Important or interesting items
Title: William Hertrich Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1904-1966
Extent: 2,687 pieces
The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
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[Identification of item], William Hertrich Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
William Hertrich was born in Baden, Germany, in 1878, and studied horticulture in Austria. By 1904 he was in California, where
he began to work on the San Marino Ranch, then known as Los Robles Ranch, purchased by Henry Edwards Huntington the previous
year. Hertrich would remain with Mr. Huntington, progressing from gardener to superintendent of grounds and buildings, until
his employers' death in 1927, remained until his retirement in 1948, than continued in an advisory capacity until his own
death in 1966.
Hertrich was responsible for the development of the ranch property into specialized areas: stables, dairy barn, milk house,
vegetable and fruit areas, orance and avocado groves. He built lily ponds, palm garden, desert garden, rose garden, the cycad
collection, the north vista. The unsightly canyon area was converted into the Japanese garden. Greenhouses for rare orchids
and ornamentals, and for fruits and vegetables during winter months were established, as were an aviary, a deer park, and
camellia gardens. Hertrich was a dedicated worker himself, demanding yet fair with subordinates. He also planned and supervised
the construction of a road system and fences, an irrigation network, living quarters for employees. Mr. Huntington quite early
realized Hertrich's capabilities, and trusted him with supervision of all work on the ranch, as well as on the other properties
in the immediate area, including the remodeling, enlargement and development of the grounds of the Huntington Hotel, formerly
the Wentworth Hotel.
Throughout almost 20 years, beginning in 1908, Hertrich wrote regular reports to Mr. Huntington relative to work on the ranch,
development of new plants, progress of building projects, costs, profits or produce, weather, staff affairs, etc. The reports
were usually sent weekly whenever Mr. Huntington was away, and continued until Mr. Huntington returned to reside permanently
in California. At the same time as work continued and reports were made, Hertrich kept records, wrote articles, gave talks
to civic and horticultural groups, carried out plant experiments and plant exchanges on an international level, participated
in community affairs, made trips in connection with his work, made photographs of plants and of construction in various stages.
Hertrich was married in 1906 to Margarete Stritzinger, and the couple lived on the ranch, first in a small cottage, then from
1910 in a fine house built for them by Mr. Huntington. They remained childless. After his retirement in 1948, Hertrich retained
his office, where he continued his writing and research until 1963, when his failing sight no longer permitted him to work,
yet he continued his daily walks in the gardens until his death in 1966 at age eighty-eight.
Development of San Marino ranch and the Huntington Botanical Gardens; construction of the Huntington residence and of the
Huntington Library; city of San Marino, California. Articles relative to botanical gardens and specific species.
Important or interesting items
- Correspondence between William Hertrich and Henry E. Huntington relative to ranch and library.
The papers are arranged chronologically in 23 boxes.