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Margaret Collier Graham Papers: Finding Aid
mssGraham papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Bibliography
  • Related Material
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Margaret Collier Graham Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1821-1934
    Bulk dates: 1876-1896
    Collection Number: mssGraham papers
    Creator: Graham, Margaret Collier, 1850-1910.
    Extent: 5,360 pieces (plus approximately 1,000 pieces in addenda) in 42 boxes and 3 oversize folders.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: 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.
    Language: 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]. Margaret Collier Graham Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Acquired from Mrs. Robert Wayne in June 1980 and February 1981.

    Biographical Note

    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.


    Apostol, Jane. "Margaret Collier Graham: First Lady of the Foothills." Southern California Quarterly, LXIII (Winter, 1981), 348-373
    Raitt, Helen Hill and Wayne, Mary Collier. We Three Came West: A True Chronicle San Diego: Tofua Press, 1974
    Walker, Franklin Dickerson. A Literary History of Southern California. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950. Pp. 176-179

    Related Material

    Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers   (Call number: mssSeverance papers)
    There is additional material re Margaret Collier Graham at U.C.L.A. Special Collections Library.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains the papers of Margaret (Collier) Graham from the earliest piece written in 1821 by a great-uncle while seeking land to settle in western New York State, a few Civil War soldiers' letters, her own correspondence and that of her husband, some business papers and correspondence with publishers, and finally estate settlements dating to 1934. There is also addenda containing the manuscript and drafts of the book We Three Came West, written by Mary Hill Raitt and Mary Helen (Collier) Wayne, great-nieces of Margaret (Collier) Graham, from selections made from this collection. This addenda section also contains the authors' research notes on Elsinore and topics related to Margaret (Collier) Graham.
    Subject matter includes life in California, chiefly early Pasadena and Anaheim; the establishment of Elsinore and neighboring Wildomar; and correspondence with literary figures and publishers.
    Literary and journalistic persons represented in the collection consist of:

    Addie Lucia Ballou (1 piece); Ina Donna Coolbrith (8 pieces); Mary (Hallock) Foote (7 pieces); Beatrice Harraden (3 pieces); Katharine (Putnam) Hooker (2 pieces); Charles Fletcher Lummis (9 pieces); Susan Harry (Clagett) Pettengill (3 pieces); Gertrude Smith (7 pieces); William Andrew Spalding (5 pieces); Annie Eliot Trumbull (1 piece); and Charles Dwight Willard (3 pieces).
    Publishers and editors represented in the collection consist of:

    Richard Watson Gilder (1 piece); Houghton, Mifflin Co. (11 pieces plus royalty agreements pieces); Samuel Sidney McClure (1 piece); Bliss Perry (4 pieces); Morgan Shepard (10 pieces plus royalty agreement pieces); and Frederick Maxwell Somers (8 pieces).
    Family and friends represented by 35 pieces or more consist of:

    David Collier (Margaret's father) (68 pieces); Ella J. (Doolittle) Collier (sister-in-law) (57 pieces); Jane E. Collier (sister) (110 pieces); Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier (mother) (150 pieces); William C. Collier (brother) (135 pieces); Donald McIntyre Graham (husband) (112 pieces); Margaret (Collier) Graham (217 pieces); Franklin H. Heald (business associate) (52 pieces); Martha (Collier) Mohr (sister) (68 pieces); Edna (Snell) Poulson (friend) (36 pieces); and Ella Lee (Hall) Enderlein Shepherd (friend) (49 pieces).
    Some notable items include:
    • Collier, Jane E. To David Collier & Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier. 1876, July 23. Box 7 (4). Letter describing arrival in Los Angeles.
    • Collier, Jane E. To David Collier & Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier. 1876, Nov. 9 and 1877, Feb. 24. Box 7 (7 & 9). Letters describing early Pasadena.
    • Foote, Mary (Hallock). To Margaret (Collier) Graham. 7 letters, 1902-1907. Box 12 (72-78). Personal, informative letters of this literary figure.
    • Graham, Margaret (Collier). To David Collier and Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier. 1876, July 23 and 27. Box 15 (5-6). Letters describing arrival in Los Angeles.
    • Graham, Margaret (Collier). To David Collier and Lydia Ann (Lindsay) Collier. 1876, July 27. Box 15 (6). Letter describing early Pasadena.
    • Graham, Margaret (Collier). To Jane E. Collier. 1894. Box 15 (41-42). Letters describing settlement work in New York.
    • Hooker, Katharine (Putnam). To Margaret (Collier) Graham. 1896, Jan. 16 and 1903, July 15. Box 17 (78-79). Letters from Italy by this travel writer, the wife of John D. Hooker, donor of the telescope on Mt. Wilson.
    • Lummis, Charles Fletcher, To Margaret (Collier) Graham. 1896, July 24. Box 20 (32). Letter written from Mexico City describing life there.
    • Shepherd, William Edgar. To Donald McIntyre Graham. 1877, Mar. 12. Box 25 (73). Letter giving advice on investing in the petroleum discoveries near Ventura.


    The items have been arranged in the following categories:
    • Literary manuscripts
    • Correspondence (in alphabetical order by author)
    • Business and personal papers
    • Photographs
    • Printed material; clippings
    • Oversize maps
    • Addenda of research material for We Three Came West

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Graham, Donald McIntyre.
    Graham, Margaret Collier, 1850-1910.
    Authors, American -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
    Publishers and publishing -- United States -- Correspondence.
    Real estate development -- California, Southern.
    Real property -- California -- Elsinore.
    Real property -- California -- Wildomar.
    Women authors, American -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
    Women authors, American -- California -- Correspondence.
    Anaheim (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Anaheim (Calif.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
    California, Southern -- Description and travel.
    California, Southern -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
    Elsinore (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Pasadena (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Pasadena (Calif.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
    Wildomar (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.


    Letters (correspondence) -- California.
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States.
    Manuscripts -- California.
    Manuscripts -- United States.
    Manuscripts for publication -- California.
    Manuscripts for publication -- United States.

    Alternate Authors

    Collier, Lydia Ann.
    Collier, Jane E.
    Collier, William, 1845-1928.
    Coolbrith, Ina D. (Ina Donna), 1841-1928.
    Foote, Mary Hallock, 1847-1938.
    Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909.
    Graham, Donald McIntyre.
    Harraden, Beatrice, 1864-1936.
    Heald, Franklin H.
    Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928.
    McClure, S. S. (Samuel Sidney), 1857-1949.
    Martin, John, 1865-1947.
    Perry, Bliss, 1860-1954.
    Raitt, Helen. We three came west.
    Smith, Gertrude, 1860-1917.
    Trumbull, Annie Eliot, 1857-1949.
    Wayne, Mary Collier. We three came west.
    Willard, Charles Dwight, 1866-1914.