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Margaret Collier Graham Papers: Finding Aid
mssGraham papers  
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This collection consists of the personal papers and correspondence of California writer Margaret Collier Graham (1850-1910), as well as materials related to her husband, Donald McIntyre Graham, and other related family papers. Much of the subject matter in the collection focuses on life in California (chiefly in early Pasadena and Anaheim) and California real estate and development, including the establishment of Elsinore and Wildomar.
Margaret (Collier) Graham (1850-1910) was a California writer and Pasadena area pioneer. She grew up in Iowa, attended Monmouth College in Illinois, became a teacher, then in 1873 married the young lawyer, Donald McIntyre Graham. When Don fell ill with tuberculosis in 1876, the two came to California accompanied by Margaret's sister Jane Collier. After living a few months near Anaheim, they moved to Pasadena. Don obtained the contract to bring the mail from Los Angeles to Pasadena, becoming Pasadena's first official mail carrier (and providing him life in the open air to help arrest his tuberculosis). In 1877 he opened a real estate office in Los Angeles. Margaret accepted a teaching job and wrote stories, many of which were published in the Argonaut and the Californian. As the real estate "boom" began in the 1880s, she and her husband, along with her brother William C. Collier and Franklin H. Heald, developed the town of Elsinore from the old California land grant of Rancho la Laguna. Then, without Franklin Heald, the Grahams and William Collier subdivided the neighboring town of Wildomar from part of the Laguna Rancho and part of the Santa Rosa Rancho. In 1887 the Grahams began building the home of their dreams in South Pasadena, which they called by the Welsh name "Wynyate". It soon became a center of culture in the area. In 1888 Don was elected first mayor of the new city of South Pasadena. After many years of struggle with illness, Don passed away in 1890. Margaret helped administer the real estate affairs and seriously began writing once more. Her stories appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Century Magazine, and other periodicals as well as in her books, Stories of the Foot-Hills and The Wizard's Daughter And Other Stories published by Houghton, Mifflin Co. Margaret (Collier) Graham was active in the woman suffrage movement, Los Angeles Woman's Club, Friday Morning Club, and the Landmarks Club. She wrote a literary column in the Los Angeles Evening Express and a monthly feature in Charles Lummis' Land of Sunshine. After an extended illness Margaret (Collier) Graham passed away on January 17, 1910.
5,360 pieces (plus approximately 1,000 pieces in addenda) in 42 boxes and 3 oversize folders.
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