DORAN, Edmond Leonard

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E.L. Doran, second from left
E.L. Doran, second from left

DORAN, Edmond Leonard (1864-1915), Canada-born, he came to California in 1883. Doran was a man of multiple interests, and one of the original founders of the Tuna Club on Santa Catalina Island in 1898. Doran’s American ancestry pre-dated the Revolution. His family included some of the West’s earliest American settlers, and he himself rode against the Geronimo campaign of 1886. He migrated to Pasadena and established the first prominent oil company in California.

Doran was an amateur archaeological excavator and collector who worked on several of the California Channel Islands, including San Miguel and Santa Catalina islands. (Subsequent to Schumacher and prior to 1919 there were excavations of San Miguel Island by Stephen Bowers, Louis G. Dreyfus, and E. L. Doran, but no reports of their endeavors have been located.) The Museum of the American Indian possesses artifacts from Santa Catalina Island purchased from Doran. Doran also served as an officer and stockholder in the Meteor Boat Company on Santa Catalina Island.

Doran and his wife, Susannah G. Meek (1864-1932) married in 1893 and had two daughters:

  • 1. Margaret (1894)
  • 2. Gertrude [Hanson] (1895-1975)

They had a home on Crescent Avenue in Avalon, and are listed in both the 1900 and 1910 Catalina census. After the Avalon fire of 1915, they moved to Los Angeles. The Dorans are buried in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles.

Dora collected on:

  • San Clemente Island (c. 1900)
  • San Miguel Island
  • Santa Catalina Island


National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institute. E.L. Doran Collection Pdficon small 2.gif


» Heizer. Robert The Occurrence and Significance of Southwestern Grooved Axes in California American Antiquity 11:3 (187-193) January 1946. [A grooved axe Doran found is cited.]


» Francis R. Holland San Miguel Island: Its History and Archaeology in Journal of the West II(2):145-155, April, 1963.



In the News~

June 10, 1897 [LAH]: “Avalon, June 9.— E. L. Doran, accompanied by his nephew, A. C. Breese of Los Angeles, left for San Clemente Island yesterday. Captain Al Holbrook went along as navigator. They expect to be gone for a week.”


June 13, 1897 [LAT/SCat]:


July 8, 1897 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon, July 7.—This is a day of excursions. Parties out in every direction on land and sea. Mexican Joe, the famous mountain guide, has just left with E. L. Doran and a party of ten gentlemen and ladies in quest of goats. The party was mounted on burros, armed to the teeth and determined to do or die, or both. Their return is awaited with breathless anxiety.”


July 10, 1898 [LAT/SCat]:La Paloma put out to San Clemente Island this morning for three days’ pleasure trip. On board were Mr. And Mrs. W. S. Goodfellow, Miss Davenport, E. L. Doran and Hugh Goodfellow, who have gone in search of relics...”


September 18, 1898 [LAT/SCat]: “Perhaps the most interesting feature in the history of the Southern California islands is the story of the ‘Lost Woman of San Nicolas Island,’ who was deserted and recovered years later. Her cave and place of residence have never been found. During the coming week an attempt is to be made to find it, but the principal object of the expedition is to survey the big Indian mound on the island. It represents the accumulation of centuries. Commodore Burnham of the yacht, San Diego, is to make the trip, and he will have as his guests C. F. Holder and Sidney Smith of Pasadena, and E. L. Doran of Los Angeles. The yacht will leave Avalon Monday and will be gone a week or so.”


September 25, 1898 [LAST/SCat]:San Diego party returned from San Nicolas Island… Landing in the surf was difficult and dangerous, and the party did not land at Corral Harbor, owing to the heavy sea… The party included C. F. Holder, E. L. Doran, Dr. G. Roscoe Thomas, Ralph Burnam, Sidney Smith and Commodore W. H. Burnham.”


