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Compton History Collection

Identifier: SPC-2005-001

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection include newsletters, minutes, histories, correspondence, programs, yearbooks, directories, newspapers, and newsclippings. These have been organized to parallel the series and subseries arrangement of the South Bay Photo Collection.


  • 1869-1998



There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


This collection was created by combining two Compton collections: the Compton History Collection and the Heritage House Collection. Much of the materials in the Compton History Collection were donated by Robert Gillingham. The Heritage House Museum donated their papers and historical materials to the archive when they closed in the late 1970s.

The City of Compton lies within the original boundaries of the Rancho San Pedro, granted to the Dominguez family. In 1866, Francis Temple and Fielding Gibson purchased a tract of land north of the Dominguez homestead. This land, known as the Temple and Gibson Tract, was subdivided and lots were purchased by Harmon Higgins in 1866 and a group of pioneers led by G.D. Compton in 1867. The city was first incorporated in 1888 and again in 1909, with Clarence Dickison as mayor. In 1969, Compton elected its first African-American mayor, Douglas Dollarhide.


3.5 Linear Feet (7 processed boxes; plus one unprocessed box)

Language of Materials



The collection includes newsclippings, histories, flyers, newsletters, minutes, correspondence, programs, yearbooks, municipal papers, and histories related to or about the city of Compton. Subjects include commerce, education, private residences, historic preservation, city anniversaries, and natural disasters.


Arranged in 14 series:

  1. Series I. Buildings and Parks, 1940s-1961
  2. Series II. Businesses, 1903-1978
  3. Series III. Churches, 1886-1998
  4. Series IV. City of Compton, 1869-1988
  5. Series V. Clubs and Organizations, 1939-1974
  6. Series VI. Earthquake, 1933
  7. Series VII. Events, 1935-1988
  8. Series VIII. History and Newsclippings, 1856-1994
  9. Series IX. Landmarks, 1935-1987
  10. Series X. Maps, 1930
  11. Series XI. Pioneer Families, 1888-1968
  12. Series XII. Civic Leaders, 1955-1962
  13. Series XIII. Schools, 1891-1968

Acquisition Information

Materials in this collection were collected by archives staff and members of the community. Some of the items were from the Heritage House Museum in Compton and Robert C. Gillingham, a local historian.

Related Material

For material related to Compton and the South Bay please consult: South Bay History Collection, Compton Earthquake Postcards Collection, South Bay Photograph Collection, South Bay Photograph Digital Collection, James H. Osborne Photograph Collection , Ira Clark Collection, Charles Blanton Collection, Heritage House Collection, Robert Gillingham Collection, Rozelle Family Collection, Dennis Kroll Collection, Jim Brown Collection, Compton Newspaper Collection, Long Beach Fireman’s Historical Museum Photographs, Long Beach Fireman’s Historical Museum Photographs Digital Collection, and James H. Osborne Photograph Collection .

Project Information

This finding aid was created as part of Early Los Angeles/Rancho San Pedro Manuscript Cataloging Project, a CSU Dominguez Hills Library project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2005. Project Director was Greg Williams. Project Archivists were Thomas Philo and Jennifer Allan Goldman.

Inventory of the Compton History Collection
Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Allan Goldman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747