Wallace F. Hamilton Papers, 1898-2000 (MSS 842)

Extent: 2.8 Linear feet (2 archives boxes and 1 oversize box)

This small collection contains original artwork, photographs and small photograph albums, subject files, and ephemera collected by Wallace F. Hamilton (1890-1972), a U.S. Cavalry officer, World War I veteran, and San Diego illustrator.

Wallace Francis Hamilton was born on August 28, 1890 in Indianapolis, Indiana. For the next 23 years Hamilton went back and forth between Indianapolis and Idaho as he worked various jobs such as a drug store clerk, sheep herder, treasurer and as a construction worker. He attended Manual Training High School in Indianapolis and graduated in 1906. In 1912 Hamilton joined the Remy Electric Company in Anderson, Indiana and was transferred to San Francisco in 1913. During this time in San Francisco he joined the First U.S. Cavalry regiment, and moved with the unit to San Diego in 1914 as the acting Sergeant Major. For the next three years he served as the Sergeant Major of the Southern California Border District. Hamilton attended the School of the Line at Fort Leavenworth, and the School of Fire at Fort Still, Oklahoma. Between 1918 and 1919 he was deployed to France, where he helped organize the Overseas Courier Service. After resigning from the Army in 1919, he returned to San Diego, where he worked a wide variety of jobs, and developed his skill as an illustrator. Hamilton served as a staff artist for the San Diego Union, and took other jobs in advertising, photography, and accounting. He was also commissioned to create regional topographical relief maps, set designs, and decorative floats. Hamilton died on April 16, 1972 in La Jolla.

This small collection contains original artwork, photographs and small photograph albums, subject files, and ephemera collected by Wallace F. Hamilton (1890-1972), a U.S. Cavalry officer, World War I veteran, and San Diego illustrator. Highlights of the collection include early photographs of the San Diego area, especially of the Cavalry training grounds near Calexico, and his accompanying sketches. Later in his life, Hamilton accepted commissions to create large-scale relief maps of San Diego county and dioramas of developing areas, such as Mission Bay. The collection contains his photographs and press about these projects, not the actual objects.


Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
Biographical information
Box 1 Folder 2
Military orders (includes photographs), 1917-1919
Oversize FS-426 Folder 5
Military certificates, 1917-1918
Oversize FS-426 Folder 1
World War I scrapbooks, ca. 1918

Includes original sketches and illustrations.

Box 1 Folder 3
Notes concerning the Overseas Courier Service in World War I

Includes correspondence with Amos Peaslee and his family.

Box 1 Folder 4
Concerning the Overseas Courier Service of World War I, a U.S. Army activity
Box 1 Folder 5
Holding on to the silver greyhound's tail
Box 1 Folder 6
Obituary tribute to Mattie Monroe, 1939 March 24
Box 1 Folder 7
Meeting Buffalo Bill in 1897
Box 1 Folder 8
Correspondence - WWI letters to family, 1917-1919
Box 1 Folder 9
Correspondence - Hamilton to William O. Hendricks of the M. H. Sherman Foundation, 1969
Box 1 Folder 10
Correspondence - Miscellaneous, 1946-1950


Box 1 Folder 11
Cavalry in San Diego - Clippings (photocopies), 1915
Box 1 Folder 12
Cavalry artwork - Ink drawings with short verse, cavalry theme, 1917
Box 1 Folder 13
Clippings - "Winged Victory" float for Tournament of Roses parade, 1945
Box 1 Folder 14
Clippings featuring illustrations by Hamilton, or about his work, 1930-1955
Box 1 Folder 15
Imperial Irrigation District - Canal Project model, 1947
Box 1 Folder 16
Mission Bay development, 1946
Box 1 Folder 17
San Diego Annual Report and other illustrated works, 1948-1950
Box 1 Folder 18
San Diego Chamber of Commerce map, 1953
Box 1 Folder 19
San Diego County Fair - Exhibits for city centennial, 1950
Box 1 Folder 20
San Diego County relief map, 1945-1956, 2000

Project sponsored by Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Includes many photographs of the map display.

Box 1 Folder 21
San Diego Heaven on Earth Club - Ephemera
Box 2 Folder 1
San Diego waterfront - Art Ponsford, 1939-1940
Box 2 Folder 2
Shelter Island - Artist's conception, ca. 1948
Box 2 Folder 3
Trinidad, British West Indies illustrated pamphlet, 1940-1943

Two additional works from Hamilton's time in Trinidad are in the oversize folder of pen and ink drawings on board (below).

Oversize FS-426 Folder 6
Original artworks - Pen and ink drawings on board


Box 2 Folder 4
Box 2 Folder 5
Hamilton in Studio 8 of Spanish Village, Balboa Park, 1939-1940
Box 2 Folder 6
Hamilton at San Diego waterfront, as dock agent for fishing fleet, Star & Crescent Boat Co., 1938-1940
Box 2 Folder 7
Photograph album with scenes from stables at 4004 Vermont St., San Diego, 1920-1921

Horseback riding and dogs, featuring Wallace Hamilton and Mrs. Mattie Monroe, from property at 4044 Vermont St. The property no longer exists; it was demolished to build the 163 freeway. Scenes include: Ranch life at Mesa Grande, Santa Isabel; Cliff Canyon; Adobe Falls; Fortuna Ranch; Tecolote and San Clemente Canyons; undeveloped Mission Valley

Box 2 Folder 8
Horse cavalry training near U.S.-Mexico border (small loose prints), 1914-1916

Includes a small number of prints from coastal Northern California, as well.

Oversize FS-426 Folder 2
Cavalry in San Diego - Illustrated photo album/essay, 1915
Box 2 Folder 9
Ranch at Poway Road and Midland Road; Poway farmsteads, 1924-1925
Box 2 Folder 10
Alpine, ca. 1931

Original folder title noted Temple Rock Ranch property, but there is no content clearly labeled as such. Includes photos of Hamilton with Mattie Monroe's son, Thomas Wier.

Box 2 Folder 11
Balboa Park, California Pacific International Exposition, 1935
Box 2 Folder 12
Idaho City and Kla-Ha-Ne Woodburn residence - Photographs with annotations, letter, placer mining, etc., ca. 1898-1908
Oversize FS-426 Folder 3
Idaho City and Kla-Ha-Ne Woodburn residence - Supporting materials
Oversize FS-426 Folder 4
Idaho - Landscape and scenery prints, ca. 1900

Some prints by Myers & Rice studio, Boise, Idaho.

Box 2 Folder 13
Aircraft carriers (photographic postcards), ca. 1940