Turner Graham Early LA - HIST 433-

Lillian Turner-Graham
This book is a secondary source in two different ways: the original book of
founding documents was published in 1931, to commemorate the one hundred and fifty
year anniversary of the city’s founding. The 1931 edition, referenced in this updated
volume, is therefore a primary source in itself, because it reflects the views of historians
of that time. Additionally, the main substance of the volume is the founding documents
themselves, both in the original Spanish and in English translation. The original founding
documents, spanning the period from early 1777 to late 1786, thus also serve as a primary
The editor’s careful dedication to the principles of the Historical Society of
Southern California restricted her to little personal opinion. However, the Copublisher’s
Foreword quotes historian George F. Kennan in declaring that historians and readers are
the ones who give history its meaning, and I believe this is the editor Doyce Nunis’s main
argument. In order for scholarship to continue on the topic, primary sources like these
documents need to be available to researchers. The significance of this book for our class
is the abundance of primary source material in the letters and documents it contains
referring to the founding of the city. We can also use it to compare the current research
with the research of the historians who composed the 1931 edition.
Nunis, Doyce B., Dana Church Cordrey, Harry Kelsey, Theodore E. Treutlein, and
Thomas Workman Temple. 2004. The founding documents of Los Angeles: a bilingual
edition. Los Angeles, Calif: Historical Society of Southern California.