A COMSTOCK WEDDING

There would soon be one less plate on the Comstock dinner table out at their Hoen avenue farmhouse; Cornelia was getting married.

Not much happened in the Comstock family during 1911, aside from the wedding. Hilliard was in his second year of studying law with James Wyatt Oates and eldest brother John had departed for medical school. Until Cornelia’s wedding, five of the seven Comstock siblings were still living at home with their mother Nellie on their ten acre orchard. The most interesting news about them in the papers was the Press Democrat society columnist’s description of the family’s downtown store, which always has been something of a mystery.

To recap: “The Gift Shop” opened in 1908, a few months after the Comstock family moved to Santa Rosa. John, Catherine and Cornelia, all in their early twenties, had worked and studied at the Roycroft Colony in New York during their teenage years, and were accomplished in making artistic leather goods and jewelry. They arrived just as the Arts & Crafts movement was gathering speed on the West Coast and their handiwork was exhibited and sold alongside works by top painters and artisans in the style. John withdrew from the “Companeros” partnership in 1910 to study medicine, leaving Catherine in charge of the business with Cornelia working as an artist. The same year they founded an “Arts and Crafts Guild” in Santa Rosa to teach young women how to make items that could be sold in the store – a fairly subversive notion for the time.

From other descriptions we knew The Gift Shop sold the Comstock’s award-winning leather goods as well as work from renowned Arts & Crafts studios. Problem is, “The Gift Shop” doesn’t exactly sound like the name for a fine art gallery – it sounds like…well, Corrick’s (which happens to be now directly across the street from The Gift Shop’s location). The article transcribed below shows the Comstocks also sold geegaws and knicknacks, although they were the nicest geegaws and knicknacks you could find anywhere; the powder boxes and darning bags were French and the toys Russian – matryoshka nesting dolls, perhaps – and there were “Home Sweet Home” type mottos, but the insipid little axioms were nicely hand painted, probably by the local Guild women. You could go to The Gift Shop and pick up a tasteful curio for your rich and ailing aunt’s birthday, or she herself could visit and buy a museum-quality vase you might someday inherit.

(RIGHT: Undated portrait of Cornelia Comstock. Courtesy Carmel Library Historical Archive)

Cornelia probably stayed connected with The Gift Shop until it closed, apparently in 1912 or 1913. She and her husband, Winfield Matthew Jr. (“Win” to family members) stayed around the area until 1917. His father, Rev. Winfield Scott Matthew Sr. – who is better known to Santa Rosa history buffs as the pastor at the First M. E. church on Fifth street 1915-1918 – married the couple at the “Sonoma avenue at the home of the bride.” That must have been the place brother John had at 965 Sonoma Avenue (now the police and fire station) which suggests he was still around at the time or the family hung on to the property as a “city house.”

Winfield was then a surveyor, and his marriage to Cornelia wasn’t his only connection to the Comstocks; he was also in business with her younger brother, Frank. Together with another man they formed the Matthew Co. Their ad in the 1913 Santa Rosa city directory, shown below, promises they could build “buildings,” as well as dams, bridges, sewers, sidewalks, etc. “Territory – Northern California.” Golly.

Cornelia’s first child, Raymond Hilliard (just called Hilliard by family) was born here in 1916. The following year Win registered for the draft and sought exemption: “Impossible for family to get along,” he wrote as a reason. What he meant by that is unknown, as is whether brother-in-law Lt. Colonel Hilliard Comstock knew that he was trying to dodge military service.

Winfield took a job in the Santa Clara County assessor’s office and the couple lived in San Jose, where daughter Barbara was born in 1918. After he retired they moved to Carmel in 1949, where they had purchased a house about twenty years earlier. There they joined siblings Catherine (still a painter), Hurd (a retired banker) and Hugh, the self-taught architect and builder known for the whimsical “fairy tale” cottages that are still a hallmark of the community.

Cornelia died April 15, 1966; they were married the longest of any member of the family – 55 years, beating even Hilliard and Helen’s remarkable 49 years. Her obituary in the Monterey Peninsula Herald was a single short paragraph, much of it naming her famous brothers and sister. She may not have cut such a broad swath in the family legacy but she and “Win” are still remembered with great warmth. And that’s no small thing, you know.

