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Dorsey (Kewen) Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Contents
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Kewen Dorsey Collection
    Dates: 1735-1933 and undated
    Dates: 1879-1933 and undated
    Collection number: H.Mss.0272
    Creator: Dorsey, Kewen
    Extent: 1.5 Linear Feet (3 document boxes)
    Repository: Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Claremont, CA 91711
    Abstract: This collection contains the diaries of early California resident Kewen Hilliard Dorsey. Born in El Monte in 1857, Dorsey grew up in the town of Spadra with his grandfather, W.W. Rubottom, and later lived in Los Angeles and Fontana. Dorsey was active in his community, a member of a Masonic lodge and pioneer groups. The bulk of the materials in this collection consists of Dorsey's diaries, though it also contains account books, various writings, record books, and a day book belonging to Dorsey's mother Civility Rubottom.
    Physical Location: Please consult repository.
    Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Kewen Dorsey Papers (H.Mss.0272). Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont, California.

    Provenance / Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Kewen Dorsey, 1932.


    No additions to the collection are anticipated.

    Processing Information

    Items were placed in archival housing, and arranged into chronological order.

    Biographical / Administrative History

    Kewen Hilliard Dorsey (1857 - 1933) was a member of one of Southern California's first pioneer families. Born in El Monte, Dorsey became a resident of Spadra, a small town that was eventually absorbed by surrounding cities. He moved to Los Angeles in 1878, before making his residence in Fontana towards the end of his life. He was the son of Mexican War veteran Hilliard P. Dorsey and Civility Rubottom. He was also the grandson of William Wiley "Uncle Billy" Rubottom, an infamous settler of the Pomona Valley known for his violent streak. Rubottom had gone west from Arkansas after killing two men, and was responsible for the shooting death of his son-in-law, Dorsey's father. Kewen’s mother had fled her husband and sought refuge at her father’s home. When Hilliard arrived to claim her, Rubottom killed him with a shotgun. As both men had reputations for dueling and fighting, the townsfolk accepted that there was no fault in the death and Rubottom did not face consequences for Hilliard’s murder. Despite these events, Kewen was loyal to and cared for his grandfather until the old man’s death.
    Later in life, Kewen Dorsey was repeatedly honored as one of the oldest residents of the area. In 1930 governor of California James Rolph gave Dorsey a silver cup award in honor of his status as the area’s oldest “native son.” Hilliard Dorsey had started the first Los Angeles Masonic lodge in 1852, and Kewen followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming an active member of the Masons, including holding various leadership positions. In 1932 Dorsey was awarded a silver trowel recognizing him as the oldest mason in the San Bernardino Valley. Dorsey kept extensive diaries throughout his life, and donated them to The Claremont Colleges Library in the year prior to his death. Dorsey passed away in Fontana on July 12, 1933.
    Brackett, Frank Parkhurst, and Historic Record Company, Los Angeles. 1920. History of Pomona Valley, California: With Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men and Women of the Valley Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present. Los Angeles, Cal: Historic Record Company.
    DORSEY RITES SET FOR TODAY. 1933. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), Jul 13, 1933. http://ccl.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ccl.idm.oclc.org/docview/163104501?accountid=10141 (accessed March 9, 2018).

    Scope and Contents

    The Dorsey Collection of twenty-five hand-written diaries illuminates the years 1879-1933 in the life of Kewen H Dorsey, who was born in El Monte in 1857. The collection also contains various record books, account information, writings, and a day book belonging to Dorsey's mother, Civility Rubottom.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Materials are arranged by type, and chronologically within each type. The bulk of the collection is made up of Dorsey's diaries.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

    Subject Terms

    California, Southern
    California -- History -- 1850-1950
    Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.)
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History
    Pomona (Calif.)

    Genre and Form of Materials