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Center (John) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • General

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: John Center papers
    Creator: Center, John, 1817-1908
    Identifier/Call Number: mssCE
    Physical Description: 7.2 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1849-1884
    Abstract: A collection of material related to the personal and professional life of John Center, San Francisco businessman and civic leader.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    Conditions Governing Use

    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]. John Center papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Purchased from Albert Dressler, April 1926.

    Biographical / Historical

    John Center (1817-1908) was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and came to the United States in 1836. Center settled first in Wisconsin then moved to California in 1849 to seek his fortune in gold; however, he decided to engage in the gardening business instead of mining and settled in San Francisco. He became involved in many enterprises, including the nursery business, real estate, and mining speculation. In 1863 he established the Center Company for mining in California's Owens Valley. Center promoted the expansion and civic improvement of San Francisco, especially in the Mission District where he first settled.

    Scope and Contents

    A collection of 362 items which contains letters, documents, and one map (1849-1884) related to the various enterprises of John Center. These include his gardening business, real estate, mining transactions, and civic enterprises in San Francisco from 1849 to 1884. Also included are papers regarding the Center Company, water rights, and mining in the Owens Valley in 1863.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Library Staff, circa 1930. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy in-house summary report.


    Arranged chronologically.


    Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssCE 1-362.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gardening -- California -- San Francisco
    Mines and mineral resources -- California, Northern
    Mines and mineral resources -- California -- Owens Valley
    Real property -- California -- San Francisco
    Water rights -- California -- Owens Valley
    California -- History -- 19th century
    Owens Valley (Calif.)
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Commerce
    Business papers -- California -- 19th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 19th century
    Center Company