We Are Thankful!

IMG_1110By Monica Orozco, SBMAL Director

We are always thankful for all our friends, but during this season we, the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library Board of Trustees and myself, would like to especially thank you all for your support!

We have wonderful friends, members, and helpers whose hard work, talents, and treasure have allowed the Archive-Library to fulfill its mission–to take care of our collections and provide access to researchers.

It’s not possible to list all who have helped us over the years, but here is a gallery of just some of these amazing folks.

Thank you everyone for all your support! Happy Thanksgiving!


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Good Friends, Good Food, and Good Art!

Phila Rogers, James Brooks, and Monica Orozco.

Phila Rogers, James Brooks, and Monica Orozco.

On Thursday, November 6, 2014, the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library hosted an open house and reception to thank our sponsors and partners in our Deakin Mission Paintings conservation project, and to provide an opportunity for them and all our friends to see the progress on the restoration of the paintings.

In attendance were Marc and Pauline Sylvain, whose leadership gift provided the impetus for our conservation efforts and SBMAL Board President John Gherini and his wife Mary Ann who also provided a generous gift toward this project.

Among the sponsors in attendance were Charlotte and Ken Richardson, Denise Sanford, Arturo Rodriguez, and other representatives from Old Spanish Days, Mary Louise Days, Robert and Virginia Guess, Gary and Marjie Toops, Gary and Louise Matz, Tom and Abby Treloggen, Francisco and Maria Cabrera, Gerald and Virginia Petrini, John and Maryella Petrini, and Phila Rogers. Ms. Rogers’ parents, Howard and Elaine Willoughby, donated the series of 21 paintings of California Missions to the Franciscan Friars of California almost 60 years ago.

Others guests included SBMAL Board Member Prof. Judy Larson, Director of the Westmont Museum of Art, Prof. James Brooks from the University of California, Santa Barbara, David Bolton, Executive Director of the California Missions Foundation, Dr. Anne Petersen, Associate Director of Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, and Scott Haskins, President and Chief Curator from Fine Art Conservation Laboratories. Mr. Haskins arrived with three newly restored paintings of Mission San José, Mission San Fernando Rey, and Mission Santa Clara de Asís.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the SBMAL Director, Monica Orozco, thanked all the conservation partners for their generous support. She also announced that the California Missions Foundation awarded the Archive-Library a generous grant for the restoration of the painting of Our Lady of Refuge. She thanked Mr. Bolton and the Foundation for their support of SBMAL’s conservation efforts. This restoration work will be undertaken by Fine Art Conservation Laboratories.

Scott Haskins addressed everyone and explained briefly the restoration process. He also introduced two conservators from FACL. who received very warm applause. All the guests expressed their delight with the results of the work by the team from Fine Art Conservation Laboratories.

Everyone was then invited to view the ten paintings of 21 which have had their restoration completed and to enjoy the refreshments prepared by the Virginia and Maryella Petrini.

All photos by Louise Matz.

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Mentoring A New Generation

Our summer interns and Director at a gathering of appreciation.

Our summer interns and Director at a gathering of appreciation.

Edited by Monica Orozco, SBMAL Director

This summer brought SBMAL four amazing interns, Kate Borchard, Rachel Hatcher, Lauren Trujillo, and Brittany Bratcher! These remarkable young women worked in the Archive helping to accomplish several long-term projects. They worked on a variety of subjects and projects, and thus had the opportunity to gain many different skills. One of the main ongoing projects is the digitization of the Father Junípero Serra Collection funded by the Academy of American Franciscan History, to which all four of the interns contributed.  But that’s only one of the many the opportunities our interns had to acquire new skills and to help them as they contemplate where their future may take them. 

While their internships are meant to help them gain experience and new skills, their work and energy were invaluable! Thank you Kate, Rachel, Lauren, and Brittany!

Meet our Interns!

Brittany lending Rachel a hand during digital photography.

Brittany lending Rachel a hand during digital photography.

Rachel Hatcher:
I found my way to the Mission Archive-Library by way of my history degree at Westmont College. At Westmont, I focused on Church history and the Eastern Mediterranean. I knew that I wanted to be involved with Public History, where the academy and the community meet. I looked into work that could blend some of my interests– I found California history to be fascinating and local. I began helping with the Junípero Serra Collection at the Archive-Library in the fall of 2013. I spent my time in the Archive using scanners and Photoshop to digitize the hundreds of documents in the collection.

