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City of Compton Collections at CSUDH

Collections related to the history of the South Bay city of Compton, California

City of Compton Collections

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.

  • Compton History Collection (1869-1998) includes include newsletters, minutes, histories, correspondence, programs, yearbooks, directories, newspapers, and newsclippings related to the founding and history of Compton.
  • Heritage House Collection (1847-1989) this small collection of materials from and about the Heritage House Museum in Compton, California includes correspondence, ledgers, and paper from the Auxiliary; programs, booklets, and correspondence about the museum itself; and ephemera and journals from the 19th century donated to the museum from citizens of Compton.
  • Robert C. Gillingham Working Papers (1932-1983) consists of correspondence, drafts, and manuscript copies related to his work on The Rancho San Pedro and his newspaper column Yesterdays of Compton, over sixty of which were gathered and published into a book of the same name.
  • Rozelle Family Papers Collection
  • Compton 125 Historical Society Collection
  • Compton City Directory Collection
  • Compton Newspaper Collection

Images from the Collections

Compton Collection image
Image from Compton History Collection, building being bulldozed
Woman in front of Compton College sign

Contact the Archives

Researchers are welcome to drop in or schedule an appointment during our regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

LIB South 5039, 5th floor

(310) 243-3895