NAME OF COLLECTION:
Marian Plummer Lester Collection.
LOCAL CONTROL NUMBER(S):
Photographic prints: OP 17120/1-70.
1887-1983, bulk 1900s-1940s.
Carl O. Retsloff.
131 items (67 photographic prints, 6 photomechanical prints, 3 postcards, 4 pamphlets, clippings, letters, ephemera); photographic prints chiefly gelatin silver, 3 hand col.; 29 x 27 cm. or smaller.
2 scrapbooks (42 photographic prints, clippings, letters, ephemera); 23 x 29 cm. and 30 x 25 cm.
San Diego History Center
Booth Historical Photograph Archives
P.O. Box 81825
San Diego, CA 92138
Gift of Marian Plummer Lester, 1985 (Accession No. 573-D).
Open for research.
For permission to reproduce or publish, contact the curator of the Booth Historical Photograph Archives at the San Diego Historical Society. Reproduction or publication of any part of this collection must include the following information next to the image(s) or in a special section of credits: Marian Plummer Lester Collection, San Diego History Center, Booth Historical Photograph Archives.
Forms part of San Diego History Center Original Print Collection. Related materials: artwork by Leonard Lester and Marian Plummer Lester in Curatorial Archives (Accession No. SDH85.80). Marian Plummer Lester dismantled and removed parts of the scrapbook created by her mother Emily R. Plummer and gave them to her sister Beth. She also probably dismantled the other scrapbook related to her father Fred G. Plummer.
Fred Gordon Plummer, his wife Emily, and children, including Marian (b. 1893), moved from Tacoma, Wash., to the Theosophical community Lomaland at Point Loma, Calif., in 1903. Fred G. Plummer, a Theosophist, became chief geographer of the United States Forestry Service and a leader in the conservation movement before his death in 1913. His son Lafayette Gordon Plummer became a Theosophical writer, lecturer, and teacher. His daughter Helen Plummer married Iverson Harris, Theosophical Society leader Katherine Tingley’s secretary, and she became Tingley’s traveling companion. Marian Plummer studied art at the Theosophical Institute. She met artist Leonard Lester there around 1916 and they were married in 1931.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTES:
Photographic prints, papers, and scrapbooks related to the Plummer family and their involvement in Theosophy, chiefly Marian Plummer Lester, her brother L. Gordon Plummer, and her father Fred G. Plummer. Loose photographs show Marian and her husband artist Leonard Lester, some depicting her in Theosophical Society open-air theatrical productions; Helen Plummer and Iverson Harris’s wedding; and L. Gordon Plummer as a boy dressed in Raja-Yoga School uniform [ca. 1910]. Other L. Gordon Plummer items include letters and postcards written during a trip to Europe [1947-1948]. Other loose photographs by San Diego photographer Carl O. Retsloff, mostly used for postcards, include some retouched by Marian Plummer Lester when she worked for Retsloff. Scrapbook created by Emily Plummer includes family snapshots, letters, drawings, clippings, ephemera, and Theosophical Society items, including Christmas greetings from Katherine Tingley. Another scrapbook and other items document the work and death of Fred G. Plummer. Of special note, a Theosophical Society pamphlet by Fred G. Plummer, The Last Change of the Earth’s Axis .
ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT:
Arrangement: numerical (folders 1-3), chronological (folders 4 and 6-7), and by original order (folder 5).
Plummer, Fred G. (1864-1913)
Plummer, L. Gordon (1904- )
Lester, Leonard (1870-1952)
Theosophical Society (Point Loma, Calif.)
Families – California – San Diego.
Contains photographic prints. Chiefly portraits of Marian Plummer Lester, her husband artist Leonard Lester, his sister Amy Lester, and Helen Plummer. Of special note, mounted photograph of Helen Plummer and Iverson Harris’s wedding . Iverson Harris served as Theosophical Society leader Katherine Tingley’s traveling secretary, and Helen Plummer Harris became her traveling companion. Also, color snapshot of artist Grace Betts .
Photographic and photomechanical prints of Marian Plummer in various Theosophical Society open-air theatrical productions [1918-1922]. Includes two hand-colored photographs of Marian dressed in costume for her role in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It .
Photographs by Carl O. Retsloff, mostly used for postcards. Includes views of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Lake Elsinore, Laguna Mountain Lodge, Boulder Park near Jacumba (Calif.), the mission at San Juan Capistrano, Inspiration Point near Julian, and Warner Hot Springs. Also, a snapshot of Retsloff and views of his house in Grossmont, where Marian Plummer Lester and her husband later lived [ca. 1940s]. Marian worked for Retsloff retouching prints, a skill she acquired at the Theosophical Institute.
Contains papers of Lafayette Gordon Plummer, brother of Marian Plummer Lester and a Theosophical writer, lecturer, and teacher. Includes letters and postcards, many written during a trip to Europe in 1947-1948; a photograph of Gordon as a boy dressed in Raja-Yoga School uniform [ca. 1910]; a map of Barton School in Topanga Canyon (Calif.); and a drawing “Gordon in Lomaland.”
Created by Marian Plummer Lester’s mother Emily R. Plummer. Contains 37 photograohic prints, clippings, letters, and ephemera related to the Plummer family and the Theosophical Society. Includes images of Emily R. Plummer’s father, husband, and children [from oldest to youngest, Helen, Marian, Beth, and twins Gertrude and L. Gordon]; drawings; correspondence; articles by L. Gordon Plummer and Emily R. Plummer published in the Theosophical Forum ; Christmas greetings from Katherine Tingley and others; quotations by Theosophical Society leaders typed on cards; Theosophical Society programs; and other items. Marian Plummer Lester dismantled and removed parts of the scrapbook to give to her sister Beth. Also includes a leaf with family snapshots evidently removed from another album.
Creator unknown, probably Fred G. Plummer’s mother or brother. Contains five photographic prints, clippings, and letters related to the work and death of Fred G. Plummer, chief geographer of the United States Forestry Service and a leader in the conservation movement of the early 1900s. Arranged chronologically. Dismantled by Marian Plummer Lester?
Loose items chiefly related to Fred G. Plummer, his work and involvement with the Theosophical Society. Includes two albumen photographic prints and one cyanotype [ca. 1890s], clippings, letters, ephemera, and pamphlets. Of special note, a Theosophical Society publication The Last Change of the Earth’s Axis by Fred G. Plummer, and a paper “Coincidences?” written by Fred G. Plummer and his wife Emily R. Plummer describing improbable occurrences in their lives. Also, contains letters by Gertrude Plummer to “Mriga,” Marian Plummer Lester’s nickname, discussing disposition of their father’s papers.