When Brother Timothy Arthur, OFM began to transition into his retirement from the Provincial Archive, also located at Mission Santa Barbara, I was asked to assist him. Over the summer of 2014, as an intern for both the Mission Archive-Library and the Provincial Archive, I continued to work on digitization projects, photographing novice notebooks and Serra documents, filing projects with Br. Tim, and designing a traveling exhibit project for the Centennial celebration of the Province of Saint Barbara. The exhibit will travel around the Province, from Washington to Mexico, to celebrate the Friars’ history and share their story.

At the Archive-Library, I have had the freedom to tackle my own projects, work with brand new equipment, and be surrounded by fellow history lovers that work hard. I’m exploring my options in public history; I’d like to continue working in archives or museums in California or abroad.

Lauren at the sewing machine making bags for storing the globe collection.

Lauren at the sewing machine making bags for storing the globe collection.

Lauren Trujillo:
Hi I am Lauren Trujillo, a third year at the University of California Santa Barbara majoring in history with a minor in Black Studies. I am from Crescent City, California and I plan to continue my education and career path around museum curatorial and archival work.

I started working as an intern for the SBMAL this spring with the Junípero Serra Collection digitization project. For the summer I was looking forward to expanding my knowledge of archiving and mission history under the Geiger Memorial Internship. I have worked several projects and have the opportunity to try all areas of archival work.
My experience as a Geiger intern has been wonderful and I have been able to accomplish all I was expecting and more. The projects I have been working on over the summer include: preservation of the SBMAL Globe Collection, Old Mission Santa Barbara general files dealing with the 1925 earthquake and restoration, and the Oblasser Collection from the Franciscan Missions in Arizona.

I have learned a lot this summer about archiving, mission history, and Santa Barbara through the process and hope to continue working with SBMAL. My passion for history, preservation, and archival work has grown and I am thankful for the opportunities I have had with this internship.

Great synergy resulted in Brittany and Rachel accidentally dressing alike.

Great synergy resulted in Brittany and Rachel accidentally dressing alike.

Brittany Bratcher:
I was looking for an internship after graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo when I first discovered the Archive-Library. As an undergraduate I had studied history and had already dipped my feet into the archival world at the school library, so I knew it was something that I was interested in pursuing. I was also looking to return back to the Santa Barbara area where I had grown up. SBMAL was a perfect fit.

As an intern I spend much of my time working on post-production cleanup of the Junípero Serra Collection in Photoshop. This entails digitally altering the files to make it easier for researchers to read and access while keeping a copy of the original file intact for comparison. However, there are always a lot of other diverse projects that I can work on.

Some days, I might transfer documents and photographic material to a safe archival container so that they will be preserved for years to come. Other days I might spend the day moving books to a more permanent home on the shelves.

When I first began college as an undergraduate I had no idea that there were so many different career paths for history majors. I have since discovered my passion for public history and plan on pursuing a career in a related field. At SBMAL, not only have I come to understand how rich local history can be, but also how historical institutions operate. My time as an intern has been a valuable experience that has better prepared me for wherever my future may take me.

Lauren, Kate and Brittany.

Lauren, Kate and Brittany.

Kate Borchard:
Hi my name is Kate Borchard! I am a native of Camarillo, CA and will be going into my senior year at Furman University in Greenville, SC. I am a History major, with a minor in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, and I love ancient history and prehistory, as well as early American history. I am hoping to pursue work in the museum field, with the ultimate goal of becoming a curator, or possibly a professor.

This summer, I divided my time between working at SBMAL and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. My goal for this summer was to gain a better understanding of how small historic organizations are run and the type of work they do there, as well as becoming familiar with the process of cataloguing, caring for, and preserving historic artifacts through a variety of means. 

I have had the chance to learn about all of these things, and so much more, from both organizations this summer.

At SBMAL in particular, I have worked on preserving the Junípero Serra Collection through the digitization and post-production process, and through re-housing and re-shelving, I helped to better preserve Norman Neuerburg’s extensive photograph collection. I also did a small research project on Neuerburg, as SBMAL houses a vast amount of his personal papers and research material, and was thus able to see the benefits of preservation and of an archive from a research perspective.

 My work this summer has given me a newfound appreciation for early California and mission history, and I have enjoyed becoming more familiar with our local past, as well as learning many new skills that will help me immensely in my future pursuits. Thank you to everyone at SBMAL that has made my time here so informative and worthwhile!

Editor’s note: The Junípero Serra Collection digitization project was funded by the Academy of American Franciscan History. The Assistant Archivist Internship was funded by the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara. The Geiger Memorial Internships are funded by the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library.

