Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927

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Henry Edwards Huntington (1850-1927), founder of the Huntington Library, was born in Oneonta, New York. In 1892 he went to San Francisco to work for his uncle, Collis Potter Huntington, who was President of the Southern Pacific Railway Company. After Collis's death in 1900 and Henry's purchase of the Shorb ranch in 1902, Henry moved his business interests to the Los Angeles area, organizing the Pacific Electric Railway Company, the Huntington Land and Improvement Company, and other real estate and industrial development enterprises. Around the same time, Henry Huntington began to seriously collect books, and by 1908 he dedicated more time and money to the collection of books, manuscripts and works of art.

From the description of Papers of Henry Edwards Huntington, 1794-1970 (bulk 1840-1927). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122394922

Biography

Henry Edwards Huntington was born on February 27, 1850 in Oneonta, New York, son of Solon Huntington and Harriet (Saunders) Huntington. In 1870 he 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, managing the latter's sawmill in St. Albans, West Virginia. Seo 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.

The nucleus of the Huntington Library was initiated around 1900, when Henry Huntington began to seriously collect books, depositing them in his private library in New York. By 1908 he was dedicating more time and money to the collection of books, manuscripts and works of art. Although he divided his time between New York and California, his collections remained in New York until the completion of the library building in San Marino, near the lovely new home he had recently constructed overlooking the San Gabriel Valley. As the library approached completion, in 1919-1920, the entire library and art gallery in New York was shipped west and installed. The San Marino home, now the main Art Gallery, was finished in 1910; the Library in 1920.

Henry Huntington was married to Mary Alice Prentice on November 17, 1873. Four children were born of this union, which ended in divorce in 1906. In 1913 he was married to Arabella Duval (Yarrington) Worsham Huntington, widow of his uncle Collis P. Huntington since 1900. Together they collected the majority of the paintings, furniture and other art objects now housed in what had been their home in San Marino. Arabella Huntington died in 1924, leaving her considerable estate to her son Archer Milton Huntington. Before her death she had selected the site for the mausoleum, which Mr. Huntington planned, but did not live to see completed before his own death in 1927. The mausoleum was designed by John Russell Pope, the builder of the Jefferson Monument in Washington, D.C.

In 1919 Mr. and Mrs. Huntington made a gift of the collections, together with the buildings which house them, and the grounds on which they stand, as well as the botanical gardens, more than 200 acres in all, to the people of California, in the form of a trust. The endowment fund which was set up enables the institution to operate, free of charge and free of support by federal, state or municipal government.

The Huntington Library consists today of a research library, including some of the rarest books and manuscripts in existence, many of which are on exhibition, and all of which are available for scholarly research; two art galleries, one specializing in 18th century English painting and drawings, as well as 16th-18th century English and French decorative arts. The other gallery, the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery, specializes in American art. The 207 acres of land, much of which is devoted to the botanical gardens, are open to the public. The institution continues to be administered by a Board of Trustees, assisted by the Board of Overseers and the Officers. The collections are continually augmented, now far exceeding the original nucleus acquired by the Founder.

