Scope and Content
Title: Bernal Family Papers
Dates: 1849-circa 1896
Collection Call Number: mssHM 70789-70855
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: The chronologically-arranged documents demonstrate the range of legal, financial and real estate-related transactions initiated
by or concerning the Bernal family and their associates. Included in this series are legal contracts, mortgages, leases, title
deeds, promissory notes, tax receipts, and general accounting records. The series also includes personal and business letters
to and by the Bernal family members and their associates. Two portraits comprise their own series. Both portraits were taken
by San Francisco-based photographers, Charles Lake Cramer and George Daniels Morse, sometime during the last thirty years
of the 19th century. Finally, ephemera are contained in the last folder of the collection. Subjects include H. W. Halleck,
Joseph Mora Moss, real property in California, San Francisco, San Mateo County and Livermore, California.
Language of Material: The records are in English and Spanish.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please go to following
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission
from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical
property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances,
the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate
curator for further information.
[Identification of item], Bernal Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Purchased from Argonaut Bookshop, March 1949.
The Bernal Family resided in the San Francisco Bay area
during the latter part of the 19th century. Carmen Sibrian
de Bernal, who was born at San Juan Bautista Mission on
April 14, 1804, married Jose Cornelio Bernal on Junee 26,
1819 at Santa Clara Mission. As these documents reveal,
Carmen Sibrian de Bernal assumed a greater role in the
family's legal and financial matters after the death of
her husband in November 1850. The documents also
demonstrate that the couple's son, Jose de Jesus Bernal,
born circa December 26, 1830 at San Francisco Mission,
also took an active role in the family's dealings,
particularly in real estate affairs. Jose de Jesus Bernal
eventually married Geronima Rufino, whose family members
also contributed to this collection. Other persons who had
familial ties to the Bernals include members of the
Vasquez and Higuera families. Other associates include
members of the Italian and Euro-American communities in
the San Francisco area.
Scope and Content
The papers consist of the following series:
The chronologically-arranged documents demonstrate the range of legal, financial, and real estate-related transactions initiated
by or concerning the Bernal Family and their associates. Included in this series are legal contracts, mortgages, leases, title
deeds, promissory notes, tax receipts, and general accounting records. The series also includes materials created and / or
signed by California-based administrators, most notably by Jacques Antoine Moerenhout. The Belgian-born Moerenhout served
as consul for France in the United States and Tahiti and authored The Inside Story of the Gold Rush (Campbell 85). Also represented
is Henry Haight, the San Francisco-based banker and uncle of the tenth governor of California, Henry H. Haight.
The chronologically-arranged correspondence includes personal and business letters to and by the Bernal Family members and
their associates. Many letters were directed to Geronima Rufino de Bernal, with a minority of letters directed to Carmen Sibrian
Two chronologically-arranged portraits comprise their own series. Both portraits were taken by San Francisco-based photographers,
Charles Lake Cramer and George Daniels Morse, sometime during the last thirty years of the nineteenth century. Only the sitter
in Morse's photograph was named and identified as Luis Ruffino.
Finally, ephemera are contained in the last folder of the collection. These items include: a blank indenture form signed by
Charles C Moore; a "Compromisos" (or Obligations) printed card, filled in with pencil; an empty envelope addressed to Carmen
Sibrian de Bernal, postmarked January 3, 1882; and two business cards, one for Mr. and Mrs. Aldrich and the other for Mr.
and Mrs. Forbes.
Halleck, H. W. (Henry Wager), 1815-1872
Moss, Joseph Mora,1809-1880
Landlord and tenant--California
Land titles--Registration and transfer--California.
Real property tax--California
San Francisco (Calif.)
San Mateo County (Calif.)
Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
Deeds California 19th century
Leases California 19th century
Legal documents California 19th century
Letters (correspondence) California 19th century