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AAFH Annual Tibesar Lecture at SBMAL

Fray Angelico Chavez

Fray Angelico Chavez

The Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library will host the Academy of American Franciscan History’s Annual Tibesar Lecture on Saturday October 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm in the SBMAL Conference Room. This year’s speaker, Prof. Ellen McCracken will present “Fray Angelico Chavez and the Colonial Southwest: Historiography as 

Prof. Ellen McCracken will discuss Franciscan Fray Angelico Chavez (1910-1996), one of New Mexico’s foremost 20th century intellectuals, whose historiography crucially involved strategies of re-materialization of New Mexico history. The many innovative material practices in which he engaged increased the understanding of the past and simultaneously helped to preserve it, giving it a visual material presence beyond the written historical narrative. Prof. McCracken will focus on key examples of these strategies in his seven-decade career, to illustrate how Fray Angelico Chavez’s innovative enhancements of traditional historiography point the way to enticing modes of amplifying the writing and presentation of history in the digital age.

Ellen McCracken is a professor of Spanish and comparative Latino/a literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Among her books are: The Life and Writing of Fray Angelico Chavez: A New Mexico Renaissance Man (2009) and New Latina Narrative: The Feminine Space of Postmodern Ethnicity (1999). Her edited volumes include: Fray Angelico Chavez: Poet, Priest and Artist (2000) and Guitars and Adobes and the Uncollected Stories of Fray Angelico Chavez (2009).

Saturday. October 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm, SBMAL Conference Room
Free admission but space is limited

For more information call (805) 682-4713 ext 152 or email director@sbmal.org


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New “Stars” by Which to Navigate

Our Conference Room now has LED track lighting to highlight.

Our Conference Room now has LED track lighting to highlight. Photo by Monica Orozco.

By Monica Orozco, SBMAL Director

In the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the protagonist observes that trying to navigate on the Mississippi River at night has its challenges. While as Huck (or Twain) notes, “stars and shadows ain’t good to see by,” they do have significant advantages over the fluorescent lights that until recently illuminated the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library. Thanks to a very generous grant from the Wood Claeyssens Foundation, the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library has replaced its old lighting system with a new system comprised of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) which are energy efficient, kinder to the environment, and meet current archival and museum standards, thus providing a safer environment for our vast and significant collections.

Light is one of the biggest dangers to historical collections (along with insects, temperature, humidity, and humans). If you have ever visited SBMAL, you may have noticed we don’t have windows and that’s by design. The sun emits ultraviolet rays which are especially harmful. But even without the worry of sunlight, UV rays continue to be a concern because these are also emitted by fluorescent bulbs.

It takes only a few weeks under fluorescent lighting for a work of art to be damaged. Ultraviolet rays cause the weakening and discoloration of paper fibers and it causes pigments and dyes to fade. Exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to “light burn” or uneven discoloration. As a result we try to refrain from exhibiting some our collection in order to limit its exposure to light. This is particularly true of our water color paintings and etchings (paper is especially vulnerable to damage). This light exposure is also of concern for the rare books and manuscripts in our collection.

The existing fluorescent lighting system, despite whatever precautions we took, such as installing UV filters in each light fixture or limiting use or exposure of items, will cause damage to items composed of paper, ink, and pigments of various types. With increased use and exposure, the inevitable damage accumulates.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) however, do not emit UV rays, thus eliminating one of our major dangers to our collections. But there are other benefits as well. For instance, with LEDs we can select a color spectrum which will reveal the colors in paintings that may appear “flat” under incandescent or fluorescent lighting. It is not unusual for new details or colors in art work to become suddenly “visible” to the viewer under LED lighting.

The new lighting system also helps us with two other factors we must control, humidity and temperature. LEDs do not generate the heat which incandescent and fluorescent lighting generate. The impact of the lighting system on our humidity and air temperature control system will be much less than the previous system. Estimates provided by institutions which have installed LED systems such as the Getty Institute and the Smithsonian American Art Museum estimate that there is a 25% reduction of impact on these environmental control systems, resulting in a reduction in the energy costs associated with the operation of the environmental systems.

LEDs also have less impact on the environment in general. Replacing our existing lighting system will reduce our energy use by 75% percent, lessening our impact on the environment. Disposal of used incandescent and fluorescent bulbs is also problematic. Fluorescent bulbs contain chemical compounds such as fluorine, neon, lead powder, and the toxic heavy metal, mercury. These elements pose a hazard if released into the air, the water systems, or the soil. We must pay for each bulb we turn in for proper disposal. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) do not contain these hazardous materials. Transitioning away from fluorescent lighting has helped us be more environmentally friendly through reduced energy use and through the elimination of bulbs that are considered hazardous waste.