A betrothal that will interest many friends of the delightful young bride-to-be has been announced. Mrs. N. J. Comstock has given out the intimation that her daughter, Miss Cornelius [sic] Comstock, has promised her hand and heart to Mr. W. S. Matthew Jr. of Berkeley. The date of the wedding has not been set, but it will be an event of the sprint. Miss Comstock is a very talented girl and one whose attainments have counted for much. She has been a great favorite at many of the gatherings of the younger set in the past. Of course a few of her intimate friends have been anticipating the announcement Mrs. Comstock has just made and they with many others will now extend their felicitations most heartily. Mr. Matthews is a young professional man and is a college graduate and comes of a prominent family of the College town. The marriage will necessarily be one of much significance.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, December 4, 1910

The wedding of Miss Cornelia Comstock and Winfield Scott Matthew Jr. is to occur Saturday, March the 18th, at the family home. The officiating minister will be the Reverend Winfield Scott Matthew. The affair, which is to be a very quiet one, will be attended by only the family and the most intimate friends. Miss Katherine Comstock will act in the capacity of bridesmaid while Raymond Mathews, brother of the groom will be best man.

Immediately after the ceremony the young couple will leave for an extended Eastern trip which will be of several months duration. Upon their home-coming they will occupy their country home near Healdsburg.

This popular and beautiful little prospective bride is being showered with wedding presents, as only a slight testimonial of the loving regard in which she is held by her many friends.

 – “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, March 12, 1911

As the clock strikes eight tomorrow night, Miss Cornelia Comstock will become the bride of Winfield Scott Matthew Jr., of Oakland. It will be a quiet home wedding and will take place on Sonoma avenue at the home of the bride. The father of the groom will tie the nuptial knot, and a sister of the groom, Miss Hattie Matthew, will play the wedding march.

The fair bride will wear a handsome gown of white marquesite over satin, trimmed with pearls, and will have a train. The veil will also be worn and will be held in place by a spray of orange blossoms. Her bouquet will be white roses and she will be attended by her sister, Miss Catherine Comstock as bridesmaid. Raymond Matthew will support his brother.

Following the ceremony the couple will start on their honeymoon journey, which will include a trip to the south, and then to Lake Tahoe, after which they will reside on Russian River in Alexander valley.

The prettiest of spring blossoms have been gathered for the decorations and the house is one bower of flowers. Daintily colored fruit blossoms, intermingled with greenery, were gracefully arranged and were set off here and there by huge bunches of daffodils. The large porch was also decorated and cozy corners were made.

Since coming here several years ago Miss Comstock has made many friends, who join in wishing her unbounded happiness. Many and beautiful were the presents that found their way to this charming bride, among them being cut glass, silver and hand painted china.

Miss Comstock will be missed from the social gatherings, but her friends are glad that her home will be near enough that she may attend some of them.

– “Many Social Events in City of Roses” column, Santa Rosa Republican, March 18, 1911

THE OPENING OF THE GIFT SHOP
(by Dorothy Ann)

“The Gift Shop” had a most auspicious opening Saturday. The Christmas stock was viewed and admired by enthusiastic purchasers. Miss Katherine Comstock has shown rare good taste in the selection of the many beautiful things that are artistically arranged in the cozy little store. There are motto cards, hand-painted mottos, gift books and some clever selections in books. In the French novelties are sachet bags, pin cushions, vanity boxes, powder boxes and darning bags. Among the modeled leather selections are card cases, book covers, fire screens, table mats, music rolls, desk sets and blotters.

For one who admires fine pottery there are pieces in Van Briggle, Paul Revere, Rockwood and Marblehead metal work pieces, show book-ends, candlesticks, trays and bowls, desk sets, jardineres [sic] and lamps.

Aside from these are hard-woven rugs, decorative wall placques [sic], hand-wrought jewelry, Sheffield silver plate, finished and stamped needle work. Prints and photographs have been selected with rare judgment and include Japanese, German Maxfield Parish [sic] and art photograph prints.

