Register of the Peveril Meigs. Baja California Research Materials

Mandeville Special Collections Library 0175S
UC, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
Phone: (858) 534-2533
Fax: (858) 534-5950
Repository Website:
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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Peveril Meigs. Baja California Research Materials, 1925-1979

MSS 0530

Mandeville Special Collections Library


La Jolla, CA 92093-0175

Contact Information:

  • Mandeville Special Collections Library 0175S
  • UC, San Diego
  • La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
  • Phone: (858) 534-2533
  • Fax: (858) 534-5950
  • Email:
  • Repository Website:
This file last updated: October 2003.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Peveril Meigs. Baja California Research Materials,
Date (inclusive): 1925-1979
Collection number: MSS 0530
Creator: Meigs, Peveril, 1903-1979
Extent: 12.40 linear feet (5 archives boxes and 8 oversized folders)
Repository: Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD
La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
Abstract: Research materials related to the Baja California studies of geographer Peveril Meigs, III. Meigs conducted field research in northern Baja California, Mexico, 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; photograph albums with black-and-white images described in his journals; and hand drawn maps, particularly of the area around Arroyo Leon. Also included are notes and typescripts on his fieldwork and published sources on Baja California and Dominican mission history; published maps; 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." Also included are 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. The research materials are 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.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Fragile journals in box 2, folder 11-15 and box 3, folder 1-10 are restricted. Patrons must use preservation photocopies.

Preferred Citation

Peveril Meigs. Baja California Research Materials, MSS 0530. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.


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 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 C. Warren Thornthwaite.
On his first trip, Meigs and Thornthwaite travelled as far south as San Fernando de Velicata and visited David Goldbaum in Ensenada, the Johnson Ranch in San Antonio del Mar, the Hamilton Ranch, the flour mill and saltworks at San Quintin, 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 Martir.
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 Velicata," 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.


The research materials related to the Baja California studies of geographer Peveril Meigs, III (1903-1979), contain correspondence with colleagues and Baja California specialists; manuscripts fragments and notes on field observations and bibliographic sources; typescripts of articles; trip journals with observations on Baja California culture, archaeology and natural history; manuscript and printed maps, photograph albums documenting field trips, lantern slides, and annotated publications. The collection is 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.
The CORRESPONDENCE series includes letters from other Baja California historians, geographers, and anthropologists, as well as editors, booksellers, and family members. Notable correspondents include Carl Sauer, A.L. Kroeber, Homer Aschmann, and Peter Gerhard. The series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
The WRITINGS BY MEIGS series, arranged alphabetically, contains drafts summarizing field notes, typescripts, notes on bibliographic sources, and reprints of Meigs's work related to Baja California, including research notes for his published works on the Kiliwa Indians and several reprints of articles published in PACIFIC COAST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY. Of interest is Meigs's translation of Padre Luis de Sales's "Noticias de la Provincia de Californias en Tres Cartas," an important account on Dominican activity in Baja California.
The WRITINGS BY OTHERS series contains Baja California-related publications by other authors that have been heavily annotated by Meigs. This series is arranged in alphabetical order.
The JOURNALS include Meigs's field notes from his 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1929 Baja California trips. Notably absent from the series are his notes from 1936. While the journals mostly contain daily accounts of his field work, including land measurements, sketch maps, photograph captions, and interviews with subjects, the 1925 journal begins six months before he enters the field, offering a glimpse of Meigs's life as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. The final entry in the series is a copy of Dr. Oscar Schmieder's study of the Russian colony at Guadalupe Valley, heavily annotated by Meigs while he studied the Kiliwa Indians in 1929. The journals were numbered by Meigs and are arranged chronologically.
The PHOTOGRAPHS series includes two subseries: A) Photograph Albums and B) Lantern Slides.
A) In the first subseries, over 300 photographs taken by Meigs are arranged into photograph albums. The 1925 album was created by Meigs and includes his original materials and captions. Negatives do not exist for this album. The subsequent albums were created during processing, following Meigs's example and using his numbering system to match photographs, negatives and captions. The albums contain a mixture of prints produced by Meigs and contemporary contact prints made from Meigs's negatives. An envelope of duplicate prints has been included on the last page of each album. Captions have been extracted from Meigs's journals and supplemented with additional notations found on his negative envelopes. Several holes remain in the photograph series where negative envelopes were empty or missing. In most cases, the numbers and captions of absent photographs have been noted and designated as "Missing" within each album. Some photographs remain unidentified and have been housed in folders separate from the albums. Approximate dates have been attributed to each set of unidentifed photographs. The photograph albums and corresponding "Unidentified" folders are arranged in chronological order.
B) The second subseries contains 63 lantern slides used in a presentation by Meigs. The slides include photographs from several of Meigs's Baja trips, as well as hand-drawn maps.
The MAPS series includes maps created by Meigs, either as copies of existing maps or as field sketches, as well as a "Baja California Sketch Map" containing C.W. Thornthwaite's signature on each leaf. The maps created by Meigs have been identified using the title he attributed to them. Untitled maps have been identified by geographic region or landmarks. The Thornthwaite map appears to be an enlarged and segmented copy of Carl H. Beal's "Reconnaissance geologic map and structure sections of Baja California, Mexico." The twelve leaves of the map are accompanied by reduced-sized photocopies exhibiting numerous annotations by Meigs. The series is arranged in alphabetical order.
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains newspaper clippings, pressed plants, and a postcard from Ensenada. The material is arranged in alphabetical order.
Books, journals, and maps received in accessions of the Peveril Meigs Papers have been separated from the collection and added elsewhere to the library's holdings. To identify and list these items, conduct an author search in ROGER on the term "Meigs, Peveril 1903 1979 Former Owner."

