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Haven Seed Company records

Identifier: LH-2014-01

Scope and Contents

The collection includes business and personal correspondence, stock seed books, crop books, planting memoranda, vitality test books, receiving books, address books, and notebooks used on sales trips.


  • 1850 - 1982
  • Majority of material found within 1850 - 1917


Biographical / Historical

The Haven Seed Co. was a family-owned enterprise with a rich history spanning 73 years, possibly even more as suggested by external sources, although these fail to capture the human involvement that defined its trajectory. The business originated in Bloomingdale, Michigan, potentially under the name G. W. Haven and Sons, and transitioned to the appellation "Bloomingdale Seed Farms" in 1875. Edwin M. Haven, the son, embarked on his own seed venture in 1878, following observations of the trade in Rockford, Illinois. The focal point of this endeavor was to cultivate seeds for both retail and wholesale customers. Subsequently, in 1891, the family and company relocated to South Haven, Michigan, where they thrived as both a wholesale and retail seed supplier.

The pivotal move to South Haven led to the incorporation of The Haven Seed Co. in 1893. This phase saw the involvement of friends, family, and local businesspersons as company officers. Throughout this period, sales agents, including family members like Arch B. Haven, facilitated growth. The relocation to South Haven also marked the expansion of the Haven family, which eventually counted nine children, seven of whom reached adulthood.

The year 1903 marked another significant turning point as Edwin Haven spearheaded a move to the more temperate climate of California. This transition culminated in the establishment of Haven Seed Co. of California in Arroyo Grande in 1903, focusing solely on wholesale seed production. Disagreements arose among the board of directors in 1904, prompting Arch Haven's relocation to Acampo, California, (near Lodi) and which ultimately lead to the dissolution of Haven Seed Co. of California in 1905.

Edwin and Arch regained control and concentrated on wholesale trade, particularly tomato seed cultivation. By 1910, the company relocated to Orange County, California, thanks to Arch's collaboration with local individuals like C. E. Utt. This period coincided with family challenges, including the illness and passing of Edwin's son, Harris. After Edwin's demise in 1917, Arch and his brother Lawrence took the reins as president and secretary, respectively.

The company prospered, prompting the construction of a substantial seed warehouse in 1918. Specializing in tomato seed for wholesale, the company continued to thrive. Arch and his wife Lizzie eventually settled in Tustin, and their family grew. The company's headquarters shifted from the warehouse site, and by 1955, it ceased to appear in distinct listings.

Throughout its lifespan, the company's records found their way from various locations, including the family ranch in Oxnard and the Orange County Historical Society, and ultimately to CSU Fullerton's University Archives and Special Collections.

Source: Orange Countiana : a Journal of Local History. Orange County Historical Society. Volume III, 1982.


60 cartons

66 boxes

1 drawer

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PLS 363C, Shelves 1 and 2

Immediate Source of Acquisition

CSU Fullerton purchased the collection from the Orange County Historical Society in 2014 for $5,000. The business records of the Haven Seed Company (1873-1946) and the personal papers of its supporting family (1849-1980) were a gift to the Orange County Historical Society in 1978-1981 from Randy Ema of Anaheim on behalf of his step-father, A.B. Haven Jr.

Haven Seed Company records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the CSUF University Archives & Special Collections Repository

University Archives & Special Collections
Pollak Library South Room 352 (PLS 352)
Fullerton CA 92831-3599 USA
(657) 278-4751