E. F. Sanguinetti Collection

TITLE: E. F. Sanguinetti Collection

DATE RANGE: 1880s - 2007


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 4 boxes (3 linear feet)

PROVENANCE: Multiple donors with the bulk coming from Rose Marie Gwynn, 1960s-1970s 

COPYRIGHT:  The Yuma County Library District owns the copyright to this collection.       

RESTRICTIONS: This collection is unrestricted.   

CREDIT LINE: E.F. Sanguinetti Collection, Y-MS 27, Yuma County Library District

PROCESSED BY: John Irwin, 2013


Eugene Francis Sanguinetti was a prominent Yuma businessman. He was born on May 16, 1867 in Coulterville, California to Antone Sanguinetti and Rosa Camiccione. He came to Yuma at AGE 16, inspired to seek his fortune by the success of his neighbor’s eldest son. Soon after his arrival he was hired as a clerk by John Gandolfo, a local merchant and friend of the Sanguinetti family. Sanguinetti quickly rose from clerk to a full partner.  Soon thereafter he bought out Gandolfo to become the sole owner of the business. Sanguinetti quickly began expanding his business from a simple general store to a large commercial empire. 

Eventually his Yuma businesses included twelve stores, numerous commercial buildings, a contracting firm for site development, a dairy, a creamery, dealerships in automobiles, farm, irrigation and mining equipment and supplies, a freighting service, an ice plant with a cold storage warehouse, a marketing service for agricultural products, mines, mortuaries, a produce packing plant, public utilities, rentals housing, a construction company building roads and leveling thousands of acres for the more than fifty farms he owned.  He became the largest employer in Yuma County, and the largest farm employer in Arizona.  During the Great Depression, however, he suffered significant financial losses. 

Sanguinetti was also very active in promoting Yuma.  He was a major influence in lobbying for the Yuma Project of a dam, levees and land reclamation, as well as later the Gila Project.   In addition, he sent representatives to Washington to lobby for the transcontinental highway to go through Yuma. 

Although he had detractors, he was known in Yuma for his altruism, charity, and social entertaining.  He personally managed all of his enterprises without an office, working from a table in the back of a store.  He also lived modestly with his family in a small adobe house constructed in 1871 adjacent to the commercial area in the original town site of Yuma.  This building later became the Yuma Arts Center and the Century House Museum.  

In 1915 at age 48, Sanguinetti married Lilah Balsz, daughter of early Yuma pioneers David Balsz and Luz Redondo. They had three children, Eugene Francis Sanguinetti Jr.  Rose Marie Sanguinetti and Norman Hillary Sanguinetti.  His wife died of a heart attack in 1937. In 1939 Sanguinetti, facing declining health, took up residence in a sanatorium in California where he spent the remainder of his life. E.F. Sanguinetti died on January 30th, 1945 at the age of 78.  In 2000 he was named “Citizen of the Century” by the Yuma Daily Sun.


Organized into six series.  Highlights are described below.

Series I – Biographical: This series contains information about E.F. Sanguinetti taken from a multiple sources including newspaper and magazine articles, book chapters, lectures, and reminiscences. There is also a book written about Sanguinetti’s mother Rosa Camiccione and her sisters.

Series II – Correspondence: This series consists of both business and personal letters covering a variety of subjects involving the Sanguinetti family. One folder contains letters sent by Sanguinetti to Mariana Ayala, who ran a branch of Sanguinetti’s store in La Paz. Another has correspondence about the account of W.A. Lawler.  Personal correspondence relating to the Sanguinetti  marriage captures the celebratory spirit of the community and the couple’s popularity.

Series III – Financial Records:   The business papers include several Sanguinetti advertisements, invoices, and some financial statements.  There are also a large number of checks and check stubs. An interesting item is a Sanguinetti account book bearing the name Gus Livingston on its cover.  Its contents involve Livingston as Yuma County Assessor.

Series IV – Legal Documents: The legal papers cover a number of court matters involving Sanguinetti’s business ventures.  The “4th Street Widening” folder involves a case between the city of Yuma, Sanguinetti and the Southern Pacific Railroad over land ownership and usage. The Yuma Valley Bank folder concerns a lawsuit that came with the dissolution of that bank. The court found in favor of E.F. Sanguinetti and his partners.

Series V – Memorabilia: This contains examples of Sanguinetti’s letterhead, as well as materials used in his merchant ventures such as mail and seed sample bags, business stationary,  and a copper printing plate of Sanguinetti’s letterhead.

Series VIScrapbooks: This series contains two scrapbooks - one of newspaper clippings and special editions, and the occasional letter or invitation; the other consists of postcards collected by Lilah Sanguinetti in the early 1900s. 


Box Folder Title Dates
1 1 Biographical:  Notes, News Clippings, and Other Materials   1884-2007
  2 Biographical:  Distinguished Civic Service Medal  1939
  3 Biographical:  Published Articles about E.F. Sanguinetti  1919-1987  
  4 Biographical:  Unpublished Articles, Speeches, Oral Histories, Drafts)   n.d.
  5 Biographical:  Rosa Camiccione  (E.F. Sanguinetti’s mother) 1982
  6 Business Correspondence:  Ayala, Mariana 1896 – 1908
  7 Business Correspondence:  General 1892-1950
  8 Business Correspondence:  Lawler, W. A. 1907 – 1914
  9 Personal Correspondence:  Marriage 1915
  10 Financial Records:  Various  1893 – 1942  
  11 Financial Records:  Checks 1919-193, 
2 Financial Records:  Checks-Yuma Ice Company  1908-1921
  2 Financial Records:  Gus Livingston Account Book   1906
  3 Documents:  Legal Documents, 4th Street Widening 1926
  4 Documents:  Legal Documents, Various 1930 – 1942  
  5 Documents:  Legal Documents, Yuma Valley Bank 1930-1934
  6 Memorabilia: Various (includes copper printing plate of business letterhead) n.d.
3 OV Scrapbook: Postcards 1906-1909
4 OV Scrapbook: News Clippings  1908-1951


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