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Inventory of the Daniel Freeman Family Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Daniel Freeman Family Papers
    Dates: 1849-1957
    Collection number: CSLA-21
    Creator: Freeman, Daniel
    Creator: Howland, Charles
    Collection Size: 116 archival document boxes, 35 oversize archival document boxes, 20 flat files
    Repository: Loyola Marymount University. William H. Hannon Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
    Abstract: The Daniel Freeman Family Papers richly document the business and development enterprises of Daniel Freeman (1837-1918), one of California's major land developers and businessmen in the late nineteenth century. Besides Daniel Freeman, this collection also contains extensive business records for Charles Howland (b. 1863, d.?) and Grace Freeman Howland (1870-1956), Daniel Freeman's son-law and daughter. The collection contains extensive documentation on the California land boom of the 1880s, principally in Inglewood but also for Redondo Beach and Port Ballona. The Freeman papers also contain some materials on downtown Los Angeles. The holdings are also strong in California agribusiness in the late nineteenth century.
    Physical location: Collection stored offsite. Research use requires both an advance notice of intent to use the collection and an appointment. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Department of Archives and Special Collection, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University: 310-338-2780, 310-338-5357
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    This collection is part of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles Research Collection, a program of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University. The Research Collection is administered by the Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University. The Daniel Freeman Family Papers are open to research under the terms of use of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Series number, Box and Folder number, Daniel Freeman Family Papers, CSLA-21, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Christie Bourdet, 2002.


    Daniel Freeman was born in 1837, on a farm in the province of Ontario, Canada. Freeman first taught school but, in 1859, moved on to the study of law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, being admitted to the bar in 1864. Besides law, he became engaged in business in Port Burwell, on Lake Erie, where he became president of the Port Burwell Harbor Company.
    In 1866, he married Catherine Grace Christie, and from this union three children were born: Archibald C. Freeman (1867-1931); Charles Freeman (1868-1906); and Grace Elizabeth Freeman (1870-1956). The Freeman family moved to Julian, California, supposedly after Daniel Freeman had read Charles Nordhoff's California: For Health, Pleasure, and Residence, which had persuaded him that life in California's mild climate would prove beneficial for Catherine's health. There the Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela were leased from Sir Robert Burnett in Catherine's name. Catherine Freeman would die, though, one year later. Daniel Freeman eventually purchased the ranchos over a period of four years (1881-1885).
    With the ranchos as his financial and business foundation, Daniel Freeman would undertake a number of business ventures that would establish him as a major figure in southern California. The drought of the mid 1870s caused Freeman to shift the agricultural emphasis of the ranchos from pastoralism--their traditional use--to the raising of cash crops, in this case, barley, which Freeman sold on the commercial markets of the United States. He served as director of the Centinela Land Company, formed in 1874, in its attempt to develop the ranchos commercially. Freeman was central in another undertaking, that of the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company in 1887 to develop what would be known as the town of Inglewood near the Rancho Centinela.
    After the company failed because of the decline of the great Los Angeles land boom of the late 1880s, Freeman assumed its holdings through quitclaim deed in 1890. After this, Freeman continued to sell real estate in Inglewood, and in fact had already had his own mansion built in Inglewood in 1888. Besides commerical sales, Freeman leased the lands of the ranchos for farming. He also developed property in Los Angeles, including the Freeman Building at Sixth and Spring Streets and property along South Main Street. Freeman's status in the Los Angeles business community earned him the presidency of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (1893-1894); he also served as director of the Southern California Railway and was an esteemed benefactor of the University of Southern California. His son-in-law, Charles Howland (d. 1934), was also Freeman's active business partner. He had married Grace Freeman, Daniel's daughter, in 1888.
    Daniel Freeman died in 1918; the dissolution of the ranchos occurred most likely before his death. Grace and Charles Howland divorced in the early 1920s, but Grace continued to reside on the Freeman estate in Inglewood until her death in 1956. She had granted nine acres of Freeman property to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1942 for the building of a hospital with the name of Daniel Freeman, which opened in 1954; after her death the Freeman estate was given in toto to the Sisters.


