THE THOMAS AND DOROTHY LEAVEY CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF LOS ANGELES RESEARCH COLLECTIONDANIEL FREEMAN FAMILY PAPERS (CSLA-21) :Collection DescriptionCOLLECTION TITLE AND NUMBER: Daniel Freeman Family Papers, 1849-1957. CSLA-21COLLECTION SIZE: 117 archival document boxes, 35 oversize archival document boxes, 20 flat filesACCESSION NUMBER: 2002.35
The Daniel Freeman Family Papers came to the CSLA Research Collection in 2002, through the donation of Ms. Christie Bourdet, the great-granddaughter of Daniel Freeman and the great-grandniece of Grace Howland (née Freeman; Daniel Freeman's daughter). The collection spans the years from 1849 to 1957, with the years 1880-1920 the bulk dates. Holdings consist principally of property and financial records related to the business enterprises of Daniel Freeman and, to a lesser extent, Charles Howland (Freeman's son-in-law and husband of Grace Freeman). CSLA-21 contains deeds, mortgages, leases, legal agreements called indentures, promissory notes, stock certificates, checks, advertising brochures, correspondence (including copies in letter press books), receipts, bills, invoices, statements of account, maps, architectural drawings, and publications such as newspapers. Much of the financial and business documentation is bound in ledgers; there is also material that has been separated from ledgers, either for the sake of preservation on the part of the CSLA Research Collection staff or else by some unknown party. Non-textual materials include glass negatives and a few photographs. The collection evidences damage from fire: some materials are singed and most were dirtied with soot. These have been cleaned as much as possible; in the necessary cases, originals have been permanently restricted because of damage and photocopies substituted for research use.
These materials originated with Daniel Freeman's private business activities as well as those related to such development companies as the Centinela Land Company and the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company, the latter company responsible for the birth of Inglewood, California in 1887, which was located on Daniel Freeman's ranchos. (See Series 1, Subseries A and B.) Because the holdings related to the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company contain partnership agreements, sales records, including agents' margins statements, they yield especially valuable evidence for the operation of land companies in the great Los Angeles land boom of the late 1880s. After the failure of the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company, Daniel Freeman assumed its assets in 1890, and his subsequent development of Inglewood is documented as well, especially in Series 2 and Series 6.
Besides Inglewood, documentation exists for the development of the city of Redondo Beach and of Port Ballona; the former stems from the association of the president of the Redondo Beach Company, Charles Silent, with the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company as one of its directors and chief partners, along with N. R. Vail and Dan McFarland. (In fact the board of directors was the same for the Redondo Beach Company and the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company). It is likely that these Redondo Beach Company records were filed jointly with those of the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company or else that the records of both companies came into Daniel Freeman's possession after Freeman assumed the Centinela-Inglewood company's assets in 1890. Besides Inglewood and Redondo Beach, there is a small run of material on the development of downtown Los Angeles, including such land marks as the Bradbury Building; see, for example, Series 4, Box 1, Folder 6. In short, this collection provides extensive documentation on the development of the Los Angeles area in the late nineteenth century.
Daniel Freeman was an entrepreneur, active in many business enterprises in Los Angeles, beginning in the 1870s. Thus, because of his Los Angeles business connections, there are records from this decade related to such businesspersons as Adolph Portugal, E. F. Spence, and William Workman and F. P. F. Temple, including their Temple and Workman Bank (which failed in 1875). The collection's holdings also document Freeman's agribusiness in Los Angeles in the late nineteenth century, including his large-scale production of agricultural commodities and their subsequent sale on the commercial market, including nationally (See Series 3, 4, and 6). Besides this, Freeman was responsible for establishing the Continuous Brick Kiln Company of Inglewood, done, at least in part, to profit from the development in the Inglewood area (Series 1, Subseries D).
The collection contains only a small number of items directly related to the Freeman family's personal history. There is some correspondence in Series 4, and a family history in Series 10. The invoices, statements of account, receipts, and checks in Series 3 do reveal, indirectly, the social and recreational habits of the Freemans. The glass slides of Series 11 provide extensive pictures of Grace Freeman Howland and the Freeman estate in Inglewood. Series 7 is devoted to Daniel Freeman's and Charles Howland's business and personal activities in Canada, both before and after their move to California.
The collection holds little evidence on Daniel Freeman's activities as the president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (1893-1894) or as a director of the Southern California Railway Company. Besides Daniel Freeman, the collection holds materials on his daughter Grace Freeman and her husband Charles Howland. There is only scant material on Freeman family members sons Charles and Archibald, Phoebe Amelia (sister of Daniel Freeman), and Nora.
Names of persons found in this collection constitute a hall of fame of southern California movers and shakers in the second half of the nineteenth century: William H. Hall, Leonard J. Rose, Arthur J. Hutchinson, Judge Charles Silent, Dan McFarland, N. R. Vail, George Hansen, Dr. Elizabeth Follansbee, William H. Bonsall, O. W. Childs, John G. Downey, F. P. F. Temple, Lionel A. Sheldon, George I. Cochran, Moses Langley Wicks, Walter S. Maxwell, Alfred Solano, and Carl Browne.
The arrangement of the Daniel Freeman Family Papers into series is described on the series page, which can be accessed through selecting the following link: Daniel Freeman Family Papers Series Descriptions.
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