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William Hertrich Papers: Finding Aid
mssHHH 1-1798  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: William Hertrich Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1904-1966
    Collection Number: mssHHH 1-1798
    Creator: Hertrich, William, 1880-
    Extent: 2,687 pieces in 23 boxes
    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 contains the papers of horticulturist William Hertrich (1878-1966), superintendent of the Huntington Library grounds and buildings, and consists of papers, dating from 1908 to 1966, related to the development of the San Marino Ranch and the Huntington Botanical Gardens, the construction of the Huntington residence and of the Huntington Library, and the city of San Marino, California.
    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]. William Hertrich Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    In library.

    Biographical Note

    William Hertrich (1878-1966) was born in Baden, Germany, in 1878, and studied horticulture in Austria. By 1904 he was in California, where he began to work on the San Marino Ranch, then known as Los Robles Ranch, purchased by Henry Edwards Huntington the previous year. Hertrich would remain with Mr. Huntington, progressing from gardener to superintendent of grounds and buildings, until his employers' death in 1927, remained until his retirement in 1948, than continued in an advisory capacity until his own death in 1966.
    Hertrich was responsible for the development of the ranch property into specialized areas: stables, dairy barn, milk house, vegetable and fruit areas, orance and avocado groves. He built lily ponds, palm garden, desert garden, rose garden, the cycad collection, the north vista. The unsightly canyon area was converted into the Japanese garden. Greenhouses for rare orchids and ornamentals, and for fruits and vegetables during winter months were established, as were an aviary, a deer park, and camellia gardens. Hertrich was a dedicated worker himself, demanding yet fair with subordinates. He also planned and supervised the construction of a road system and fences, an irrigation network, living quarters for employees. Mr. Huntington quite early realized Hertrich's capabilities, and trusted him with supervision of all work on the ranch, as well as on the other properties in the immediate area, including the remodeling, enlargement and development of the grounds of the Huntington Hotel, formerly the Wentworth Hotel.
    Throughout almost 20 years, beginning in 1908, Hertrich wrote regular reports to Mr. Huntington relative to work on the ranch, development of new plants, progress of building projects, costs, profits or produce, weather, staff affairs, etc. The reports were usually sent weekly whenever Mr. Huntington was away, and continued until Mr. Huntington returned to reside permanently in California. At the same time as work continued and reports were made, Hertrich kept records, wrote articles, gave talks to civic and horticultural groups, carried out plant experiments and plant exchanges on an international level, participated in community affairs, made trips in connection with his work, made photographs of plants and of construction in various stages.
    Hertrich was married in 1906 to Margarete Stritzinger, and the couple lived on the ranch, first in a small cottage, then from 1910 in a fine house built for them by Mr. Huntington. They remained childless. After his retirement in 1948, Hertrich retained his office, where he continued his writing and research until 1963, when his failing sight no longer permitted him to work, yet he continued his daily walks in the gardens until his death in 1966 at age eighty-eight.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains the papers of William Hertrich, superintendent of the Huntington Library grounds and buildings, and consists of correspondence and other papers related to the development of the San Marino Ranch and the Huntington Botanical Gardens, the construction of the Huntington residence and of the Huntington Library, and the city of San Marino, California. There are also articles related to botanical gardens and specific plant species. Of note in the collection is correspondence between William Hertrich and Henry Edwards Huntington relative to the ranch and library.


    Arranged in the following order: 1. Correspondence and documents (Boxes 1-17); 2. Register of plants (Boxes 18-20); 3. Register of plants, correspondence and photographs (Box 21); 4. Camellia photographs (Boxes 22-23).

    Indexing Terms

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


    Hertrich, William, 1880-
    Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927 -- Correspondence.
    Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.
    Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery -- History -- Sources.
    Botanical gardens -- California -- San Marino -- History -- Sources.
    Camellias -- Pictorial works.
    Horticulturists -- California, Southern -- Archives.
    Huntington Botanical Gardens -- History -- Sources.
    San Marino (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.


    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- San Marino -- 20th century.
    Photographs -- California -- San Marino -- 20th century.

    Alternate Authors

    Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927.