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Rancho San Pedro / Dominguez Family Collections

at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Images from the Collections

Original map of Rancho San Pedro

Diseno of the Rancho San Pedro

Rough map, or diseno, shows entire extent of land granted to Juan Jose Dominguez in 1784. 

Manuel Dominguez

Manuel Dominguez

Manuel Dominguez, shown around 1854. As the holder of the Rancho San Pedro from 1825 to 1882, he is credited with solidifying the holdings of the Rancho, as well as negotiating to retain ownership as California moved from a Mexican to United States territory.

Six daughters of Manuel Dominguez

Six Dominguez Sisters

Composite photograph of the six daughters of Manuel and Maria Engracia Dominguez: Ana Josefa Juliana (Geyer),  María Guadalupe Marcelina, María Dolores Simona (Watson), María Victoria (Carson), Maria Susana Delfina (del Amo), and María de los Reyes (Francis). Under their ownership the Rancho San Pedro became a great economic force in Southern Californa.

Dominguez Rancho Adobe

Dominguez Rancho Adobe

Traditional adobe and gardens show home of the Dominguez Family, around 1927.. The Adobe is located near Carson, city named for George Carson, the husband of Maria Victoria Dominguez..

Engine pulls wagons of grain during threshing on Rancho San Pedro

Grain Threshing Season on the Rancho San Pedro

Large engine pulls wagon of grain during threshing season on the Rancho San Pedro, around 1912.

Aerial view of Rancho San Pedro oil wells

Rancho San Pedro Oil Fields

Aerial view of Rancho San pedro shows oil wells covering lands. 1941 view is looking south, toward Signal Hill in nearby Long Beach.


These collections are related to, and collectively document much of, the history of the Rancho San Pedro, which at one time covered most of Los Angeles County's South Bay region. The boundaries of the original Rancho San Pedro extend from San Pedro Harbor north to the city limit of Los Angeles, and is bounded on the east by the Los Angeles River and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. In 1784, this entire expanse was granted to Juan Jose Dominguez, a soldier, upon his retirement from service to the Spanish crown. Dominguez and his heirs held much of the Rancho San Pedro for over 200 years, and continue to own some pieces of it. The Dominguez Family Collections contain a small amount of the family's personal history, but overall document the business life of the family-related companies in the first half of the 20th Century.

The history of the Rancho San Pedro is inextricably linked with the history of the South Bay Region itself. Anyone interested in the full history of the South Bay should examine the collections listed here, as well as all the South Bay History research guide.

Dominguez Family Collections

These collections primarily document the various and often interconnected family businesses of the Dominguez Family. Materials include articles of incorporation, business and personal correspondence, financial statements and balance sheets, auditor reports, agricultural leases and land sales, oil records, invoices, receipts, tax materials, cancelled checks, stock purchases, and minutes of annual meetings.

Rancho San Pedro Collection (1769-1972, bulk 1900-1960) contains some Dominguez family papers, but primarily comprises papers from a number of the family businesses, including the Dominguez Estate Company, Carson Estate Company, Watson land Company, Francis Land Company, Dominguez Water Company, and others.

Rancho San Pedro Reference Collection (1902-2004) includes correspondence, brochures, newsclippings, papers, and copies of historical documents related to the Rancho San Pedro. Subjects include the Dominguez Adobe and Claretian Seminary, families descended from the Dominguez sisters, companies owned by these descendants, and the history of the Rancho San Pedro.

Del Amo Estate Company (1908-1978) contains business papers of the Del Amo Estate Company as well as some personal papers of the company's founders Susana Delfina Dominguez and her husband, Dr. Gregorio del Amo.

Del Amo Nurseries Collection (1922-1976) comprises business papers from the San Pedro Rancho Nursery and Del Amo Nursery. Both were formed out of Gregorio del Amo's interest in horticulture, and were commercial operations, though used primarily to landscape Rancho San Pedro lands.

Del Amo Foundation Collection (1927-1984) includes ledgers, correspondence, tax documents, newspapers, scrapbooks, photographs, theses and reports from members of the Board of Trustees, grantees, and staff of the Del Amo Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Dr. Gregorio del Amo (husband of Maria Susan Delfina Dominguez of the Rancho San Pedro) as part of his interest in supporting the exchange of information between Spain and Southern California.

Dominguez Family Title Insurance and Trust Company Records (1908-1965) contains correspondence, legal documents, tax documents, and bonds created by the Title Insurance and Trust Company, and are related to trusts held by members of the Dominguez family and land that was once part of the Rancho San Pedro.

Dominguez Land Corporation Collection (1911-1950, bulk 1912-1927) includes land sale and business records, as well as documentation of the history of the Dominguez Land Company (later Corporation), and details of its sale to Remco-Real Estate Management Company in 1941. The Dominguez Land Company bought land from the Dominguez Estate Company and Del Amo Estate Company, and broke it up into small parcels, which were sold throughout the area that later formed the city of Torrance, California.

Dominguez Water Corporation Collection (1910-1986) contains business papers related to the Dominguez Water Company, founded in 1911 in an effort to provide a reliable source of water to the Rancho San Pedro lands. In 1936, the Dominguez Water Company sold its assets to the Dominguez Estate Company. The following year, it was incorporated as the Dominguez Water Corporation, a subsidiary of the Dominguez Estate Company.

Watson Land Company Collection (1927-2005) is a small collection of materials from the Watson Land Company, including articles of incorporation, financial statements, correspondence, newsletters, and reports.