But there is also a human factor. LEDs do not hum or flicker, a common characteristic of fluorescent lighting, and therefore LEDs provide a work environment that is much better for volunteers, staff, and researchers. LEDs are a dependable source of lighting with a longer life than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with a standard life of 1,000 to 2,000 hours. The industry currently cites the standard of 25,000 hours of life for an LED light. This means less labor and costs in the long run allocated for replacing bulbs.

The past few years have seen some tremendous changes at SBMAL in how we store our collections and the environment we provide for them. These improvement projects are a result of our commitment to our mission to acquire, conserve, and make available historical resources that can help researchers tell the stories of Franciscan Mission history and the history of Native Peoples in early California and the Southwestern United States.

However, we are a not-for-profit (501(c)(3) historical and educational institution that relies on donations, grants, and membership to subsidize our operating expenses and costs associated with conserving the collections. So major improvement projects such as installing a new LED lighting system are made possible only through generous grants such as this one received from the Wood Claeyssens Foundation! We greatly appreciate the generosity and their vote of confidence in the work we do to care for this historically significant resource.

We are continuing work on some other projects that will improve our facilities and our collections. Stay tuned for other progress reports! And if you are interested in finding out how you can help SBMAL, please contact me at director@sbmal.org or at (805) 682-4713 ext. 152.

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We Get By with a Lot of Help From Our Friends: Deakin Project Update

By Monica Orozco

Marc and Pauline Sylvain presenting a generous donation to help fund the conservation of the Deakin paintings. Photo credit: Louise Matz.

Marc and Pauline Sylvain presenting a generous donation to help fund the conservation of the Deakin paintings. Photo credit: Louise Matz.

We have amazing friends! Thanks to so many wonderful people, our “adopt a mission painting” campaign to find sponsors for conserving the 21 painting of California Missions by Edwin Deakin got off to a tremendous start and is on the home stretch! We have only 4 paintings left looking for sponsors.

Marc and Pauline Sylvain’s leadership gift helped launch our efforts to have this historically significant and beautiful collection of paintings restored. This collection was originally donated to the Franciscan Friars by Howard and Elaine Willoughby almost 60 years ago and have been entrusted to the care of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library. The Sylvains offered to match donations designated for this project up to $20,000.00. We then received a generous donation from the John Gherini Charitable Trust and two early sponsors Gary and Louise Matz stepped in.

Interest in partnering with us on this conservation project grew rapidly, especially after art conservator Scott Haskin’s (Fine Art Conservation Laboratories) presentation on May 22, 2014. By the end of that evening we had paintings sponsored by the Franciscan Friar Community of Old Mission Santa Barbara, Mary Louise Days, Gary Matz with Roger and Dr. Cheryl Deconde Johnson, and the Heppner/Mackey Family.

Soon after, Phila Rogers, daughter of Howard and Elaine Willoughby, and her daughter Nancy Law, visited the Archive-Library. This was an emotional reunion as Ms. Rogers recalled her memories of the collection displayed in her family home. During that visit, Ms. Rogers generously became the sponsor of the painting of Mission San Buenaventura.

Our efforts to inform people of the opportunity to partner with SBMAL in this conservation project received a tremendous boost from local news outlets including the Santa Barbara Independent, and local appraiser Elizabeth Stewart’s column in the Santa Barbara News Press, which brought us Charlotte and Ken Richardson, sponsors of three of the paintings! And most recently, Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara (well known in our community for organizing the yearly Fiesta events) became a sponsor.

Thanks to all our wonderful friends, we have only four paintings remaining to be “adopted,” so if you are interested in partnering with us, I urge you to act quickly! Those paintings still in need of sponsors are Mission San Diego de Alcalá, Mission San Luis Rey, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Dolores), and Mission San Juan Bautista.

You can reach Monica Orozco by email (director@sbmal.org) or by phone at (805) 682-4713 ext. 152 if you are interested in information about how you can help us with this or other projects.

Thank you to all our wonderful friends who have helped us spread the word about this project and who have generously donated to help us with our conservation efforts!

