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Walker Scott Department Store Records, 1915-1993 | Special Collections & University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Walker Scott Department Store Records, 1915-1993Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1960-1969

Primary Creator: Walker Scott Department Store (1935-1986)

Extent: 16.61 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

I. Management Files, 1930-1985

   1.) Business Files, 1930-1985

   2.) Civic Files, 1943-1983

II. Minutes, 1939-1974

III. Newsletters, 1915-1986

IV. News Clippings, 1935-1993

V. Photographs, 1954-1976

VI. Artifacts, 1930-1993

Date Acquired: 10/24/2005

Subjects: Department stores--California--History, Department stores--California--San Diego County--History--20th century--Sources, Scott, George A., Scott, George A.--Portrait, Walker, Eliza Fitzgerald, Walker, Ralf M., Walker, Ralf M.--Portrait, Walker Scott Department Store Company--Archives

Forms of Material: Artifacts, Corporate Records, Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection documents the activities of the Walker Scott Department Store Company, run by George A. Scott. The records date from 1915-1993, with the bulk of the documents created in the 1960s during the company’s expansion to other branch stores. The series are Management Files, Minutes, Newsletters, News Clippings, Photographs and Artifacts. The Management Files are further divided into Business files and Civic files. The Minutes include records of company meetings. The Newsletters include various company publications. The News Clippings include articles from local newspapers. The Photographs include pictures from formal events. The Artifacts include various audiovisual materials, attire, scrapbooks and portraits.

The Management Files series includes Business Files and Civic Files. The Business Files document the activities and business throughout the company’s existence, and contain such topics as advertising, store openings, stock, leases, financing, insurance, contracts and interactions with other retailers. It also includes opening plans of the College Grove branch and its groundbreaking ceremony which included family night, constructors’ night, symphony night and all faiths night. The Civic Files contain certificates, correspondence, budgets and project plans that Scott sponsored. He planned fundraisers for organizations such as the Boys Club, Salvation Army, USO and the War Chest. These files are labeled by subject and filed alphabetically.

The Minutes document the board meetings from 1939-1986. The minutes document issues, events and personnel affiliated with the department store. They reflect the efforts of department managers, executives, fashion, expense or salary committee members. A range of topics such as sales, promotions, and customer service are covered and range from specific store issues to overall district trends. They illustrate the problems the company had encountered in retail competition and loss of profits. The minutes are labeled by date and committee and filed chronologically.

The Newsletters include various company publications including The Clarion, Time and Tide, The Friendly Chatter and Walker Scott News. The Clarion documents the earliest newsletters from Walker’s Department Store in Los Angeles. Time and Tide and The Friendly Chatter document the first newsletters in Walker’s Department Store in Downtown San Diego. The bulk of the company newsletters are Walker Scott News which range from 1955 to 1986. The department store had expanded during this time so the newsletters included columns for each branch store as well as overall trends for the district. It also featured employee accomplishments, store events and sales advice. The newsletter issues are labeled by date and filed chronologically.

The News Clippings include articles from various local San Diego newspapers from the Downtown Store opening in 1935 until his death in 1993. The clippings include the department store’s advertisements, sales, promotional events and philanthropist events. Many of these articles discuss the success of the company. There are two large sections of a newspaper covering the opening of the Walker’s Department Store in Downtown San Diego in 1935. There is also a large section in the College Grove Independent in 1960 that advertised Walker Scott merchandise. The bulk of the clippings are small articles. The clippings are labeled by date and filed chronologically.

The Photographs collection consists of photographs from 1954-1976. It includes photographs of Scott with friends, colleagues and associates at various events and associations. These photographs have no internal arrangement and are housed in 11 folders.