Toys for the children have not been neglected as some quaint Colonial chairs, hand-woven wool rugs and Russian toys in the collection testify. The opening will continue all this week and the public are cordially invited to inspect the choice collection of beautiful things.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, November 26, 1911

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THE COMSTOCKS OF SANTA ROSA

Two years since their arrival in Santa Rosa, it was clear the Comstocks had settled in to stay. Well, most of them, anyway.

Starting in 1910, members of the family adopted the custom of alerting the local papers when they were away from town. Someone made a day trip to San Francisco; was visiting in Oakland; enjoying a vacation at Lake Tahoe – all mundane bits of news, but nonetheless events their friends and business associates might find good to know (the operative part of that sentence being that they had local friends and business associates).  Hilliard was 19 years old and studying law with James Wyatt Oates, but he was best known around town for being a top-notch tennis player whose matches were covered on the sports page. At a social club, eldest brother John gave a lecture on bees and a song written by his wife was performed. Despite all odds that the aristocratic, highly educated Comstocks wouldn’t fit in with provincial Santa Rosa, they were fitting in just swell.

Around the end of the year John moved to southern California to study medicine. It was primarily John who brought the family here in 1908; he and sisters Catherine and Cornelia were award-winning leather workers who had been part of Elbert Hubbard’s legendary Roycroft Colony, which was the foundation for the Arts & Crafts movement in America. Calling themselves The Companeros, the Comstocks opened “The Gift Shop” in downtown Santa Rosa, where they sold their own work as well as artwork from many pioneers of the emerging Arts & Crafts style. As John was the shop’s manager and as probably little of their artisan work was sold locally, it would be natural to expect the storefront to close once he stepped aside. Except the opposite happened.

In May, the Press Democrat announced The Gift Shop would move to a larger and more prominent location at 626 Fourth street (which is still currently a gift shop, appropriately enough) where it would be run by Catherine Comstock and Bess Woodward. At the same time, the PD continued, they were forming an “Arts and Crafts Guild” in Santa Rosa to teach apprentices to make works of art that would be sold through the store. All members of the Guild were women.

All of this was a bit radical for 1910 Santa Rosa. Women usually didn’t own businesses, unless they sold ladies’ goods or services – hats or hairstyling, for ex. Outside of training for a profession such as teacher, nurse, or librarian, job opportunities for women were limited to unskilled labor, such as working at a laundry or operating a cash register (we know this because of 1911 complaints over new laws regarding female employees). Nor was downtown particularly friendly to women workers; as they could be arrested if they entered a bar or cigar shop, there were 30+ places off-limits to Guild members. (Matters had actually improved by then, however – for more than a year after the Great Earthquake, there were few, if any, public restrooms available for women.)

The Press Democrat noted John Comstock “still retains control of the wholesale end” which assured readers the business remained properly on a paternalistic even keel, and the Guild was “composed of a number of popular girls of the younger set… who are all personal friends and interested in each other’s welfare…” Although the PD’s condescending article makes them sound like ingenues (if not small children), they were in their twenties and the best and brightest of their generation. A couple of them we have already met: Pauline Olson, who ran Luther Burbank’s “Bureau of Information” and hosted a 1905 Goth-like “Ghost Party” that had people buzzing about it for months, and Hazel Farmer, who along with her mother Dorothy (of Farmer’s Lane fame) went to Los Angeles in 1908 to purchase a car which they drove all the way back to Santa Rosa on horse-worn wagon trails.

The Gift Shop was around at least through 1912, presumably still selling works created by the Arts and Crafts Guild of Santa Rosa. Over the next several years other Comstocks would begin drifting away from Santa Rosa, leaving mother Nellie and brothers George (“Frank”) and Hilliard. Later in the 1910s Hilliard would begin making a name for himself, and it took as long as that for the newspapers to learn how to spell it correctly.

LECTURE ON “BEES” BY JOHN COMSTOCK

The lecture on “Bees” by John Comstock at a meeting of the Starr King Club Thursday evening was one of the most instructive and interesting that has been given before the Club for some time, owing to its practical side. The speaker showed a familiarity with his subject which made it easy for him to handle it.

