Orrin M. Peck was born in Hobart, New York in 1860, the son of James and Margaret H. Peck and brother to Helen P. Sanborn and Janet M. (Janet Moore) Peck (b. 1878). His mother Margaret befriended Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919) on a steamship voyage from Panama to San Fracisco. Orrin became a close friend of Phoebe's son, William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), and was even the best man at his wedding. Orrin studied art in Munich and collaborated with Carl von Marr (1858-1936) on some of his work. Peck became an accomplished portrait and landscape painter. He was commisssioned to paint portraits of Mrs. Hearst and William Randolph Hearst. Orrin was with Willam Randolph Hearst in New York and Florida before being hired to design the landscaping for his San Simeon home in California in 1920. Peck died suddenly in Los Angeles in 1921.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of the personal correspondence of Orrin Peck and his sister, Janet Peck. There are 119 letters from Phoebe Apperson Hearst and these letters discuss her philanthropy in the fields of art and education, her son William Randolph Hearst, their life in California, travels in Europe, and San Francisco and national politics. Other correspondents include: Pablo Casals (1), John Drew (1), William Randolph Hearst (7), Lou Henry Hoover (4), Carl von Marr (179), and John Singer Sargent (17). The collection contains references to various artists, musicians, authors, and public figures, including: Edwin Austin Abbey, Pablo Casals, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, John Drew, Lou Henry Hoover, Joseph Pennell, James D. Phelan, and John Singer Sargent. Other subjects covered include the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, the Bohemian Club, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, and World War I and II. Of note are two references to Henry E. Huntington's art collection and developments in and around Los Angeles, Calif.