This collection contains the research
materials of Frank F. Latta (1892-1983) from his five decades of researching the history and
development of California's San Joaquin Valley and Miller & Lux, in particular dry
farming known as skyfarming. Subjects include: agriculture and farming in the San Joaquin
Valley, the development of agricultural machinery (combines, plows, reapers, scrapers,
threshing machines, tractors and various types of harvesters), livestock, ranches, cattle,
and crops, mostly wheat. The collection is made up of articles, Miller & Lux business
records, catalogs, brochures, clippings, legal document, oral interviews, correspondence,
manuscripts for publication, newspapers, notes, official reports, receipts, and research
material in general. The collection also contains hundreds of photographs, both color and
black and white, slides, panoramas, and glass plates.
Frank Forrest Latta (1892-1983), son of Presbyterian minister Eli C. Latta and teacher
Harmonia Campbell, was born September 18, 1892, in Stanislaus County, California. As a young
boy, Latta worked on several ranches in the San Joaquin Valley and became interested in the
stories of the early pioneers, and in 1906 began interviewing people and gathering research
regarding early life and early farming in California. Latta also spent much time researching
the farming corporation Miller & Lux and its founders Henry Miller and Charles Lux.
Latta married Jeanette "Jean" Allen in 1919; they had four children. When Latta was not
traveling the San Joaquin Valley interviewing pioneers or writing at home, he taught
drafting and carpentry at high schools in Gustine, Porterville, Shafter and Bakersfield,
California. Latta helped found the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield in 1941 where he worked
both as a curator and as its director. Latta, who was president of the League of Western
Writers in 1938, is the author of several publications including Black gold in the Joaquin,
California Indian folklore, Dalton Gang days, Handbook of Yokuts Indians, Joaquín Murrieta
and his horse gangs. Latta died in Santa Cruz in May 1983.
59.62 Linear Feet
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