Guide to the A.K. Salz Tannery Collection (Unprocessed) – History

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From its establishment in 1856 to its closure in 2001, A.K. Salz Tannery underwent several ownership and name changes. Originally named after its founders Duncan and Warren, it became Kron Tannery when Jacob F. Kron obtained full ownership in 1867. When the facilities expanded, it was renamed San Lorenzo Tannery. A.K. Salz acquired the sole interest in 1929. During World War II, the military purchased the entire leather output. By the late 1940s Salz developed a unique type of leather, “California Saddle Leather,” and marketed its products nationally. In 1948 Norman Lezin married Salz’ daughter Margaret and began working at the tannery. By 1950 he was manager, and by 1954 had become president. Photographer Ansel Adams was hired to document the business in 1955. The following year, Salz was purchased by Pacific Industries. The tannery returned to local ownership in 1960 only to be purchased by Beck Industries in 1969. It returned once more to local ownership in 1977, and finally closed in 2001, unable to compete with foreign leather production. Assembled by Norman Lezin and his son Jeremy Lezin (Jeremy was CEO of the tannery for twelve years), this collection represents all aspects of the business and includes the 1955 Ansel Adams photographs.