Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Matthew Keller Papers and Addenda: Finding Aid
mssKeller, Matthew papers  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (115.80 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Matthew Keller Papers and Addenda
    Dates (inclusive): 1851-1961
    Bulk dates: 1851-1880
    Collection Number: mssKeller, Matthew papers
    Creator: Keller, Matthew, 1810-1881.
    Extent: 525 pieces in 5 boxes, 1 oversize volume, 1 oversize folder.
    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 papers related to the life and business interests of Los Angeles pioneer businessman and ranch owner Matthew Keller (1810-1881). Subject matter in the collection includes Los Angeles from 1851-1880, particularly reflected in deeds and land papers for the Los Angeles area (a few relate to petroleum development) and the wine industry. There are also photographs of the Los Angeles area at the turn of the century and biographical information on Matthew Keller and Henry Workman Keller.
    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]. Matthew Keller Papers and Addenda, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Mrs. S. Bartley Cannell, Jr., granddaughter of Matthew Keller, February 26, 1976.

    Addenda gift of Adelaine Mattox, November 2012.

    Biographical Note

    Matthew Keller (1810-1881) was a Los Angeles pioneer businessman, vintner, and ranch owner who was born in Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland, in 1810. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, and in 1832 came to New York. He moved to Texas in the mid-1830s then spent the next twelve to fifteen years in Mexico. While in Guadalajara he met Andrew A. Boyle (who later was to become owner of the Los Angeles property developed by his son-in-law William H. Workman, Jr., into Boyle Heights). Keller and Boyle returned to the United States and later the two married sisters. Upon his return to the States, Keller went first to New Orleans, then in 1849, to San Francisco. He finally settled in Los Angeles in 1851, opening a general merchandise store at the corner of Los Angeles and Commercial streets. He purchased property on Alameda and Aliso, where the Union Station is now located. There he built his home, planted fruit trees and vineyards. In 1852 he established his winery and brandy still, to be known as the Rising Sun and Los Angeles Vineyards winery. He had warehouses in San Francisco, New York, and Philadelphia. In addition, he experimented with various agricultural crops--fruit trees, castor oil plants, hops, and cotton.
    Keller was active in public affairs--he was Public Administrator for Los Angeles County from 1854 to 1858, on the Board of Supervisors from 1864 to 1867, served on the Los Angeles City Council, was a member of the Los Angeles Rangers, the Vigilance Committee, and the Pioneer Fire Department. He was one of the original directors of the Farmers and Merchants Bank and of the Pioneer Oil Company. He became owner of many pieces of property in Los Angeles and of the 13,000 acre Rancho Malibu, whose title was finally confirmed to him in 1864 after much litigation regarding its clouded title. Keller did not develop this land; during his lifetime it was leased to cattle ranchers. Later the property was sold to Frederick H. Rindge.
    At the time of his death in 1881, Matthew Keller was survived by three children: Caroline E. (Keller) [Shafer], Alice (Keller) [Shafer], and Henry Workman Keller. Henry was in France attending school when his father passed away. He was then, at the age of 13, made a ward of Isaias W. Hellman, founder of the Farmers and Merchants Bank. As an adult, Henry became a director (and later president) of the Automobile Club of Southern California. He was honored for his part in working with the Mexican officials for the planning of the West Coast Highway of Mexico running from Nogales to Mexico City. He was also a financier, active in real estate and in various companies. There is a large collection of his papers in the Library (q.v.). Since there are papers pertaining to Matthew Keller in the Henry W. Keller Collection and also material relating to Henry W. Keller in the Matthew Keller Collection, both collections should be consulted in studying either person.
    Note: The spelling "Matthew" has been adopted for this collection since most reference works use that form. His grandson John Mathew Keller entitles his biographical sketch "Mathew Keller", so the family may have preferred the spelling with single "t". Keller himself used either the signature "M. Keller" or the Spanish form "Mateo".

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of letters, manuscripts (including 4 diaries and 3 notebooks), documents and photographs related to the life and business interests of Matthew Keller. Subject matter in the collection includes Los Angeles from 1851-1880, particularly reflected in deeds and land papers for the Los Angeles area (a few relate to petroleum development) and the wine industry. There are also photographs of the Los Angeles area at the turn of the century and biographical information on Matthew Keller and Henry Workman Keller.
    Persons represented by 6 pieces or more (not including accounts and receipts):
    • Hellman, Isaias William a. 14 pieces (1877-1879)
    • Keller, Henry Workman. 19 pieces (1892-1957)
    • Keller, Matthew. 22 pieces (1859-1880)
    In addition, there are also single pieces for Pío Pico and James De Barth Shorb.
    Notable items include:
    • Box 1 (57) - Judson, Gillette & Gibson (firm). Abstract of title to land on Alameda St. known as the Los Angeles Vineyard (with map made by George Hansen and Alfred Solano). 1880, July 21
    • Box 2 (8) - Keller, Henry Workman. To Standish L. Mitchell. 1936, Oct. 17. (Letter written while Keller was in Mexico working on plans for the West Coast Highway from the U.S. border to Mexico City-see also his diary kept while in Mexico in 1936 in Box 4 (6)
    • Box 4 (2) - Keller, Frederick. Speech re Matthew Keller, Henry Workman Keller, and the Malibu Ranch. 1960?
    • Box 4 (3) - Keller, Henry Workman. The Amateur in Los Angeles. Before 1900 (This contains 15 photographs of the Los Angeles area)
    • Box 4 (10) - Keller, John Mathew. Mathew Keller: biographical sketch. 1959, Sep. 23
    • Box 4 (11 & 12) - Keller, Matthew. Diaries. 1874, 1878-1879
    • Oversize roll - Color photograph of Matthew Keller's wine labels

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in the following 3 sections:
    • Correspondence and Business Papers (Boxes 1-3)
    • Manuscripts (Box 4)
    • Photographs, Clippings, Ephemera (Box 5)
    • Oversize (Volume and Roll)

    Indexing Terms

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

    Subjects

    Hellman, Isaias W. (Isaias William), 1842-1920.
    Keller, Henry Workman, 1869-1958.
    Keller, Matthew, 1810-1881.
    Pico, Pío, 1801-1894.
    Shorb, James De Barth.
    Rising Sun and Los Angeles Vineyards winery.
    Frontier and pioneer life -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Petroleum -- California.
    Real property -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Vintners -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archives.
    Wineries -- California, Southern -- History -- 19th century.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Description and travel.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History -- Sources.
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.

    Forms/Genres

    Deeds -- California, Southern.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California, Southern.
    Photographs -- California, Southern.

    Alternate Authors

    Hellman, Isaias W. (Isaias William), 1842-1920.
    Keller, Henry Workman, 1869-1958.
    Pico, Pío, 1801-1894.
    Shorb, James De Barth.