January 31, 1900 [LAT/SBer]: “Messrs. E. L. Doran, L. Bloodgood, E. P. Averill and Al Shade returned yesterday from a week’s outing on San Clemente Island. They explored the island from end to end, and incidentally employed a portion of their tine in searching for Indian relics, and were richly rewarded, bringing back enough to stock a small museum…”


April 1, 1900 [LAT/SCat]: “Messrs. F. W. Clark and E. L. Doran have gone to San Nicolas Island on a curio-hunting expedition. They chartered the Avalon to take them over, and it is to return for them at the expiration of two weeks. San Nicolas is one of the richest of the Channel Islands in relics of the prehistoric people who inhabited all these islands and who are only known to us through the antiquated relics of stone and bone which they left behind…”


April 12, 1900 [LAT/SCat]: “The Avalon returned from San Nicolas Island last night with E. L. Doran, F. W. Clark and Al Holbrook, the curio hunters who were left there ten days previously. They came back laden with all sorts of spoils which the island sands were made to yield up. When asked about the stories of the Chinaman starving to death on the island, Mr. Clark replied that the Chinaman was certainly dead, but that it was not from actual starvation. Their supplies were stolen, but they were then in as good condition to live as were the former natives of the island, who had no base of supplies except the food they found in the waters…”


April 28, 1900 [SBMP]: “Messrs. F. W. Clark and E. L. Doran visited San Nicolas Island on a curio hunting expedition. They chartered the Avalon to take them over, and it returned for them at the expiration of two weeks. San Nicolas is one of the richest of the Channel Islands in relics of the prehistoric people who inhabited all these islands and who are only known to us through the antiquated relics of stone and bone which they left behind. On most of the islands there are frequent pueblos or city, enormous mounds and windrows of shells being found all over the island.”


April 26, 1901 [LAT/SCat]: “E. L. Doran, F. W. Clark and Ernest Morris are arranging to leave on the yacht Avalon for a two-weeks’ stay on San Nicolas Island. They will spend the time in gathering Indian relics.”


October 17, 1901 [LAT/SCat]: “Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Doran and family have gone north on a visit of a few weeks. Mr. Doran will have a bear hunt in the wilds of Fresno County, and then join his family in San Francisco.”


July 3, 1903 [LAH]: “Avalon, July 2. — A large number of passengers came over on the Hermosa this noon, and nearly all will remain over the Fourth... The Sophia Boatman's Club has taken the Fourth of July entertainment in hand. The members have raised money for purses and will endeavor to make this the record Fourth at Avalon. The following program will be presented: Mowing races, beginning at 10 o'clock; wheelbarrow race, potato race, ladies' swimming race, men's swimming race. In the afternoon there will be launch races, pneumatic mattress race, a race between glass bottom oats, a tug of war with five row boats on each side, a fat man's race and a sack race. In the evening all the launches, glass bottom boats, yachts and other craft will be brilliantly illuminated and go out to sea to meet the late boat, escort it in and afterward maneuver around the bay. Captain Clarence Jargstorff will have the direction of the aquatic events and E. L. Doran and Thomas Manning have been named for judges. Arrangements have also been made for a dinky or punt race for a cup between members of the South Coast Yacht Club.”


February 11, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Mrs. E. L. Doran returned from a visit to Los Angeles today.”


March 8, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Compton Lundle of Oceanside has purchased of E. L. Doran, the launch Narod, one of the best in the bay.”


April 19, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. E. L. Doran and family have taken a cottage at Terminal for a month, closing their home here. Mrs. Doran is having a boat built by Joe Fellows at Terminal, which is expected to be the speediest little craft in Southern California. The boat was planned by a celebrated naval architect of New York. It is to be built on much the same lines as the Pronto, owned by her husband, which now can show her heels to anything afloat hereabouts. It will be fifty feet long, five-foot beam and forty horse power.”


June 13, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Mrs. E. L. Doran, not to be outdone by her husband, whose Pronto has been by far the fastest small power craft in these waters, has received her new launch, which she has named the Presto, from the builders Fellows & Company of Terminal. Both the Pronto and Presto came over in company, making the trip in two and a half hours. The Presto is 37 feet in length, 5 feet 6 inches in beam, and is equipped with the latest pattern marine engine, built by the Morris Heights engine works, of 16-horse-power. She will develop a speed of 16 miles an hour, which will enable her to run rings around the steamer Hermosa.”


July 20, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Mrs. A. Sutton and her two little daughters are the guests of Mrs. Sutton’s sister, Mrs. E. L. Doran.”


July 30, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Mr. and Mrs. William Fredericks were the guests of E. L. Doran on a trip over to Terminal yesterday on the power yacht Pronto, returning today.”


