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Balch Photographs and Travel Ephemera Collection

Identifier: D-Mss-0977

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Balch Photographs and Travel Ephemera Collection consists of forty-four bound photograph albums and twenty-seven boxes of primarily visual material related to the world travels of Janet Jacks Balch and Allan Christopher Balch during the 1910s-1930s.


  • Creation: 1912-1943
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920-1930


Language of Material

Languages represented in collection: English.


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or publish must be submitted in writing to the Ella Strong Denison Library.

Biography / Administrative History

Janet Jacks Balch was born in Monterey, California on July 10, 1863, to David Jacks and Maria Christina Romie Jacks. She received her B.S. from University of the Pacific and studied literature as a graduate student at Cornell in 1886-1888. She met Allan Christopher Balch (born in Valley Falls, New York, on March 13, 1864) while they were both studying at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and they married on April 29, 1891. For a brief time, Allan’s work as an engineer took them to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, but they moved to Los Angeles in 1896. He was a founder and partner of various early utility companies in Southern California, and he later served as general manager of Pacific Light and Power Company, general manager of Southern California Gas Company, Vice President of San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation, and Vice President of Coalinga Light and Power Company. In Los Angeles, they first lived at the Alexandria Hotel on Spring Street but spent most of their years downtown as residents of the Biltmore Hotel on Olive Street. Allan died on April 30, 1943, and Janet died on August 3, 1943. Janet Jacks Balch was one of the founding trustees of Scripps College in Claremont, California and served in that capacity from 1927-1938, after which time she remained an honorary member of the Board of Trustees. She and her husband were the benefactors behind the construction and furnishing of the browsing room in Toll Hall, the college’s first residence hall, and they also funded the college’s primary administrative building, Balch Hall, named in her honor. From the 1910s through the 1930s, but primarily in the 1920s, Janet Jacks Balch and Allan Christopher Balch took a series of trips to various parts of the world. Passenger lists from the United States National Archives document their returns to the United States via the Empress of Scotland at the port of Los Angeles from Bombay in March 1925; at the port of New York from Cherbourg in December 1926, July 1927 and again in October 1928 on the Reliance, Berengaria and Olympic, respectively; and at the port of Los Angeles on the Resolute from Columbo in May 1930. During these journeys, they visited multiple countries, and Allan, who considered himself an amateur photographer, documented their travels. These photographs, along with related correspondence and ephemera such as brochures, maps, business cards, receipts, clippings and postcards, created a visual record of disparate parts of the world they visited. While these images may document the wealthy American tourist’s perspective of exotic and far flung destinations, they also record communities, lifestyles, historic buildings and regions that have since changed or were destroyed as the result of urban growth, natural disasters, shifting political and economic priorities, or war.


51 Linear Feet (44 bound albums and 27 boxes)


The Balch Photographs and Travel Ephemera Collection consists of forty-four bound photograph albums and twenty-seven boxes of primarily visual material related to the world travels of Janet Jacks Balch and Allan Christopher Balch during the 1910s-1930s.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following four series:

Series 1: Balch Photograph Albums, 1923-1929 and undated Series 2: Loose Photographs, 1925-1943 and undated Series 3: Postcards, undated Series 4: Travel Ephemera, undated

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of the estate of Janet Jacks Balch, 1943.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Information

Preliminary container list created in 2012 from inventories by Jamie Weber, Martha Serrano and the graduate students of ARCH 310 (Introduction to Archival Studies) taught by Daniel Lewis at Claremont Graduate University. Finding aid updated by Jennifer Martinez Wormser, May 2020. Finding aid updated by Corey Solorio LoDuca, Fall 2022 and Fall 2023.

Genre / Form



Balch Photographs and Travel Ephemera Collection
Jamie Weber, Martha Serrano, and Jennifer Martinez Wormser
2020 May 12
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the 02 - Ella Strong Denison Library Repository

1030 Columbia Ave
Claremont 91711 United States US