Collection Scope and Content Summary
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
Title: Ray Billingsley papers
Billingsley, Ray, 1854-
Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.013
5.2 Linear Feet
(13 document boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1870-1928
Date (bulk): 1886-1900
Abstract: This collection comprises the professional and personal papers of Ray Billingsley, a prominent lawyer in Santa Ana, California
from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Included are records from his legal practice and his business interests in the Villa Park
Language of Material:
Collection is open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their
heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Ray Billingsley papers. MS-R013. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this
collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.
Processed by Carole McEwan, 2010. This collection was obtained as part of the Don Meadows Papers, MS-R001 in 2003. It was
incorrectly labeled "Otto" Billingsley papers.
Ray Billingsley, a prominent lawyer and orchardist in Santa Ana, California at the turn of the 20th century, was born in 1854
at Richmond, Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa and in 1879 received his LL.B. and began practicing law in Vinton, Iowa.
He married Eleanor A. Patterson in 1882 and they moved to Orange County, California in the summer of 1886. They settled on
84 acres of land in Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana and named their house "Villa Park". The land was bought at $125 to $225
an acre and about 2/3rd was eventually planted in orchard oranges, lemons, apricots, and walnuts and olives. The Billingsleys
had seven children: William Patterson, Helen May, Harlowe Ray, Carey Val, Hester Sophia and Maynard John (who died at 12 years).
In 1886, Ray Billingsley opened a law office in Santa Ana, about 9 miles from his home. He had various partners over the years
(Painter and Cooke) and specialized in real estate including mortgages. By 1904, he stepped back from his law practice and
concentrated on his orchard business - Villa Park Orchards - and worked for grower cooperatives for better fruit handling
and prices. He also devoted time to his many civic interests (e.g. Orange County College, Serrano Water District), and business
investments (e.g. Orange Auto Power Company, Mission Film Corporation). He was also instrumental in the foundation of the
First Congregational Church of Villa Park in 1889 and served as an official for 20 years. He was a progressive Democrat and
was a founder of the first Bryan Club in Santa Ana in 1896 to support the Presidential candidacy of William Jennings Bryan.
He was an Orange County delegate to the Democratic State Convention in 1908.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection consists primarily of the professional records from Ray Billingsley's law practices from 1886-1904 in Santa
Ana, California and his personal records from his other business interests, specifically Villa Park Orchards from 1887. Included
are legal forms, handwritten notes and transactions, receipts, correspondence, and ephemera.
This collection is arranged in 3 series:
- Series 1. Professional papers, law practices 1879-1904, 4.0 linear feet
- Series 2. Personal papers, 1870-1918, 1.0 linear feet
- Series 3. Ephemera, 1886-1918, 0.2 linear feet
Related archives can be found in the following collection:
Ray Billingsley Papers, ca. 1875-1930, collection number 227, at UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections, Manuscript
Division, Los Angeles, California.
For further biographical information, see
History of Orange County California. Los Angeles : Historic Record Company, 1911.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Fruit growers -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century
Lawyers -- California -- Santa Ana -- 19th century
Real estate lawyers -- California -- Santa Ana -- 19th century
Citrus fruit industry -- California -- 19th century
Fruit growers -- California -- Orange County -- 19th century
Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana (Calif.) -- History-Sources
First Congregational Church of Villa Park -- Archives
Billingsley, Ray, 1854- -- Archives