August 11, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Doran, with their yachts Pronto and Presto, took a party of friends to the Isthmus this morning, where they spent the day picnicking.”


August 18, 1907 [LAT]: “Avalon. It was announced this morning that the Meteor Boat Company, which has waged most of the warfare for an ‘open’ port, will erect a pavilion as the first step in a proposed general competition with the Banning Company. The Meteor Company, of which W. D. Hubbard is president, E. L. Doran vice–president and W. M. Hunt Jr., secretary and treasurer, declares that at least $30,000 will be expended in the construction of the new pavilion, and that it will be one of the finest on the Pacific Coast. E. L. Doran, the [vice] president, left this morning for Los Angeles, presumably in connection with the enterprise, and is reported to have taken with him plans drawn by a local architect, whose name is withheld, to procure bids for immediate construction. Mr. Hunt, when interviewed this morning, declared that everything is in readiness, that ample capital is available for the installment of this and other attractions, and that a fine site has been located. Mr. Hunt refuses to tell where is the site of the pavilion, but it is reported on good authority that a deal has been pending for some time between ‘Uncle John’ Nestell and Mr. Doran, et al, for a site between Whittley and Marilla avenues, up the canyon back of the Metropole. Mr. Nestell has disclaimed any interest in the project, however, other than in having the land for sale. He is a minor stockholder in the Meteor Boat Company, which is endeavoring to launch the enterprise in opposition to the Banning brothers. The news of the new pavilion will come as a surprise to many of the islanders, as the project was previously rumored and denied.”


June 30, 1909 [LAT]: “Avalon. A fast motorboat race is promised as an attraction for Independence Day. The competitors will be E. L. Doran of the Meteor Boat Company with his launch Presto, and J. Mackafie with his launch Comet. The distance to be traveled is six miles. The Comet is a new launch to this coast. Previously the boat was used for racing purposes on Lake Superior. With a 68-horse-power engine, newly installed, Mr. Mackafie thinks he will develop a speed of twenty-four miles per hour.”


August 26, 1913 [LAT]: “Avalon. Negotiations between a representative of the Meteor Boat Company of Los Angeles and the Wilmington Transportation Company, who operate the steamers Hermosa and Cabrillo from San Pedro to Avalon, are pending. The former company proposes, if the deal is closed, to take a five-years’ lease upon the two steamers and to operate them between Long Beach and Avalon. Plans are under consideration by the Banning Company to purchase two large steamers to take place of the Hermosa and Cabrillo. After September 15 Hotel Metropole would close its doors for several months and that the steamer Cabrillo would be taken off its regular run September 13. The Hermosa or Warrior, owned by the Wilmington Transportation Company, will be the only vessel plying between San Pedro and Avalon during the winter months. ‘The Banning Company is tired of the continual trouble about transportation to the island,’ said an official today. ‘At this time I cannot affirm or deny the report that negotiations are pending for a lease upon the two steamers. Probably some changes will have to be made to handle the Long Beach visitors. The arrangements carried out during the past few weeks seem very unsatisfactory to the traveling public. Many passengers who patronize the cheap, badly-equipped gasoline launches, for various reasons only known to themselves, purchase from us tickets for one way and return to the mainland on our steamers. Daily we are in receipt of letters complaining of the unsafe method of crossing the channel by traveling upon a small boat and asking us to operate one of our boats from Long Beach, but what future arrangements will be made has not yet been decided. As to opening up the isthmus for resort purposes, that plan also has many possibilities.’ For years the Meteor Boat Company has tried to enter the field for the transportation business from the mainland to the island. During the past twelve years this company, of which W. D. Hubbard is president, has built up a unique business by operating a fleet of four of the largest glass-bottom powerboats in the world. The company also owns the steamer San Diego plying daily between Long Beach and Avalon, but this vessel’s passenger-carrying capacity is limited to 125 persons, consequently the owners of small gasoline launches find the overflow of the Long Beach transportation a profitable business. The stockholders of the Meteor Boat Company, it is ascertained, control in aggregate several million dollars. E. L. Doran of the company said today: ‘If the Meteor Boat Company leases the Wilmington Transportation Company’s steamers it will be for a five-years’ lease upon the two boats. We should probably operate them from the Long Beach inner harbor.’ That the proposed new steamers of the Banning Company will operate between San Pedro and the Isthmus as well as Avalon, if this port remains open, is almost certain...”


