Like many East Coast transplants to Gold Rush era San Francisco, Charles Proctor Kimball's earliest attempts at success in California went unfulfilled. Mining on the Yuba River yielded little, and his attempts to offer San Franciscans express mail to Sacramento and to establish a city delivery post also proved unsuccessful. In 1850 Kimball opened a small one-room shop on San Francisco's Long Wharf, where, as newspaper crier, he composed jingles to deliver the daily news. This little shop became known as the Noisy Carrier Publishing Hall and served variously as a publishing house, an outbound mail deposit firm and a book and stationery store hawking everything from finely bound books, out-of-town newspapers and pencils to shells and sundries. Kimball would lure customers with loud placards and banners. Fortuitously for Kimball, the Noisy Carriers shop initially proved quite successful.
The following lettersheets, published by Noisy Carrier and sold in the store, served for letter writers as a way share with their contacts both their personal going-ons and also events and popular stories taking place in the always lively San Franicsco. This first lettersheet depicts Long Wharf, where the Noisy Carrier Publishing Hall resided.
Success can sometimes be fleeting, and such was the case for Kimball. By 1857, the Noisy Carrier no longer enjoyed the prosperity of its previous years. Here is a receipt for 100 envelopes and one bottle of ink purchased at the Noisy Carrier's close out sale in June of 1859.
To learn more about the California Historical Society's lettersheets please take a look at the California lettersheet collection finding aid available on the Online Archive of California. Digital images of many of our lettersheets will soon be available on our Flickr Commons page.
Jaime Henderson, Archivist