    1837 Birth of Daniel Freeman in province of Ontario, Canada.
    1866 Daniel Freeman marries Catherine Grace Christie.
    1873 Freeman family moves to California.
      Sir Robert Burnett leases Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela to Catherine Freeman.
    1874 Daniel Freeman becomes board member of Centinela Land Company.
      Catherine Grace Freeman dies.
    ca. 1875 Daniel Freeman shifts ranchos from ranching to raising of barley.
    18881-1885 Daniel Freeman purchases the Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela from Sir Robert Burnett.
    1887 Centinela-Inglewood Land Company formed and begins development of Inglewood, California, on the Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela.
    1888 Freeman estate (the "Centinela") built in Inglewood, California.
      Grace Freeman, daughter of Daniel Freeman, marries Charles Howland.
    1890 Daniel Freeman acquires assets of Centinela-Inglewood Land Company and continues development of Inglewood, California.
    1893-1894 Daniel Freeman serves as president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
    1918 Daniel Freeman dies.
    1956 Grace Freeman Howland dies. Freeman estate in Inglewood, California, willed to Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who build Daniel Freeman Hospital on site of estate.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Daniel Freeman Family Papers span the years from 1849 to 1957, with the years 1880-1920 the bulk dates. Holdings consist principally of property and financial records related to the business enterprises of Daniel Freeman and, to a lesser extent, Charles Howland (Freeman's son-in-law and husband of Grace Freeman). CSLA-21 contains deeds, mortgages, leases, legal agreements called indentures, promissory notes, stock certificates, checks, advertising brochures, correspondence (including copies in letter press books), receipts, bills, invoices, statements of account, maps, architectural drawings, and publications such as newspapers. The collection contains only a small number of items directly related to the Freeman family's personal history.
    These materials originated with Daniel Freeman's private business activities as well as those related to such development companies as the Centinela Land Company and the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company, the latter company responsible for developing Inglewood, California in 1887 on the site of Daniel Freeman's ranchos. Besides Inglewood, documentation exists for the development of the city of Redondo Beach and of Port Ballona; the former stems from the association of the president of the Redondo Beach Company, Charles Silent, with the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company as one of its directors and chief partners, along with N. R. Vail and Dan McFarland. There is a small run of material on the development of downtown Los Angeles, including such land marks as the Bradbury Building. The collection's holdings also document Freeman's agribusiness in Los Angeles in the late nineteenth century, including his large-scale production of agricultural commodities and their subsequent sale on the commercial market, including nationally.
    Names of persons found in this collection constitute a hall of fame of southern California movers and shakers in the second half of the nineteenth century: William H. Hall, Leonard J. Rose, Arthur J. Hutchinson, Judge Charles Silent, Dan McFarland, N. R. Vail, George Hansen, Dr. Elizabeth Follansbee, William H. Bonsall, O. W. Childs, John G. Downey, F. P. F. Temple, Lionel A. Sheldon, George I. Cochran, Moses Langley Wicks, Walter S. Maxwell, Alfred Solano, and Carl Browne.


    The original order of the Daniel Freeman Family Papers was difficult to determine because of the disordered state in which the bulk of the materials arrived at the Research Collection. The Daniel Freeman Family Papers have been divided into twelve series (some with subseries)based on subject or type of materials.
    Series 1: Business and Stockholding Companies
    • Subseries A: Centinela Land Company
    • Subseries B: Centinela-Inglewood Land Company
    • Subseries C: Stockholding Companies
    • Subseries D: Brick Companies
    Series 2: Freeman/Howland Property Records
    Series 3: Financial Records
    • Subseries A: Joint Correspondence and Bill Files
    Series 4: Correspondence
    Series 5: Ranchos Centinela and Sausal Redondo Acquisition Records
    Series 6: Legal and Business Records
    Series 7: Canadian Business Interests
    Series 8: California National Guard
    Series 9: Publications
    Series 10: Photographs and Family History
    Series 11: Glass Slides
    Series 12: Maps, Architectural Drawings

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Freeman, Daniel
    Howland, Grace Freeman
    Howland, Charles
    Inglewood-Centinela Land Company
    Inglewood, California
    Redondo Beach, California