MS 41 Julius Wangenheim Papers

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Wangenheim, Julius
Julius Wangenheim Papers
MS 41
Date [inclusive]
0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English and German.
This collection contains Julius Wangenheim’s personal and professional papers that pertain to his involvement in local banking and politics, and his interests in book collecting and sundials.

Preferred Citation

Julius Wangenheim Papers, MS 41, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Julius Wangenheim was born on April 21, 1866 in San Francisco to businessman Sol Wangenheim and Fannie Newman. He received his B.S. in civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1887. Upon graduation, Julius began working with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, where he remained until 1889. In 1889, he began working for the family business, the Simon Newman Firm. He married Laura Klauber in 1892. He had one surviving daughter, Alice, who later married George Heyneman, and a son Richard (1893-1894).

In 1896 he moved to San Diego from the San Francisco area and began work at the newly established Klauber Wangenheim Company, a wholesale grocer. In 1903, he bought the controlling interest in the Bank of Commerce and Trust Company of San Diego which grew to be the largest bank in San Diego. The bank was consolidated with the Southern Trust and Commerce Bank in 1917; it was at this point that he retired at the age of 51, but he remained board chair of the Southern Title and Trust Company until his death.

Julius Wangenheim was also actively engaged in civic development and was a member of many committees. In 1915, he served as the head of the finance committee for the Panama-California Expedition and was also a founder of the San Diego Historical Society. At various times he served as the board chair for the Park Commission, Planning Commission, Water Commission, Harbor Committee, Civic Improvement Committee, as well as the Fine Arts Society and the English Speaking Union. He was also very interested in education. He served as President of the University of California’s Alumni Association from 1927-28, was the treasurer of the Marine Biological Association of San Diego (now Scripps Institution of Oceanography), and was a trustee of Scripps College in Pomona.

He had a keen interest in the literary arts and was a known bibliophile, collecting rare books and also loaning out mathematical books to students. Additionally, he designed a sundial that provided accurate readings within one minute. The sundials were recreated and placed in various areas of San Diego and California. Julius Wangenheim died on March 10, 1942 from a stroke.

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Scope and Content

This collection documents Julius Wangenheim’s family, business and civic affairs, and personal hobbies. Family papers include biographies, correspondence with his parents, and obiturary tributes. Items in the collection highlight Wangenheim’s involvement in banking as well as the Jitney Bus Controversy, which resulted from a public disagreement with John Spreckels over the buses. Correspondence, articles and speeches document his civic interests at the local and national level, including involvement in local higher education. His personal interests in book collecting and sundials are also included in the collection.

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The collection is arranged into three series:

Series I: Personal and Family Papers

Series II: Civic and Professional Activities

Series III: Book Collecting and Sundials

Items in each series are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection November 28, 2011

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jody Valente on November 28, 2011.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bank of Commerce and Trust.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Howard, John Galen
  • Sinclair, Upton
  • Spreckels, John Diedrich, b. 1853
  • Wangenheim, Fanny
  • Wangenheim, Julius
  • Wangenheim, Sol


  • Banks and banking
  • Book collecting
  • Civics
  • Education
  • Grocery trade
  • Literature
  • Sundial makers
  • Writing

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Collection Inventory

 Series I: Personal and Family Papers

Biographical information, 1908 and undated


Biographical information on Julius Wangenheim and official document from Willmars, Germany regarding his mother, Fanny Newman.

Family correspondence, 1859–1909


Letters between Julius Wangenheim’s parents, Sol Wangenheim and then fiance, Fanny Newman

Letters to Julius from Sol and Fanny Wangenheim

Family correspondence, 1912–1918


Letters to Julius from Sol and Fanny Wangenheim.

Letter noting Julius Wangenheim’s decline of an invitation to run for mayor, March 19, 1915.

Letter advising Julius Wangenhiem not to antagonize John Spreckels, July 10, 1918.

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1891–1940


Correspondence from New York Public Library, Upton Sinclair, E.W. Scripps, and Alexander C. Robinson, regarding travels to the Taj Mahal.

Tributes and obituaries for Julius Wangenheim, 1940–1942 1:5
Tributes and obituaries for Julius Wangenheim, 1942 1:6
Personal miscellanea, 1887–1941


Diploma from University of California (in Oversize Collections D3)

Receipt from Hotel Coronado

Credit from Bodley Book Shop

Drawing of road trip from Phoenix to Charleston

U.S. map with route of cross-country trip (in Oversize Collections D3)

Booklet celebrating Julius’ 75th birthday and accomplishments


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 Series II: Civic and Professional Activities

Banking, 1903 March 24–1928 December 17


List of shareholders for The National Bank of Commerce of San Diego

Share certificate for Panama-California Exposition

Jitney Bus Controversy, 1915 August 28–1919 May 7


Correspondence between Julius Wangenheim and William Clayton at Spreckels Companies regarding their opinions on the jitney buses

Correspondence: local civic activities, 1909 August 14–1933 June 30


Letter from Mayor decommissioning Wangenheim from City Planning Commission

Letter to San Diego Union regarding location of city and county building

Correspondence: national politics, 1940 September 21-October 7 1:11
Education, 1926 February 1-July 20


Correspondence regarding relocation of State Teachers College

Goals and priorities of Scripps College, and relations with Pomona College

Articles, essays and speeches, 1929 August 16 and undated


Essays on education, civilization and democracy

Civic and professional miscellanea, 1926 April–1940 May 14


University of California publication noting Julius Wangenheim’s nomination for president of Alumni Association

Rotary publication, noting speech by Julius Wangenheim

English Speaker Union’s dinner program, hosting Marquess of Lothian, Britain’s Ambassador to the U.S.


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 Series III: Book Collecting and Sundials

Book collecting, 1930 October 3–December 17


Speech on book collecting

Correspondence regarding book theft and recovery of book that was housed at the Fine Arts Gallery

Sundial information and correspondence, 1919 February 15-1940 October 5


Sketch of sundial

Notes on the Michelson Morley experiment

Sundial blueprints, created by John Galen Howard, dated July 24, 1923 (in Oversize Collection D3)


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