:: The W.T. Henderson Scrapbook Collection


The W.T. Henderson Collection consists of two scrapbooks. Scrapbook one includes general agriculture clippings from the late 1870s to the early 1880s. Though it has some newspaper articles relating to fruit production from other parts of the world, it also contains information regarding early Riverside history. Scrapbook two focuses more on the citrus culture and the Henderson's activities in Riverside, with items dating from 1897 to 1907 -- including two unbound news articles dating from 1915. The scrapbooks not only document a facet of the local economy, but also provide telling clues about the family and its interests in early Riverside. Though they were not documented as often in published accounts, the Hendersons left their mark, however subtle, on the city.

Though this archival description treats the scrapbooks as one collection, they have different accession numbers. Also, the covers of the books label the 1940 gifts to the library as the W.E. Henderson Collection. But, the news clippings in the scrapbooks and city directories from the early 1900s refer only to a W.T. Henderson, even up to 1939, when he is listed as a real estate agent living at 6008 Hawarden. Furthermore, W.T. may not have been the compiler of the books. They seem to relate more to the business interests of his father, Robert H. Henderson.

The collection is one linear foot, and is contained in two boxes.


Originally from New York, Robert Henderson and his family settled in Riverside in 1897. The family included his wife (Jennet), three sons (Robert L., Henry B., and William T.), and a daughter (Jean Anne). His business in New York (Robert Henderson and Co.) served as an agency of domestic and foreign fruit products. When he came to Riverside, he bought a ten acre orange grove off of Victoria Avenue. Between 1897 and 1900, Henderson, his wife, and daughter traveled between Riverside and New York. His sons, Robert L. and Henry, stayed in Riverside to oversee his local business interests while William remained in New York, not moving to Riverside until the early 1900s.

In 1897, Henderson, his two sons (Robert L. and Henry), and two other men started the Riverside Fruit Company, a packing and selling agency for the local growers at Twelfth Street and Pachappa Avenue. At the time, the building was the largest packinghouse to be built in the city. It included such amenities as electric lights, an electric powered grader, and a conveyor system. Henry B. Henderson, an electrical engineer, oversaw the production of these facilities. He also served as the secretary and treasurer while his father was the president. The Riverside Fruit Company represented the citrus bands of Alpha, Stella, and Elk. According to the 1902 directory, the business was still in operation as a packinghouse. But the New York business closed in 1900 with the death of a Charles H. Henderson and Robert's retirement. Sometime between 1902 and 1905, the Riverside Fruit Company also ceased operations at its Twelfth Street location.

By 1905, a new company was operating at Twelfth Street and Pachappa Avenue. Formerly the Stoner Iron Works located on Eighth Street near Vine, the Riverside Foundry and Machine Works bought the Pioneer Lumber Company's location for its railroad facilities. The new owners rebuilt there after a fire destroyed the old plant. The foundry made box nailing machinery and deep well pump heads. Henry Henderson served as secretary and treasurer of this company for a number of years, while Robert L. Henderson was briefly the bookkeeper. In 1909, George Parker, a machinist with the foundry noted for his citrus box maker, bought the company, renaming it Parker Machine Works. The building was torn down in the 1930s when the Food Machinery Corporation took over the property.

In addition to their association with the Riverside Fruit Company and the foundry, the family engaged in other activities. In 1903, Robert Henderson served as treasurer of the Victoria Avenue Improvement Association, with Robert L. also participating in the civic organization. The elder Robert also was elected as president of the Prenda Pumping Company, perhaps in 1905. The Highwayman, a comic opera performed in Riverside on May 24, 1905, involved three Hendersons: Mrs. Henderson on the piano, William as assistant musical director, and Robert L. as both the choral director and the male lead. In the early 1900s, Robert Henderson had been a principal stockholder of the Victoria Golf Club Organization. William T. Henderson was president of the organization in 1907, as well as assistant director of the Cantadores Club, a male singing group. Both Robert Hendersons had their occupations listed as horticulturalists. The citrus brand, Delta, was also affiliated with the Hendersons. William worked for a number of years as an agent and later as a manager for the Armour Fertilizer Company.

Though the commercial buildings associated with the Hendersons no longer exist, their first residence in Riverside remains. In 1900, Henderson built the nine-bedroom residence, Edgemont, on 6116 Hawarden Drive, for a cost of $13,000. There, the family held several gatherings attended by such early Riverside residents as Dr. Sarah Malloy and Mary E. Darling. But like many growers, the freeze of 1913 hit their interests hard, and the family lost Edgemont to foreclosure. A.B. West bought the house in 1917. Today, Edgemont is a noted Riverside residential building.

Scope and Content

The W.T. Henderson Collection has one series, divided into two folders.