The meeting was conducted by Geo. F. King, the president, and there was an instrumental solo by Mrs. John Comstock, vocal solo by Miss Alice Bambaugh, the music of which was written by Mrs. Comstock. The evening proved a very pleasant one, and a large audience was present.

– Press Democrat, May 13, 1910

POPULAR GIRLS FORM A BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

A very interesting announcement is that which tells of the forming of a partnership by two of Santa Rosa’s popular and very talented girls, whereby they take over the business of “The Companeros,[“] or the “Gift Shop”, which has been so successfully conducted by John Comstock. They are Miss Catherine Comstock and Miss Bess Woodward.

Miss Comstock’s art work is considered among the finest in the country and both she and her brother are members of art associations in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities, in which membership is only gained by proficiency. Miss Woodward has been studying, carefully and untiringly with Mr. Comstock as a teacher for a long time and her work has earned compliments that have come from sources that make them very valuable. She is considered highly proficient.

It is the purpose of the new firm of Comstock & Woodward to move early next month from the Masonic building into a vacant store in the Union Trust Savings Bank building, a few doors further down the street from the present “Gift Shop” and there they will open what is planned to be one of the most artistic gift shops to be found anywhere and one that is bound to attract a great deal of attention and at the same time, do what all the many friends of the proprietors hope will be, a very lucrative business. They expect to open the shop around June 15.

Another important feature in connection with the formation of the partnership and the conducting of the gift shop already mentioned is the organization of an “Arts and Crafts Guild” in Santa Rosa, composed of a number of popular girls of the younger set. The members of the Guild will study among other things carving in leather, the modeling and tinting of plaster, and hand-wrought jewelry. Their workshop will be right in the gift shop and they will study under the personal direction and instruction of Miss Comstock and Miss Woodward. When they have attained proficiency the products of their skill will be placed on sale and thus they will participate in a financial way in the great business that will be inaugurated by the “Arts and Crafts Guild.”

A particularly pleasing feature of the whole affair, aside from the association of girls who are all personal friends and interested in each other’s welfare, and the pleasure of the work along such useful lines, is John Comstock’s assurance that there will never be an over production of the goods manufactured. He still retains control of the wholesale end and says he will find market for every article evolved by the skill of the Arts and Crafts Guild of Santa Rosa in the sale places of the world. The new firm and the
Guild is certainly wished much success.

– Press Democrat, May 21, 1910

Santa Rosa’s latest acquisition for the study of art and subsequent development into the practical is the Arts and Crafts Guild, mention of which was made in the news column of this paper on Saturday in connection with the formation of the business partnership by Miss Catherine Comstock and Miss Bess Woodward, to conduct the “Gift Shop.” The Arts and Crafts Guild is composed of a bevy of popular and clever girls, who are thoroughly interested in leather carving, modeling and tinting in plaster and in hand-wrought jewelry. They are Miss Jean Geary, Miss Dora Pierson, Miss Marian Pierson, Miss Cornelia Comstock, Miss Pauline Olson, Miss May McMeans, Miss Hazel Farmer, Miss Helen Woolsey and Miss Ester Scott. The instructors of the Guild will be Miss Catherine Comstock and Miss Woodward. As has already been outlined, when the members of the Guild become proficient in their work their products will be placed on the market and then will come the development of the practical. The work is bound to be interesting and everybody will, I am sure, wish the girls all kinds of success in their venture. In their stride towards what I feel like calling happy independence.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, May 22, 1910

THE FORMAL OPENING OF THE GIFT SHOP

Miss Bess Woodward and Miss Catherine Comstock announce the formal opening of the “Gift Shop” of the Companeros in its new quarters, 626 Fourth street, Union Trust Bank building, on June 10. Mention was made in this paper some time since of the formation of the partnership between these young ladies and the organization of the Arts & Crafts League of Santa Rosa to which a bevy of popular girls belong.

