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Baker (Robert Symington) 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: Robert Symington Baker papers
    Creator: Baker, Robert Symington, 1825-1894
    Identifier/Call Number: mssBK
    Physical Description: 5.83 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1866-1890
    Abstract: Letters and documents of California businessman Robert Symington Baker.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    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]. Robert Symington Baker papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Bernal F. Alfe, December 1937.

    Biographical / Historical

    Robert Symington Baker (1825-1894) came to California in 1849 from his birthplace in Rhode Island. Arriving in San Diego, he went next to San Francisco, then settled in Los Angeles. He was prominently associated with Edward F. Beale in the local petroleum and wool industries and also engaged in mining, banking, and real estate. Baker married Arcadia Bandini de Stearns (widow of Abel Stearns) in 1874 and later built the Baker Block in downtown Los Angeles. He owned Ranchos San Vicente and Santa Monica and, with John Percival Jones, founded the city of Santa Monica.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection contains letters and documents related to Robert Symington Baker's involvement with petroleum and sheep and wool industries in California (1866-1888), mining interests in California and Utah (1877-1879), the city of Santa Monica (1877-1879), and the Ranchos Jurupa, Santa Monica, San Vicente, and Temescal. Significant persons represented in the collection include: Arturo Bandini, Robert Symington Baker, Edward Fitzgerald Beale, Simeon Porter Christy, Charles Henry Forbes, Sanford Lyon, Alfred Robinson, John Henry Wise, and Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker. There are also some materials related to the firm of Christy & Wise and to the Baker Block, which was built upon the site of El Palacio, Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker's home with Able Stearns.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Library Staff. In 2020, Brooke M. Black created a finding aid.


    Arranged chronologically.


    Former call number: mssBK 1-267.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Mines and mineral resources -- California
    Mines and mineral resources -- Utah
    Petroleum industry and trade -- California
    Ranches -- California
    Wool industry -- California
    California -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Rancho Boca de Santa Monica (Calif.)
    Rancho Jurupa (Calif.)
    Rancho Temescal (Calif.)
    Santa Monica (Calif.)
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 19th century
    Personal papers -- California -- 19th century
    Professional papers -- California -- 19th century
    Bandini, Arcadia, 1825-1912
    Bandini, Arturo
    Beale, Edward Fitzgerald, 1822-1893
    Christy, Simeon Porter
    Forbes, Charles Henry
    Lyon, Sanford
    Robinson, Alfred, 1806-1895
    Wise, John Henry
    Baker Block (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Christy & Wise (Firm : San Francisco)