RANCH. Jane letter to Clint preparing for summer meetings June 24, 1957

C.B. Hollister

924 Garden St

Santa Barbara, CA

Dear Clint:

My next trip to Santa Barbara:

June 24–Arrive Flight I South West at 10 AM ( more or less): Evening, I hope to see Newt.

June 25–Father & I will tour all 3 ranches. Evening, I hope to see Dennis

June 26–Operations Committee 7 AM (breakfast) Hollister Estate Co Directors Meeting 10 AM. I hope to spend the afternoon with you. OK? I go home on 6:20 PM plane.

If there’s legal work or other chores to do we have Monday afternoon. You can make any appointments you want for the afternoon.

Best to you, Love,


Live Oak Way,

Kentfield, CA..

RANCH. Lynda wants to do her ranch job; Jane doesn’t. 1950s

During spring break Lynda’s parents –Jane and Joe Wheelwright — invited us both to join them on a car trip through the Southwest.

Lynda politely declined on the grounds that it was “round-up time” on her grrandparents’ ranch and that whe would prefer, perhaps for one last time, to herd and brand cows.

This preference was incomprehensible to me and I was stunned.

Her father Jo came to the rescue and privately informed me that American women were different from those I might be used to.

He emphasized that they had a will of their own as well as their personal preferences and that good American men supported this independence,

at least learned to live with it.

I shook my head in disbelief


From: Klaus Dieter Schmidt: Spy For Life: A Personal Story Of Survival In War And Peace 2004.

RANCH Lynda and brother John Wheelwright in the Bulito Big House 1940

On the ranch, grandmother did not like children any better than my parents did. As a result another nanny was hired. She was to us an ancient English lady whom we were told to call Miss Annis. She spent most of her time taking care of John who turned sickly with an assortment of respiratory troubles. Grandmother lived in another part of the house which was off limits to us. We rarely saw her or grandfather. In 1941, at last, our parents called us home, to their new house in Marin County, north of San Francisco.

Another nanny was put in charge of us. She was Mrs McGinis, to us a monster. She beat her daughter, who shared her bedroom night after night. One day she got mad at John and with a large knife in her hand, approached my brother. She trhen whacked it across the back of his chair, breaking the blade in two, with one part flying across the room. We both were stiff with fright…

From: Living your Life, by Lynda Wheelwright Schmidt with Klaus Dieter Schmidt, 2005 

WAR. Klaus Schmidt’s uncle’s boss and co-workers, 1944

My father [Kurt Schmidt] had two brothers, Werner and the much younger Eberhard, nicknamed Hax. In the latter stages of the war Hax spent much time in our house [in Thuringen, Germany]. He had been given the vainglorious assignment of producing 1000 jet fighters per month in tunnels and caves spread throughout our province.

His direct boss was one of the true monsters of Nazism, a man named Sauckel, later to be hanged after the Nuremberg trials. Througout the ordeal of trying to gather manpower, tools and raw materials to fulfill his assignment, Hax never faltered. His incredible sense of humor rose above the impossical task. I recall one evening when he dropped in, my father asked him how it was going. With true gallows humor Hax responded that he had two screw drivers, four hammers, 100 party officials and 2000 Russian prisoners, all of them standing around six kettles in which a constant stew of boiled potatoes was brewing. And there he stood among them all reading an order from Sauckel that production was to begin the next day, or all would be shot on the spot.

                                         Hax loved to laugh,

                                                   loved making light of severe situations

                                                                               and making fun of all other people…


From Klaus Dieter Schmidt with Lynda Wheelwright Schmidt: A Humanist Guide to Well Being,

Authorhouse, 2005 

RANCH. Pete Steffens on Berkeley demonstrations and Charlie Chaplin, September 1964

When Charlie Chaplin, now 75, talks thoughtfully about himself, the part of him that became famous, he sometimes uses the phrase, “I’m just a clown!’

We visited him—my parents and my wife, Ella, and I with our baby daughter —at his villa in Switzerland for three days in September of 1964.

I had never met him before, and came away stimulated, fascinated, baffled.

And it wasn’t until the student protest movement at the Berkeley campus of the University of California reached its climax in December — as incongruous as that might seem — that many of the elements that had puzzled me about Chaplin suddenly fell into place.

When 800 students marched into the Administration Building on December 2, they had prepared to spend several hours in the halls, and came equipped: warm clothes for the night, books for studying, guitars for music, and four films, including a fine old comedy with a skating waiter: Charlie Chaplin.

When I first heard this, I chuckled, as I suppose most people did at the apparent ridiculousness of it, and dismissed it. The students, many of whom I knew to be the most serious about ideas, and about their education, had also prepared to hear lectures on the Constitution — and civil rights. They could not hope to win on the level of force; but they could defy “authority!’ and even ridicule aspects of administered education, by substituting lectures of their own.

It struck me as amusing,

but nothing important.

                                                                         At first.

Their choice of a Chaplin film came back, however, with a force that jarred me, when I sat down to write this account of our visit, and to try to set down what kind of a person Chaplin is, and what kind of an experience meeting him was.

The students’ action reminded me of something this great comedy film-maker had said in his autobiography:

“In the creation of comedy, it is paradoxical that tragedy stimulates the spirit of ridicule; because ridicule, I suppose, is an attitude of defiance…”

From: The Victorian Tramp, by Peter Steffens, in Ramparts Magazine, March, 1965.

RANCH. Pete Steffens 1924 – August 23, 2012

When his father, Lincoln Steffens, died in Carmel-on-the-sea, August 9, 1936, Pete Steffens was twelve years old, staying at the Big House at Bulito. Pete’s mother, Ella Winter called, and Len’s sister, Lottie, picked up the hand-crank wall-phone with her daughter, Jane Hollister Wheelwright close-by.

When Pete came to visit me,  he told me,”They embraced me in tears, but I was happy. I knew he suffered no pain.”

I mention this in passing today, having just received an email from Pete’s daughter that Pete has passed on.  At the time, he was “comfortable and was listening to music he loved.”




RANCH. Francis Graham Hollister fastest man on earth, for a while.April 2, 1929


The first Russell Cup Track and Field Meet was held here in 1914.The 69th edition of the Russell Cup in 1988 was the last meet held at this site. The facility saw major work done in 1929 when a new quarter-mile track was built. I am told that they did not have enough space for the 220 yard dash, which was run on a straight away, so they brought in dirt to extend the track out to Palm Avenue. In 1929, Graham Hollister of Cate School won the Russell Cup 220 yard dash in a meet record time of 21.2 seconds.

For your information, the winning time in the 1928 Olympic 200 meters was 21.8 seconds.

In 1949 when the track was surveyed for reconstruction, it was discovered that a five foot drop existed from the start to the finish of the 220 and his record was dropped.

Cate School (Santa Barbara, CA) Board Member Lou Panizzon remembers Francis Graham Hollister’s 1929 track record.


Cate finished third due to the efforts of speedster Graham Hollister. He won the 100 yard dash in 9.8 seconds and the 220 yard dash in 21.2 seconds. The winning time in the 1928 Olympic 200 meter dash was 21.8 seconds. Hollister capped off his afternoon with a 20’ 11 ¾” long jump.

Needless to say, Hollister’s record 220 time created quite a buzz. As a matter of fact, his Russell Cup record has never been surpassed. However, he is no longer the record holder because of a technicality. In 1949, 20 years after he ran the race, a 5 foot drop from the start to the finish of the track’s 220 yard straightaway was discovered. The track was rebuilt and Hollister’s record dropped.