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James B. Clover and Katherine M. Clover Papers: Finding Aid
mssClover papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: James B. and Katherine M. Clover Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1855-1990
    Bulk dates: 1914-1986
    Collection Number: mssClover papers
    Extent: 5,941 pieces in 84 boxes and 102 oversize folders
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains papers assembled by James B. Clover (1870-1956) and Katherine M. Clover (1906-1990) as part of their struggle against the City of Los Angeles concerning family land holdings in Mono County. Includes correspondence, documents, maps, reports, publications, and clippings related to land tenure and water use in and around Mono County, Inyo County, and Los Angeles, California, with the bulk dating from 1914 to 1986.
    Language: English.


    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]. James B. and Katherine M. Clover Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Estate of Katherine Clover, June 28, 1993.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Biographical Note

    James B. (James Benton) Clover (1870-1956) was born in 1870 in Pennsylvania. After moving to California, Clover and his wife Anna (1879-1963) eventually purchased a substantial amount of land in Mono County south of Mono Lake including a large portion around Rush Creek. In 1930, the City of Los Angeles began eminent domain rights proceedings on much of the land in the area. The case, City of Los Angeles vs. Nina B. Aitken, et al. was eventually tried in 1934 and 1935. By the time of the hearing, most of the defendants had sold their property to the city except four owners, including the Clovers. When the dust settled, the City of Los Angeles owned thousands of acres of land and had water rights on thousands more. Although the Clover family, including daughter Katherine M. (Katherine Mary) Clover (1906-1990) lived in Los Angeles, they retained a small parcel of land in Mono County, which at one point operated as a hunting and fishing lodge. Not happy with the award by the jury, James B. Clover continued to fight the city until his death on May 17, 1956.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of correspondence, documents, maps, reports, publications, and clippings related to land tenure and water use in and around Mono County (including Mono Basin, Mono Lake, Lee Vining Creek and Rush Creek), Inyo County, and Los Angeles, California. The contents of the collection were assembled by James B. (James Benton) and Katherine M. (Katherine Mary) Clover over a period of more than sixty years.
    Although the Clovers eventually sold most of their land in Mono County, they maintained a small parcel and ranch. Katherine M. Clover kept a diary from the 1950s-1970s recording her activities with the property including repairs, water and land problems, and meetings with local residents. She also gathered information on land and water issues related to Mono County, the City of Los Angeles, and California in general, and her many pages of handwritten notes on these subjects may be found scattered throughout the collection. There is a small amount of family papers (123 pieces), including census forms, income tax records, and wills, and there are a few materials related to land and natural resources in Colorado, where the Clover family also owned some land.
    The bulk of the collection consists of materials related to the interests of the City of Los Angeles (Calif.) in acquiring land in and the rights to appropriate water from Mono County for the city's use and consumption. Throughout the collection may be found correspondence and publications related to water use and supply, land tenure and use, applications to appropriate water, public hearings and related legislation. Of note in the collection are copies of federal legislation on the sale and granting of public lands in Mono County to the City of Los Angeles (1921-1981) and an extensive amount of documentation regarding several court cases related to water and land rights in Mono County, including the National Audubon Society…vs. Los Angeles (Calif.) Dept. of Water and Power (1980-1988) and City of Los Angeles vs. Nina B. Aitken, et al. (1927-1942), the latter in which the Clovers were named as defendants.
    Although the bulk of the collection focuses on land and water rights in Mono County, the documentary materials gathered by the Clovers also illustrate the agricultural history of Mono County, activities of advocacy groups such as the Mono Lake Committee, interests in geothermal resources in the vicinity, and federal legislation establishing the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area. The Clovers also assembled publications and other materials related to land and water issues in California and in the greater United States, and these items illustrate trends not only at the local level but also within the state and throughout the nation.
    The collection includes a large amount of material on the governance and operations of the City of Los Angeles including city charters (1923-1972) and city ordinances (1909-1970). Along with pages of handwritten notes by Katherine M. Clover on the history of Los Angeles and its government, there is also material on several city departments including the Office of the City Clerk, the Dept. of Public Works, the Dept. of City Planning, and the Dept. of Water and Power. Of these, the Dept. of Water and Power is most prominently represented, with 15 annual reports (1926-1964) of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the Department of Water and Power’s newsletter (1933-1943) and magazine, Intake (1936- 1948), promotional literature and various departmental publications. The Dept. of Water and Power also figures prominently in the collection, as it is the administrative body of the City of Los Angeles responsible for overseeing applications to appropriate water from Mono County and construction of the Los Angeles aqueduct.
    Also in the collection are business records and correspondence of approximately a dozen California-based water and utility companies including the Mono Valley Improvement Company (1915-1921), Rush Creek Mutual Ditch Company (1914-1959), and Sierra Land and Water Company (1920-1955). The papers of these and other corporations indicate the economic interests they had in owning, selling, and irrigating lands in Mono County and the construction of aqueducts, canals, and dams to generate hydroelectric power.
    173 maps (101 of which are oversize) of aqueducts, land, reservoirs, and water sources may be found in the collection. The counties of Mono and Inyo are particularly well represented, as is the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. Of note are 42 township plat maps in Mono County and another 40 topographic maps by the United States Geographical Survey.
    The collection also contains 4,759 clippings (1914-1990) on subjects such as dams, geothermal power, and water in Inyo, Los Angeles, and Mono Counties. There are also some clippings related to water and land issues in Colorado.


