It is with heavy hearts that we extend our sympathies to the family of Ernest Marquez (1924–2024), a local historian and an extraordinary collector of Los Angeles history. Ernest Marquez passed away on January 6, a few months shy of his 100th birthday (his Los Angeles Times obituary).
Ernest Marquez was a key figure in the L.A. as Subject project "Monomania L.A," a documentary series produced in collaboration with KCET. The series showcased the unique stories of a handful of collectors with a concentrated focus on Southern California history. Marquez personified the definition of monomania with his passionate enthusiasm for a single subject — the rich history of Rancho Boca de Santa Monica.
“Taking on the responsibility for documenting the history of the rancho became my obsession,” he explained in his book “Rancho Boca de Santa Monica,” published by Angel City Press in 2021. In the process of documenting his family’s 1839 Rancho Boca de Santa Monica land grant, he compiled hundreds of historical photos that focused not only on Santa Monica but greater Southern California.
Now at the Huntington Library, the Ernest Marquez collection was, as described by photo curator Jennifer Watts, “the best and most comprehensive collection of its kind in private hands." As we remember Ernest Marquez, we honor his passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to preserving the history of Southern California.
You can watch his episode of Monomania L.A. here -> https://www.pbssocal.org/shows/artbound/clip/monomania-l-a-ernest-marquez-and-rancho-boca-de-santa-monica