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Peveril Meigs Baja California Research Materials
MSS 0530  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Digital Content
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Peveril Meigs Baja California Research Materials
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0530
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: English
    Physical Description: 12.4 Linear feet (5 archives boxes and 8 oversized folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1925 - 1979
    Abstract: Photographs, journals, maps and related research materials on Baja California, Mexico, created by geographer Peveril Meigs III. Meigs conducted field research in northern Baja between 1925 and 1936 observing geology, climate, indigenous populations, mission sites, and local culture in preparation for his 1932 doctoral dissertation entitled "The Dominican Missions of Lower California" and his ethnographic monograph entitled The Kiliwa Indians of Lower California (1939).
    Creator: Meigs, Peveril, 1903-1979

    Related Materials

    SEPARATION NOTE: Published books, journals, and maps from the Peveril Meigs collection have been separated from the papers and added Library's holdings. To identify and list these items, conduct an author search in the ROGER catalog on the term "Meigs, Peveril 1903 1979 Former Owner."

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Photographs, journals, maps and related research materials on Baja California, Mexico, created by geographer Peveril Meigs III. Meigs conducted field research in northern Baja between 1925 and 1936 observing geology, climate, indigenous populations, mission sites, and local culture in preparation for his 1932 doctoral dissertation entitled "The Dominican Missions of Lower California" and his ethnographic monograph entitled The Kiliwa Indians of Lower California (1939).
    The collection contains journals with daily observations of people, the natural environment and historical sites; photographic prints, scans of negatives, and glass lantern slides, some of which have been mounted in albums; and hand drawn maps, particularly of the area around Arroyo Leon. The journals and all photographic images have been digitized and are available for viewing on the UC San Diego Library Digital Collections website. The collection also includes notes and typescripts on Meigs's fieldwork and published sources on Baja California and Dominican mission history; annotated publications; and correspondence with his dissertation advisor, Dr. Carl Sauer, and other notable scholars including ethnographer A.L. Kroeber, geographer Homer Aschmann, and historian Peter Gerhard. Of interest is Meigs's translation, from Spanish into English, of Dominican padre Luis de Sales's "Noticias de la Provincia de Californias en Tres Cartas," notes and data compiled in the 1950s on Baja California's climate history, and several papers by Meigs on peninsular Indian culture written in the 1970s. The collection does not contain material related to Meigs's research on other arid deserts or tide mills.
    Arranged in eight series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS BY MEIGS, 3) WRITINGS BY OTHERS, 4) JOURNALS, 5) PHOTOGRAPHS, 6) MAPS, 7) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, and 8) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.

    Biography

    Peveril Meigs, III was born in Flushing, New York, on May 5, 1903. His family moved to Santa Barbara, California, and Meigs later attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received an A.B. (1925) and a Ph.D (1932) in geography. As an undergraduate studying with Dr. Carl O. Sauer, Meigs became interested in Baja California and planned his first trip to the peninsula in the summer of 1925, accompanied by fellow graduate student Charles Warren Thornthwaite.
    On his first trip, Meigs and Thornthwaite travelled as far south as San Fernando de Velicatá and visited David Goldbaum in Ensenada, the Johnson Ranch in San Antonio del Mar, the Hamilton Ranch, the flour mill and saltworks at San Quintín, the Meling Ranch, and the mining center of Real Del Castillo. They also made a long stay in the town of El Rosario, a brief tour of Mexicali and visited the Dominican mission sites of San Fernando, El Rosario, Santo Domingo, and San Pedro Mártir.
    Meigs returned to Berkeley as a graduate student in the fall of 1925, presented his photographs to a seminar in geography and stimulated interest in the peninsula among graduate students and faculty, including Dr. Oscar Schmieder, who went on to study the Russian colony in the Guadalupe Valley. In the summer of 1926, Dr. Sauer, Meigs, and graduate students Sam Dicken and Fred Kniffen embarked upon a second trip that retraced many of the destinations of the first and concentrated on Dominican mission sites. Sauer and Meigs returned and published "Site and Culture at San Fernando de Velicatá," the first installment in a Baja California series published by the University of California Press. Sauer served as Meigs's advisor as he continued his graduate studies and began work on his dissertation.
    Meigs returned to Baja California each summer for the next three years, focusing on the history and geography of the Dominican missions and the native populations surrounding them. In 1927, Meigs was accompanied by Horace Byers, a Berkeley undergraduate interested in making meteorological observations. In 1928, Meigs, under the direction of Dr. A.L. Kroeber and accompanied by his wife Yvonne, spent several weeks living with and studying the Kiliwa Indians in Valle Trinidad. He was joined by his brother Stewart on a similar trip in 1929.
    Meigs returned to the peninsula to complete his studies of the Kiliwa Indians in 1936. The results of these studies were published in 1939 as The Kiliwa Indians of Lower California.
    Following several teaching apppointments in California and Louisiana, Meigs served as a geographer with the Office of Strategic Services (1942-1945) and the Arctic Institute of North America (1948-1949). While he spent most of his professional career studying the physical geography of arid and arctic zones, Meigs returned to his Baja California studies in the 1970s, publishing several articles in Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly that reexamined his earlier field work.
    Peveril Meigs died September 16, 1979, in Wayland, Massachusetts.

    Digital Content

    Journals and photographic images from the collection have been digitized and can be viewed through links in the container list, or by clicking the link below.

    Preferred Citation

    Peveril Meigs Baja California Research Materials, MSS 530. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2000, 2001.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Dawson, Glen, 1912-
    Gerhard, Peter, 1920-
    Kelly, William H. (William Henderson), 1902-
    Kroeber, A. L. (Alfred Louis), 1876-1960
    Sales, Luis de, 1745-1807
    Sauer, Carl Ortwin, 1889-1975
    West, Robert C. (Robert Cooper), 1913-2001
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Climate
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Description and travel
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Geography
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- History
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Maps
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Pictorial works
    Indians of Mexico -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula)
    Kiliwa Indians
    Maps -- Mexico -- Baja California -- 20th century
    Meling Ranch (Baja California, Mexico)
    Missions -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula) -- History
    Missions -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula) -- Pictorial works
    Photographic prints -- 1920-1929
    Photographic prints -- 1930-1939
    Ranches -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula)