Steinbeck Family Ephemera and Artifacts

Collection Title

Steinbeck Family Ephemera and Artifacts

Collection Cataloged By
Various, including Mary Gamble, John Hooper, Herb Behrens, Lisa Josephs, and Tara Spada

Finding Aid Prepared By
Lisa Josephs

Date Range
Mid 1800s to 1970s

Scope and Contents

This collection of Steinbeck family ephemera and artifacts includes family papers and personal objects owned by John Steinbeck, his immediate family, grandparents, and great-grandparents.


The collection of family papers is arranged by document type and the artifacts are arranged according to the owner of the items.

Family Ephemera

  • Death Records and Baptismal Records, 1 file
  • Estate Papers and Wills, 3 files
  • Deeds, Indentures, Quitclaims, and Homestead Applications, 1 file
  • School Papers and Report Cards—Thomas and John IV, 1 file
  • Wanderer’s Club Programs, 2 files
  • Steinbeck’s Early Years (Birth through early teenage years), 1 file
  • Steinbeck’s High School Years (late teen years), 1 file
  • Passports and Other Legal Documents and Identification 1 File
  • Gulf of California Trip (Notes and State Department paperwork), 1 file
  • Miscellaneous: Genealogy papers, maps, Masonic Lodge applications/membership rolls, newspaper clippings, 4 files

Family Artifacts

  • Tobacco pipes, 4.
    • Made of briar in Apple, Billiard, and Zulu styles.
  • Pencil.
    • Red, Eagle brand “Chemi*Sealed” Draughting pencil, #314
  • Lighters, 3.
    • Leather-clad; “John Steinbeck” carved into the side of one.
  • Glasses & Cases, 3.
    • Black plastic frames; gold, round frames; gold rimless.
  • Pins, 4.
    • Two of faces in profile, one shaped like cowboy boots, one with a space craft in flight
  • Keys, 8.
    • Various styles of small, metal keys.
  • Check books, 2.
    • Various memos filled out.
  • Wallets, 4.
    • Various sizes and colors, one with “John Steinbeck” stamped in gold.
  • 3-year-old John’s haircut lock of hair.
    • Several inches of hair, tied with string. Includes envelope with identifying information, presumably Olive Steinbeck’s handwriting.
  • Globe on a stand.
    • Lighted Rand McNally Indexed Terrestrial Globe, approx. 3 feet tall.
  • Reclining rolling chair.
    • Faux black leather, slightly worn.
  • Porcelain doll.
    • Head, feet, and hands made of porcelain, includes one dress.
  • Story and song book.
    • Neidlinger, W. H. The Owl and the Woodchuck (with a few others). Rand, McNally, and Company Publishers, Chicago and New York, 1901
  • Rocinante.
    • 1960 GMC V6 truck with a 305 cubic inch engine, camper shell on the truck bed.
  • Child’s rocking chair.
    • Wooden frame with a burlap seat.

Language(s) English (if applicable)