Here is the complete list of donors to date:

Leadership Gifts:
Marc and Pauline Sylvain
John Gherini Charitable Trust

“Adopt a Mission Painting” Sponsors:Anonymous
Mary Louise Days
Franciscan Friars of Old Mission Santa Barbara
Tom and Cindy Gherini
Heppner/Mackey Family
Roger and Dr. Cheryl Deconde Johnson
Gary and Louise Matz
Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara
Gerald and Virginia Petrini
John and Maryella Petrini
Rice/Toops/Davis Family
Charlotte and Ken Richardson
Phila Rogers and Family
Barbara Rosenblum
Abby and Tom Treloggen

Kathi Brewster
William Burtness

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A Gathering of Friends and Art Lovers

reception 2What do you get when you mix art, friends, good conversation, and good food? A wonderful evening at the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library. On May 22, 2014 the Archive-Library hosted approximately 80 people for an evening featuring a presentation by art conservator Scott Haskins and a reception, culminating in a tour of our series of 21 California Mission paintings by Edwin Deakin from the late 19th century.

As our guests arrived they were greeted by our volunteers who guided them from the front of the mission to the Bonaventure Hall located behind the main mission structure. There they were treated to a lively presentation form art conservator Scott Haskins from Fine Art Conservation Laboratories who gave them a behind the scenes view of some of the extraordinary measures that are sometimes needed to restore historically significant oil paintings and murals.

Mr. Haskins shared pictures of the work he did for the Mission Inn in Riverside on a series of California Mission paintings by Henry Chapman Ford. The audience was enthralled by descriptions of the techniques needed to save paintings that had been exposed to the elements. In one case a painting had been exposed to rain resulting in the canvas shrinking, forcing the conservators to lift off the layer of oil paint and placing it on a new canvas.

Mr. Haskins then discussed his work on the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library’s collection of Deakin paintings. Thankfully, he stated the paintings were in fairly good condition despite being over 100 years old. In most cases they needed old, discolored varnish removed before cleaning and re-varnishing. In addition the frames needed to be repaired and to be restored to their original color. This conservation project was begun thanks to a leadership gift from Marc and Pauline Sylvain, who issued a challenge to all in attendance. They would match each donation up to $20,000.00 made by October 31, 2014 and designated for the conservation of the Deakin series in SBMAL’s collection!

After the talk, Fr. Richard McManus, guardian and director of Old Mission Santa Barbara, presented a donation to the Archive-Library to sponsor the restoration of the painting of Mission Santa Barbara from the Deakin series. The Franciscan Friars from the Old Mission, who take a vow of poverty, had donated the funds from their own personal stipend they receive monthly to take care of their personal needs. This donation was greeted with hearty applause and the SBMAL director announced the that the Archive-Library was launching an “adopt a mission painting” program looking for sponsors for all the paintings in the series. This call was immediately answered by Mary Louise Days who pledged to sponsor Mission Santa Inés! Ms. Days’ family connection to that mission extends for generations, tracing back to the Thomas J. Donahue family who lived there for sixteen years in the late 19th century.

The audience then was led to the Archive-Library Conference Room where they could see all 21 paintings of the California Mission painted by Edwin Deakin, including the painting of Mission San Juan Capistrano which was making its debut fresh from being fully restored! Guests then wandered out onto the Portico to enjoy refreshments.

It was a wonderful evening for all in attendance and a very successful beginning to our art conservation efforts. Stay tuned for an update on the “adopt a mission painting” program. And if you are interested in helping us out, please contact the Monica Orozco at director@sbmal.org or by calling (805) 682-4713 ext. 152. But don’t wait too long–they are going fast!

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A Special Event Thursday May 22, 2014

postcard frontJoin us Thursday May 22, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm for a presentation by Scott M. Haskins from Fine Arts Conservation Laboratories.  Mr. Haskin will share his efforts restoring several Mission paintings by Henry Chapman Ford for the Mission Inn in Riverside and the Mission paintings by Edwin Deakin for the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library. A tour of the 21 oil paintings of California Mission paintings by Edwin Deakin in SBMAL’s collection and reception will follow.

Scott M. Haskins has been a painting conservator since 1975. His company, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) has been responsible for the restoration of many significant paintings from early California.

The event is free but reservations are suggested. Call (805) 682-4713 ext 124 or email research@sbmal.org.

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Conserving the Art of Early California

By Monica Orozco, SBMAL Director

Detail from Deakin painting of Mission San Antonio de Padua.

Detail from Deakin painting of Mission San Antonio de Padua.

One of the crown jewels of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library is a beautiful and historically significant series of oil paintings of the twenty-one Missions of Alta California by Edwin Deakin. It is one of three complete series (two in oil, one in water color) Deakin painted at the end of the 19th century.