Collection Contents



Box 1, Folder 1

A-Z Miscellaneous, .

Box 1, Folder 2

Antigua Libreria Robredo, 1949.

Box 1, Folder 3

Aschmann, Homer, 1954.

Additional Note

Includes Baja California climatic data charts.
Box 1, Folder 4

Brand, Donald D., 1939.

Box 1, Folder 5

Dawson's Book Shop, 1979.

Additional Note

Glen Dawson.
Box 1, Folder 6

Gerhard, Peter, 1943 -1951.

Box 1, Folder 7

Kelly, William, 1940 -1949.

Box 1, Folder 8

Kroeber, A.L., 1932 -1939.

Box 1, Folder 9

Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1935.

Box 1, Folder 10

Meigs, Loren (brother), 1925 -1932.

Box 1, Folder 11

Sauer, Carl, 1927 -1931.

Box 1, Folder 12

Smith, Helen, 1970 -1971.

Box 1, Folder 13

West, Robert, 1979.



Box 1, Folder 14

Baja California bibliographies, 1952 -1961.

Box 1, Folder 15

Baja California climatic data, 1919 -1967.

Additional Note

Notes and charts.
Box 1, Folder 16

Capes of Human Hair from Baja California and Outside, 1970.

Additional Note

Reprint and negative of illustration. Published in PACIFIC COAST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1970.
Box 1, Folder 17

Creation Myth and Other Recollections of the Niji Mishkwish, 1971.

Additional Note

Reprint, draft, photograph, drawing, and map. Published in PACIFIC COAST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 1971.
Box 1, Folder 18

Crespi diary notes, .

Box 1, Folder 19

Dominican Mission Frontier of Lower California, 1935.

Additional Note

Box 1, Folder 20

Kiliwa Indians - Dialects, .

Box 1, Folder 21

Kiliwa Indians - Notes, 1917 -1977.

Box 1, Folder 22

Kiliwa Indians - Valle Trinidad notes, 1929.

Box 1, Folder 23

Kiliwa Indians of Lower California, 1932 -1969.

Additional Note

Correspondence and manuscript draft.
Box 1, Folder 24

Miscellaneous notes, .

Box 1, Folder 25

Notes on the Paipai of San Isidoro, Baja California, 1977.

Additional Note

Reprint. Published in PACIFIC COAST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 1977.
Box 1, Folder 26

Noticias de la Provincia de Californias en Tres Cartas, by Luis Sales. Translated by Meigs, .

Additional Note

Box 1, Folder 27

Noticias de la Provincia de Californias en Tres Cartas, by Luis Sales. Translated by Meigs, .

Additional Note

Box 1, Folder 28

Rains and hurricanes in southern Baja California, 1966.

Additional Note

Draft and notes.
Box 1, Folder 29

Some Pictographs in Northern Baja California, 1976.

Additional Note

Reprint. Published in PACIFIC COAST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol. 12, No. 1, January 1976.


Box 1, Folder 30

Diary of Junipero Serra; Mch. 28 - June 30, 1769. Part III, 1902.

Additional Note

Published in OUTWEST, vol. 16, no. 5.
Box 1, Folder 31

Gifford, E.W. "The Kamia of Imperial Valley", 1931.

