MS 271 Julian & Son Records

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Julian & Son.
Julian & Son Records
MS 271
Date [inclusive]
1888 January–1898 December
1.5 Linear feet (1 box)
The collection contains a business ledger for the Julian & Son hardware and plumbing business dated January 1888 to December 1898.

Preferred Citation

Julian & Son Records, MS 271, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Arthur H. Julian (commonly A.H. Julian) moved from his home in Alabama to San Francisco, California in 1849 during the Gold Rush, where he utilized his talents as a hydraulic engineer. In 1868 he brought his family to San Diego and eventually became a city trustee, a member of the board of public works, and was in charge of the city’s sewer system.

A.H. Julian ran the popular general store, tire, and hardware business called Julian & Son, located at 532 5th Street in downtown San Diego. It was a family business that employed all three of A.H.’s sons (William Armine (W.A.), George, and Charles), and occasionally his two daughters, Mary Belle and Jesse, before they married. The business also installed plumbing and sold gasoline stoves.

William Armine (W.A.) Julian worked at his father’s business from 1888 to August 1898. He then sold his interest in the company and moved to Los Angeles to form his own plumbing and heating business. In 1899 he moved to Tucson, AZ and bought into the plumbing, heating, and metal-working business of L.G. Radulovitch at 9 East Congress Street. Within a year, W.A. bought out the rest of the business and became the W.A. Julian Company. He operated that company for 20 years with his brother George, eventually handling 85% of all plumbing, heating, and roofing in Tucson. After a period of retirement, W.A. served as mayor of Tucson from 1929-1931.

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Scope and Content

This collection consists of a Julian & Son business ledger dated January 1888 to December 1898. The ledger’s binding reads “Day Book.” Only the first 283 pages are used of the 640-page ledger. Each page is ruled into columns with pink and blue ink. The month is written at the top with the day in the leftmost column. The entries consist of customer transactions as well as business expenses, salaries paid, credit extensions, and transfers between accounts. After the entries for December 1898, there are a series of detailed contract bids with profit margin calculations.

The bulk of the transaction logs alternate between records of merchandise and sundries, and lists of individual costs: salaries, transfers between the main ledger and the petty ledger, profit and loss lists, changing ownership of open accounts, and monthly rent paid by W.A. and George to A.H. Julian. There are also many examples of the owners utilizing store accounts for personal bills and loans. The exact formatting and notation of the entries changes over time, corresponding to changes in handwriting.

The last portion of the log consists of detailed contract bids with materials tallied up on the page. The contract bid is often accompanied by a notation of the full contract price, the cost of materials, and the profit. Contracts were often titled by surname of the client only, and occasionally by the name of the building. Several contracts explicitly detail the materials needed to complete a plumbing installation or a furnace.

Accounts listed in the ledger include the Horton House, Arlington Hotel, New Carlton Hotel, Commercial Hotel, Klauber & Levi, the Daily San Diegan, the Coronado Beach Company, the Pacific Beach Company, Diamond Stables, and many private individuals.

Open accounts listed at the start of the ledger include the Commercial Hotel, New Carlton Hotel, Arlington Hotel, Daily San Diegan, Pacific Beach Company, Coronado Beach Company, and Diamond Stables, as well as many private individuals. Other accounts that appear frequently throughout the ledger include Klauber & Levi, Horton House, Holbrook Merrill and Stetson, W.W. Montague and Company, Standard Oil Company, and Standard Iron Works.

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The pages of the bound ledger contain entries in chronological order.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection February 22, 2012

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 Samantha Mills on February 22, 2012.

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)

  • Arlington Hotel.
  • Commercial Hotel.
  • Coronado Beach Company.
  • Diamond Stables.
  • Holbrook Merrill and Stetson.
  • Horton House.
  • Julian & Son.
  • Klauber & Levi.
  • New Carlton Hotel.
  • Pacific Beach Company.
  • Standard Iron Works.
  • Standard Oil Company.
  • W. W. Montague and Company.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Julian, Arthur H.
  • Julian, George F.
  • Julian, William Armine


  • Account books
  • Family-owned business enterprises
  • General stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Heating — Equipment and supplies
  • Plumbing — Equipment and supplies

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The leather binding is cracked and flaking, and early pages are detaching from binding. The edges of the pages have a dark dust residue.

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Collection Inventory

Ledger, 1888 January-1898 December

Entries of Interest:

Merchandise value and list of open accounts, January 2, 1888 (Pages 1-7)

Horton House bill for “water closet,”February 28, 1888 (Page 21)

A.H. Julian to Mrs. A.H. Julian, loan of $1841.21, November 1888 (Page 58)

City of San Diego, “goods not charged,” November 1889 (Page 104)

Mary Belle Julian receives a salary, March 1893 (Page 160)

W.A. Julian pays the Horton House $80 for “bar bill,” January 1, 1895 (Page 197)

Jesse Julian briefly receives a salary, October 1895 (Page 210)

Profit and loss list details bad accounts and the reason: “dead-beat,” “busted,” “no good,” “no money,” or “dead,” February 1898 (Page 248)

Detailed contract bids, undated (Page 259-283)

Businesses of Interest:

Arlington Hotel (Pages 5, 45)

Commercial Hotel (Pages 1, 180)

Coronado Beach Company (Pages 3, 17, 38, 43, 105, 182)

The Daily San Diegan (Page 5)

Diamond Stables (Page 3)

Holbrook Merrill and Stetson (multiple pages)

Horton House (Pages 1, 3, 21, 37, 89, 108, 126, 131, 180)

Klauber & Levi (Pages 1, 39, 50-54 (bill installments), 64, 83, 92, 101, 125)

New Carlton Hotel (Pages 2, 180)

Pacific Beach Company (Pages 6, 104)

Standard Iron Works (multiple pages)

Standard Oil Company (multiple pages)

W.W. Montague and Company (multiple pages)

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