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Banning Company Records: Finding Aid
mssBanning Company  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Historical Note
  • Bibliographical Notes
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Banning Company Records
    Dates (inclusive): 1859-1948
    Collection Number: mssBanning Company
    Creator: Banning Company
    Extent: 12,104 pieces in 33 boxes, 203 volumes, and 1 rolled map.
    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 business records chiefly to the Banning Company, founded by Phineas Banning (1830-1885) in Los Angeles, California. There are also records of the various subsidiary firms of the Banning Company, as well as Banning family letters, and receipts of William and Hancock Banning. Subject matter in the collection includes: land in Southern California (Wilmington, San Pedro, Pasadena, Compton, Newport Beach, and Los Angeles), Santa Catalina Island, Railroads (Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, Southern Pacific Railroad, and the California Pacific), Inter-urban lines (Los Angeles Inter-urban and the Pacific Electric), Los Angeles harbor, the petroleum industry, the city of Yuma, Arizona, and Fort Yuma, California.
    Language: English.

    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]. Banning Company Records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Hancock Banning, Jr., in 1962, with a small quantity of addenda acquired from Green Door Books in 1972 and another from Mrs. Hancock Banning, Jr., and Robert Banning in 1985. Additional material donated in 1996 by Nancy Call is currently being processed.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Historical Note

    The Banning Company was started by Phineas Banning (1830-1885), a transportation leader in the Los Angeles area and founder of the city of Wilmington, California.
    Phineas Banning (1830-1885) was born in 1830 in Wilmington, Delaware, went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to work as a clerk in the law office of his brother William L. Banning, and came to California at the age of 21 as an assistant to a merchant. On arriving at San Pedro in 1852, he took a job with commission merchants Douglass & Sanford. Soon he became the partner of David W. Alexander in the freight and stage lines between San Pedro and Los Angeles. In 1858 Alexander became a silent partner and the firm was known as Banning & Co. After a short period of partnership with A. F. Hinchman, Banning took over sole leadership for the Banning Co.
    In 1857, the Dominguez family sold Banning a large parcel of land at the head of the slough northeast of San Pedro. Banning started a settlement called New San Pedro, then in 1859 changed the name to Wilmington after his birthplace. He built a wharf, warehouses, and a lumber yard. He built lighters and steamboats and bought stages and wagons to carry passengers and freight from San Pedro to Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and even as far as Yuma and Salt Lake City.
    In 1865, Banning was elected state senator and through his exertions railroads were encouraged in Southern California. Los Angeles voted the necessary bonds to build a railroad from Los Angeles to Wilmington. In time, the Southern Pacific Railroad purchased this Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroad and work began on improving the harbor. A suit was initiated to definitely settle the title to the tidelands which had been purchased by Phineas Banning. The litigation began in 1880 and continued until 1917 when the final settlements were made, generally in favor of the Banning family.
    Phineas Banning died in 1885. The business was carried on by his three sons, William, Joseph Brent, and Hancock. The company purchased Santa Catalina Island, developed it as a resort and provided the ships for transportation. Wilmington Transportation Company, Santa Catalina Island Company, and Wilmington Development Company were subsidiary firms of the Banning Company. The company's real estate interests also grew and included land in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Newport Beach, as well as petroleum leases near Wilmington and Newport.
    The final dissolution of the company came in 1920 at the time of the death of Joseph Brent Banning.

    Bibliographical Notes

    Krythe, Maymie, Port Admiral Phineas Banning, California Historical Society, S.F. 1957 (F 867 B3 K7)
    Newmark, Marco R., Phineas Banning: Intrepid Pioneer, Historical Society of Southern California, Vol. XXXV, No. 3, Sept. 1953
    Banning, Hancock, Jr., The Banning Family in Southern California, University of California, c. 1971 (F 868 L 8 B 35)