The Artifacts consist of booklets, scrapbooks, loose pages of scrapbooks, portraits, posters, attire, awards and other memorabilia. The scrapbooks and loose scrapbook pages include newspaper articles, photographs, certificates, programs and other paper material. They are numbered in no discernible order. The posters and booklets describe the company or store events. The awards include a bronze plaque and a large certificate for Scott’s philanthropist work. There are several sound recordings including 7 magnetic tapes records of store meetings, a cassette of Scott’s memorial service and a record of the company’s 25th anniversary. Attire includes commencement gowns and a mortarboard, traditional Mexican clothing and a sombrero. The portraits are of Walker and Scott. The smaller artifacts are labeled by subject and filed chronologically in folders while the larger artifacts have no internal arrangement.

Biographical Note

The Walker Scott Department Store was founded in downtown San Diego in 1935.  The store's original owner, Ralf M. Walker, who already owned and ran Walker's Department Store in Los Angeles, passed away in New York six weeks before the San Diego store's opening.  A former stock boy at the Los Angeles store, George A Scott, whom Mr. Walker had sent to the New York University of Retailing (1930) opened the San Diego store with Mr. Walker's widow, Eliza Fitzgerald Walker.  Eliza Walker became president of the company while Scott held the title of vice president. Walker’s Downtown store opened on October 3, 1935, situated on 5th and Broadway. It eventually expanded to eight stories, and held San Diego County’s first escalators.

Upon the death of Eliza Walker in 1951, Scott became the president, director, chief executive and principle stockholder of the company. Three years later, the board of directors changed the company’s name to Walker Scott Department Store. In 1955, the company established a Service Center for additional accounting and shipping operations. In 1959, they purchased Stevenson’s in La Jolla, a store that continued operation under its original name.  In 1960, the company opened what was the largest Walker Scott Department Store in the College Grove Shopping Center – San Diego's first suburban shopping center.  It was situated on the north side of State Highway 94 at College Avenue with direct access from all major traffic roads in the area. The shopping center was surrounded by a parking area capable of accommodating 5,000 cars at one time.

Walker Scott’s Department Stores opened in the Linda Vista Shopping Center in 1963, the Escondido Village Shopping Center in 1964 and Oceanside in 1976. In 1970, the company added a fabric store in Lakeside, Ocean Beach and El Cajon. In 1968, Walker Scott purchased the Whitney’s Department Stores and operated two stores ran by that firm in Claremont and El Cajon. The company also operated branch stores in Palm Springs (1970), San Carlos (1973), Mission Valley (1973), Mira Mesa (1975) National City (1982) and Pacific Beach (1983). Each department store featured women’s, men’s, children’s apparel, and accessories, and sold yardage, bedding, appliances, radios, televisions, house wares, draperies, floor coverings, China, silverware, jewelry, furs, cameras, gifts, books, cosmetics, notions lingerie, millinery and toys.

In 1975, Robert J. Dicker and Boyd E. Alvord bought controlling interests of the company. The Board of Directors named Dicker as president and chief executive officer of Walker Scott Co. and Alvord as company vice president and secretary. Although sales peaked at $45.5 million in 1983, profitability declined. On January 5, 1989 the downtown store officially closed because it had lost its lease.  The combination of a population shift to the suburbs and a new shopping center, Horton Plaza, with four major department stores, opening across the street from Walker Scott’s Department Store had pushed the company out of business. Dicker sold the chain to Harold Kapelovitz. He and his investors concluded that substantial loss for the company was imminent due to increased competition in the San Diego retail environment. Kapelovitz decided to close the remaining stores when the leases expired in 1986.

In addition to business affairs, George A. Scott was involved in numerous civic organizations such as the Boys Club, Salvation Army, USO Advisory Council, Community Chest, Fiesta de Pacifico, YMCA, San Diego Transit, San Diego Council of Churches, San Diego Hospital Association and many other committees. Scott was named “Mr. San Diego” by the Grant Club in 1954 and was the 1964 winner of the Golden Man and Boy Award of the Boys Club of San Diego. In 1976, the Central City Association named Scott “Man of the Century.” Scott wrote his book Your Future in Retailing in 1961 and donated all proceeds from the book to the National Distributive Education Clubs of America Program. Scott lectured extensively on retailing and merchandising as chairman of the Committee On Careers In Retailing of the National Retail Merchants Association. During his lifetime, he raised over $75 million dollars for local causes and received more than 200 civic and service awards.

