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Title Oral History of Beryl Jean Symmes
Collection Oral History
Scope & Content Beryl Jean Symmes grew up in Richmond, Surrey, England. In 1943 she met Laurence M. Symmes Jr., an American serviceman. They married in 1947, and Laurence brought her to Mill Valley where he had settled after the war with his aunt Ruth Boericke White, the widow of Ralston White, who owned the Garden of Allah. Beryl and Laurence spent two weeks living at the famous Mill Valley residence before moving into their own home, named El Nido (The Nest), at 309 Tamalpais Avenue. In this written oral history narrative, read by the author on the recording, Beryl recounts the history of the Garden of Allah and El Nido, and that of their owners and inhabitants, in the context of major events like the 1906 Earthquake and the Great Fire of 1929. She recalls many friends and neighbors from over six decades of living in Mill Valley, and relates the development of the family she started with Laurence. Beryl also describes her foray into novel-writing, which commenced in the 1970s under the pen name Geraldine Boyce and led to the publication of three novels by the time this oral history was recorded, including the well-received A Daughter's Inheritance, published in 2012.
Audio and Transcript Click here to hear recording.
Click here to read the transcript.
Dates of Creation 2015-08-17
Narrator's name Symmes, Beryl Jean
Interviewer Perone, Stella and self
Extent and Medium Transcript: 15pp
Recording: 00:56:53
Search Terms 1929 Fire
Authors - Marin County
Civil service
El Nido
Garden of Allah
Lyon, Laura
Marin Grand Jury
Military service
Ralston L. White Retreat
Rudebeck, Bob
Rudebeck, Priscilla
San Francisco Junior League
Symmes, Anthony
Symmes, Jonathan
Symmes, Marilyn
Symmes, William
White, Lovell
Williams, Elizabeth
World War II
Object ID 2016.059.001
Object Name Recording
Copyrights Transcript copyright Beryl Jean Symmes. Transcript made available for research purposes only. All rights are reserved to Beryl Jean Symmes. Permission to quote for publication or otherwise use for commercial purposes must be approved by the copyright holder and such requests should be addressed to the: Lucretia Little History Room, Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941