    Scope and Content Note

    The collection consists of legal papers, correspondence, letter books, ledgers, and account books related chiefly to the Banning Company, Wilmington harbor, Wilmington property, and Santa Catalina Island. There are also papers of the various subsidiary firms of the Banning Company, as well as Banning family letters, and receipts of William and Hancock Banning. After 1920, with the final dissolution of the company, business papers are in the names of William Banning or Hancock Banning individually.
    Subject matter in the collection includes: land in Southern California (Wilmington, San Pedro, Pasadena, Compton, Newport Beach, and Los Angeles), Santa Catalina Island, Railroads (Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, Southern Pacific Railroad, and the California Pacific), Inter-urban lines (Los Angeles Inter-urban and the Pacific Electric), Los Angeles harbor, the petroleum industry, the city of Yuma, Arizona, and Fort Yuma, California.
    Persons represented in the collection include: Adelaida Banning, Anne Ophelia Banning, Hancock Banning (1865-1925), Hancock Banning (b. 1892), Joseph Brent Banning, Phineas Banning, William Banning, William L. Banning, Thomas Robert Bard, Joseph Lancaster Brent, Charles Frederick Crocker, F.S. Douty, T.H. Goodman, Winfield Scott Hancock, Eldridge Edwards Hewitt, J.W. Horter, William Gates LeDuc, Hayden McLellan, George Smith Patton (1856-1927), Albert Alexander Polhamus, George Hugh Smith, and Walter Vail. There are also materials in the collection related to the following businesses and organizations: the Central Pacific Railroad Company, Kerckhoff-Cuzner Mill and Lumber Company, Los Angeles and Independece Railroad Company, Los Angeles Trust Company, Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and the Mayor and Common Council of the city of Yuma, Arizona.

    Arrangement

    Business papers and correspondence for Banning Co. as a whole, then for individual family members, i.e., Anne Banning, Hancock Banning, Phineas Banning, and William Banning (Boxes 1 - 32) Volumes of letterbooks, account books, and miscellaneous (stock ledgers, minute books, etc.) (Volumes 1 - 203)

    Indexing Terms

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

    Subjects

    Banning, Hancock, 1865-1925 -- Archives.
    Banning, Joseph Brent, 1861-1920 -- Archives.
    Banning, Phineas, 1830-1885 -- Archives.
    Banning, William, 1858-1946 -- Archives.
    Banning Company -- Archives.
    California Pacific Railroad.
    Central Pacific Railroad Company.
    Kerckhoff-Cuzner Mill and Lumber Company.
    Los Angeles and Independence Railroad Company.
    Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad.
    Los Angeles Interurban Railway Company.
    Los Angeles Trust Company.
    Pacific Electric Railway Company.
    Santa Catalina Island Company.
    Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
    Wilmington Development Company.
    Wilmington Transportation Company.
    Harbors -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Petroleum industry and trade -- California, Southern -- History -- Sources.
    Railroads -- California, Southern -- History -- Sources.
    Real property -- California -- Compton.
    Real property -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Real property -- California -- Newport Beach.
    Real property -- California -- Pasadena.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History.
    Santa Catalina Island (Calif.) -- History.
    Wilmington (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- History.
    Yuma (Ariz.) -- History.
    Newport Beach (Calif.) -- History.

    Forms/Genres

    Account books -- California, Southern.
    Business records -- California, Southern.
    Legal documents -- California, Southern.
    Letter books -- California, Southern.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California, Southern.
    Corporation records -- California, Southern.

    Alternate Authors

    Banning, Adelaida.
    Banning, Anne Ophelia.
    Banning, Hancock, 1865-1925.
    Banning, Hancock, 1892-1982.
    Banning, Joseph Brent, 1861-1920.
    Banning, Phineas, 1830-1885.
    Banning, William, 1858-1946.
    Banning, William L., 1814-1893.
    Bard, Thomas Robert, 1841-1915.
    Brent, Joseph Lancaster, 1826-1905.
    Crocker, Charles, 1822-1888.
    Douty, F. S.
    Hancock, Winfield Scott, 1824-1886.
    Hewitt, Eldridge Edwards.
    Horter, J. W.
    Le Duc, William Gates, 1823-1917.
    McLellan, Hayden.
    Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1856-1927.
    Polhamus, Albert Alexander.
    Smith, George H. (George Hugh)
    Vail, Walter.
    Banning (Family)
    Santa Catalina Island Company.
    Wilmington Development Company.
    Wilmington Transportation Company.