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Spanish American Institute records, 1913-1971
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Spanish American Institute records
    Dates: 1913-1971
    Collection Number: mssSpanishAmericanInstituterecords.
    Creator: Spanish American Institute (Gardena, Calif.)
    Extent: 22 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Spanish American Institute records consist of individual student files who enrolled at the boarding school from 1913-1971.
    Language of Material: The records are in English and Spanish.

    Administration Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site .
    Due to the nature of the collection and the amount of personal information that is present, many parts of the collection are sealed for 75 years after the individual's birthdate. This material is noted in the finding aid.

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Spanish American Institute records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of the Spanish American Institute, September 2015.


    The Spanish American Institute is a Methodist establishment located in Gardena, California. The Institute has provided a connection between the churches in Mexico and the United States for the Spanish-speaking community in Southern California. Since 1909, the Institute has provided academic and vocational training for boys primarily of Hispanic descent. In 1971, the Institute closed down the boarding school. Today, the Institute offers college and vocational scholarships to Hispanic students in Southern California.

    Scope and Content

    There are over 2,000 student records in this collection. Although the institute provided assistance for primarily boys of Hispanic descent, there are records for students from Asia, Africa, and Europe. Some of the records contain more details than others. For example, one file may only contain a record of only S.A.I. credits, while other files may include a case summary, correspondence, medical records, family history, and/or probation reports. The letters written to the institution may concern tuition or perhaps, additional background information about the student. The letters from the institute are mostly written by the director, Dr. Richard Silverthorn. His letters may be regarding the student’s progress at the school, general concerns, or why the student received disciplinary action. At the end of the collection, there are miscellaneous folders containing additional unsorted student records, photographs, and printed matter. Box 22 consists of lantern slides and photographic plates.


    Arranged alphabetically.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Silverthorn, Richard

    Corporate Names

    Spanish American Institute (Gardena, Calif.)


    Boarding schools--California--Gardena--History
    Boarding schools--Records and correspondence
    Hispanic American students
    Hispanic Americans--Education--California
    Methodist Church--California

    Geographic Areas

    Gardena (Calif.)


    Administrative records
    Medical records
    Report cards