Scott was born in Scotland in 1907, lived in Canada briefly and came to the United Sates and became a citizen in 1931. In 1952, he married Evelyn Hjelm. Their two children are George Walker Scott born in 1953 and Andrea Cox born in 1955. He died at the age of 86 in 1993.

Subject/Index Terms

Department stores--California--History
Department stores--California--San Diego County--History--20th century--Sources
Scott, George A.
Scott, George A.--Portrait
Walker, Eliza Fitzgerald
Walker, Ralf M.
Walker, Ralf M.--Portrait
Walker Scott Department Store Company--Archives

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Acquisition Source: George Walker Scott and Andrea Cox

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Walker Scott Department Stare Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Processing Information: Processed by Alex Tea, May 2006.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Management Files, 1930-85],
[Series 2: Minutes, 1939-74],
[Series 3: Newsletters, 1915-86],
[Series 4: News Clippings, 1935-93],
[Series 5: Photographs, 1954-76],
[Series 6: Artifacts, 1930-93],
[All]

Series 1: Management Files, 1930-85Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: Business Files, 1930-85Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Advertising Club, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Anniversary Programs, 1930-78Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Broadway-Hale, 1960-67Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Broadway-Hale, 1960-67Add to your cart.
Folder 5: College Grove All Faiths, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 6: College Grove Constructor's Night, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 7: College Grove Cornerstone, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 8: College Grove Correspondence, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 9: College Grove Family Night, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 10: College Grove Financing, 1960Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: College Grove Financing, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 2: College Grove Financing, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 3: College Grove Groundbreaking Ceremony, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 4: College Grove In-Store Organization, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 5: College Grove Opening, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 6: College Grove Symphony NightAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Corporation Stock, 1965-76Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Corporation Stock, 1965-76Add to your cart.
Folder 9: DebenturesAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: DebenturesAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Walker Estate, 1952-53Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Walker Estate, 1952-53Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Enterprise, 1955-59Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Equitable, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Fitzgerald Stockholders' AgreementAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Fitzgerald Corporation Proceedings, 1945-50Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Fitzgerald Corporation Proceedings, 1945-50Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Fixture Agreement, 1961-63Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Lease Indenture, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Lease Indenture, 1955Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Lease Memorandum, 1956Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Loan from E.F. Walker, 1953Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Long Term Financing, 1960-64Add to your cart.
Folder 7: May Co., 1962Add to your cart.
Folder 8: May Co., 1962Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Memorandum, 1959-60Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Mira Mesa Opening, 1974-75Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Mira Mesa Proposal and Investment, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Name Ownership, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Notes and Correspondence, 1976-85Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Reliance Insurance, 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Rotary Event, 1961Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Sears, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 9: S.E. Economic DevelopmentAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Service Center, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Sperry-Hutchingson ContractsAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Voting Trusts, 1965-71Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Voting Trusts, 1965-71Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Warehouse, 1955-57Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Whitney's Department Store, 1963Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Walker Scott Image, 1974Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 2: Civic Files, 1943-83Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Boys Club, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Civic Tribute, 1943-70Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Commencement, 1968-75Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Commercial Value Analysis, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Fiesta Budget, 1956-58Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Fiesta CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Jones Elementary SchoolAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Mission Bay Project, 1935-70Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Mission Bay Project, 1935-70Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Personal CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Salvation Army, 1954-87Add to your cart.
Folder 6: USO, 1945-83Add to your cart.
Folder 7: War Chest, 1943Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Who's Running SD?, 1977Add to your cart.
Series 2: Minutes, 1939-74Add to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Department Managers, 1939-40Add to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Department Managers, 1941Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Department Managers, 1942Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Department Managers, 1943Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Department Managers, 1944Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Department Managers, 1945Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Department Managers, 1946-47Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Department Managers, 1948-49Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Department Managers, 1950-51Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Department Managers, 1952-53Add to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Department Managers, 1954-55Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Department Managers, 1956-57Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Department Managers, 1958-59Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Department Managers, 1960-61Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Department Managers, 