New Llano Records

1929-1970 (bulk 1960's)

5.08  linear feet 

Collection Number 261
 

Prepared by Suzette R. Cormier and Chelsea Bryant
March 2010

CITATION: The New Llano Records, Collection No. 261, Box number, Folder number,
Archives and Special Collections Department, Frazar Memorial Library, McNeese State University.


Archives and Special Collections Department
Frazar Memorial Library
McNeese State University


Historical Sketch

Llano's story begins when, in 1900, the newly unified Socialist Party selected two Indiana natives to head up their Presidential ticket. Eugene Debs was selected as their Presidential candidate. His running mate, described by novelist Jack London as "the best socialist speaker on the coast," was an idealistic and prominent young lawyer named Job Harriman. After Harriman's unsuccessful vice-presidential bid, he returned to California and ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 1911. This was an era wrought with poor economic conditions for the average American. Big business controlled the work force and the worker was just beginning to find his voice. Disenchantment with businesses' labor practices was so great that both the labor unions and the Socialist Party threw their support behind Harriman. Harriman was favored to win the election. But a curious turn of events destroyed Harriman's chance to become the first Socialist mayor of Los Angeles.

The McNamara brothers, active labor unionists, were accused of blowing up the Los Angeles Times building. The Times owner, Harrison Gray Otis, was a prominent and powerful figure in California, and he was violently anti-union. The bombing case made national headlines. Harriman represented the McNamara brothers, and no less than Clarence Darrow joined him in their defense. Unbeknownst to Harriman, Darrow was strong-armed into cutting a deal with the prosecution. Just days before the mayoral election which Harriman was favored to win, Otis and the Times forced the brothers to confess -- and Harriman lost the election.

Disillusioned with trying to affect change through the political system, the charismatic Harriman and a number of other socialists decided that economic change could best be achieved by giving Americans an opportunity to experience a socialist way of life firsthand in a cooperative colony. In 1914, these visionaries established the Llano del Rio Colony, 45 miles north of Los Angeles, in the Antelope Valley. There, although hounded by Otis and the Times, and overwhelmed by prospective colonists disillusioned with the American political system, the colony prospered until it was discovered that an earthquake fault diverted much of the water the colony had counted on for its growth. Surrounding land barons refused to sell water to the colony, and Harriman and his colleagues scouted the country for another site. In 1917, 200 of the 600 original California colonists chartered a train and moved the entire colony to the former lumber town of Stables, Louisiana and changed its name to New Llano.

For the next 20 years the colony evolved its own brand of cooperativism, southern style. The colony not only coexisted with, but thrived alongside their neighbors in west Louisiana. In doing so, Harriman and the Llano colony accentuated the dreams of socialist Utopian believers in America and around the world. Though life was not easy at the colony, no one starved either physically or intellectually. The colony was one of the first groups in America to adopt the Montessori teaching method. A prominent socialist, feminist, and architect, Alice Constance Austin helped design the California community. A leading national socialist paper, The American Vanguard (aka The National Ripsaw) moved its operations to New Llano. Theodore Cuno, one of the founders of Labor Day, made New Llano his home until his death. Cuno endowed the colony with a substantial library, one of the best in Louisiana. The colony produced many high-quality items, from shoes to machine tools to popular foodstuffs, and people came from as far away as Texas to buy the reasonably priced, well-made goods. There were numerous colony orchestras and theatrical groups which performed at the colony roof garden, free of charge, to fellow colonists and their neighbors. In fact, surviving colonists today still recall the intellectual life and cultural activities at New Llano as one of the most important successes of their cooperative venture.

In California they were tested politically; in the south they struggled with their own idealism. One colonist described the discussion about whether to admit African-Americans to the colony; having just been run out of California for their economic beliefs, the colonists decided that being Socialist was aggravation enough to their new neighbors. But one young woman at the time remembers her family's close relations with the Black community nearby. The colony's relation with one prominent African-American, scientist George Washington Carver, was their salvation. At one point the colony suffered from malnutrition and Carver is credited with pointing out to the transplanted farming colonists better soil and crop use pertinent to the south.
Llano's social programs, which in their day were considered un-American, were another source of pride. Seventy-five years later, similar programs have been instituted and borne much fruit in America. The minimum wage, Social Security, low cost housing, welfare, and a move toward universal health care were all instituted at Llano far ahead of the rest of America.

The colony remained in Louisiana for 22 years, adapting to new physical, social, and economic conditions. Then, in 1939, a series of financial problems and internal dissention forced the colony into receivership. Several years later writer Aldous Huxley, living at the defunct California colony, wrote about Llano's legacy. He likened Harriman's dream to that of Ozymandias, "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

http://www.lpb.org/programs/utopia/history.html

Scope and Content Note

These records consist of correspondence and related financial material concerning the closure and dissolution of assets of the New Llano colony, primarily from the 1960’s.

Container List

Box

Folder

Description

1

1

To be introduced as evidence at Ron’s shareholder meeting

 

2

H.C. Schad  315 Okmulgee Ave. Okmulgee, OK

 

3

Edmund, Gilbert, Zimmerman correspondence

 

4

Millsap’s newsletters

 

5

Mechanics lien and suit for compensation

 

6

Anna Loutrel, Minutes of the Board 1965

 

7

Big shot – impeachment

 

8

Annie Loutrel correspondence

 

9

Income tax 1965

 

10

Irwin, Millsap, Schad correspondence

 

11

John Hunter letters, Huey P. Long note

 

12

Copy of November 20, 1962 minutes, attorney letters, Nevada Corporation

 

13

Rosa Hetner correspondence

 

14

Loutrel Correspondence concerning stockholders

 

15

Evidence

 

16

Stock certificate of Albert Kapotsy, Llano del Rio Company of Nevada

 

17

Leigh Kennedy 3730 Rose Ave. Long Beach, California

 

18

Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.