Additional Note

Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 97.
Box 2, Folder 1

Gifford, E.W. and R.H. Lowie. "Notes on the Akwa'ala Indians of Lower California", 1929.

Additional Note

University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 23, No. 7, pp. 339-352. 2 copies, both annotated by Meigs.
Box 2, Folder 2


Additional Note

University of Arizona. Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Technical Reports on the Meteorology and Climatology of Arid Regions, No. 14.
Box 2, Folder 3

Hendry, George W. "Francisco Palou's Boundary Marker", 1926.

Additional Note

California Historical Society, San Francisco, 1926.
Box 2, Folder 4

Mexico. Secretaria de Agricultura y Ganaderia. Servicio Meteorologico Mexicano, 1924 -1954.

Additional Note

Manuscript meteorological data charts recording temperature, rainfall, dominant wind direction, number of days of fog, and number of cloudy days for reporting stations in Baja California and Sonora from the 1920s to the 1950s. Completeness of the data varies for each station
Box 2, Folder 5


Additional Note

Box 2, Folder 6

North Mexican Center for Anthropology, 1953.

Additional Note

Box 2, Folder 7

Rogers, Malcolm J. "The Stone Art of the San Dieguito Plateau", 1929.

Additional Note

Reprinted from AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, Vol. 31, No. 3, July-September 1929.
Box 2, Folder 8

Shreve, Forest. "A Desert by the Sea", 1935.

Additional Note

Carnegie Institution of Washington, News Service Bulletin, School Edition. Vol. 3, No. 26, Release Date Sunday, September 29, 1935.
Box 2, Folder 9

Shreve, Forest and R.D. Mallery. "Desert Investigations", 1934.

Additional Note

Annual Report of the Division of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1933-1934. Issued December 14, 1934.


Box 2, Folder 10

Outlined account of Baja California explorations, 1926 -1928.

Additional Note

Contains references to journal page numbers and photographs.
Box 2, Folder 11

Journal 1, 1925.

Additional Note

January 1 -August 3. Baja California.
Box 2, Folder 12

Journal 1A, 1925.

Additional Note

June 25 -July 26. Baja California. Notes before going and measurements of elevation.
Box 2, Folder 13

Journal 2, 1926.

Additional Note

May -June. Baja California. Sauer's trip 1.
Box 2, Folder 14

Journal 3, 1926.

Additional Note

June -July. Baja California. Sauer's trip 2.
Box 2, Folder 15

Journal 4, 1926.

Additional Note

July -August. Baja California. Sauer's trip 3.
Box 3, Folder 1

Journal 5, 1927.

Additional Note

May -June. Baja California. Field notes 1.
Box 3, Folder 2

Journal 5A, 1927.

Additional Note

Meteorological data. Includes newspaper articles about Meig's 1926 and 1927 explorations.
Box 3, Folder 3

Lower California Day Book, 1927.

Additional Note

One entry, dated May 14.
Box 3, Folder 4

Journal 6, 1927.

Additional Note

June -July. Field notes 2.
Box 3, Folder 5

Journal 7, 8, and 9, 1927.

Additional Note

Volume contains "1927, July -August, Field notes 3"; "1927-1928, Winter"; and "1928, Summer, 2 weeks, includes Kiliwa study."
Box 3, Folder 6

Journal 10, 1928.

Additional Note

Kiliwa study, first summer, with Yvonne, 1.
Box 3, Folder 7

Journal 11, 1928.

Additional Note

Kiliwa study, first summer, with Yvonne, 2.
Box 3, Folder 8

Journal 12, 1928.

Additional Note

Box 3, Folder 9

Journal 13, 1929.

Additional Note

Santa Catalina Mission. Geography of Kiliwas.
Box 3, Folder 10

Journal 14, 1929.

Additional Note

Schmieder, Oscar. "Lower Californian Studies. II. The Russian colony of Guadalupe Valley." University of California Publications in Geography 2, no. 14 (1928). 409-434. Heavily annotated by Meigs while in the field in 1929.