1962-63Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Fashion, 1963-64Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Department Managers, 1964-65Add to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Buyers, 1964-72Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Expense, 1964-65Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Executive, 1964-66Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Fashion, 1965-66Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Department Managers, 1966,1968Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Expense, 1966-69Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Fashion, 1967-76Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Execute, 1967-69Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Salary, 1968-72Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Department Managers, 1969-70Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Executive, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Executive, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Department Managers, 1971-72, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Executive, 1972-74Add to your cart.
Series 3: Newsletters, 1915-86Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 8: The Clarion, 1920-25Add to your cart.
Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: The Clarion, 1926-27Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Time and Tide, 1936-37Add to your cart.
Folder 3: The Friendly Chatter, 1943,1948Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Walker Scott News, 1955, 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Walker Scott News, 1960-61, 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Walker Scott News, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Walker Scott News, 1966-67Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Walker Scott News, 1968-69Add to your cart.
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Walker Scott News, 1970-71Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Walker Scott News, 1972-74Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Walker Scott News, 1975-79Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Walker Scott News, 1980-83Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Walker Scott News, 1984-86Add to your cart.
Series 4: News Clippings, 1935-93Add to your cart.
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 6: UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Walker's Opening, 1935Add to your cart.
Folder 8: 1943-48Add to your cart.
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 1950-52Add to your cart.
Folder 2: College Grove Independent, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 3: 1960-69Add to your cart.
Folder 4: 1970-79Add to your cart.
Folder 5: 1980-93Add to your cart.
Series 5: Photographs, 1954-76Add to your cart.
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 6: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Box 15Add to your cart.
Folder 1: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Box 16Add to your cart.
Folder 1: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: PublicityAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Framed portraitAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Framed portraitAdd to your cart.
Series 6: Artifacts, 1930-93Add to your cart.
Box 16Add to your cart.
Folder 3: 17 Years Booklet, 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Favorite Songs of Walkers, 1946Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Friendly Store Booklet, 1944Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Guestbook, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Loose PapersAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Loose PapersAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Loose PapersAdd to your cart.
Box 17Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Negative SlidesAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Portraits and SketchesAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Scrapbook 1Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook 2Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Scrapbook 3Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Scrapbook 4Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Scrapbook 5Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Scrapbook 6Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Srapbook 7Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Scrapbook 8Add to your cart.
Box 18Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Scrapbook 9Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Scrapbook 10Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Scrapbook 11Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook 12Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Scrapbook 13Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Scrapbook 14Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Scrapbook 15Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Scrapbook 16Add to your cart.
Box 19Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Scrapbook 17Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Scrapbook 18Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Scrapbook 19Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook 20Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Downtown Meeting Tape, 6 January 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Store Meeting Tape, 15 September 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Beginner's Luncheon Tape, 3 October 1962Add to your cart.
Folder 8: College Grove 35th Anniversary Tape, 7 October 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Company Meeting Tape, 21 January 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Jobholder's Meeting Tape, 13 January 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Jobholder's Meeting Tape, 2 October 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Scott's Memorial Service Cassette, 22 October 1993Add to your cart.
Box 20Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 25th Anniversary Record, 3 October 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 2: AlbumAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Walker SketchAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: SD Store-yAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: 503 San DiegansAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Walker's Store SketchAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: CertificateAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: R. M. WalkerAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: 3 Large PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Walker's Silver Jubilee, 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Drugstore PictureAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: PlaqueAdd to your cart.
Box 21Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Commencement AttireAdd to your cart.
Box 22Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Fiesta AttireAdd to your cart.
Box 23Add to your cart.
Folder 1: SombreroAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Management Files, 1930-85],
[Series 2: Minutes, 1939-74],
[Series 3: Newsletters, 1915-86],
[Series 4: News Clippings, 1935-93],
[Series 5: Photographs, 1954-76],
[Series 6: Artifacts, 1930-93],
[All]


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