– Press Democrat, June 9, 1910

The formal opening of their art store and gift shop last Friday afternoon by Miss Bess Woodward and Miss Catherine Comstock partook of the nature of a social gathering. It was a large and admiring crowd that thronged the place. The popular girls, who with Miss Woodward and Miss Comstock form thee Arts & Crafts League were all present. Everybody was extending felicitations and wishing the girls success.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, June 12, 1910

With a sunburn that is the envy of many of the less fortunate ones who are still in town, Miss Marian Pierson, Miss Catherine Comstock and Miss Cornelia Comstock and Miss Helen Woolsey have returned home after a very delightful time in camp near Lake Tahoe. They report having had an outing of unalloyed pleasure and they certainly look the picture of health and are “strictly in it” in these days when tan is the correct color to be acquired during summer vacations. The Messrs. Comstock have also returned from Tahoe.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, July 10, 1910

HILLIARD COMSTOCK WILL PLAY IN TOURNAMENT

Hillyard [sic] Comstock, of Santa Rosa’s best tennis players, will participate in the state tournament that is to be held at Berkeley. He will be entered in the championship and the handicap events and hopes to do pretty well in the latter. He went to Berkeley Monday morning to be at the courts when his matches are called. James R. Edwards and W. H. Pyburn Jr. will play in the Del Monte tournament when that contest is begun in the near future.

– Santa Rosa Republican, August 22, 1910

“The Crafters,” an eastern publication, devotes considerable space in its current issue to a writeup of “the Companeros” of this city, devoting considerable space to the well known attainments of John Comstock. It also prints an excellent portrait of Mr. Comstock and pictures of some of his art work and also of his sister. The article also mentions in a very complimentary manner the artistic work done by Miss Comstock and Miss Bess Woodward and the Arts and Crafts Club of this city, composed of a number of our talented girls. As the “Crafter” only devotes its columns to the doers of arts and crafts that count the publication just mentioned is particularly pleasing.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, December 4, 1910

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HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE COMSTOCKS?

A year after the Comstocks settled in Santa Rosa, the newspapers began to take notice that a truly remarkable family had arrived.

The first 1909 report on Comstock family members was little more than a “personal mention” item that was probably overlooked by most readers as trivial news: “Hilyard [sic] Comstock…has taken up the study of law. He is reading with Colonel J. W. Oates…” The Press Democrat must be forgiven for not anticipating that this was the launch of a career that would impact Santa Rosa for the next half century; what’s unforgivable, however, is that the PD didn’t explain why this was such a newsworthy story. “Hilyard” was barely 18 years old and had no formal education aside from homeschooling by his mother and tutors, and James Wyatt Oates, a splenetic 59 year-old maverick who had never accepted a law partner, was now taking under his wing a young man whom he had only known for a few months. And for an extra poignant twist, Oates was following in the footsteps of his own brother, who had similarly educated him in the ways of the law when he was about the same age.

The Press Democrat may have misspelled Hilliard’s name, but they were right in noting that he was an avid tennis player. Both he and older sister Cornelia were active in the Santa Rosa Tennis Club, and there were items in both papers about him playing in local competitions. Tennis was apparently a swell way to meet girls; a couple of the sports articles reported that matches drew good-sized audiences, “most of whom were of the fair sex.” The papers weren’t done mangling his name, by the way; he was “Hillyard” in another PD tennis item, and the Santa Rosa Republican sports reporter just gave up and called him “H. Comstock.”

The Republican paper also published a short feature article on eldest brother John Adams Comstock, who was already respected as a word-class scientist – and like all the other Comstock siblings, homeschooled by their extraordinary mother, Nellie. The Republican reporter ooh’ed appropriately at Comstock’s enormous butterfly collection, which was supposedly the best in the nation. (His 1927 survey, “Butterflies of California,” remains the definitive work on the topic.)

John and his sisters were also famed artisan leather workers, trained at the famed Roycroft arts colony. Calling themselves “The Companeros,” their work won highest prizes at state and national competitions, which drew further attention from the 1909 Santa Rosa newspapers.

