:: The Purington, Adair, and Winder Records

Introduction

This collection consists primarily of fifteen bound volumes, both legal and financial in nature, dating from 1898 to 1924. The books resulted from the business activities of two law firms: Purington & Adair (which operated from approximately 1890 to 1918) and its successor, Adair & Winder, which lasted until 1924. The books, many of which were in fragile condition, chronicle the operations of Purington & Adair and Adair & Winder, though not to the same extent in the case of the latter. Occasionally, the books offer a brief look at the personalities of William A. Purington and A. Aird Adair. For example, in letters from Purington to various members of the O'Kelly family, the tone of the correspondence is markedly different when the legal matters involve friends. Purington writes to Mrs. O'Kelly regarding her husband, "I think it is better for him to have some business of his own and depend upon himself and not upon you or the estate to provide for him" (Series I.A.7, p. 885). Compare that statement with one from an earlier letter in the same volume signed by Purington & Adair: "We write this to you presuming that, like most married men, you advise your wife concerning her property affairs and quite likely attend to her business for her" (p. 123). On the whole though, the items in the collection relate to cases and therefore offer more the opinions of the lawyers from a legal perspective. Together with court documents, the books could reconstruct various probate cases and lawsuits between individuals and local companies. With the Richard J. Welch ledgers, the collection can help reconstruct legal matters in early Riverside. For information on the various civil and probate records available, contact the Consolidated Superior/Municipal Courts.

The collection measures three linear feet and is contained in three boxes.

Administrative History

Purington & Adair began operations in Riverside around 1890 soon after A. Aird Adair and his family had arrived from Canada. He formed a partnership with William A. Purington, a notary public who served as city attorney in 1893 until 1909 and on the board that created Riverside's charter in 1907, in addition to managing the firm's office. Adair also acted in other capacities in addition to his law practice. Soon after the formation of the National Bank of Riverside, Adair was elected its first president. During its nearly thirty years of existence, Purington and Adair operated as a general practice with a focus on probate and corporate law with clients from around Riverside County.

In 1918, Purington died from heart trouble; Adair soon after formed a new partnership with A. Heber Winder, a former associate with Purington and Adair. In 1924, though, Winder started a solo practice; he later became city attorney and a judge before he died in 1940 at the age of fifty-eight. Adair continued his law business in the Loring Building until his death in 1925 at the age of approximately sixty-seven years. Richard J. Welch, Jr. (who had worked briefly for Adair & Winder before starting his own law practice in 1921) assumed Adair's business and his offices. Welch continued to practice law in Riverside until his death in 1973.

Scope and Content

The collection has three series. Series I (Legal) comprises a large portion of the material, with volumes dating from 1898 to 1918. The series has two sub-series. Sub-series A has correspondence bound in nine volumes (Folders 1-9). Sub-series B has miscellaneous items including a notary book and unbound correspondence previously found inserted in the letter books (see series description for more information). Series II (Financial) has five volumes dating from 1892 to 1924. Series III (Miscellaneous) has four folders with items dating from 1904 to 1906. Most of the items in the collection date from the time when Adair worked with Purington. A few came as a result of the partnership of Adair & Winder.

The collection has certain assets and drawbacks when compared to its counterpart, the Richard J. Welch, Jr. ledgers. The Welch ledgers contain a variety of personal information regarding Welch from the various associations he held membership with to the monthly amount of his grocery bills. But due to the nature of the volumes, the ledgers are limited to financial information. The correspondence in Series I.A. of the Purington, Adair, and Winder collection contains a variety of information regarding legal matters, a notable absence in the Welch ledgers. For example, in Series I.A.1, Purington and Adair wrote to a minor child on behalf of her parents stating that as an unmarried minor, her parents were entitled to her custody and services. They further compelled the girl to return home to avoid talk concerning her staying with an older man (p. 282-283), thus reflecting the prevailing American morality at the beginning of the 1900s. Other correspondence in the collection also mirrors the times in which they were created, such as letters from the lawyers identifying a Chinese man from Riverside in order that he may leave for China (Series I.A.6, p. 229) or one where the lawyers state that under California law, a divorce could not be granted unless the individual seeking a divorce had been a resident for more than a year, despite claims that the husband abused the wife (I.A.7, p. 440).

Many of the books are fragile with disintegrating covers. Several of the books in Series I.A. also have suffered from the effects of fading and ink transfer: the ink from inserts and original entries has bled onto neighboring pages. The results are entries that are difficult and, at times, impossible to read. At some point, the entries should be transcribed so the information can be preserved.

