Inventory of the William Hertrich Papers, 1904-1966

Processed by Huntington Library staff; supplementary encoding and revision supplied by Brooke Dykman Dockter.
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
© 2000
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the William Hertrich Papers, 1904-1966

The Huntington Library

San Marino, California

Contact Information

  • Manuscripts Department
  • The Huntington Library
  • 1151 Oxford Road
  • San Marino, California 91108
  • Phone: (626) 405-2203
  • Fax: (626) 449-5720
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Huntington Library staff
© 2000 The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: William Hertrich Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1904-1966
Creator: Hertrich, William
Extent: 2,687 pieces
Repository: The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
Language: English.

Administrative Information


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], 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.

Subject matter

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.