H. D. Bacon Papers: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Huntington Library Staff and updated by Diann Benti in 2016.
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
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The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: H. D. Bacon Papers
Dates (inclusive): approximately 1766-1906
Bulk dates: 1850-1900
Collection Number: mssBC 1-2561
Creator: Bacon, Henry Douglas, 1817-1893.
Extent: Approximately 4,000 items in 42 boxes and 11 volumes
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains letters, documents, and a few account books related to the business activities of American financier H.D. Bacon (1817-1893). Items chiefly date between 1850 and 1900 and subject matter includes banking methods in the 1850s; the failure of Page & Bacon and Page, Bacon & Co.; the financing of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad; land transactions in Missouri and Illinois; mines and mining properties in the western United States; the wine and citrus industries in Southern California; the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad; the purchase, boundaries, and subdivision of the Marengo Ranch (now the city of South Pasadena, California); and the construction of the Raymond Hotel in Pasadena.
Language: English.

Access

Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. H. D. Bacon Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Most of the papers were purchased in January, 1945 from Edwin Grabhorn. The Marengo material was bought from Charles Yale's Bookshop, Pasadena, in March, 1944.

Biographical Note

California financier Henry Douglas Bacon (1817-1893), the son of Joseph and Abigail Cleveland Bacon, was born in East Granville, Massachusetts, in 1817. In 1835, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he engaged first in the dry goods, then in the iron, trade. He was married in 1844 to Julia Ann Page, daughter of Daniel Dearborn Page, miller, merchant, and owner of considerable property in and around St. Louis.
Four years later, Bacon and his wealthy father-in-law formed the banking firm of Page & Bacon, Bacon being the active member. The success of this enterprise led to the opening, in 1849, of Page, Bacon & Co.'s express office in San Francisco. The partners were Page, his son Francis W. Page, Bacon, Henry Haight, and David Chambers. Page, Bacon & Co. soon became primarily a banking concern, with branches in Sacramento, Sonora, and Honolulu. Business flourished until January, 1855. Then various factors, among them falseness on the part of Page & Bacon's New York correspondents, and involvement in the financing of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, compelled the St. Louis house to close its doors. When the news reached San Francisco, a run on Page, Bacon & Co. also resulted in suspension. Both firms resumed, but by May both were forced into liquidation. The failure of Page, Bacon & Co. served as a prelude to the San Francisco crash of 1855.
Bacon devoted the next few years to settlements with creditors and to attempts to make the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad a paying proposition. In the eighteen sixties, he turned his attention to mining. He invested in mines throughout the western United States and Mexico. After about 1870, however, his primary interest lay in properties in California and Arizona.
Paralleling Bacon's mining ventures were numerous other business activities and investments. The chief of these was his purchase, in 1871 and 1873, of the Marengo Ranch, 1036 acres of what is now South Pasadena. At first his son, Frank Page Bacon, managed the raising of stock and the growing of citrus fruits, grapes and walnuts on the ranch. Then this task was taken over by Langston C. Winston. In 1883, some of the land was bought by Walter Raymond for his hotel, later the entire ranch was subdivided and sold.
Bacon himself is not identified with Southern California. In 1866 he moved to the bay area, setting up an office in San Francisco and making his home in Oakland. He is remembered for generous gifts to the University of California at Berkeley, notably the Bacon Art and Library Building. At his death early in 1893, he was survived by his widow, his son, and two daughters, Carrie J. Bacon and Ella Etta Bacon Soulé.

Bibliography

Cross, Ira B. Financing an Empire. Banking in California. vol. 1. p. 67, 71, 181ff., 188-190
Ferrier, William Warren. Origin and Development of the University of California. p. 427-430
Jones, William Carey. Illustrated History of the University of California. p. 207, portrait of Henry Douglas Bacon on p. 210
Stevens, Walter B. History of St. Louis, the Fourth City. 1764-1909. vol. 1. p. 305-306, portrait of Henry Douglas Bacon on p. 321

