Robert Glass Cleland Papers mssCleland

Michele McKinnon Fricke and Gayle Richardson
The Huntington Library
March 2020
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108

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


Correspondence 1910-1986

Box 1, Folder 1-115

A.C. McClurg Co. - Cleland to Julian Boyd 1918-1958

Box 2, Folder 1-124

Cleland to Florence Brady - Cleland to William H. Krekler 1918-1955

Box 3, Folder 1-128

Cleland to Stuart Lake - Cleland to Utah State Historical Society 1936-1956

Box 4, Folder 1-109

Cleland to Neva Vance - French Fogle 1933-1957

Box 5, Folder 1-128

Edna Fotsch - Fred McLain 1914-1986

Box 6, Folder 1-136

The MacMillan Company - Midge Sherwood 1921-1986

Box 7, Folder 1-115

Marguerite Shimer - Unidentified 1910-1978


Writings 1875-1978

Box 8, Folder 1-44

"Appraisal of California's Century, 1850-1950" - California in Our Time 1947-1978

Box 9, Folder 1-24

California in Our Time - California Pageant 1946-1951

Box 10, Folder 1-38

The Cattle on a Thousand Hills - Faculty's role 1941-1953

Box 11, Folder 1-25

"Fiction Lags after Truth" - From Wilderness to Empire 1945-1951

Box 12, Folder 1-28

From Wilderness to Empire - Giants and Castles 1952

Box 13, Folder 1-28

Giants and Castles - Items to Exhibit 1875-1953

Box 14, Folder 1-27

Joseph Francis Sartori, 1858-1946 - Miles Philips or the King's Treasure 1937-1952

Box 15, Folder 1-20

Miles Philips or the King's Treasure - Introduction to Howard Swan 1943-1956

Box 16, Folder 1-34

"My Private Christmas Carol" - The Reckless Breed of Men: typescript of Chapter One 1914-1952

Box 17, Folder 1-13

This Reckless Breed of Men: typescripts of Chapter one, continued - This Reckless Breed of Men: typescript of bibliography, etc. approximately 1950

Box 18, Folder 1-17

"To a Younger Generation" - Earl Warren 1949-1952

Box 19, Folder 1-41

Alphonzo Bell - Zamorano Club 1937-1978


Research materials, notes, ephemera, and oversize 1865-1978

Box 20, Folder 1-41

Anuario Estadistico - Fur trade 1907-1946

Box 21, Folder 1-28

Fur trade - Mexico 1939-1949

Box 22, Folder 1-26

Mexico - St. Louis Republican 1939-1949

Box 23, Folder 1-24

San Francisco Committee - Wool in California 1937-1946

Box 24, Folder 1-18

Gertrude Coogan - Retirement Life Payments Association 1938-1939

Box 25, Folder 1-12

Southern California Citizens Against 30 Thursday 1939

Box 26, Folder 1-16

Retirement Life Payments Association - Source Material on Mexico 1869-1939

Box 27, Folder 1-59

Source Material on Mexico: Volume I - Volume II undated

Box 28, Folder 1-50

Source Material on Mexico: Volume III - Volume IV undated

Box 29, Folder 1-29

Source Material on Mexico: Volume V - Data files for Doheny project undated - 1918

Box 30, Folder 1-12

Source Material on Mexico: Data files for Doheny project - typescripts of interview reports 1917-1920

Box 31, Folder 1-11

Source Material on Mexico: typescripts of interview reports - typescripts of research materials 1917-1918

Box 32, Folder 1-22

Source Material on Mexico: typescripts regarding Mexican courts - Ephemera: Minutes 1879-1978

Box 33, Folder 1-15

Ephemera: Offprints - Photographs 1865-1971

Box 34, Folder 1-116

Research notes for Cattle on a Thousand Hills and other projects undated

Box 35, Folder 1-91

Notes on History of the West undated

Scope and Contents

Handwritten and typed notes on half-sheets sorted into folders by topic.
Box 36, Folder 1-116

Note cards with biographical citations for research materials undated

Box 37, Folder 1-3

Oversize 1947-1953