Photograph album of H. J. Whitley lands near Corcoran, California, 1920-1931?

Processed by Jane Carpenter with assistance from Simon Elliott; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Photograph album of H. J. Whitley lands near Corcoran, California
Date (inclusive): 1920-1931?
Collection number: 94/17
Creator: Whitley, Hobart Johnstone.
Physical Description: 1 album (46 photographic prints) : b&w, 11 x 17 cm (album)

Photographs (9.3 x 15 cm) are mounted on recto and verso of 24 leaves of black paper, without captions.

Bound in limp dark red patterned leather covers, with blind-stamped ornamental border; covers tied with black silk cord; retailer's black and white label on inside back cover: "Earl. V. Lewis Co. Developing, Printing, Enlarging, Framing, 226 W. 4th St., 421 W. 7th St., Los Angeles, Calif."

Spec. Coll. copy: in modern beige and white woven cloth clamshell box with velcro closure; spine title "Whitley. Paso Robles."
Abstract: Snapshots of agricultural scenes, probably taken during the 1920s, on lands belonging to H. J. (Hobart Johnstone) Whitley, possibly near Corcoran, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, east of Paso Robles.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Photograph album of H. J. Whitley lands near Corcoran, California (Collection 94/17). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233582 


California real estate developer and banker. Hobart Johnstone Whitley came to Southern California in the mid-1880s after following the westward expansion of the frontier railroads across the country, and successfully founding scores of towns throughout the Oklahoma Territory, Dakotas, and Texas . As a major investor in the Los Angeles Pacific Boulevard and Development Co., Whitley, along with associates Harrison Gray Otis and George W. Hoover, was responsible for much of the development of land at the south end of the Cahuenga Pass known as the Hollywood Ocean View Tract, as well as a commercial district on Highland Ave. He organized a land syndicate in 1909 to develop the southern end of the San Fernando Valley, creating the towns of Van Nuys, Reseda, and Canoga Park on 47,500 acres of farmland formerly owned by wheat magnate Isaac Newton Van Nuys. Whitley also purchased large tracts of land further north in the San Joaquin Valley, where he built the city of Corcoran, although he died in 1931 before his last development, Whitley Gardens east of Paso Robles, was completed.

Scope and Content

The amateur photographer took photos--some shot from the car window--of herds of cattle, grazing on rolling hillsides as well as standing in pens near farm buildings; a sign for the H.J. Whitley Land Co. is visible in one photo. Several photos may show Whitley himself, standing amid fields of wheat, his car parked nearby. Other photos document the harvesting of the grain using large mule-drawn reapers, and the bags of newly-threshed wheat stacked in rows at the end of the field. Also included are photos of other aspects of the ranch, such as artesian wells--drilled by the Coburn and Brewster company as noted on a sign in one photo--irrigation ponds, water tanks, and well-drilling towers; chickens in a large yard, bordered by a row of coops; country roads, farm buildings, and houses. There are also three photos of orchards planted on hillsides.
Possible range of dates suggested by automobiles models and signs visible in photographs.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Whitley, Hobart Johnstone.
Real estate developers --California --San Joaquin Valley.
Ranches --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
Cattle --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
Agriculture --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
Wheat --Harvesting --Machinery --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
Harvesting machinery --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
Artesian wells --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
Irrigation --California --San Joaquin Valley --Photographs.
San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) --Photographs.
Paso Robles (Calif.) --Photographs.

Genres and Forms of Material

Photographic prints --California --San Joaquin Valley --1920-1931.
Photographic prints --California --Paso Robles --1920-1931.
Photograph albums --California --San Joaquin Valley --1920-1931.
Photograph albums --California --Paso Robles --1920-1931.

Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

Whitley, Hobart Johnstone, 1847-1931.
Earl V. Lewis Co. (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Related Material

Additional information available from the Hobart Johnstone Whitley Papers, ca. 1889-1946 (Collection 744)   in UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
Part of the Photograph Album Collection (Collection 94)   in UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.