Scope and Content

This collection contains letters, documents, and a few account books related to the business activities of California financier Henry Douglas Bacon.
Subject matter includes banking methods in the 1850s; the failure of Page & Bacon and Page, Bacon & Co.; the financing of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad; land transactions in Missouri and Illinois; mines and mining properties in the western United States; the wine and citrus industries in Southern California; the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad; the purchase, boundaries, and subdivision of the Marengo Ranch (now the city of South Pasadena, California); and the construction of the Raymond Hotel in Pasadena, California.
Significant persons represented in the collection include Frank Page Bacon (19 items), Henry Douglas Bacon (164 items), Julia Ann (Page) Bacon (54 items), Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow (57 items), James Buckland (31 items), William Tell Coleman (31 items), R. A. Fisher (18 items), Samuel Gaty (273 items), Walton G. Hughes (117 items), William Birdie Hyde (19 items), J. G. Mahany (19 items), Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel (76 items), Daniel Dearborn Page (33 items), Francis W. Page( 33 items), Henry Starr (21 items), John D. Weems (15 items), Langston C. Winston(27 items), and Thomas M. Yerkes(100 items).
Some notable items include:
  • Bacon, Henry Douglas. Letters to Daniel D. Page and Francis W. Page concerning the failure of Page & Bacon and Page, Bacon & Co., and efforts to recoup. 1855, Jan. - May
  • Barlow, Samuel L. M. Letter to Henry D. Bacon concerning attempts to avert southern secession. 1860, Nov. 30
  • Shaffner, Taliaferro Preston. Letter to Henry D. Bacon explaining his use of military mines during the Schleswig-Holstein War. 1864, Sep. 15
  • Letters to Bacon from mining agents in Mexico, describing the political unrest and resultant obstacles to business. 1865-1866
  • Gaty, Samuel. Letters to Henry D. Bacon concerning attempts to get a land bill through the Illinois legislature by means of lobbying and bribery. 1866, Nov.-1867, June
  • Carr, Jeanne C. and Winston, Elizabeth M. Letters to Henry D. Bacon concerning the Pasadena Library Society. 1883, Jan. - Feb.
  • Hyde, William Birdie. Letters to Henry Douglas Bacon about Leland Stanford and the Southern Pacific. 1873, Aug. 14 - 22
  • Cambell, James and others. Letter to Henry D. Bacon differentiating between the Pasadena and San Pasqual school districts. 1879, Dec. 26
  • Bacon, Henry Douglas. Incomplete manuscript of his dedicatory speech for the Bacon Art and Library Building. 1881, Aug.

Related materials in the Huntington Library

  • Loose volumes
  • Correspondence (Boxes 1-21)
  • Page & Bacon and Page, Bacon & Co. accounts (Boxes 22-23)
  • Land papers (Boxes 24-25)
  • Mining papers (Boxes 26-37)
  • Marengo Ranch (Boxes 38-41)
  • Misc. business papers and receipts (Box 42)
  • 7. Ephemera

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Subjects

Bacon, Henry Douglas, 1817-1893.
Bacon, Julia Ann Page.
Barlow, Samuel L. M. (Samuel Latham Mitchill), 1826-1889.
Coleman, William Tell, 1824-1893.
Gaty, Samuel.
Page, Daniel D.
Page, Francis W.
Starr, Henry, 1819-
Yerkes, Thomas M.
Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley Railroad Co.
Marengo Ranch (Calif.)
Ohio & Mississippi Railroad Co.
Raymond Hotel (Pasadena, Calif.)
Banks and banking -- California.
Citrus fruit industry -- California, Southern.
Land use -- California, Southern.
Land use -- Missouri -- Saint Louis.
Mines and mineral resources -- Mexico.
Mines and mineral resources -- West (U.S.)
Railroads -- California, Southern.
Wine industry -- California, Southern.
California, Southern -- History -- Sources.
South Pasadena (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.

Forms/Genres

Account books United States.
Letters (correspondence) United States.
Professional papers United States.

Added Entries

Bacon, Julia Ann Page.
Barlow, Samuel L. M. (Samuel Latham Mitchill), 1826-1889.
Coleman, William Tell, 1824-1893.
Gaty, Samuel.
Page, Daniel D.
Page, Francis W.
Starr, Henry, 1819-
Yerkes, Thomas M.