Folder 1 has newspaper clippings, mostly undated with no source indicated, glued to a scrapbook. Those that have a date give a date range between the late 1870s and early 1880s. The scrapbook also includes a section from a different book--as evident from the page numbering. The bound scrapbook starts on page five (missing pages one through four). The unbound scrapbook section, with a relative date of the early 1880s, has a page count of one through twelve. Folder 1 also has loose clippings, some from the 1880s. These items, and the incomplete section, are found at the end of the scrapbook. Their dates indicate that the compiler may have inserted them as supplemental text after the completion of the original scrapbook. The news clippings cover a variety of agricultural topics, including the orange culture in California, Louisiana, Florida, Bermuda, South Australia, and southern Europe; different products such as almonds, California tobacco, lemons, grapes, raisins, and olives; vegetation such as eucalyptus trees; and the animal husbandry of cows, chickens, carp, and bees. Despite their different subject matters, the clippings share common ground: they provide readers with information that will help them to have some measure of success at their chosen endeavor. For instance, many clippings relate the climatic and soil conditions needed to grow oranges; how to plant, prune, and mulch; the various blights that afflict the trees; and information on gathering, packing, and shipping. Robert Henderson's occupation for thirty years as a broker of foreign and domestic produce explains the gathering of such diverse clippings, perhaps for use as a reference in his business.

Folder 2 is a compilation of clippings and correspondence from 1897 – 1907. Unlike the scrapbook in Folder 1, this book in not numbered, but many entries have handwritten notations giving dates and sources. Glued onto the pages of the volume, the newspaper articles relate information on many of the same topics covered by the other book such as budding, grafting, irrigation, and fertilizers. The book also has items regarding the Riverside Fruit Company, including blank contracts and circular letters. The volume contains newsletters from the Fruit Growers, Shippers and Buyers Association of Southern California, including two copies from when Henry B. Henderson was secretary of the organization in 1889. In addition to the items relating to the citrus business, the scrapbook has a clipping on the building of the foundry and Edgemont. Other activities found in this volume include the Hendersons' involvement with the Presbyterian Church, social functions, and the beautification efforts on Victoria Avenue. The volume also includes several inserts of clippings and a few newspaper sections.

Series Description

The collection is arranged roughly in chronological order. Those items that indicate a date give the scrapbooks a relative date range between the late 1870s to 1915, with the majority of the materials dated between 1880 and 1907. The collection consists of two scrapbooks entitled "Agriculture" and "Citrus Culture." Though many items were glued to the pages of the scrapbooks, additional materials remained unbound, inserted at the front or back of the volumes, though a few clippings were placed in the main body of the text. The items found in the scrapbook relate either indirectly or directly (such as the Riverside Fruit Company) with the business of the Henderson family, though the scrapbook in Folder 2 also contains material on their personal lives. The following items may be of special interest. Folder 1 has illustrations on heavy stock paper: a map of California (p.25); an 1875 view of Riverside (p.27); a map of property owned by the Riverside Land and Irrigating Company (p.29); and an illustration of an early aqueduct (p.31). An illustration and newspaper article on an early piece of fruit gathering equipment (p.87) is also located in the scrapbook. In addition, Folder 1 has clippings from the 1879 to 1881 Southern California Citrus Exhibition; a list of Riverside Fruit Groves arranged by owner; articles on the olive culture in California Horticulturalist on the orange culture. Folder 2 has the Riverside Fruit Company's circular letters from 1897 to 1899; 1898 administrative histories on different fruit packing companies; a register of the various citrus brands from Pacific Fruit World, 3 December 1904; and newspaper articles (circa 1905) on the abandonment of the marketing organization (the California Fruit Agency).

Series I, Folder 1: Agriculture

Bound scrapbook (1870s to 1880s), page numbering 5 – 145.
Incomplete scrapbook section (1880s), page numbering 1 – 12.
Unglued newspaper clippings (1880s, eleven items)

Series I, Folder 2: Citrus Culture

Bound scrapbook (1897 to 1907).

Additional material (1890 to 1915, fifteen items).

Related Collections

The Citrus Label Collection


"Progress." Special Edition. Riverside Enterprise. April 1914. Located in the Local History Section of the Riverside Public Library.

"Prosperous Riverside." Riverside Daily Press. 1907. Located in the Local History Section of the Riverside Public Library.

Riverside County Directory. 1901 and 1902.

Riverside City Directory. 1905 and 1906.

Riverside City and County Directory. 1909 and 1910.

Adobes, Bungalows, and Mansions of Riverside, California. Klotz, Esther H. and Joan H. Hall. Riverside: Riverside Museum Press, 1985.


Local History