4.0 items.

6 86

Sale of Richey and Gilbert Company to Marley Orchards 1961   8.0 items.

6 87

Seattle First National Bank Treasury Bill Purchases 1969-1974   16.0 items.

6 88

Stocks: 

Box Folder

Certificates 1907-1944   13 items.

6 89

Certificates of the Women's Century Club of North Yakima 1917-1937   3 items.

6 90

Transactions by E. F. Hutton 1975-1977   384

6 91-93

Transfers 1914-1969   26 items.

6 94
Box Folder

Walston and Company 1968-1969   8.0 items.

6 95

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Series 2: Subject File 1893-1977 

Applicants: 

Box Folder

For Housekeeper Job 1975-1977   12.0 items.

6 96

For Ranch Job 1969-1971 1976-1977   41.0 items.

6 97

Correspondence: 

Box Folder

General 1928-1975   66.0 items.

6 98-99

To Be Answered 1966   17.0 items.

6 100
Box Folder

Court Case 1963   1.0 item.

6 101

William O. Douglas: 

Box Folder

Articles and Newspaper Clippings 1950-1975   30.0 items.

6 102

Biography 1956   1.0 item.

6 103

Correspondence 1961-1976   43.0 items.

6 104
Box Folder

Employees 1962 1965   6.0 items.

6 105

Family: 

Correspondence: 

Box Folder

Luke and Pauline Benz 1966-1975   33 items.

6 106

Luke Benz financial reports 1969-1973   27 items.

6 107

Mercedes Eicholtz (Douglas) 1963-1968 1975   13 items.

6 108

General 1952,1975   50 items.

6 109

Elon J. Gilbert 1961-1975   33 items.

6 110
Box Folder

Horace N. Gilbert 1962-1976   65.0 items.

6 111

History 1893-1968   24.0 items.

6 112
Box Folder

Fish and Waterfowl 1963-1976   9.0 items.

7 113

Foreman Bonus 1970   4.0 items.

7 114

General File 1949-1976   69.0 items.

7 115-118

Gold Hill Ski Club 1950 1960 1966   7.0 items.

7 119

Harvard Materials 1919-1923   4.0 items.

7 120

Maps - Various undated   4.0 items.

7 121

Notebooks undated   23.0 items.

7 122

Plans for Buildings undated   31.0 items.

7 123

Retirement Plans 1961-1962   4.0 items.

7 124

Dr. Twiss 1969-1970   3.0 items.

7 125

University of Washington 50th Reunion of the Class of 1920 1970   23.0 items.

7 126

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Series 3: Agriculture 1890-1977 

Cattle: 

Box Folder

Advertising 1961-1977   40.0 items.

7 127-128

Amiral 1966-1972   68.0 items.

7 129-130

Artificial Insemination 1968-1976   70.0 items.

7 131

Beef Short Course by Washington State University 1974   1.0 item.

7 132

Breeding Records 1960-1977   235.0 items.

7 133-135

Canadian Health Certificates 1963-1964   7.0 items.

7 136

Correspondence: 

Box Folder

All West Breeders 1970-1972   17 items.

7 137

American International Charolais Association 1970-1974   18 items.

7 138

Tom Bangart 1966-1971   48 items.

7 139

Perry and Howard Blackham 1968-1975   100

7 140

Bill Campbell 1970   3 items.

7 141

Canadian Charolais Association 1970-1974   6 items.

7 142

Ron Christenson 1972-1973   23 items.

7 143

Customers 1966-1976   200

7 144

Tom Eggertson 1968-1971   35 items.

7 145

Ron Garrison 1970   4 items.

7 146

General 1962-1976   113

7 147-149

F. Warren George 1973-1975   25 items.

7 150

Tom Hazen 1973-1975   25 items.

7 151

LaCrosse Bull Testing Station 1975   27 items.

7 152

Art Link 1968-1969   10 items.

7 153

David Treat 1970-1972   9 items.

7 154

Maynard Veum 1967-1970   45 items.

7 155

Bruce West 1969-1970   10 items.

8 156
Box Folder

Cow Feeding 1970   3.0 items.

8 157

Keating Certificates 1970-1973   6.0 items.

8 158

Notes Concerning Cattle undated   130.0 items.

8 159-160

Pedigree Certificates for Cattle 1952-1972   55.0 items.

8 161

Relco Livestock Services 1974   6.0 items.

8 162

Veterinary Treatment 1969-1970   7.0 items.

8 163

Horses: 

Box Folder

Advertising 1965-1976   40.0 items.

8 164

Breeding Records 1950 1966-1976   27.0 items.

8 165

Correspondence: 

Box Folder

Ellis H. Call 1964-1969   12 items.

8 166

General 1963-1978   85 items.

8 167

International Arabian Horse Association 1968-1970   4 items.

8 168

Jack and Tish Nettleship 1970-1971   4 items.

8 169

Bud Noel 1969   4 items.

8 170

Samuel P. Thiessen 1967-1969   4 items.

8 171

Welsh Pony Society of America 1963-1970   14 items.

8 172

Wil-O-Mar Arabians 1976   12 items.

8 173
Box Folder

Memberships 1968-1970   3.0 items.

8 174

Notes Concerning Horses 1964-1971   100.0 items.

8 175

Welsh Pony Sales 1969   4.0 items.

8 176

Land: 

Leases (by allotment number): 

Box Folder

952 (Upriver 80) 1946-1952   16 items.

8 177

1188 and 2793 1947   7 items.

8 178

1697 (The West 40) 1955-1957   11 items.

