The collection consists of business
papers and correspondence related to the the Banning Company and its subsidiaries,
particularly the Santa Catalina Island Company, as well as personal papers and
correspondence created by members of the Banning, Patton, Glassell, Shorb, Thornton,
and Thompson families.
Phineas Banning (1830-1885) was born in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1861 he arrived in
San Pedro, California, and worked as a store clerk and stagecoach driver before
starting his own staging and shipping company, which rapidly expanded throughout
California as well as to Arizona and Utah. In the late 1850s, he joined a group of
investors who purchased 640 acres of land near San Pedro to expand the port. This
land was later named Wilmington after Banning’s birthplace. By the 1860s Banning was
heavily involved in most of the operations of San Pedro Harbor. During the Civil War
he was given the honorary title of Brigadier General of the California First
Brigade, and continued to use the honorarium “General” for the rest of his life. In
the 1870s he became a California state senator and campaigned for more elaborate
transportation connections between Los Angeles and San Pedro port. Banning’s first
wife was Rebecca Sanford, with whom he had three children who survived to adulthood:
William, Joseph Brent, and Hancock. After Rebecca’s death he married Mary Hollister,
and they had two surviving daughters, Mary Banning Norris (1871-1953) and Lucy
Tichenor Banning (1873-1929). By 1880 Banning had scaled back his business ventures,
and after several years of illness died in San Francisco.
Approx. 1,800 items
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materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the
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owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain
permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the
Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights.
Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the
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