From the guide to the Henry Edwards Huntington Collection, 1794-1970, bulk 1840, 1927, (The Huntington Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. Getty Research Library
creatorOf Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927. Papers of Henry Edwards Huntington, 1794-1970 (bulk 1840-1927). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Osborne, Henry Zenas, 1848-1923. Papers of Henry Z. Osborne, 1878-1924. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Ward, George Clinton. Papers of George Clinton Ward, 1847-1948 (bulk 1927-1936). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Patton Family Collection of Negatives and Photographs, 1885-1945, (bulk 1895-1907) The Huntington Library
referencedIn Strain, Numa Alonzo. Materials on early San Marino, Calif., 1960-1969. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Huntington, Mary A. (Mary Alice Prentice). Autograph letter signed by Mary Alice Prentice Huntington to "My dear cousin," 1905 Aug. 3. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Henry Edwards Huntington Collection, 1794-1970, bulk 1840, 1927 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Duveen Brothers records, 1876-1981, 1909-1964 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Pacific Improvement Company. Records, 1869-1931 (bulk 1883-1927). Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879-. Papers of Anna Strunsky Walling, 1877-1958. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Washington, George, 1732-1799. Extract of a letter from Gen. Washington to the President of Congress, 1781 Apr. 16. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Widener, Eleanor Elkins,. Letters to Eleanor Elkins Widener from collectors and libraries : manuscript, 1914-1915. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Abram P. T. Elder Papers, 1890-1916, (bulk 1903-1916) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn Southern California Edison Company, 1848-1989, 1911-1965 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
referencedIn Patton family. Patton Family Collection of Negatives and Photographs [graphic], 1885-1945, (bulk 1895-1907) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Smith, George D. (George Dallas), 1870-1920. Papers of George D. Smith, 1910-1912. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Wilson, Benjamin Davis, 1811-1878. [Account of frontier life in New Mexico and California between 1833 and 1877] : typescript, [between 1901 and 1920?]. Newberry Library
referencedIn Benjamin Davis Wilson Collection, 1836-1941, 1847-1894 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
referencedIn Patton Family Papers, 1856-1934 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
referencedIn Solano, Alfred, b.1857. Henry E. Huntington as a prophet, 1938, December 20. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Elder, Abram P. T. (Abram Peter Turner). Abram P.T. Elder papers, 1890-1916 (bulk 1903-1916). Library of Congress
creatorOf Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927. Letter, 1896, June 15, Castellammare di Stabia, Italy, to Lloyd Stephens Bryce. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Huntington, Samuel, 1731-1796. LS : Philadelphia, to Nathanael Greene, 1781 May 12. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927. [Miscellaneous pamphlets on the library of Henry E. Huntington]. Yale University Library
creatorOf Huntington, Arabella Duval, 1850 or 51-1924. Arabella Duval Huntington papers, 1888-1925. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Wilson, Carol Green, 1892-. California Yankee : William R. Staats, business pioneer : manuscript, 1944. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Frazier, James Lewis. Correspondence between James L. Frazier and Collis P. Huntington, 1894, August. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Elder, Abram P. T. (Abram Peter Turner). Papers, 1890-1916 (bulk 1903-1916). Library of Congress
referencedIn Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. Getty Research Library
referencedIn Duveen Brothers. Duveen Brothers records, 1876-1981, bulk 1909-1964. Getty Research Library
creatorOf Green, W. C. Letter to Henry E. Huntingon : San Francisco : ms., 1899 May 31. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Rosenbach Company. Correspondence, 1903-1953. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Hale, George Ellery, 1868-1938. Papers [microform], 1882-1938. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Southern California Edison Company. Records of Southern California Edison, 1848-1989. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Wilson, Benjamin Davis, 1811-1878. Collection of Benjamin Davis Wilson, 1836-1941 (bulk 1847-1894). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Hertrich, William, b. 1880. Papers of William Hertrich, 1904-1966. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Peck, Orrin M., 1860-1921. Papers of Orrin M. Peck, 1878-1951 (bulk 1890-1915). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Philip A. Stanton Papers, 1907-1929 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
referencedIn Lewis, Edwin L. Los Angeles Railway Corporation Collection of Photographs [graphic] , 1853-1939. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927,. The memorial of the town of Boston [draft], 1765 Dec. 18. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Shorb, James De Barth. Papers of James De Barth Shorb, 1794-1957 (bulk) 1870-1910. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Southern California Edison Company. Southern California Edison motion picture film, c.1930-1996. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Bicknell, John Dustin, 1838-1911. Papers of John Dustin Bicknell, 1872-1914 (bulk 1887-1897). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1856-1927. Patton family papers, 1856-1934. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Holladay, Margaret Huntington. Papers of Margaret Huntington Holladay, ca.1821-1969 (bulk 1900-1969) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Ellery, William, 1727-1820. ALS : St. Thomas, to Messrs. John Gould & Company, Boston, 1757 May 3. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Los Angeles Railway Corporation Collection of Photographs, 1851-1939 The Huntington Library
creatorOf Hancock, John, 1737-1793. AL (draft) : Boston, to General Whitmore, 1758 Nov. 6-10. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Widener, Harry Elkins, 1885-1912,. Letters to Harry Elkins Widener from collectors and libraries : manuscript, 1911-1912. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Bicknell, John Dustin, 1838-1911. person
associatedWith Bryce, Lloyd Stephens, 1851-1917, person
associatedWith Duveen Brothers. corporateBody
associatedWith Elder, Abram P. T. (Abram Peter Turner) person
associatedWith Ellery, William, 1727-1820. person
associatedWith Frazier, James Lewis. person
associatedWith Green, W. C. person
associatedWith Hale, George Ellery, 1868-1938. person
associatedWith Hancock, John, 1737-1793. person
associatedWith Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. corporateBody
correspondedWith Hertrich, William, b. 1880. person
associatedWith Holladay, Margaret Huntington. person
associatedWith Huntington, Arabella Duval, 1850 or 51-1924. person
associatedWith Huntington, Collis Potter, 1821-1900. person
correspondedWith Huntington family family
associatedWith Huntington Land and Improvement Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Huntington, Mary A. (Mary Alice Prentice). person
associatedWith Huntington, Samuel, 1731-1796. person
associatedWith Lewis, Edwin L. person
associatedWith Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Osborne, Henry Zenas, 1848-1923 person
associatedWith Pacific Electric Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Improvement Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Patton family family
associatedWith Patton family. person
associatedWith Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1856-1927. person
associatedWith Peck, Orrin M., 1860-1921. person
associatedWith Rosenbach Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Shorb, James De Barth. person
associatedWith Smith, George D. (George Dallas), 1870-1920. person
associatedWith Solano, Alfred, b.1857. person
associatedWith Southern California Edison Company person
associatedWith Southern California Edison Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Southern California Edison Company. person
associatedWith Stanton, Philip Ackley, 1868-1945 person
associatedWith Strain, Numa Alonzo. person
associatedWith Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879- person
associatedWith Ward, George Clinton. person
associatedWith Washington, George, 1732-1799. person
associatedWith Widener, Eleanor Elkins, person
associatedWith Widener, Harry Elkins, 1885-1912, person
associatedWith Wilson, Benjamin Davis, 1811-1878. person
associatedWith Wilson, Carol Green, 1892-. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
California, Southern
Subject
Real property
Land tenure
Railroads
Businessmen--Correspondence
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1850-02-27

Death 1927-05-23

Americans

Information

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