8 179

1698 (Kay's 80) 1957-1958   9 items.

8 180

1774 1955-1958   20 items.

8 181

1858 (Gangle) 1946-1950   26 items.

8 182-183

1858 and 2793 (Alex Showaway/Henry Chasley/Philip John) 1943-1949   40 items.

8 184

2424 (Twin Bar Open-Molsee) 1945-1957   44 items.

8 185-187

2426 (Twin Bar Open-Molsee) 1945-1957   37 items.

8 188-189

2427 (Pete's 40) 1944-1960   135

8 190

2427 (Robert's 20) 1945-1958   63 items.

8 191-192

2429 (William's 80) 1945-1953   43 items.

8 193-194

2430 1959   1 item.

8 195

2432 (Hobb's Lease) 1946-1954   42 items.

8 196-197

2792 (Show 40) 1948-1954   26 items.

8 198

2793 (Showaway 60) 1943-1956   15 items.

8 199

3040 (Nedeff Leases) 1946-1959   75 items.

8 200-201

3554 (Twin Leaf Open) 1947-1960   71 items.

8 202-203
Box Folder

General Lease File (Yakima Indian Agency) 1946-1954   150.0 items.

8 204

Deeds of Horace M. Gilbert 1897   2.0 items.

8 205

Orchard: 

Correspondence: 

Box Folder

C & O Nursery 1964-1976   20 items.

8 206

General 1948 1960-1974   42 items.

8 207

May Nursery 1962-1969   13 items.

8 208

Stark Brothers Nursery 1960-1962   40 items.

8 209
Box Folder

Newspaper Clippings 1939   1.0 item.

8 210

Notes Concerning Fruit undated   8.0 items.

8 211

Patents for Fruit Box Labels 1911-1967   26.0 items.

8 212

Photographs undated   5.0 items.

8 213

Postcards 1909   3.0 items.

8 214

Snow Mountain Orchard 1960-1961   5.0 items.

8 215

Woods Industries 1960-1974   18.0 items.

8 216

Subdivisions: 

Hilltop: 

Box Folder

Brochures undated   2 items.

9 217

Correspondence 1955-1975   56 items.

9 218-220

General File undated   3 items.

9 221

Protective Covenants 1955   3 items.

9 222

Viewmont: 

Box Folder

Brochures undated   4 items.

9 223

Correspondence 1956-1976   185

9 224-227

General File 1956-1974   7 items.

9 228-229

Lot 15, Block 1 1956 1973-1975   8 items.

9 230

"Mrs. America" Give-away Promotion Home 1958-1959   80 items.

9 231

Offer of Purchase Contract 1975   1 item.

9 232

Percolation 1956-1975   48 items.

9 233-234

Plans and Materials 1963   2 items.

9 235

Promotional Material 1957-1958   9 items.

9 236

Real Property Petition 1974   2 items.

9 237

Septic Tank Requirements 1959   2 items.

9 238

Soil Data Reports 1973   1 item.

9 239

Survey Maps 1956 1972   7 items.

9 240

Uplands: 

Box Folder

Abstract of Title 1890-1932   1 item.

9 241

Correspondence 1955-1961   38 items.

9 242

Subject Files: 

Agreements: 

Box Folder

O. L. Dearing 1943   5 items.

9 243

Lloyd Hahn 1964-1966   5 items.

9 244

Joe Stenson 1961-1969   5 items.

9 245
Box Folder

Articles on Subdivisions 1959   3.0 items.

9 246

Christenson Lease 1972   3.0 items.

9 247

Correspondence, Department of Natural Resources 1964 1970-1971   22.0 items.

9 248

Court Cases: 

Box Folder

Christianson Case 1973-1974   3 items.

9 249

Powelson-Savaria Case 1971-1976   36 items.

9 250
Box Folder

General File 1944-1976   24.0 items.

9 251-253

Grazing Permits, Department of Natural Resources 1958-1969   22.0 items.

9 254

Improvements on Cowychee Creek Ranch (Three Bar) 1958   3.0 items.

9 255

Lease of Three Bar Ranch 1969-1970   50.0 items.

9 256

Nob Hill Water Company 1959-1974   70.0 items.

9 257-258

Permit for Shale Rock Quarry 1973   4.0 items.

9 259

Pipeline Construction 1976   3.0 items.

9 260

Proposed New Subdivisions 1953   2.0 items.

9 261

Sprinkler System 1969-1970   7.0 items.

9 262

Soil Conservation 1968-1976   21.0 items.

9 263-264

Weeds 1963-1973   4.0 items.

9 265

Wiley House 1972-1973   6.0 items.

9 266

Yakima-Tieton Irrigation District 1961-1964   18.0 items.

9 267

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Series 4: Photographs and  Slides 1948-1969 

Box Folder

Arizona National Livestock Show 1960   1.0 item.

9 268

Bull - Fuyard 1967-1969   15.0 items.

9 269

Cattle undated   300.0 items.

9 270-271

Charolais 1968-1969   27.0 items.

9 272-273

Elon J. Gilbert undated 1948 1951   15.0 items.

9 274-275

Horses: 

Box Folder

 undated   400.0 items.

9 276-278

 undated   80.0 items.

10 279

Pedigree undated   15.0 items.

10 280

Press Plate Negative undated   1.0 item.

10 281
Box Folder

Orchards undated   35.0 items.

10 282

Shawaway undated   4.0 items.

10 283

Snow Mountain Ranch undated   12.0 items.

10 284

Unidentified undated   12.0 items.

10 285

Slides undated   50.0 items.

10 286
Box

Film Canisters undated 

11

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