Sarah Winchester at History San Jose

The History San Jose Research Library & Archives houses the following primary sources on the topic of Sarah Winchester and her properties, including the “Winchester Mystery House.” All of these documents and photographs have been scanned, and are available through our online catalog.

Interested in fact vs. fiction? You can start here, with an article that Sal Pizarro wrote for the Mercury News in February 2018:

‘Winchester’: New movie mixes fact with a lot of fiction,” San Jose Mercury News (February 2, 2018)

Samuel Leib Papers/Leib Family Collection (Catalog No. 1979-171)

The Leib Family Collection includes family and business correspondence as well as household and business records from Samuel and Lida Leib and their five children; and a series of documents related to Sarah Winchester. Samuel Franklin Leib was the legal consultant for Sarah Winchester. He advised her regarding property sales and purchases, including the maintenance of deeds, mortgages, and certificates of sale. Leib also provided investment advice and completed a number of purchases and transfers for her. He resolved issues regarding her tax payments.

Leib corresponded with Winchester regarding her will and performed a number of tasks regarding the settling of her affairs after her death. It is unclear whether or not he was the formal executor of her estate. He collected her bank statements and cancelled checks as well as many receipts for both professional services and the purchase of household goods. Leib maintained a collection of newspaper clippings in regard to the Winchester Arms Company and also had some of her personal items in his files, including letters.

A finding aid is available through the Online Archive of California

Search History San Jose’s Online Catalog for Winchester materials in the Leib Papers

Carl Hansen Collection (Catalog No. 2002-31 and 2008-116)

Carl and Theodore Hansen spent their formative years living on Sarah Winchester’s estate in San Jose, as children of John and Nellie Hansen. John was the ranch foreman from the late 1890s until Winchester’s death in 1922. Items donated by Carl’s son Richard include two photograph albums as well as the “daybooks” kept by John, documenting the activities of work on the ranch as well as the comings and goings of Mrs. Winchester. The two photograph albums document the Hansen’s lives on the estate.

Search History San Jose’s Online Catalog for Hansen Collection materials

History San Jose Postcard Collection

Search History San Jose’s Online Catalog for postcards of the Winchester Mystery House

History San Jose Collection

Search History San Jose’s Online Catalog for all photographs and documents related to Sarah Winchester’s properties

Search History San Jose’s Online Catalog for all photographs of Sarah Winchester