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Inventory of the Margaret Collier Graham Papers, 1821-1934 (bulk 1876-1896)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Subject matter
  • Literary persons represented by 7 pieces or more
  • Other literary or journalistic persons
  • Publishers and editors
  • Family and friends represented by 35 pieces or more
  • Important or interesting items
  • Arrangement
  • Bibliography
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Margaret Collier Graham Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1821-1934, (bulk 1876-1896)
    Creator: Graham, Margaret Collier
    Extent: 5,360 pieces, plus approximately 1,000 pieces in the addenda
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Mrs. Robert Wayne, Feb. 6, 1981


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Margaret Collier Graham Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    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.

    Scope and Content

    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.

    Subject matter

    Life in California, chiefly early Pasadena and Anaheim. The establishment of Elsinore and neighboring Wildomar. Correspondence with literary figures and publishers

    Literary persons represented by 7 pieces or more

    Ina Donna Coolbrith
    8 pieces
    Mary (Hallock) Foote
    7 pieces
    Charles Fletcher Lummis
    9 pieces

    Other literary or journalistic persons

    Addie Lucia Ballou
    1 piece
    Beatrice Harraden
    3 pieces
    Katharine (Putnam) Hooker
    2 pieces
    Susan Harry (Clagett) Pettengill
    3 pieces
    Gertrude Smith
    7 pieces
    William Andrew Spalding
    5 pieces
    Annie Eliot Trumbull
    1 piece
    Charles Dwight Willard
    3 pieces

    Publishers and editors

    Richard Watson Gilder
    1 piece
    Houghton, Mifflin Co.
    11 pieces plus royalty agreements pieces
    Samuel Sidney McClure
    1 piece
    Bliss Perry
    4 pieces
    Morgan Shepard
    10 pieces plus royalty agreement pieces
    Frederick Maxwell Somers
    8 pieces

    Family and friends represented by 35 pieces or more

    David Collier (Margaret's father)
    68 pieces
    Ella J. (Doolittle) Collier (sister-in-law)
    57 pieces
    Jane E. Collier (sister)
    110 pieces
    Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier (mother)
    150 pieces
    William C. Collier (brother)
    135 pieces
    Donald McIntyre Graham (husband)
    112 pieces
    Margaret (Collier) Graham
    217 pieces
    Franklin H. Heald (business associate)
    52 pieces
    Martha (Collier) Mohr (sister)
    68 pieces
    Edna (Snell) Poulson (friend)
    36 pieces
    Ella Lee (Hall) Enderlein Shepherd (friend)
    49 pieces

    Important or interesting items

    • Collier, Jane E. To David Collier & Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier.
      Date: 1876, July 23.
      Box 7 (4). Letter describing arrival in Los Angeles
    • Collier, Jane E. To David Collier & Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier.
      Date: 1876, Nov. 9 and 1877, Feb. 24.
      Box 7 (7 & 9). Letters describing early Pasadena.
    • Foote, Mary (Hallock). To Margaret (Collier) Graham. 7 letters,
      Date: 1902-1907.
      Box 12 (72-78). Personal, informative letters of this literary figure.
    • Graham, Margaret (Collier). To David Collier and Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier.
      Date: 1876, July 23 and 27.
      Box 15 (5-6). Letters describing arrival in Los Angeles.
    • Graham, Margaret (Collier). To David Collier and Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier.
      Date: 1876, July 27.
      Box 15 (6). Letter describing early Pasadena.
    • Graham, Margaret (Collier). To Jane E. Collier.
      Date: 1894.
      Box 15 (41-42). Letters describing settlement work in New York.
    • Hooker, Katharine (Putnam). To Margaret (Collier) Graham.
      Date: 1896, Jan. 16 and 1903, July 15.
      Box 17 (78-79). Letters from Italy by this travel writer, the wife of John D. Hooker, donor of the telescope on Mt. Wilson.
    • Lummis, Charles Fletcher, To Margaret (Collier) Graham.
      Date: 1896, July 24.
      Box 20 (32). Letter written from Mexico City descibing life there.
    • Shepherd, William Edgar. To Donald McIntyre Graham.
      Date: 1877, Mar. 12.
      Box 25 (73). Letter giving advice on investing in the petroleum discoveries near Ventura


    Catalogue cards have been made for only the most important authors and subjects, but a complete index of items follows in this report. The items have been arranged in the following categories:
    Literary manuscripts
    Correspondence (in alphabetical order by author)
    Business and personal papers
    Printed material; clippings
    Oversize maps
    Addenda of research material for We Three Came West


    Apostol, Jane. "Margaret Collier Graham: First Lady of the Foothills." Southern California Quarterly, LXIII (Winter, 1981), 348-373
    Raitt, Helen Hill and Wayne, Mary Collier. We Three Came West: A True Chronicle San Diego: Tofua Press, 1974
    Walker, Franklin Dickerson. A Literary History of Southern California. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950. Pp. 176-179

    Related Material

    There is additional material re Margaret Collier Graham at U.C.L.A. Special Collections Library