These collections document the history of Compton, California, founded on land formerly of the historic Rancho San Pedro. 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.
The Robert C. Gillingham Working Papers Collection is the only collection that bears his name, but much of the material for all of the collections shown here was gathered by Gillingham. A longtime Compton resident, teacher, and historian, he documented much of the history of the South Bay, and authored The Rancho San Pedro, the thus far definitive history of this historic region.