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Inventory of the Margaret Collier Graham Papers, 1821-1934 (bulk 1876-1896)
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The collection contains the papers of Margaret (Collier) Graham from the earliest piece written in 1821 by a great-uncle while seeking land to settle in western New York State, a few Civil War soldiers' letters, her own correspondence and that of her husband, some business papers and correspondence with publishers, and finally estate settlements dating to 1934. There is also an addenda containing the manuscript and drafts of the book We Three Came West, written by Mary Hill Raitt and Mary Helen (Collier) Wayne, great-nieces of Margaret (Collier) Graham, from selections made from this collection. This addenda section also contains the authors' research notes on Elsinore and topics related to Margaret (Collier) Graham.
Margaret (Collier) Graham (1850-1910) was a California writer and Pasadena area pioneer. She grew up in Iowa, attended Monmouth College in Illinois, became a teacher, then in 1873 married the budding young lawyer, Donald McIntyre Graham. When Don fell ill with tuberculosis in 1876, the two came to California accompanied by Margaret's sister Jane. After living a few months near Anaheim, they moved to Pasadena. Don obtained the contract to bring the mail from Los Angeles to Pasadena, becoming Pasadena's first official mail carrier (and providing him life in the open air to help arrest his tuberculosis). In 1877 he opened a real estate office in Los Angeles. Margaret accepted a teaching job and wrote stories, many of which were published in the Argonaut and the Californian. As the real estate "boom" began in the 1880s, she and her husband, along with her brother William C. Collier and Franklin H. Heald, developed the town of Elsinore from the old California land grant of Rancho la Laguna. Then, without Franklin Heald, the Grahams and William Collier subdivided the neighboring town of Wildomar from part of the Laguna Rancho and part of the Santa Rosa Rancho. In 1887 the Grahams began building the home of their dreams in South Pasadena, which they called by the Welsh name "Wynyate". It soon became a center of culture in the area. In 1888 Don was elected first mayor of the new city of South Pasadena. After many years of struggle with illness, Don passed away in 1890. Margaret helped administer the real estate affairs and seriously began writing once more. Her stories appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Century Magazine, and other periodicals as well as in her books, Stories of the Foot-Hills and The Wizard's Daughter And Other Stories published by Houghton, Mifflin Co. Margaret (Collier) Graham was active in the woman suffrage movement, Los Angeles Woman's Club, Friday Morning Club, and the Landmarks Club. She wrote a literary column in the Los Angeles Evening Express and a monthly feature in Charles Lummis' Land of Sunshine. After an extended illness Margaret (Collier) Graham passed away on January 17, 1910.
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as 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 Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL.