The collection comprises business records and correspondence documenting Atherton's mercantile relationships and activities
in Boston, California, Hawaii, and Valparaiso; correspondence, deeds, and other documents relating to Atherton's real estate
investments in California, including Las Milpitas Ranch and Bolsa de San Cayetano Ranch in Monterey County, San Lorenzo Ranch
in Alameda County, Los Putos Ranch in Solano County, and Valparaiso Park in San Mateo County; and legal documents and other
papers concerning Atherton's estate after his death. Proclamations and correspondence in English and Spanish (1845-1848) document
escalating tensions between the United States and Mexico in California in the 1840s, culminating in the Mexican War. The collection
also contains Atherton's diary for the years 1836 to 1839, which he kept while he lived in California, as well as business
letters and receipts created by Atherton's sons, George H. B. Atherton and Faxon D. Atherton, Jr., and letters concerning
the Atherton family genealogy.
A native of Dedham, Massachusetts, Atherton first came to the Pacific coast around 1834 to work for a ship chandlery firm
in Valparaiso, Chile. He settled in Valparaiso in 1840 and became a successful merchant dealing in hides and tallow, foodstuffs,
and other commodities. Eventually he became one of the wealthiest men on the Pacific coast.
Copyright has not been assigned to The North Baker Research Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from
manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The North
Baker Research Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright
holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.