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Abel Stearns Papers
mssStearns papers  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Abel Stearns Papers
    Dates: 1821-1935
    Collection Call Number: mssStearns papers
    Creator: Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871
    Extent: 97 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains the professional and personal papers of Southern California businessman and political Abel Stearns (1798-1871). The materials in the collection deal with life in California during the Mexican and early statehood periods, including the cattle industry, ranching, real estate, political and social life, and the gold discoveries in Southern California in 1842.
    Language of Material: The records are in English and Spanish.

    Access

    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]. Abel Stearns Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Purchased from Mrs. Margaret Gaffey Kilroy, February 1937.

    Biographical Note

    Abel Stearns (1798-1871) was born in Lunenberg, Massachusetts. As a young man he spent some years at sea, taking part in the trade with South America and China. In about 1826 he reached Mexico and during his residence there became a naturalized citizen. In about 1833, Stearns settled in Los Angeles, joined Juan Bandini in the trading business and married Bandini's daughter Arcadia. He became involved in almost every type of business and held minor political offices. In 1849 he represented the Los Angeles district at the constitutional convention in Monterey, and later was a member of the state assembly. By 1858, he had become the wealthiest man in Los Angeles County. After the drought of 1863-1864, he became bankrupt and had to sell a great deal of his property. He died in San Francisco in 1871.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Scope and Content

    Professional and personal papers of Abel Stearns, including correspondence, business records, legal documents, and other manuscripts. The materials in the collection deal with life in California during the Mexican and early statehood periods, including the cattle industry, ranching, real estate, political and social life, and the gold discoveries in Southern California in 1842.
    Correspondents include Juan Bandini, Cave Johnson Couts, Tomas Eleuterio Estenaga, John Forster, Thomas Oliver Larkin, Perfecto Hugo Reid, Alfred Robinson, and others.
    Also included are diaries kept in 1879-1905 by Juan Bautista Bandini, son of Juan Bandini, who lived in the Santa Monica area.
    The collection also contains a group of papers accumulated by John Tracy Gaffey, third husband of Mrs. Abel Stearns. The Gaffey papers contain correspondence, including letters from Stephen Mallory White, papers relating to San Pedro, California and historical sketches.

    Indexing Terms

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

    Personal Names

    Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871

    Subjects

    Couts, Cave Johnson,1821-1874--Correspondence
    Forster, John, 1814-1882--Correspondence
    Larkin, Thomas Oliver, 1802-1858--Correspondence
    Reid, Hugo,1811?-1853--Correspondence
    Robinson, Alfred, 1806-1895--Correspondence
    White, Stephen Mallory, 1853-1901--Correspondence
    Businessmen--California--Archives>
    Cattle trade--California
    Politicians--California--Archives
    Ranching--California
    Real property--California
    California--Gold discoveries--Sources
    California--History--1821-1848--Sources
    California--History--1846-1850--Sources
    California--History--1850-1950--Sources>
    California, Southern--History--Sources
    Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--Sources
    Bandini, Juan,1800-1859
    Bandini, Juan Bautista
    Couts, Cave Johnson, 1821-1874
    Estenaga, Tomas Eleuterio
    Forster, John,1814-1882
    Gaffey, John Tracy
    Larkin, Thomas Oliver, 1802-1858
    Reid, Hugo, 1811?-1853
    Robinson, Alfred, 1806-1895
    White, Stephen Mallory, 1853-1901

    Genre

    Business records--California--19th century
    Diaries--California, Southern
    Family papers--California
    Letters (correspondence)--United States
    Legal documents--California
    Personal papers--California
    Professional papers--California
    Property records--California