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Charles Penniman Daniell Papers
mssHM 70463-70510  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles Penniman Daniell Papers
    Dates: 1844-1853,
    Date: 1861
    Collection Number: mssHM 70463-70510
    Creator: Daniell, Charles Penniman, 1828-1861.
    Extent: 59 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collection consists of family letters and a few photographs related to Charles Penniman Daniell's experiences and life in San Francisco, California (1850-53).
    Language of Material: The records are in 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], Charles Penniman Daniell Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was given to the Huntington Library by Mrs. Austin Jenison (nee Margaret Daniell) on October 13, 1967.


    Born in South Milford, Massachusetts, in September 1828, Charles Daniell (1828-1861) was the eldest son of Josiah Daniell, a drygoods retailer in Boston, and Sarah Hutchinson Penniman Daniell. Charles P. Daniell sailed from Boston to San Francisco around the Horn in 1849-50. While in San Francisco he took part in a sequence of business arrangements to retail hardware, including operating other proprietors’ stores and managing his own. For a brief period of time, he worked at the U.S. Customs House. He also made at least one excursion into mining territory to “see the Elephant." Daniell returned to Boston in 1854 and again in the late 1850s, where he married Henrietta Spring, a close friend of his sister Lucetta, in 1860. They returned to California, but he died May 1861 at the age of 33. Subsequently, his brother William traveled to California to take care of his affairs. Charles’ only daughter, born posthumously, died as an infant.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of letters and a few photographs related to Daniell's experiences and life in San Francisco (1850-53). Charles is the author of all the letters and the only addressees are his sister Lucetta, his mother Sarah, and his father Josiah. The letters, generally one to four pages in length, are arranged chronologically. Several of the letters are duplicated in typewritten format. Charles wrote the bulk of the letters from the city of San Francisco, but there are also letters from Boston, where he helped with his father's dry goods business and from the ship “Marcia Cleaves" as he sailed around the Horn to California.
    A seemingly amiable and optimistic young man, Charles appears to wrestle with the challenges of making his own way in the world and the longing for the familiar. The letters rarely go into great detail, but they allude to a great variety of topics such as home-sickness for his family and New England, the importance of “Steamer Day" when mail arrives, the weather, his health and well-being and that of his compatriots, the importance of social relationships to business success, the difficulty of business success without sufficient capital, the diversity of nationalities/ethnicities on ship and in town, party politics, the Vigilance Committee, church attendance, anecdotes about music, his food and lodging conditions, the outbreak of fires and cholera in town, and the occurrence of marriages at home in Massachusetts and in California.
    Photographic material includes a photograph of the Daniell family, four copy prints of daguerreotypes and four negatives of copy prints of Daniell family members, the family's house in Roxbury, and William standing next to his brother's grave in California.
    Subjects include: the ship Marcia Cleaves, Voyages “around the Horn", ocean travel, Valparaiso, (Chile), San Jose (California), life in San Francisco, and business enterprises there, the city’s U.S. Custom House, city politics—especially the Vigilance committee, church attendance, the building of a Unitarian church, relationships between men and women, ethnic relations, anecdotes about music, and descriptions of fruit purchases.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Daniell, Charles Penniman, 1828-1861.

    Corporate Names

    Marcia Cleaves (Ship)


    Business enterprises -- California -- San Francisco.
    Businessmen -- California -- San Francisco -- Correspondence.
    Church attendance.
    Ethnic relations.
    Family-owned business enterprises -- United States.
    Fires -- California -- San Francisco.
    Fires -- California -- San Francisco.
    Man-woman relationships.
    Music -- Anecdotes.
    Ocean travel.
    Unitarian church buildings.
    Vigilance committees -- California -- San Francisco.
    Voyages around the Horn.

    Geographic Areas

    California -- Gold discoveries -- Personal narratives.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Description and travel.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Politics and government.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
    San Jose (Calif.) -- Description and travel.
    Valparaíso (Chile) -- Description and travel.


    Letters (correspondence) California 19th century.
    Photographs California 19th century.