September 8, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “E. L. Doran, Secretary of the Meteor Boat Company, came over on the Saturday night boat, and took out the regular lease for the use of the municipal booth and float. Incidentally, he paid into the city treasury the sum of $1000.”


November 10, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Doran are spending a week at their Crescent Avenue home.”


December 1, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Mr. E. L. Doran who has been suffering for sometime with ill health, is now improving.”


March 2, 1915 [TI/Avalon]: “The funeral of Edmund Leonard Doran, aged 50, formerly secretary of the Meteor Boat Company, was held Friday at 2 o’clock from his residence, 837 So. Burlington Avenue, Los Angeles. The interment was private, and only those closely related to the deceased were present at the burial. By special request there were to be no flowers, but several wreaths were sent from Avalon as this request was not known locally. Mr. Doran leaves a widow and two daughters, Gertrude and Dorothy. For many years Mr. Doran resided with his family in Avalon, and although not politically active, he was unanimously elected president of the Freeholders Improvement Association, 1912 — a year that is considered by many business men to have been Avalon’s most prosperous season. The widow and daughters have many warm friends among Avalon residents.”


March 9, 1915 [TI/Avalon]: “Mrs. E. L. Doran and daughters desire to express to all Catalina friends, their deep appreciation for remembrance and sympathy.”


August 31, 1915 [TI/Avalon]: “Mrs. E. Doran and daughters are spending several days on the island.”


March 26, 1918 [TI/Avalon]: “Indian relics for Heye Foundation. Many valuable Indian relics which were found on San Nicolas Island by Arthur B. Chappell, Ralph Glidden and Arthur Taschenberger, in the Fall of 1916, are now on their way to New York City, the property of the Heye Foundation of the Museum of the American Indian… Mr. E. A. Place, who is purchasing agent for the Heye Foundation, said: ‘The duplicates in the collection are of value to us from an ethnographical point of view, as they furnish evidence relative to the skill of the early inhabitants of the Channel Islands. Several years ago we purchased the Doran collection of Indian relics for the Heye Foundation at New York, and we believe that we have been able to complete the record by the material obtained from the San Nicolas collectors… Had we not already purchased the Doran collection of relics of the Channel Island aborigines, we would undoubtedly have taken over the entire collection of Messrs. Chappell, Glidden and Taschenberger...”


April 16, 1918 [TI/Avalon]: “Miss Margaret Doran is a weekend visitor at the New Central Hotel.”


August 16, 1920 [LAT]: “Catalina yields specimens that tell of distinct race of bygone age. Two perfect skulls were exhibited yesterday as the trophies of a day’s excavating at Catalina by Mrs. George Heye, who is visiting here with her husband, George Heye, founder and president of the Museum of the American Indian in New York, Harmon W. Hendricks, vice-president of the museum and Ralph Glidden. Mr. Glidden has for several months been conducting archaeological research work on the Channel Islands for the museum. Mrs. Heye made her discoveries on the Isthmus last Friday… ‘The collection of specimens which we have secured from Catalina Island in the eight months which Mr. Glidden has devoted to Catalina Island, far exceed my highest expectations,’ said Mr. Heye…’ A year ago I had bought the E. L. Doran collection of relics gathered at the Isthmus, and a collection from a scientist at Santa Barbara which gave us much of the shell and bone work of San Miguel and San Nicolas. But all were still incomplete. It is hard to say that one find is more valuable than another’…”


March 9, 1927 [TI/Avalon]: “The following are the ladies who are entered in the Ladies’ [Golf] Tournament in April: … Mrs. Doran, Miss Doran…”


May 18, 1932 [TI/Avalon]: “A report has reached Avalon that Mrs. E. L. Doran, while on a visit to Palmdale, passed away very suddenly May 15. Mrs. Doran was formerly an Avalon resident, and, with her late husband, owned a beautiful home here. The family moved to Los Angeles after the Avalon fire of 1915.”


May 23, 1935 [TI/Avalon]: “We will all miss Capt. Lee O’Leary and Gene Haskell, who have given up the boating business. So has kind-hearted Chappie, who has been a boatman here for forty-six years, and is very tired. He will be down on the Pleasure Pier a lot this summer, likely telling folks what fishing was like at Catalina in ancient times.”