 

19

Mitchell Evans correspondence

 

20

Llano letterheads

 

21

Securities and Exchange (city)

 

22

Alexander J. Phillian correspondence

 

23

Thomason, Koontz, Davidson, Fuljenz correspondence

 

24

Milton Manoubin (attorney) correspondence

 

25

Sally Merrel correspondence

 

26

Ordinances and Bylaws

 

27

Board meetings

 

28

Notice of Regional Conference of Stockholders

 

29

List and Manuscripting of No. 5, Minutes of meeting – Oct. 11, 1964

  30 Making Fertilizer at Home booklet by the George D. Coleman Method, The Llano Colonist -May 12, 1928, A Human Document (auto obituary of Peter Hartman to be read at his funeral), Programs of the New Llano Open Air Theatre -May 25,1924, September 14, 1929, Article entitled The Tragedy at Stables, LA by Alex Stackhouse

2

1

Shares and voting matters

 

2

Mailing list

 

3

Pickett letters concerning Power of Attorney

 

4

Important documents

 

5

Stockholders’ claims- $18, 572 copyright

 

6

Stockholders

 

7

Bylaws of the Nevada Colony Corporation

 

8

Mr. O. D. Logan (Bossier City); Mr. Charles E. Tooke, Jr. (Petroleum Tower)

 

9

Kapotsy’s declination letter, attorney papers

 

10

Scott Nearing, Social Science Institute, Harborside, Maine

Walter Ferris Dietz, Lake Charles, LA

 

11

Melvin Jepson correspondence, Reno, Nevada – certificate of Inc.

 

12

Kapotsy-Moore correspondence

 

13

Delta Foundation, Memphis, Tennessee

 

14

Misc.

 

15

The Llano Reporter –back issues

 

16

Howard and Lillian Buck, National City, California

 

17

January 1964 Stockholder meeting

March 1964 Board ,meeting

 

18

Senator Russell B. Long

 

19

Stock Certificate mailings

 

20

Kirpps and McDonald papers

 

21

Fred Blossum, Clarksville, Georgia

 

22

Draft of appeal from Llano Colony for legislation to curb concentration of wealth into land of few

 

23

William E. Zeuch, Los Angeles, California

 

24

Rewards

 

25

Winston Broadfoot, Durham, North Carolina

 

26

Frank and Margaret Delevan, Pico Rivera, California

 

27

Fuljenz meeting

 

28

Important letters

3

1

September 1965 Board meeting

 

2

New items

 

3

Llano – Enoch Irwin records

 

4

Literature references on co-ops

 

5

For court – October19, 1966

 

6

Copies

 

7

Current

 

8

Mrs. Mildred (Kilmer) Schlaifer, 25 Aloha Dr.16001 Pacific Coast Hwy

 

9

Pickett Jr.

 

10

Mrs. Moore

 

11

Author E. Briggs (Attorney) 2426 Hidalgo Ave. Los Angeles, California

 

12

April 4, 1965? meeting

 

13

Anna Loutrel, Rt. 2 Box 306, Pandelman, North Carolina

 

14

February, 14, 1965 Board Meeting, Louisiana

 

15

For the Fuljenz

 

16

1965 Board meetings

 

17

M. Tuber, 2501 41st Ave. St. Petersburg, Florida

 

18

Llano-Weatherly records

 

19

Board meeting, with one photograph

 

20

Board meeting, April 7, 1963, June 30, 1963

 

21

Telegram, April 22

 

22

Tour Louisiana Pamphlet (description of New Llano community)

 

23

Board meeting, October 11, 1964

 

24

Lowell H. Coate

 

25

Documents, correspondence

 

26

Audit Report of Colony, December 31, 1915

 

27

Ole Synoground, 2115 Gen. Washington Hwy, Richlands, Washington c/o Clifford Synoground

 

28

Secretary of State telegram

 

29

Minutes, August 2, 1964

 

30

Stocks and Proxy, 1968 at Reno, Nevada

 

31

Current important

 

32

Reno

 

33

Manager (Kapotsy letters)

 

34

Attorney Fuljenz

 

35

Minutes of Stockholders and Directors, January 12, 1964

 

36

Mrs. Myrtle Chaupin

 

37

Ben R. Brainard, 555 South Edenfield Ave. Corna, California

 

38

George H. Cuno Sr. letters, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

 

39

Llano correspondence, Anna Loutrel

 

40

Reporter Number 5

 

41

Walter Millsap, 11251 South New Hampshire Ave. Los Angeles, California

 

42

Reporter Manuscripts

4

1

Secretary of State of Nevada

 

2

Number 5 Reporter

 

3

New Llano appeal

 

4

Richard Kapotsy copy

 

5

Loutrel -41, 42, 43, 44

 

6A

Miscellaneous papers between folders

 

6B

Miscellaneous papers between folders

 

6C

Miscellaneous papers between folders

 

7

Unlabeled folder

 

8

Fire Department log book, 1929

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