At the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library we are embarking on a conservation project. Thanks to a very generous leadership gift from our friends Marc and Pauline Sylvain, we have begun the restoration of the twenty-one Deakin Mission paintings in our collection. This series was a gift to the Franciscan Friars of California from Mr. Howard Willoughby and have been entrusted to the care of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library.

On “Thursday May 22 at 6:00 pm you can get a sneak peak into our efforts to conserve these wonderful paintings with a special event featuring art conservator Scott M. Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories. This presentation,“Preserving California History: Conserving the Art of Henry Chapman Ford and Edwin Deakin” will be followed by a tour of our twenty-one Deakin paintings and a reception.

The twenty-one paintings in this series are important historical artifacts. Most of the missions in the paintings are depicted in a state of decline. As the mission-era ended, the structures lost their value except for the building materials that could be re-purposed by locals. Roof tiles were used to cover other structures, leaving the mission walls exposed to the elements. Also, natural disasters and fires took their toll. It was the land that was valuable as the rancho economy grew in late nineteenth-century California.

The work produced by artists such as Deakin, Henry Chapman Ford, and Edward Borein, helped revive interest in mission-era California. It is thanks in part to their art that Californians began to appreciate their history once again and invest in conserving, and in some cases, restoring the missions and other structures that played an important role in early California.

If you are interested in helping us conserve these paintings by “adopting” a mission painting,  please contact me by email (director@sbmal.org) or by phone (805) 682-4713 ext. 152.

“Preserving California History: Conserving the Art of Henry Chapman Ford and Edwin Deakin” a presentation by Scott M. Haskins, A tour of our twenty-one Deakin Paintings and reception will follow.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm

While the event is free, space is limited. Please RSVP through email at research@sbmal.org or by phone, (805) 682-4713 ext 124.

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Geiger Memorial Summer Internship

Fr. Maynard Geiger OFM, SBMAL archivist at his desk.

Fr. Maynard Geiger OFM, SBMAL archivist at his desk.

By Monica Orozco, SBMAL Director

The time is now to apply for our paid Summer internship established in honor of Fr. Maynard Geiger, OFM, who served as SBMAL archivist for 40 years.

The Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library has two origin stories. The first origin of the Archive dates back to the founding of Mission Santa Bárbara and the years that followed when the majority of our mission-related documents were generated and when many of the books in our antique book collection arrived with the friars and served as their reference library. But the more recent origin story begins in the latter part of the 20th century with the establishment of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library as a not-for-profit historical institution located in a newly added wing of the historic Mission. A major force behind this second phase was archivist and historian Fr. Maynard Geiger, OFM.

Joseph Geiger (1901-1977) was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but his family subsequently moved to Southern California. In 1919 Maynard Geiger arrived at St. Anthony’s Preparatory Seminary in Santa Barbara as a candidate for the Order of the Friars Minor (Franciscan Order). He took the religious name of Maynard four years later when he professed. He went on to study philosophy, he was ordained as a priest, taught at the Seminary, and then completed his doctoral degree in history at Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. in 1937.

Upon completing his doctoral studies, Fr. Geiger was appointed archivist at Mission Santa Bárbara and he held that position for the next 40 years. During his years as archivist he continued his scholarly work, publishing numerous books, articles, and pamphlets on California Mission History. But one of his dreams as archivist was to see a modern facility built to house the thousands of documents and books that had accumulated at Mission Santa Bárbara. This dream finally came to fruition thanks to the the hard work, dedication, and generosity of many friends. In 1968 the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library was incorporated and registered as a not-for-profit historical institution and in October of 1970 a dedication ceremony was held to mark the completion of the new facility.

Fr. Geiger’s work and spirit are still very much a part of SBMAL. Many handwritten transcriptions or translations of documents are in his very neat hand which is immediately recognizable. It was his hard work that gave us our Calendar of Documents, the description of our major document collections. And I, and other directors of SBMAL that succeeded him, still use his desk. His portrait hangs in our foyer, and it is not unusual for his nieces and nephews and their children to visit his old office at SBMAL.

In honor of Fr. Geiger and his decades of work as archivist and historian, the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library Board of Trustees established the Geiger Memorial Summer Internship. This paid internship is intended to offer an opportunity for undergraduate or graduate students to gain experience working in an archive and who are considering further studies or career in public history, library and information technology, archive management, or museum studies. If you are someone you know are interested in finding out more about the Geiger Memorial Summer Internship, please visit our website (www.sbmal.org) for more information. The deadline for applications is May 12, 2014.

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