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Journals of Sphinx Ranch
mssSphinx ranch  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Journals of Sphinx Ranch
    Dates: 1594-1926
    Bulk dates: 1878-1918
    Collection Call Number: mssSphinx ranch
    Creator: Sphinx Ranch (Altadena, Calif.)
    Extent: 72 items, including 46 volumes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection chiefly contains ranch journals of the Sphinx Ranch, vineyard, and commercial winery in Altadena, California, purchased by William Allen in 1878, as well as some additional materials related to ranch and the Allen family. The journals primarily document the day-to-day activities of the ranch, from pruning to harvesting and irrigating the vineyards and citrus trees.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Access

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

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    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], Sphinx Ranch journals, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of David Allen, 2002.
    The majority of the collection was put on loan at the Huntington Library by Walter I. Allen in 1938. The family gave it to the Library in 2002 along with some additional items.

    Biography

    William Allen, a native of England, purchased a 502-acre ranch in Altadena, California, in 1878 and brought his family to Southern California the following year. Named the Sphinx Ranch because Allen spent twenty-three years in Egypt as a broker before coming to Southern California, the ranch had a vineyard and small commercial winery at the time Allen purchased it. Allen had additional acres of grapes and citrus trees (mostly oranges) planted on the property. After Allen's death in 1886, his wife and children, including his son Walter I. Allen, continued to operate the ranch. In 1911 a part of the ranch was subdivided, and additional subdivisions followed in subsequent years.

    Scope and Content

    This collection chiefly contains ranch journals of the Sphinx Ranch, vineyard, and commercial winery in Altadena, California, purchased by William Allen in 1878, as well as some additional materials related to ranch and the Allen family.
    The first section of the collection consists of 43 volumes : two William Allen diaries (1878-1879), one Harold Allen diary (1884), and 40 ranch journals from 1879 to 1918. The first volume, written by William Allen in 1878, begins in Europe and continues in Southern California later in the year. Subsequent volumes document primarily the day-to-day activities of the ranch, from pruning to harvesting and irrigating the vineyards and citrus trees. Some writing indicates that there were Chinese laborers on the ranch, and entries in later volumes may have been recorded by one of William Allen's sons, Walter I. Allen, who ran the ranch in later years.
    The other items in this collection are: four miscellaneous account/financial books (including one with the sales of oranges, grapes, and lemons), a volume containing the By- Laws, meeting minutes, etc., of the William Allen Estate Company, two family diaries from the 16th and 17th centuries, document with family genealogy information, one indenture on vellum related to land in England, "Bancroft's Map of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona" (1873), and three pieces of ephemera related to wine production in California (1894).
    Cataloger's Note: The collection used to be called the Walter I. Allen Journals.

    Arrangement

    Volumes arranged chronologically.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Sphinx Ranch (Altadena, Calif.)

    Subjects

    Agriculture--California, Southern
    Chinese--California--History--19th century--Sources
    Citrus fruit industry--California, Southern
    Pioneers--California--Altadena--Archive
    Ranches--California--Altadena--Archives
    Viticulture--California, Southern
    Altadena (Calif.)--Agriculture--Citrus fruit
    Altadena (Calif.)--History--Sources
    Altadena (Calif.)--History--Sources
    California, Southern--History--19th century--Sources
    Allen, Walter I.
    Allen, William, -1886

    Genre

    Journals (accounts)--California, Southern