Series Description

Series I: Legal

Sub-series A: Correspondence

The volumes are letter-copying books, many using hand-made Japanese paper. The books using this type of paper show fewer signs of ink transfer. The entries are almost entirely typed, with some handwritten on the fragile, tissue-like, onionskin pages, many of which are creased, ripped, or torn. Occasionally, some entries are original letters pasted onto the pages. The volumes have an alphabetical index, listing entries by surname. Correspondence from Purington & Adair comprises the main body of the text in Folders 1-9. Correspondence from Adair & Winder can be found in Folder 9. Some letters had been signed someone other than Purington, Adair or Winder, but these are infrequent. The lawyers as individuals signed some of the items. The nature of the entries consists mainly of various estates and other probate matters. Other cases to be found in the folders involve child support, delinquent bills (many due to Purington & Adair), land transactions, and lawsuits such as Gage v. Riverside Trust Company. Correspondence from the law firm also includes reference to such corporate law work as the Articles of Incorporation for the Victoria Avenue Citrus Association and the Security Savings Bank of Riverside. Letters concerning criminal matters are negligible. The volumes do contain some incidental correspondence from the law firm regarding office matters. Sometimes the letters include the case name or the subject in the form of a heading, particularly in the later volumes. Of note, Folder 2 is missing pages 976 to 980, though information may not have been written there originally. The folder resumes on page 981 with a copy of an unsigned contract. Also, unlike the folders in this sub-series, Folder 9 is not filled out in its entirety.

Folder 1: Letter book, 28 November 1899 to 22 October 1901 (one item)

Folder 2: Letter book, 22 October 1901 to 31 December 1903 (one item)

Folder 3: Letter book, 2 January 1904 to 20 December 1905 (one item)

Folder 4: Letter book, 3 January 1906 to 1 November 1907 (one item)

Folder 5: Letter book, 2 November 1907 to 15 November 1909 (one item)

Folder 6: Letter book, 15 November 1909 to 24 November 1911 (one item)

Folder 7: Letter book, 23 November 1911 to 24 October 1913 (one item)

Folder 8: Letter book, 25 October 1913 to 23 August 1915 (one item)

Folder 9: Letter book, 24 August 1915 to 15 October 1918 (one item)

 

Sub-series B: Miscellaneous

Folder 1 contains a notary book listing dates, names, amounts, and type of items (for example mortgage, deeds, or leases) with Purington and later Welch serving as the notaries. Folder 2 contains correspondence found in a couple of volumes in Series I.A. The letter from 1905 was found inside the front cover of Series I.A.3. The other two items were found on page 4 of I.A.9. One of them includes a partial, bland letterhead from Adair & Winder.

 

Series II: Financial

The volumes in this series are quantitative in nature. For example, Folder 1 has columns for dates, individual or company names, amounts received and expenses paid. Information in the folders include rent, utilities, salaries (including that paid to Welch), taxes as well as transactions with clients such as Pattee & Lett Company, Temescal Water Company, National Orange Company, Riverside Water Company, Glenwood Hotel, and Jukichi Harada from the landmark case, the People v. Harada. The information is arranged chronologically, except for Folder 2, which has entries listed in alphabetical order. It lists under each name the dates, type of fees, and amounts, as well as the date and method of payment. Folder 5 also differs from others in this series by not directly pertaining to the law practice, but rather to thirty-five acres of property in West Riverside.

The volume, with a scant six pages of data, lists Adair as a witness. The volume also originally included the item in Series III.4 as an insert.

Folder 1: Cash book, March 1892 to June 1894 (one item)

Folder 2: Ledger, 1898 to 1906 (one item)

Folder 3: Ledger, January 1918 to July 1924 (one item)

Folder 4: Cash book, May 1918 to December 1923 (one item)

Folder 5: Miscellaneous -- Stanhope and Rogers ledger, March 1902 to February 1906 (one item)

 

Series III: Miscellaneous

Like the items in Series I.B.2, the materials in this series were found inserted in the letter-copying books. The multiple copies of the 1906 invitation had been located in pages 221 to 239 in Series I.A.1; the multiple copies of a church correspondence came from pages 1-18 in Series I.A.2; and the 1906 correspondence had been found on page 451 of Series I.A.3, which seemed to have been shuffled about in the volume as ink from it is evident on numerous pages of that volume. The undated church correspondence also transferred its print onto neighboring pages. Due to these effects, the items have been removed from the volumes. These materials also constitute a separate series since their dates do not correspond with the time range of the volumes in which they were found. The item in Folder 4 had originally been located inside the front cover of the Stanhope and Rogers ledger; the letter was drafted on Purington & Adair stationery. It has been removed due to the fragile nature of the letter.

Folder 1: Invitation, 7 December 1906 (one item)

Folder 2: Church correspondence, undated (one item)

Folder 3: YWCA correspondence, 20 February 1906 (one item)

Folder 4: Stanhope correspondence, 16 March 1904 (one item)

Related Collections

Richard J. Welch Jr. Collection

References

Directory of Riverside County, 1893-94

Riverside City Directories: 1925, 1926, 1939, and 1942.

Gabbert, John Raymond. History of Riverside, City and County. Riverside: Record Publishing company, 1935.

Holmes, Elmer Wallace. History of Riverside County, California. Los Angeles: Historic Record Company, 1912.

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

Patterson, Tom. A Colony for California. Riverside: The Museum Press of the Riverside Museum Associates, 1996.

Purington, Adair, and Winder Records.


Local History