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Politics and Government Archival Collections in USC Libraries Special Collections: Henry Zenas Osborne

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Henry Z. Osborne

Introduction

Some of the papers of Henry Zenas Osborne can be found in the Osborne-Montague family papers.  Osborne (1848-1923) served as a Representative of California's 10th Congressional District from 1917 until his death in 1923.  The Osborne-Montague family papers include his correspondence with his wife and children while serving as a US Marshal and as a Congressman.

Biography

Henry Z. Osborne and Charles Manly Steadman, the last Confederate veteran to serve in Congress, pose in front of the Capitol.

Henry Z. Osborne and Charles Manly Steadman, the last Confederate veteran to serve in Congress, pose in front of the Capitol.

 

Henry Zenas Osborne was born in New Lebanon, New York on October, 4, 1848.  He began working as a printer's apprentice at the Buffalo Christian Advocate in 1862.  In 1864, he enlisted in the 192nd Volunteer Infantry regiment of the Union Army.  He served in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and was honorably discharged in August 1865.  After his discharge, he returned to New York, where he became a printer for the Utica Herald.  He married Helen Annas of Cazenovia, New York, in 1872.  Between 1872 and 1874, Osborne traveled around the Eastern part of the country, working as a printer and journalist.  In 1874, he and his family settled in New Orleans, where they remained until 1878, when they moved to Bodie, California.  In Bodie, Henry was the editor and publisher of the Bodie Free Press. He remained there until 1884, when he purchased the Los Angeles Evening Express. He served as the paper's editor and publisher until 1897, when he accepted an appointment as an US Marshal for the Southern District of California. 

While he had previously held a number of temporary political appointments (including as Collector of Customs for the Port of Los Angeles from 1890-1894 and as a delegate to the 1888 Republican National Convention in Chicago), after his appointment as an US Marshal he gave up his work in the newspaper business.   He served as a marshal until 1906.  From 1906-1917, Osborne pursued a variety of business interests, including mining in Northern California.  He first ran for Congress in 1914, and lost to William Stephens, the seat's Progressive incumbent.  In 1916, he ran on the Republican ticket for California's 10th Congressional District seat and won with 49% of the vote.  He was re-elected three times; the last time, in 1922, he ran unopposed.  While Osborne served in Congress, California's 10th Congressional District included the portion of the city of Los Angeles west of Hill Street, Hollywood. While in Congress, Henry served on the Committees for Rivers and Harbors and for Appropriations. He was the last Union veteran of the Civil War to serve in Congress, and he died while in office on February 8, 1923.

Osborne-Montague family papers

The Osborne-Montague family papers contains the papers of multiple generations of the Osborne and Montague families, as well as of the families they married into (primarily the Tingstads and the Caleffs). Rodney Montague moved to Los Angeles in 1853, while Henry Zenas Osborne moved to the area in 1878. Montague was a farmer; Osborne owned the Los Angeles Evening Express and was a Congressman for California's 10th Congressional District from 1917 until his death in 1923. His son, Henry Zenas Osborne, Jr., married Montague's grandaughter, Lilian Montague in 1906. The collection contains correspondence, business papers, financial records, artifacts, photographs, newspapers, and ephemera from the various families represented.

Other Locations of Papers of Henry Zenas Osborne

Henry Zenas Osborne Papers, 1869-1947, located at UCLA's Department of Special Collections

Henry Z. Osborne Papers, located at Stanford University Libraries' Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Osborne Family Papers, located at Stanford University Libraries' Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Henry Zenas Osborne papers, 1870-1922, located at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library

Papers of Henry Z. Osborne, 1878-1924, call # mssHM 61755-62462, HM 62477, located at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens