western union telegram


Encompassing more than 300 archival collections, the Huntington’s California holdings are of the first rank for the study of the state’s history. Materials range chronologically from the late 18th century to the present and consist of all manner of media, including manuscripts, books, broadsides, photographs, maps, audiovisual materials, and realia. English and Spanish are the two principal languages.

The Library’s materials are strong in documenting the intertwined subjects of agriculture, ranchos and their families, and California’s urban, water and power, and transportation infrastructures. Collections such as the 19th-century Abel Stearns papers and the 20th-century Southern California Edison records are among the Library’s premier holdings on California land use and development. Also noteworthy is the Solano-Reeve Collection, which contains more than 2,100 maps and sketch maps of Los Angeles, Southern California ranchos, and subdivisions of the city of Los Angeles and neighboring towns. It provides invaluable material for studying the impact of development on successive populations.

California’s legal and political history, including civil rights, is represented in the papers of lawyers such as Loren Miller and H. W. O’Melveny; governors and judges; and Los Angeles county and city officials. These holdings support collections on land use by documenting such issues as water rights. The Los Angeles County Court records, on long-term deposit, support scholarship related to the Los Angeles legal system and Southern California’s social and ethnic history.

Personal diaries and letters, some dating to the 1870s, provide exceptional research opportunities for women’s history. The papers of feminists such as Caroline Maria Seymour Severance and records of Southern California women’s clubs like the Ebell Club are noteworthy 19th-century resources. In the 20th century, these strengths continue in holdings on professional women’s organizations and businesswomen like Grace Nicholson.

Resource Guides:
Early California Population Project Research Guide
Guide to American Historical Manuscripts at The Huntington Library
Guide to Historical Manuscript Collections Dealing with Water in the North American West at The Huntington Library
Los Angeles Area Court Records Research Guide
Newspaper Collections Research Guide
Southern California Architecture Research Guide

Digital Resources:
California Letter Sheets depicting life during the California Gold Rush era
Palmer Conner Collection of Color Slides of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Area Court Records
Los Angeles Times Company Records
Los Angeles County Assessor Road Maps
Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission
Ernest Marquez Collection
Photograph Album from C. F. Lummis to Susanita Del Valle
C.C. Pierce Collection of Photographs
Solano-Reeve Collection of Los Angeles survey maps
Southern California Edison Photographs and Negatives
Tract Maps from Southern California
Views of Old Chinatown, Los Angeles
Dick Whittington Studio Collections of Negatives and Photographs

Banner image credit: Western Union telegram to Loren Miller. mssMiller papers, Loren Miller papers. Gift of Loren Miller, Jr., December 2006.