Robert Symington Baker Papers mssBK

Brooke M. Black
The Huntington Library
December 2020
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

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)

Box 1

1866 July 3-1878 March 30

Box 2

1878 April 3-1878

Box 3

1879 January 1-1879 June 29

Box 4

1879 July 1-1881 November 23

Box 5

1882 January 3-1890 November 30