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Guide to the James L. Warren papers, 1846-1889
BANC MSS C-B 418  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: James L. Warren Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1846-1889
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 418
    Creator: Warren, James L. L. F. (James Lloyd LaFayette), 1805-1896.
    Extent: Number of containers: 18 boxes Linear feet: 7.5
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Correspondence, accounts, manuscripts and clippings. Relate mainly to Warren's activities as editor of the California Farmer. Also included are papers pertaining to the ship, Sweden, and the Sweden Mining Company, the Sacramento Railroad Company, the California State Agricultural Society and state fairs.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], James L. Warren papers, BANC MSS C-B 418, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


    James Lloyd LaFayette Warren, perhaps better known simply as Colonel Warren, was born at Brighton, Massachusetts on August 12, 1805. He began work as clerk in a dry goods store in Boston, and in 1822 served as supercargo in the employ of D. J. Kendall in Wilmington. Upon returning to Boston he again turned to the dry goods business. In the 1840s he established large horticultural gardens in Brighton, introducing the tomato and the tulip to Massachusetts. At this time he also laid out the private gardens of Henry W. Longfellow. Mr. Warren then went on a lecture tour of Europe, preaching Temperance. Late in 1848 he made preparations for going to California, forming the Sweden Mining Company and chartering the ship Sweden.
    After farewell exercises held on February 28, 1849 at the Mariners Chapel in Boston, the Sweden under Captain Jesse Cotting sailed on March 1, 1849. An uneventful voyage brought the crew to San Francisco on August 5, 1849, and the company went straightway to the mines at North Fork and Mormon Island. Warren established stores catering to the needs of the miners in Sacramento, North Fork and Mormon Island, and relates that the intake was $300,000 in 1850. Under the auspices of the Sons of New England, Warren instituted the first Thanksgiving dinner in California on Nov. 30, 1850. In 1852 and 1853 Warren participated in the organization of the Sacramento Valley Railroad Company. When the mining fever died down somewhat, Warren went back to agriculture, and with John Frederick Morse founded the California Farmer, its first issue appearing on Jan. 6, 1854.
    Also active in forming the California State Agricultural Society, he organized state and and county fairs. In 1855 Mr. Warren was commissioned Colonel by Governor Bigler and became a member of Sutters staff in 1856. He moved from Sacramento to San Francisco in 1857, continuing his work with the California Farmer, a prominent newspaper until 1865 when it slowly declined until it ceased altogether in October 1892. Of Col. Warren's later and personal life little is known or revealed by these papers. He died in 1896.

    Scope and Content

    The papers, from the Cowan collection, contain correspondence, manuscripts received as editor of the California Farmer, accounts, clippings, tickets and programs of social events in San Francisco. The correspondence and manuscripts relate mainly to the California Farmer. The accounts, chiefly of 1849 and 1850, reflect Warren's early efforts as a storekeeper. Some papers relate to the ship Sweden and activities of the mining company. Many printed items have been removed and catalogued separately.