Photograph Albums

Box 3, Folder 11, Map-case Oversize: FB-350-01

1925 Trip - Album, .

Additional Note

From Tijuana to El Rosario. Includes images of the Santo Tomas valley, Johnson's Ranch at San Antonio del Mar, the San Telmo valley, the Hamilton Ranch in Santo Domingo, the San Quintin flour mill and saltworks, and the town of El Rosario.
Box 3, Folder 12

1925 Trip - Unidentified images, .

Box 3, Folder 13, Map-case Oversize: FB-350-02

1926 Trip - Album, .

Additional Note

San Fernando Velicata to Santo Tomas. Includes images of the missions of San Fernando Velicata, Nuestra Senora del Rosario, San Vicente Ferrer, Santo Domingo de la Frontera, and Santo Tomas.
Box 3, Folder 14

1926 Trip - Unidentified images, .

Box 3, Folder 15, Map-case Oversize: FB-351-01

1927 Trip - Album, .

Additional Note

Tijuana to El Marmol. Includes images of Japanese abalone fisherman, the onyx mine at El Marmol, the rancho at Santa Catarina, the San Fernando mine, and the saltworks at San Quintin.
Box 3, Folder 16

1927 Trip - Unidentified images, .

Box 3, Folder 17, Map-case Oversize: FB-351-02

1928 Trip - Album, .

Additional Note

Valle Trinidad to Tijuana. Includes images of Kiliwa Indians around Arroyo Leon, street scenes in Ensenada, and panoramic views of Tijuana from the hill above the port of entry on the US side.
Box 3, Folder 18, Map-case Oversize: FB-351-03

1929 Trip - Album, .

Additional Note

Arroyo Leon to Neji. Includes images from the Guadalupe valley, the town of Santa Catarina, and the village of Neji.
Box 3, Folder 19, Map-case Oversize: FB-351-04

1936 Trip - Album, .

Additional Note

Includes images of Mission San Miguel and Indians at Manteca.

Lantern Slides

Box 4, Folder 1

Lantern slides, 1925 -1936.



Box 5, Folder 1, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Diagrammatic sketch from Cape Colnett to San Felipe Bay, .

Additional Note

Traced from sketch by J. van der Gracht. Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 2, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Diagrammatic sketch from El Rosario to the Gulf of California at 30 degrees N. Latitude, .

Additional Note

Traced from sketch by J. van der Gracht. Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 3, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Diagrammatic sketch from Santo Tomas to south of San Quintin, .

Additional Note

Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 4, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

[Distribution of coastal rock formations from Tijuana to Santa Catarina], .

Additional Note

Ink, pencil, and colored pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 5

Geological profile, Todos Santos Bay to Gulf, 1926.

Additional Note

"Geol. Profile, Todos S. Bay to Gulf. Direction N. 71 Degrees E., Lindgren." Pencil on paper.
Box 5, Folder 6, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Lluvia annual. Baja California Sur, .

Additional Note

Unidentified publication.
Box 5, Folder 7, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01


Additional Note

"General Map emphasizing the Dominican area of Lower California" and "Physical Regions and Explorations."
Box 5, Folder 8

Northwest Mexico. Coastal Sectors, .

Additional Note

Unidentified publication.
Box 5, Folder 9, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

[Sketch map of area surrounding Mission Santa Catarina], .

Additional Note

Pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 10, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Sketch map of San Quintin Bay, .

Additional Note

Tracing from a blueprint by "C.J. Young (engineer), 1889, for the Compania Mexicana Internacional. Elevations from U.S. Steamship 'Ranger,' 1888. Blueprint loaned by David Goldbaum." Pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 11, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Sketch map of the San Telmo River mouth, .

Additional Note

Pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 12, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-01

Sketch map of the lands of Mission Santa Catarina, .

Additional Note

Traced from "Terrenos de la ex-mision de Sta. Catalina. Wm. Denton, Fernando Lantern(?), 1895(?)." Pencil on tracing paper.
Box 5, Folder 13

Sketch maps of El Rosario, 1926.

Additional Note

Pencil on paper.
Box 5, Folder 14, Map-case Oversize: MC-154-02

Thornthwaite, C.W. Baja California Sketch Map, 1925.

Additional Note

Based on the work of Carl H. Beal for the Marland Oil Company. Segmented into 12 quadrangles; quadrangle 10 missing. Includes set of reduced-size photocopies with annotations by Meigs.
Box 5, Folder 15

Vila, Vicente. Puerto de San Diego situado por 32 grados 32 minutos de latitud septent, 1769.

Additional Note

Photocopy of a manuscript map in Archivo General de Indias, Seville.


Box 5, Folder 16

Newspaper clippings, 1925 -1962.

Box 5, Folder 17

Ensenada postcard, 1928.

Box 5, Folder 18

Pressed plants, 1926.

Box 5, Folder 19

Principal Publications by Peveril Meigs, 1974.

Box 5, Folder 20

Telegram from William A. Saathoff (foreman) to Eulogio Romero, .

Additional Note

April 5, 1908.


Box 5, Folder 21

Originals of preservation photocopies, .