But the most unusual item on the Comstocks to appear that year was a wire story from Chicago concerning the estate of Judge Harvey B. Hurd, who was Nellie’s father and the grandfather of Hilliard and his six brothers and sisters. Yes, both papers often wrote about inheritances and the value of estates when prominent local citizens died, but I don’t recall any instance where readers were plainly told how much a resident had inherited from someone outside the area. In this case, however, it was a newsworthy story: The Comstocks had real estate in Chicago and Evanston worth about $200,000 which was to be held in trust for Nellie’s children. Projecting the value of that trust in terms of economic status, it would have been worth over $27 million today. In other words, the Comstocks weren’t just richer than anyone else in Santa Rosa – they were worth more than most local banks at the time.

Nellie Comstock and her children were probably the smartest, the most industrious, and the wealthiest family Santa Rosa had ever seen, but were together here only for a few years. John left for Southern California to study medicine; most of the others drifted to Carmel, where they were instrumental in founding the arts scene, endowed with generous donations from the Comstocks. That could have been Santa Rosa’s future instead, and more’s the pity.

HILYARD COMSTOCK IS STUDYING LAW

Hilyard Comstock, one of the Comstock brothers, tennis players, has taken up the study of law. He is reading with Colonel J. W. Oates. Mr. Comstock has many friends who will wish him all success in his studies, and they predict that it will not be long before he can be hanging out his shingle. He means to “dig” and such a determination always augurs for success.

– Press Democrat, April 20, 1909

EDWARDS VS. COMSTOCK
The Tennis Championship Between These Two

This afternoon James H. Edwards and H. Comstock are playing the championship set to decide who is entitled to the tennis honors of this city. These two have worked their way to the top, having won all the sets which they have played.

The preliminary games in the Santa Rosa championship tournament were played at the Santa Rosa Tennis Club’s courts Sunday morning and the games brought out some exceptionally good plays. Most of the contests were very close and the court was in ideal condition. The audience which witnessed the games was largely composed of ladies. Much interest centered in the games that James R. Edwards participated in. He was looked upon as a likely candidate for the championship honors.

[..]

– Santa Rosa Republican, May 31, 1909

Mrs. Nellie Comstock and daughters, the Misses Cornelia and Katherine Comstock, and Messrs. Hilliard and Hugh Comstock are all encamped at Eaglenest. Hilliard will come over next Wednesday to participate in the finals of the gentlemen’s doubles in the tennis championship, which will be played at 5:30 o’clock in the afternoon.

– “Many Social Events in City of Roses”, Santa Rosa Republican, July 3, 1909

PALMER AND COMSTOCK
Won the Championship Tennis Doubles

The Santa Rosa tennis championship for gentlemen’s doubles was determined Wednesday evening on the Santa Rosa Tennis Club’s courts. The honor of the tournament and the large silver loving cup was won by George Palmer and Hilliard Comstock. A large number of spectators, most of whom were of the fair sex, were present and watched the final match in which the winners were opposed by Temple Smith and A. W. Scott.

[..]

– Santa Rosa Republican, July 8, 1909

PREMIUMS WON BY THE EXHIBITORS
Individual Awards at Sacramento in Addition to the Big Prizes Given the Sonoma County Display

In addition to the big prizes won by the Sonoma County exhibit at the State Fair that has just closed in Sacramento individual premiums were won as follows…

…”The Companeros,” whose establishment is in the Masonic Temple building in this city, won first prize for the best piece of tool leather…

[..]

– Press Democrat, September 9, 1909

FINE COLLECTION OF BUTTERFLIES
John Comstock Has One of Best in United States

A large number of the close friends of John Comstock, manager of the Companeros Gift Shop, even among those who know him quite well, are not aware that he has a splendid collection of butterflies. He has, however, one of the best collections of United States butterflies owned in this country. Mr. Comstock seldom speaks of his collection, but to those who show an interest in the matter he is quite willing to show his collection and explain the differences to be seen in the many different kinds of butterflies.

He was for several years the recorder of the lepidopteral section of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and during that time and for several years afterward he spent a large portion of his spare time and holidays collecting the pretty little winged insects that fly among the flowers. Although Mr. Comstock’s collection is particularly one of butterflies of the United States, yet he has saved a few of the large, beautiful and highly colored butterflies from Brazil and other tropical countries that have come into his possession. These however, he does not count as being in his United States collection.

