:: Richard J. Welch, Jr. Ledgers


The collection consists of two ledgers kept during the early years of Welch's law practice, from 1922 to 1927. The books provide account information not only about his business, but also on his residential expenses -- particularly in the later years covered by the ledgers. The information in the ledgers is of a quantitative nature, limited to the amount of money coming in and going out. But the entries do show Welch's interaction with his community through charity donations, client fees and related cases, office expenses (including rent and employee salaries); and expenses associated with his home (various utility, grocery, and related bills). The collection helps reconstruct the day-to-day workings of a 1920s Riverside professional at the office and at home.

The collection measures .5 linear feet and is stored in one box.


Richard J. Welch, Jr., was born to Richard and Elizabeth Welch. The older Welch had operated a harness and saddler business in Riverside since 1897. He later moved his business to 3544 Eighth Street, dealing in leather goods at the end of his career. He had also sold tires through his business briefly in the 1920s. The family resided at 1286 (changed in 1930 to 4286) Orange Street from 1901 until the late 1940s.

The 1912 city directory lists the younger Welch as a student. The ledgers show his contributions to an organization of USC alumni as well as to a California Alumni Association. Though the years of attendance are not listed in the ledgers, he may have attended law school at USC. The 1918/1919 directory also indicated that he served--though there is no mention in the directory as to the capacity in which he served--during World War I. The ledgers do indicate a continued involvement with dues paid to the American Legion, Post 79 near Fairmont Park, and to a United States Veterans Bureau Insurance Department, where he had a life insurance policy. Welch was also involved in other organizations such as the Cabrillo Assembly (perhaps an affiliate of the Knights of Columbus); the Parkridge Country Club; and the Elks Club. His ledgers also show contributions made to various Catholic charities and to the Riverside Woman's Club, an organization which his mother and first wife, Helen, belonged to in the 1920s.

According to his ledger, Welch started his business on 14 March 1921, in room 315 at the Loring Building on Main Street. During the 1920s, he operated from rooms 202-203 in the Loring Building. He remained in solo practice until the late 1940s, when he partnered with his former employee, Harry M. Dougherty. Welch and Dougherty remained in business at the Loring offices until the early 1950s. As well as working for Welch in the late 1930s, Dougherty lived at two former Welch residences with his wife, Genevieve. In the early 1940s, the family lived on Thirteenth Street, at the former residence of Welch Sr., on Orange Avenue. Dougherty had worked for the district attorney in the mid-1940s, prior to joining Welch in his law practice. He later served as city attorney in the late 1950s, and a tax appraiser in the 1960s.

Some time in the mid-1950s, after the departure of Dougherty, Welch partnered with John D. McFarland. The two remained in business at the Loring Building until the 1960s, when the practice moved to 3544 University Avenue. James C. Melli also joined the firm during this time. Welch, McFarland, and Melli continued as an entity until the late 1960s, when McFarland became a judge. After that time, the firm was renamed Welch and Melli. It continued to operate until the early 1970s. The offices then became Welch and Bright, with Michael T. Bright as partner. The firm remained at its University location until 1973, when it moved to 4000 Tenth Street.

As well as having several partners in business, Welch had two marriages, one of which was to a woman named Helen during the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. She is referred to in the ledgers. They lived at 591 (later 3591) Thirteenth Street. His second marriage was to a woman named Vita. Their marriage lasted from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s. The couple resided at 7995 Magnolia Avenue for the duration of the marriage. Welch continued to live at this address until his death in April 1973, at the age of eighty.

Scope and Content

The collection has one series which is divided into two folders. Folder 1 is a ledger dating from January 1922 to December 1927. Presumably written by one of Welch's various clerical workers, the entries are in black ink, with some notation in red ink and pencil. The book is arranged chronologically by month and year. Monthly entries are further subdivided into receipts and disbursements sections. Under receipts, one can find headings for the day of the transaction, names, fees, costs, miscellaneous, and total. Starting in August 1925, information under receipts includes not only the names of the individuals but also the titles of the associated cases. Under disbursements, the information is arranged in a similar manner, with columns for the client responsible for the charges; day of payment; the name and purpose of the expenditure; check number; expenses or fees; costs; miscellaneous; and total. The last disbursement in this ledger is for October 1925. After that date, the book contains only receipts from November 1925 to December 1927.

Folder 2 is the disbursement ledger from August 1925 to December 1927. Though it slightly overlaps the other ledger, it provides information previously found in Folder 1. The entries are handwritten in black ink, with some pencil notations and computations in red ink. The December 1927 entries are written on separate pages that had been pasted to the back cover. The ledger is arranged chronologically by month and year, with columns for day of payment, the name of the recipients, and check number. Depending on the purpose of the payment, the amount was entered under the appropriate column: rent and salary; client's accounts; charity and advertising; office supplies; books permanent (replaced by miscellaneous in March 1927); books current; Welch personal; and Welch house.

Series Description

Series I: Ledgers

This series consists of two ledgers dating from the 1920s. Both ledgers contain information regarding the business and personal expenses of attorney, Richard J. Welch, Jr. Folder 1 contains data from receipts and disbursements from January 1922 to October 1925. From November 1925 to December 1927, it contains only incoming payments. Though the type of practice Welch engaged in is not indicated directly, entries in the ledgers refer to adoption and estate cases, with perhaps some divorce work as well. Among the businesses that Welch had dealings with are Hellman Bank, Interstate Fruit Company, First National Bank of Elsinore, Security Savings Bank, Rubidoux Motor Co., McDermont and Wall, Blue Ribbon Groves, and Riverside Title Co. Cases range from Holland v. Holland to Bell v. California Southern Realty Co. Folder 2 contains outgoing payments from August 1925 to December 1927. But the nature of the expenditure, whether business or personal, is much easier to determine. Among the entries listed are donations to various Catholic charities; office and home utility bills; dues to various social organizations; rent to the Loring Opera House Company; licensing and garage costs related to Welch's automobile; fees for stenographic services; and bail amounts. Organizations referred to include St. Francis de Sales, the Automobile Club of Southern California, the Riverside Woman's Club, Parkridge Country Club, the Cabrillo Assembly, the Elks Club, and the American Legion.

Folder 1: Ledger, 1922-1927

Folder 2: Ledger, 1925-1927

Related Collections

Riverside Public School Records

Purington, Adair, and Winder Records


Riverside City and County Directory, 1897/1898.

Riverside City Directory, 1912, 1918/1919, 1925-27, 1939, 1945, 1957/1958, 1966, 1968/1969

Riverside County Directory, 1901.

Riverside Telephone Directory, 1972 and 1974.

Richard J. Welch, Jr. Ledgers

Local History