Inventory of the Henry Edwards Huntington Collection, 1794-1970, bulk 1840, 1927

Processed by The Huntington Library staff; supplementary encoding and revision supplied by Xiuzhi Zhou.
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 Henry Edwards Huntington Collection, 1794-1970, bulk 1840, 1927

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:
The Huntington Library staff
Date Completed:
Jan. 1986
© 2000 The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Henry Edwards Huntington Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1794-1970,
Date (bulk): bulk 1840, 1927
Creator: Huntington, Henry Edwards
Extent: 22,490 items in 200 boxes Uncatalogued:
Repository: The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Henry Edwards Huntington papers in Library, and from members of the Huntington extended family, including the Metcalf family and the Holladay family.


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], Henry Edwards Huntington Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Henry Edwards Huntington was born on February 27, 1850 in Oneonta, New York, son of Solon Huntington and Harriet (Saunders) Huntington. In 1870 he left Oneonta to learn the hardware business in New York City. There he worked first as a porter, then in 1871 he began to work for his uncle Collis Potter Huntington, managing the latter's sawmill in St. Albans, West Virginia. Seo successful was the young Huntington, that his uncle gave him increased responsibility and opportunity, which took him into Ohio and Kentucky, where he assisted his uncle in managing widespread railroad interests. In 1892 he went to San Francisco as Assistant to the President of the Southern Pacific Company, that is, to his uncle Collis P. Huntington. In San Francisco he was not only an able executive for the Southern Pacific Company, but also found time to organize the San Francisco railway system, and turn his attention to various other enterprises. It was in 1892 that he first visited the Los Angeles area, and saw the old Shorb Ranch which he was later to purchase and convert into the San Marino Ranch, later the Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens.
After the death of Collis P. Huntington in 1900, Henry E. Huntington began to withdraw from those business interests with which he had been involved with his uncle. In 1902 he transferred his headquarters from San Francisco to Los Angeles, purchased the Shorb Ranch, organized the Pacific Electric Railway Company, the Huntington Land and Improvement Company, and a number of other enterprises relative to real estate, industrial development, hotel interests, etc. The ranch became a productive fruit ranch and botanical garden under the able direction of William Hertrich.
The nucleus of the Huntington Library was initiated around 1900, when Henry Huntington began to seriously collect books, depositing them in his private library in New York. By 1908 he was dedicating more time and money to the collection of books, manuscripts and works of art. Although he divided his time between New York and California, his collections remained in New York until the completion of the library building in San Marino, near the lovely new home he had recently constructed overlooking the San Gabriel Valley. As the library approached completion, in 1919-1920, the entire library and art gallery in New York was shipped west and installed. The San Marino home, now the main Art Gallery, was finished in 1910; the Library in 1920.
Henry Huntington was married to Mary Alice Prentice on November 17, 1873. Four children were born of this union, which ended in divorce in 1906. In 1913 he was married to Arabella Duval (Yarrington) Worsham Huntington, widow of his uncle Collis P. Huntington since 1900. Together they collected the majority of the paintings, furniture and other art objects now housed in what had been their home in San Marino. Arabella Huntington died in 1924, leaving her considerable estate to her son Archer Milton Huntington. Before her death she had selected the site for the mausoleum, which Mr. Huntington planned, but did not live to see completed before his own death in 1927. The mausoleum was designed by John Russell Pope, the builder of the Jefferson Monument in Washington, D.C.
In 1919 Mr. and Mrs. Huntington made a gift of the collections, together with the buildings which house them, and the grounds on which they stand, as well as the botanical gardens, more than 200 acres in all, to the people of California, in the form of a trust. The endowment fund which was set up enables the institution to operate, free of charge and free of support by federal, state or municipal government.
The Huntington Library consists today of a research library, including some of the rarest books and manuscripts in existence, many of which are on exhibition, and all of which are available for scholarly research; two art galleries, one specializing in 18th century English painting and drawings, as well as 16th-18th century English and French decorative arts. The other gallery, the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery, specializes in American art. The 207 acres of land, much of which is devoted to the botanical gardens, are open to the public. The institution continues to be administered by a Board of Trustees, assisted by the Board of Overseers and the Officers. The collections are continually augmented, now far exceeding the original nucleus acquired by the Founder.

Subject Matter

Personal and business papers of Henry Edwards Huntington, including Huntington family correspondence, Holladay family papers, and business correspondence and papers relative to railroads and street railways, real estate, mainly in Southern California, Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens, Newport News Ship Building and Dry Dock Company.


The catalogued section of the collection is boxed in charonological order in 200 boxes, and is readily accessible to registered readers. Qualified scholars may obtain access to the uncatalogued section through written request to the Librarian of the Huntington Library. An inventory of the uncatalogued section is attached to this report.
--Valerie Franco
--February, 1985
NB: The uncatalogued section of the collection is now open on the same basis as the catalogued portion. Some patience and creativity is necessary in using it, since the subject headings in the inventory that follows are far from complete. For example, HEH 3/1-12, listed under Newport News Ship Building & Dry Dock Co., also contains extensive material on Henry Huntington's other interests in the Newport News area, such as Old Dominion Land Co., Newport News Land Corp., and Newport News Power & Light Co. One should assume a similar situation to apply to much of the rest of the uncatalogued material.
--Bill Frank
--January, 1986