Collection Contents

 

Loose volumes

Envelope

Bacon, Henry Douglas. Memorandum books, etc. 1857-1881 BC 177 (volumes 1-5)

  • Volume I- Memo book, 1857-1867
  • Vol. II- Bank book, 1865
  • Vol. III- Bank book, 1865-1866
  • Vol. IV- Memo book, 1872
  • Vol. V. Pasturage book for Marengo Ranch, 1879-1881
Envelope

Page, Daniel Dearborn Memorandum book [including family notes]. 1866-1868 BC 1276 (vols. 1-2)

Envelope

Page, Francis W. Notes on Philip Rocheblave 1848 BC 1283

Envelope

Page, Francis W. Memorandum book relating to affairs of Page, Bacon & Co. 1855-1856 BC 1284

Envelope

Page, Francis W. Account and memorandum books [includes family notes] 1871-1876 BC 1285 (vols. 1-2)  

 

Correspondence

Box 1

Correspondence. 1809-1851 November 29

Box 2

Correspondence. 1852 March 6-1853 December 13

Box 3

Correspondence. 1853 December 30-1855 January 31

Box 4

Correspondence. 1855 February 1-1855 December 22

Box 5

Correspondence. 1856 January 4-1857 October

Box 6

Correspondence. 1857 Nov. 13-1859 Apr. 25

Box 7

Correspondence. 1859 July-1863

Box 8

Correspondence. 1863 January 7-1864 May 2

Box 9

Correspondence. 1864 May 12-1865 February 28

Box 10

Correspondence. 1865 March 1-1865 September 30

Box 11

Correspondence. 1865 October 5-1866 August

Box 12

Correspondence. 1866 September 7-1867 March 15

Box 13

Correspondence. 1867 June 5-1867 December 13

Box 14

Correspondence. 1867 December 16-1868 September 29

Box 15

Correspondence. 1868 October 5-1869 April 28

Box 16

Correspondence. 1869 May 7-1871 February 16

Box 17

Correspondence. 1871 February 21-1872 June 19

Box 18

Correspondence. 1872 July 24-1875 September 21

Box 19

Correspondence. 1875 October 21-1879 January 9

Box 20

Correspondence. 1879 January 20-1884 November 12

Box 21

Correspondence. 1885 January 17-1906 November 12

 

Page & Bacon and Page, Bacon & Co. accounts

Box 22

Accounts. 1850, 1853-1855 BC 1333-1334, 1342-1347, 1349 

Box 23

Accounts. 1853-1855, 1864-1867 BC 1140, 1335-1336, 1338-1341, 1350-1357

 

Land papers

Box 24

Land Papers: St. Louis, Missouri 1766-1883 BC 1416-1421                 

Box 25

Land Papers: Missouri and Illinois 1811-1889 BC 998, 1139, 1275, 1361, 1408-1415                 

 

Mining papers BC 1553-2237

Box 26

Mining Papers. 1844 May 6-1864 August 16

Box 27

Mining Papers. 1864 August 25-1864 December 22

Box 28

Mining Papers. 1864 December 25-1865 March

Box 29

Mining Papers. 1865 April 1-1865 October 17

Box 30

Mining Papers. 1865 November 4-1866 April 28

Box 31

Mining Papers. 1866 May 8-1867 July 16

Box 32

Mining Papers. 1867 November-1870 August 29

Box 33

Mining Papers. 1871 January 12-1874 June 30

Box 34

Mining Papers. 1874 July 14-1880 May 24

Box 35

Mining Papers. 1880 circa June-1885 April 29

Box 36

Mining Papers. 1885 October 22-1902 January 19

Box 37

Mining materials: deeds and accounts. BC 1554, 1644, 1784, 1855, 1895, 1987, 2137

 

Marengo Ranch papers. BC 2240-2550

Box 38

Marengo Ranch. 1860 April 24-1877 January 22

Box 39

Marengo Ranch. 1877 January 27-1883 October 2

Box 40

Marengo Ranch. 1883 December 12-1886 June 11

Box 41

Marengo Ranch. 1886 September 20-1890 December 10

 

Ephemera

Box 42

Miscellaneous business papers and receipts.

Envelope

Newspaper clippings and other printed material; scraps and envelopes; plans and sketches for machinery.

Physical Description: 133 pieces.