    Arranged in the following series:
    • I. Clover family and personal papers (Boxes 1-2)
    • II. Legal files (Boxes 2-4)
    • III. Utility companies (Boxes 5-10)
    • IV. Geographic files (Boxes 11-75)
      • A. California (Boxes 11-21)
        • 1. Inyo County (Calif.) (Boxes 21-23)
        • 2. Los Angeles (Calif.) (Boxes 24-50)
        • 3. Los Angeles County (Calif.) (Boxes 50-51)
        • 4. Mono County (Calif.) (Boxes 51-59)
        • a. Mono Lake (Calif.) (Boxes 59-63)
      • B. Colorado (Boxes 64-65)
      • C. United States (Boxes 66-75)
    • V. Ephemera (Boxes 75-77)
    • VI. Clippings (Boxes 78-84)
    • VII. Oversize materials (102 folders)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Clover, James B. (James Benton), 1870-1956.
    Clover, Katherine M. (Katherine Mary), 1906-1990.
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Dept. of Water and Power -- Trials, litigation, etc.
    National Audubon Society.
    Aqueducts -- California.
    Aqueducts -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Geothermal resources -- California.
    Land tenure -- Mono County.
    Land titles -- California.
    Land titles -- California -- Mono County.
    Land use -- California -- Mono County.
    Land use -- United States.
    Municipal government -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Natural resources -- California.
    Natural resources -- Colorado.
    Ordinances, Municipal -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Water -- California.
    Water rights -- California -- Inyo County.
    Water rights -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Water rights -- California -- Mono County.
    Water rights -- Cases.
    Water rights -- United States.
    Water-supply -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Inyo County (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.
    Inyo County (Calif.) -- Maps.
    Lee Vining Creek (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.
    Lee Vining Creek (Calif.) -- Maps.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Charters.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Maps.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
    Mono Basin (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.
    Mono Basin (Calif.) -- Maps.
    Mono Lake (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.
    Mono Lake (Calif.) -- Maps.
    Rush Creek (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.
    Rush Creek (Calif.) -- Maps.


    Business records -- California Mono County.
    Clippings -- California.
    Clippings Colorado.
    Deeds -- California.
    Legal files -- California -- 20th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California.
    Maps -- California Inyo County.
    Maps -- California -- Los Angeles County.
    Maps -- California Mono County.
    Notes -- California, Southern -- 20th century.
    Topographic maps -- California.

    Additional Contributors

    Clover, James B. (James Benton), 1870-1956.
    Clover, Katherine M. (Katherine Mary), 1906-1990.
    Los Angeles (Calif.). City Planning Commission.
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Dept. of City Planning.
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Dept. of Water and Power.
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Office of the City Clerk.
    Mono Valley Improvement Company.
    Rush Creek Mutual Ditch Company.
    Sierra Land and Water Company.