Edward Bransten was born in 1906 to Edward Brandenstein (b. 1870-d. 1948) and Florine (Haas) Brandenstein (b. 1881-d. 1973). Edward spent 56 years working in the family's coffee business (MJB Coffee), serving as the company's president and then as honorary chairman before the company was sold to Nestle in 1985. Edward Bransten married Cathryn Scheeline in 1938. Cathryn's parents were Harry Scheeline and Norma Fox. Edward and Cathryn had three children, Patricia (b. 1940), Carol (b. 1944), and Barbara (b. 1951). In addition to his work at MJB, Edward participated in a number of philanthropic activities. He served as the chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council board between 1966 and 1976 and he set up the first regional office of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee during the Yom Kippur War in 1967. Cathryn, for her part, served on the board of directors of the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, on the board of directors of Mount Zion Hospital from 1967 to 1968, and 1976 to 1981, and was president of the Mount Zion women's auxiliary from 1967 to 1969.
Collection consists of a small number of documents and many photographs documenting the history of the family of Edward and Cathryn (Scheeline) Bransten. The documents include a 1903 marriage certificate for Edward Brandenstein and Florine Haas and a photocopy of the 1938 marriage certificate for Edward Bransten and Cathryn Scheeline. The collection also includes a folder of materials relating to the history of the Bransten family, and some historic San Francisco magazines. The bulk of the collection is made up of photographs and photo albums. Individuals documented in the collection's photographs include Joseph and Jane Brandenstein (Edward's grandparents) and their children, Edward and Florine Haas Bransten (Edward's parents), as well as Edward and Cathryn Scheeline Bransten and their children. Also documented are the family of Harry and Norma Fox Scheeline (Cathryn's parents), and individuals from the Haas, Samuels, Lilienthal, Jacobi, and Baruch families. The collection includes a series of photographs relating to the work of Edward Bransten Sr. and Edward Bransten Jr. on the Federal Tea Board. Photo albums document Edward Bransten Jr.'s babyhood and childhood, Edward Bransten Jr.'s travels and adventures in the Sierras, Oregon, Europe, and the Far East between 1920 and 1929, and the Haas family. The Haas family photo album (1880-1920) contains particularly notable photographs of the various San Francisco Jewish families that originated in Reckendorf, Bavaria re-united on the streets of that town in 1911.