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Cleland (Robert Glass) 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 Glass Cleland papers
    Creator: Cleland, Robert Glass, 1885-1957
    Identifier/Call Number: mssCleland
    Physical Description: 15 Linear Feet (37 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1865-1985
    Date (bulk): 1937-1956
    Abstract: The collection of the Californian historian Robert Glass Cleland; it consists of correspondence, documents, lectures, drafts, research notes, source materials and manuscripts.
    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 Glass Cleland papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    A gift from Mrs. Edward L. Doheny, June 1950; five gifts from Andrew Rolle, January 1982, July 1985, March 1986, September 2001, and June 2002.

    Biographical / Historical

    Robert Glass Cleland (1885-1957) was a well-known California historian, scholar, professor, and college administrator. As a writer and scholar, he published 32 works, numerous articles, and writings in the fields of Southwestern and California history. Cleland was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky to Reverend Robert W. Cleland and Sallie Glass Cleland on February 19, 1885; he came to Southern California as a child with his family in the early 1890s where they settled on a ranch near Duarte, California. Cleland graduated from college in 1907 and obtained a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1912 with a dissertation on the history of Mexico; in the same year, he joined Occidental College as a professor of history. In the ensuing years at Occidental College he served as Dean of Men; Vice President, 1927 to 1928; Acting President; Dean of the Faculty; Trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees; and chair of a presidential search committee. He also served as the Norman Bridge Chair of Hispanic American Relations, as well as the President of the Association of Colleges and Universities of the Pacific Southwest (later Western College Association). He was a visiting scholar at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, from February 1937 to February 1938; in 1943, he joined the Permanent Research Group at the Huntington Library. While at the Huntington, Cleland worked in the field of American History concentrating upon the history of California and the Southwest. In 1945, he was appointed as a Trustee of Princeton University and was also on the Board of Trustees for Scripps College. Cleland received honorary degrees from Occidental College in 1943 and from the College of Idaho in 1951; he died on September 3, 1957.

    Scope and Contents

    A collection which consists of approximately 5,450 items and covers the years 1865 to 1985; the collection contains correspondence covering a variety of topics including scholarly research, speaking engagements, writing assignments, trustee and university business, and responses to Cleland's publications. Correspondents in the collection include, among others: George A. Brakeley, Arthur G. Coons, Glenn S. Dumke, Max Farrand, Harold Holmes Helm, MacMillan Company, H. W. O'Melveny, Princeton University Press, Andrew F. Rolle, Eleanor W. Towles, and Louis B. Wright. The writings comprise drafts and notes for books, book reviews, and lectures on California and the Southwest including, among other titles: "The Cattle on a Thousand Hills" (second edition), "From Wilderness to Empire," "California in Our Time," "A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee," and "This Reckless Breed of Men." The research files include material on the fur trade, California, Mexico, and the controversial social insurance schemes proposed by the Retirement Life Payment Association during the Great Depression. The source material about Mexico covers geography, economics, social life, and indigenous peoples from the Spanish conquest until the early twentieth century, including data files and interview reports gathered for the Doheny Foundation. The ephemera consists mainly of biographical material about Cleland, six photographs, various clippings on the Southwest, and offprints or printed material by Cleland and his peers. The research notes are handwritten and typed on one half sheets sorted into folders by topic on the history of the West and for "The Cattle on a Thousand Hills" material. Note cards have biographical citations for research materials. There is a cassette tape and phonograph record of a radio interview with Robert Glass Cleland for the "Meet the Author" program and a phonograph record of a speech by James Blaisdell.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Michele McKinnon Fricke, April 2011. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the ArchivesSpace finding aid derived from the Word finding aid.


    Organized in the following series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Writings; 3. Research materials, notes, ephemera, and oversize.


    Former call number: mssCleland papers.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery
    Occidental College
    Princeton University -- Trustees
    Scripps College
    Educators -- California
    Fur trade -- History
    Historians -- California
    Social security -- History -- 20th century
    California -- History
    Mexico -- History
    Southwest, New -- History
    Drafts (documents) -- California -- 20th century
    Lectures -- California -- 20th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century
    Manuscripts -- California -- 20th century
    Professional papers -- United States -- 20th century
    Research (document genres) -- California -- 20th century
    Brakeley, George A.
    Coons, Arthur Gardiner, 1900-1968
    Dumke, Glenn S.
    Farrand, Max, 1869-1945
    Helm, Harold Holmes, 1900-1985
    O'Melveny, H. W. (Henry William), 1859-1941
    Rolle, Andrew F.
    Towles, Eleanor W.
    Wright, Louis B. (Louis Booker), 1899-1984
    Macmillan Company
    Princeton University Press