Title: Hurley/Wright Surveyors Map Collection
Dates: 1855-1968. Bulk: 1885-1920
Collection number: 064
Wright, E. T.
Hurley, Joseph A.
Nicholson, W. B.
over 1570 maps
Loyola Marymount University. Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
Abstract: This collection contains plat maps and other maps from counties of Southern California, spanning the years from 1855 to 1968.
Languages represented in the collection:
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Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher
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[Identification of item], Series number, Box and Folder number, Hurley/Wright Surveyors Map Collection, 064, Department of
Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.
A number of surveyors appear in the collection. The most prominent are Joseph A. Hurley, E(dward) T(homas) Wright and his
partner, Nicholson. Although the partner's Christian name is unidentified in the collection he is most likely W. B. Nicholson,
who is cited as Wright's partner in Nicholson's obituary in the
Los Angeles Herald
of 21 August 1901. Wright was married to Nicholson's sister, Lucy, until her death in 1900. Also, a Mary Perry Nicholson
learned the profession of engineering in the office of E. T. Wright, according to a
Los Angeles Herald article of 12 July 1903. She may have been the wife of W. B. Nicholson.
E. T. Wright was county surveyor three times in Los Angeles County, his first term beginning in 1884 and his last ending in
1898. He also served as county surveyor for San Bernadino County. From evidence in the collection he was still alive in 1925.
As the maps in this collection attest he was instrumental in the development of many parts of Los Angeles.
Biographical information on Joseph A. Hurley is scant. Perhaps a graduate of St. Vincent's College, the forerunner of Loyola
Marymount University, he held the position of city engineer in 1913, and his office was 600 Thorpe Building. He was still
active as a surveyor in the 1930s, and may have been born in 1884 and died in 1967.
An incomplete list of surveyors in the collection follows:
- Austrian immigrant and well-known Los Angeles surveyor George Hansen (1824-1897), the Los Angeles City Surveyor for numerous
terms, Los Angeles County Surveyor from 1864 until 1869, and leader in the development of Anaheim.
- William F. McClure, a civil engineer, land developer, and state engineer from 1912 to his death in 1926.
- Lothar Seebold, a very active surveyor in Los Angeles the 1870s and deputy county surveyor in 1868.
- Boyle Heights resident José A. Bernal (1857-1927), chief deputy surveyor for the City of Los Angeles in the 1880s and 1890s,
and civil engineer and surveyor who specialized in Mexican land grants.
- Henry Hancock (1822-1883), prominent Los Angeles lawyer and surveyor.
The Hurley/Wright Map Collection (064) is named after Los Angeles surveyors E. T. Wright and Joseph A. Hurley, both active
in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection contains over 1570 plat maps and other maps. The chronological
span of the maps is 1855 to 1968, with the bulk of the datable holdings running from 1885 to 1920. Companion to this broad
chronology is the broad geographical scope of the maps, which record property in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange,
and San Diego counties.
The historical value of the collection is great. Holdings contain maps recording ownership of
californio ranchos from 1858 on and their subsequent divisions and development; old downtown Los Angeles; and creations of counties
in Southern California. Examples of ranchos found in the collection include San Rafeal, San Pascual, La Cañada, La Ballona,
and San Pedro. Especially valuable is the record of the subdivision of ranchos during Los Angeles' great boom of 1885-1887.
For an example, see the creation of the Baugh tract in 1887 from the Rafaela Verdugo de Sepúlveda homestead in the Rancho
San Rafael (modern-day Glendale and surrounding areas).
Also of interest are maps recording properties of water companies in Los Angeles. A good example of this is map number 921
of the lands of the L.A. Canal and Reservoir Company (post 1868), detailing the course of its ditches on the outskirts of
Los Angeles in the Stone Hill Quarry area. Such maps can also yield valuable information on social history, for this map records
the location of the both the Jewish and Roman Catholic cemeteries, as well as the names of property holders in the Stone Hill
Quarry area, many of whom were Mexican-American. Another good example of these maps' evidence for local history and social
relations is map number 1731, which records the subdivision of lands in 1869 around the Protestant cemetery, such local businesses
as the "Lumberyard of Tomlinson," and now long-disappeared Los Angeles streets, such as the appropriately named "Eternity
Street," which led to the cemetery.
The maps are drawn on linen, white or light brown drawing paper, blue paper, or a heavy brown drawing paper, often crumbling,
which suggests that it is highly acidic.
Maps can be as large as 3 feet by 5 feet or even greater; other representative sizes range from 17.75 inches by 13 inches
to 20 inches by 22 inches.
Entries in the box and folder list are based on titles and dates found on map. The map number refers to the numbering system
employed by Wright and Nicholson, and Hurley. The dimensions and format (or formats) of the maps are recorded only for a few
of them. Entries in the location field reflect the scattered storage locations of the maps. Maps stored in map case are designated,
eg, "Map Case 1-1," with the first number refering to the map unit in which it is stored, the second to the drawer.
Some maps are in poor condition, which may limit their accessibility to researchers.
This collection is arranged into series based on chronology. Important periods in Los Angeles history were used to determine
the chronological span of the series. For example, Series 2 encompasses the years from 1885 to 1900 to take into account the
great Los Angeles land boom of 1885-1887, which was the foundation for the modern megapolis that is Los Angeles. Series 1
contains maps before 1885, which allows researchers to access more easily maps of ranchos found in the late 1850s and through
the 1870s. There are also a large number of undated maps that were placed in a series based on this characteristic of the
- Series 1: Pre-1885
- Series 2: 1885-1900
- Series 3: 1901-1920
- Series 4: 1921-1968
- Series 5: Undated
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Wright, E. T.
Hurley, Joseph A.
Surveyors -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- 19th century
Surveyors -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- 20th century
Surveying -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- 20th century
Surveying -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- 19th century
Ranches -- California -- History -- 19th century
Los Angeles Calif. Maps