This collection consists of the personal and business papers of American railroad and land developer Henry Edwards Huntington
The papers deal chiefly with California railways and Southern California real estate and industry. There are also papers related
to the founding and history of the
Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.
Henry Edwards Huntington (1850-1927), founder of the Huntington Library, was born in Oneonta, New York, son of Solon Huntington
and Harriet (Saunders) Huntington. In 1870, Henry Huntington left
Oneonta to learn the hardware business in New York City. There he worked first as a porter, then in 1871 he began to work
for his uncle Collis Potter Huntington (1821-1900), managing the
latter's sawmill in St. Albans, West Virginia. So successful was the young Huntington, that his uncle gave him increased responsibility
and opportunity, which took him into Ohio and Kentucky,
where he assisted his uncle in managing widespread railroad interests. In 1892 he went to San Francisco as Assistant to the
President of the Southern Pacific Company, that is, to his uncle
Collis P. Huntington. In San Francisco he was not only an able executive for the Southern Pacific Company, but also found
time to organize the San Francisco railway system, and turn his
attention to various other enterprises. It was in 1892 that he first visited the Los Angeles area, and saw the old Shorb Ranch
which he was later to purchase and convert into the
San Marino Ranch, later the Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens.
After the death of Collis P. Huntington in 1900, Henry E. Huntington began to withdraw from those business interests with
which he had been involved with his uncle. In 1902 he transferred his
headquarters from San Francisco to Los Angeles, purchased the Shorb Ranch, organized the Pacific Electric Railway Company,
the Huntington Land and Improvement Company, and a number of other
enterprises relative to real estate, industrial development, hotel interests, etc. The ranch became a productive fruit ranch
and botanical garden under the able direction of William Hertrich.