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Inventory of the Milton B. Stevens Correspondence, 1849-1954
HM 59471-59532  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Milton B. Stevens Correspondence,
    Date (inclusive): 1849-1954
    Collection number: HM 59471-59532
    Acquisition number: 1980
    Creator: Stevens, Milton B.
    Extent: 2 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The collection was purchased at auction from Butterfield & Butterfield, Sale #6959Z, May 1999. The correspondence includes 62 single-item cataloged letters. They are arranged chronologically, and the bulk of correspondence spans the period 1849-1864, with one letter dated 1954.


    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], Milton B. Stevens Correspondence, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Biographical Note

    Milton B. Stevens, the most prominent figure in this group of letters, left his family and home in Shushan, New York to come to California on the ship Morrison, which departed from New York City on February 14, 1849. While in California, Stevens searched for gold at several mining towns throughout Northern California, including Salmon Falls, Pilot Hill, Oregon Bar, Independence, and Weber Creek. He left California and returned to New York in 1851. In 1852, he married Ann Maria Lyman of Salem, New York.

    Scope and Content

    Milton B. Stevens is the most prolific figure in this collection, as he wrote fifteen of the letters in the collection and was the addressee of twenty. There are, however, twenty-five other authors in these letters, including four women, two of them writing from California. Other significant authors in this collection are: Abbey Stevens (5 letters), Byron Whitcomb (7 letters), and C. K. Dixon (9 letters). The letters mention various mining camps throughout Northern California, such as Fosters Bar, Galena Hill, Murderers Bar, Pilot Hill, Salmon Falls, Weber Creek, and the Klamath River Valley mines. The letters illustrate several aspects of the Gold Rush experience: the journey to California through South America; life in California and the gold camps; gold discoveries, or the lack thereof; the techniques and equipment used in mining; loneliness and longing for home. The letters from Milton B. Stevens' mother tell of the experience of the miners' families back at home in the East. The letter dated 1954 was written by Stephen C. Lyon, who at one time owned the collection. Eighteen of the letters have handwritten or typed transcripts.