Nevada and California: 1862. Various dates and formats, 1862-1896. Fine. Item #List123
Adolph Sutro was a Prussian-born developer and mining engineer turned populist politician and important figure in nineteenth century California and Nevada, with his largest engineering achievement being the construction of the Sutro Tunnel in Nevada. This material, from a private Dayton, Nevada collection, mostly centers around the period when the Sutro Tunnel was nearly complete, in 1878. It shows the varied aspects of Sutro’s endeavors - securing financing, navigating the political landscape (which had proved treacherous to Sutro in the 1860s), with one document offering rare insight into Sutro’s family life. Sutro was able to complete the tunnel in spite of significant political hurdles, including his unsuccessful State Senate bid in 1874. Several documents relate to the financing of the tunnel, another shows the threat of a new pump arriving from Scotland in 1878 which potentially could have made the tunnel obsolete. Sutro would eventually divest himself from his investment in 1880 just before silver mining in the region crashed, using his fortune for various endeavors including amassing one of the largest private libraries in the United States.
Contents as follows:
1) Autograph letter, signed, from the French banking firm Lazard Freres, regarding financing for the Sutro Tunnel. "We are happy to know that in spite of the failure with the public perception, you have means sufficient to work ahead without interruption for thirty months." "We are at your disposal to telegraph whatever you think proper..." European investment in the Sutro Tunnel had been essential for its completion, “Final success was guaranteed when the British bankers Robert and Hugh McCalmont invested heavily in Sutro Tunnel stock.” - ANB
2) Autograph letter, signed, from Virginia (City), July 19th, 1874 from John Nugent. A letter concerning Sutro’s ill-fated political bid to replace the retiring William Stewart. Nugent writes: "Last night the Republican County Committee met and...overwhelming majority for Sharon." William Sharon, a mine-owner, fierce capitalist and enemy of Sutro who Sutro would call "a thoroughly bad man - a man entirely void of principle," would eventually win the election.
3) Promissory note in Sutro’s hand and signed by Adolph Sutro, 1862. Sutro borrows $654 from David Ubiyer, with a note in separate ink showing Sutro’s repayment with $39.24 of interest. We find no record of Ubiyer. The loan took place during the period after the burning of Sutro’s mill in Dayton, when he was planning for construction of what would eventually be the Sutro Tunnel.
4) Autograph Letter, Signed by a C.T. Harris, July 13, 1878 letter on United States Land Office letterhead. 3 pp. to Sutro, 3pp. It appears as though Harris, who was traveling with a J.D. Moore, met Sutro on a train to Virginia City and offered to prospect for him in the area west of Mt. Davidson. Harris attests to the value of the land in question, and offers Sutro a controlling interest.
5) Autograph Letter, Signed, from a A.L. Burie, July 1878 from San Mateo regarding Sutro’s son Edgar. Presumably a caretaker, she is quite dissatisfied with Edgar’s progress: "The animal predominates--heedlessness is the rule."
6) Autograph letter, signed, July 3, 1878 from L.M. Coffin in Empire City. The letter concerns the purchase of wood, and warns that it will “not be turned over the Mexican dam” unless arrangements are made.
7) Autograph letter, signed, from 1874 letter from John Ginn in Winnemucca. The letter discusses Sutro’s ill fated Senate bid and warns that securing a larger venue for an upcoming talk would be “much better.”
8) Autograph letter, signed by an illegible author, 1878. 2 pp. The letter is on letterhead from Minnequa Springs to Sutro. The letter discusses Sutro’s brother and family who are also at the resort.
9) Autograph letter signed, July 9, 1878, letter from James Delavan of Virginia City to Sutro. 2 pp. Delavan relates to Sutro in an urgent tone that a Mr. Thompson has a pump coming from Scotland via Cape Horn to San Francisco. "With it he could handle all the water in the mines of the Comstock...that the Sutro Tunnel would not be needed for drainage." This pump will take five years to complete to comply with "the agreement made between the Tunnel Co. and mining companies." Delavan goes on to ask Sutro for a job for the letter’s bearer, a nephew of Delavan’s.
10) Telegram from J.D. Bethel on Western Union letterhead, March 29, 1874. "Meeting last night opposed to amendment so far as obtaining patents only think it is advisable to let matter rest."
11) Billhead from Wormley's Hotel in Washington DC, August 15, 1876 to “Mr A. Sutro,” with charges of $28 for a fourteen day stay.
12) Two 1873 telegraphs to Sutro at Willard's Hotel, one regarding military committee from an unknown sender and one from Emma Haeffner asking Sutro to answer her previous letter.
13) Accounting sheet, August, 1873, showing the expenses incurred by the Sutro Company for that month. Large leaf, folded, with expenses specified by region (San Francisco, Dayton, state taxes, etc.), as well as payroll estimates. An interesting document worthy of further research.
14) Receipt for Disbursement, Sutro Company, 1873.
15) Autograph letter signed, July 18, 1978, in Virginia City to H.H. Sheldon Esq. to Sutro regarding wages, with Sheldon’s reply below.
16) Typed copy of a Writ of Attachment from a 1894 court document for a lawsuit between Comstock Tunnel Co. and Pierson & Mitchell.
17) Single leaf handwritten sheet listing stock share allocation, undated, with Sutro's name is on it. We are unable to identify this but it is possibly the tunnel company.
19) State Controllers warrant to George Ernst, 1896, showing a disbursement from the Legislative Fund. Erns was an advisor to Sutro and made the first survey for the tunnel.
20) Sutro, Adolph. The California Monopolists Against the Sutro Tunnel. N.p., 1874. Pamphlet, 6 pp. A diatribe written by Sutro against the California Bank ring and the press. A fine example. OCLC 17698898.
An interesting collection worthy of further research. Generally fine condition overall.