In his collection there are about three thousand butterflies. Of this number there are five hundred and some odd different species of the butterfly. There are seven hundred and fifty known species of butterflies in this country, so it will be seen that Mr. Comstock’s collection contains a large portion of those in existence. He himself in his research work has discovered four varieties of the butterfly not previously known, and is accredited with these discoveries by lepidopteral scientists. One of these varieties, which lives only in the high mountains of Colorado is worth $10 each.

In nearly all cases he has secured three specimens of each species, a male and female each. The third one is for the purpose of showing the coloring of the under side of the wings.

California, with its long stretch from the north to the south and its high mountains and valleys, contains a very large number of different kinds of butterflies and is considered as the best field of research to be found anywhere in one state. Mr. Luther Burbank has seen the collection and evinced a great deal of interest in the systematic manner in which it is kept. A large part of the collection Mr. Comstock gathered himself, but still a good many he has secured by trading with other collectors.

– Santa Rosa Republican, September 24, 1909

PROPERTY IS PLACED IN TRUST
Mrs. Comstock Divides Estate Among Children

CHICAGO, Sept. 24–William S. Young has taken title to an undivided one-half interest to eleven parcels of real estate which Mrs. Nellie Hurd Comstock of Santa Rosa, Cal., inherited from her father, the late Harvey H. Hurd of Evanston. Mr. Young, as trustee, is to pay to her during her life the net income, and on her death to pay it to her children. The property includes an undivided one-half interest in 52 and 54 Lake street, 24 by 140 feet, improved with a five story building. The property at 52 and 54 Lake street was valued by the Board of Review at $83,295, of which $10,000 is in the building.

The foregoing dispatch was received Monday, and it was further learned that Mrs. Nellie H. Comstock, having a life interest left her by her father, Judge Harvey B. Hurd of Chicago, in his estate, and after dividing the estate among her seven children, Mrs. Comstock placed it back in trust to her children, retaining only the life interest. This was in accordance with her father’s wishes. William S. Young was one of the trustees appointed by him. A sister of Mrs. Comstock some time ago brought successful suit to secure the fee simple of the estate for Mrs. Comstock. The property consists of real estate in Chicago and Evanston, and is approximately worth $200,000.

The late Judge Hurd was for a long time dean of the law faculty of the Northwestern University at Evanston, and for thirty years was engaged in revising the statutes of Illinois. He was the author of several measures passed by the legislature of that state. One of them was the child labor law authorizing the creation of a juvenile court. Another was the Torrens land law, which obviated the necessity of securing abstracts to title of land on the part of those making purchase of same. This measure was adopted in California, but owing to the way the legislature handled it, it met with indifferent success.

Mrs. Comstock lives a short distance outside of Santa Rosa on a ranch. Five of her seven children reside in this city.

– Santa Rosa Republican, September 27, 1909

GIFT SHOP GETS AWARD
Receives Gold Medal at Seattle Exposition

The Gift Shop of the Companeros carried off the gold medal and highest award at the arts and craft exhibition of the A. Y. P. exposition.

This is the second honor of its kind that has come to the Companeros, the first being a blue ribbon first award at Sacramento, for art leather work.

These are the only competitive exhibitions that the Gift Shop has entered this year, and the result speaks well for the quality of the work produced.

Since its establishment here the gift shop has attained considerable of a reputation in the far east for its creations in the fine arts. Over fifty of the largest cities in America are included on their list of agencies. They also hold a membership in three of the most exclusive Arts and Crafts Societies in the United States, namely the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, the National Society of Craftsmen of New York City, and the Daedalus Guild of Philadelphia.

This December will see their work entered in five fine art exhibitions, including that given in Berkeley by the Berkeley Art Association, but as these are not competitive, no awards are expected.

The Gift Shop is becoming an object of pilgrimage to many California craftsmen, and is well worth a visit, for those who love beautiful things.

– Santa Rosa Republican, November 12, 1909

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