John Center Papers mssCE
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
The Huntington Library
Title: John Center papers
Center, John, 1817-1908
Identifier/Call Number: mssCE
7.2 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1849-1884
Abstract: A collection of material related to the
personal and professional life of John Center, San Francisco businessman and civic
Language of Material: Materials are in
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Conditions Governing Use
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from
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necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item]. John Center papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino,
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.
Processed by Huntington Library Staff, circa 1930. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the
finding aid derived from a legacy in-house summary report.
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