Finding Aid for the Francis T. Underhill papers, circa 1896-circa 1925 0000188

Finding aid prepared by Chris Marino
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Arts Building Room 1434
University of California
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-7130

Title: Francis T. Underhill papers
Identifier/Call Number: 0000188
Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 9.0 Linear feet (3 record storage boxes and 2 flat file folders)
Date (inclusive): circa 1896-circa 1925
Location note: Box 1/ADC - regular Box 2-3/ADC - oversize* 2 Flat File Folders/ADC - flat files misc.
creator: Underhill, Francis T., 1863-1929


Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

Custodial History note

Gift of Miss Frederica Poett, 1964.

Preferred Citation note

Francis T. Underhill papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

Biographical/Historical note

Francis T. Underhill was born in New York in 1863. Not able to attend university because of poor health, Underhill traveled around Europe with a private tutor studying architecture and landscape architecture. Underhill designed and built his own estate on Long Island, along with the gardens and furnishing. At age 20, he married Henrietta Graham Meyer. In 1884, Underhill made the decision to move his family West. He purchased the Ontare Ranch, chartered several rail cards, and filled them with sheep, Holstein cattle, farm equipment, and supplies. Arriving in Los Angeles, the entire family took wagons and carriages to Santa Barbara.
In Santa Barbara Underhill made some profitable investments including establishing a sightseeing stage line from Santa Barbara to the San Marcos Pass and purchasing a racetrack. In 1896, Underhill published a book entitled Driving for Pleasure, that dealt with horse equipment and riding. In 1900, Underhill divorced Henrietta and married Carmen Dibblee. From 1902 to 1903, Underhill designed and built a small cottage on six parcels of land, but shortly after the residence was built, he left town to join the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in San Francisco followed by serving a term as the secretary to the Union Pacific Railroad. When he returned to his cottage in 1904 he designed a large single-story redwood bungalow which he named La Chiquita (which is now part of the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel complex). This creation was listed as one of the twelve best country houses in American by Henry H. Saylor who wrote for Country Life in America in 1915. After the publicity surrounding La Chiquita, Underhill began receiving commissions. For the next ten years (circa 1915 to 1925), Underhill designed 32 houses and several gardens. Some of his more notable projects include: Villa de la Guerra, the Peabody residence, the Solana, the Roman bathhouse and lower garden for George Owen Knapp’s Arcady, and landscape contributions to the Casa del Herrero. His residential designs varied from Classical Greek and Roman edifices to English manors and Mediterranean villas. At the tail end of his career in architecture, Underhill began breeding hogs, he bred seven generations of hogs at his ranch in Montecito in an effort to produce a breed that would be “foolproof.” Francis T. Underhill died in 1929.

Scope and Content note

The Francis T. Underhill papers span 9 linear feet and date from circa 1896 to circa 1925. The collection is composed of scrapbooks containing newspaper and magazine clippings regarding Underhill’s book Driving for Pleasure and hog breeding; Mrs. Underhill’s travel scrapbook; a copy of Underhill’s Driving for Pleasure book; a copy of Underhill’s essay on his hog breeding; his 1918 tax audit; correspondence regarding animal breeding; a letter from President Roosevelt; photographs and negatives of his architectural projects; two flat file folders of architectural drawings and reprographic copies for the Ward and Dibble residences; telegrams regarding horse competitions; and Underhill’s hog breeding lineages and logs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Underhill, Francis T., 1863-1929
Architectural photographs


Personal Papers 1894-1959

Scope and Contents note

This series contains books and scrapbooks owned by Underhill, correspondence between Underhill and other horse owners and hog breeders, a pedigree list of his hogs, and numerous materials about the Underhill family. It also includes clippings of Underhill's engagement to Carmelita Dibblee, who was from a prominent Santa Barbara family.
Box 1, Folder 7

Engagement and marriage to Carmelita Dibblee 1906

Box 1, Folder 8

Hog Breeding in Santa Barbara articles circa 1926

Box 1, Folder 1

Horse Riding Competition articles 1894-1924

Box 1, Folder 9

Horse Show and Riding correspondence 1895-1921

Box 1, Folder 10

Horse Show Telegrams 1899-1909

Box 2*

Pedigree List of Hampshire Boar 1916-1919

Scope and Contents note

Handwritten pages of breeding history of hogs.
Box 1, Folder 3

Underhill family articles and clippings 1899-1960

Box 1, Folder 5

Underhill, Francis newspaper writings by 1907-1909

Box 1, Folder 6

Underhill, Francis obituary 1929, 1959

Box 1, Folder 4

Underhill Society of America / Captain John Underhill 1908-1959


Correspondence 1901-1926

Box 1, Folder 15

Klink, Bean & Company 1918

Box 1, Folder 11

Reminton, Frederic undated

Box 1, Folder 13

Roosevelt, Theodore 1901

Box 1, Folder 12

Stockwell, H.K. letters from circa 1923-1924

Box 1, Folder 14

Stockwell, H.K. letters to 1922-1925

Box 1, Folder 16

Underhill Society of America 1926

Box 1, Folder 17

Whitehead, Ralph Radcliffe 1915


Books 1869-1951

Box 3*

A Brief Essay on the Evolution of a Hampshire Herd with Reflections on the Art of Animal Breeding by Francis Underhill 1925

Box 3*

Driving for Pleasure or, the Harness Stable and its Appointments by Francis Underhill 1897

Box 3*

Nevves from America by Captaine John Underhill 1951

Box 3*

Scrapbook-- Mary Louisa Underhill 1869

Box 3*

Scrapbook -- Driving for Pleasure 1896-1897

Scope and Contents note

Collection of articles about Francis Underhills' book Driving for Pleasure; newspaper articles glued onto scrapbook pages.

Projects 1894-1920

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of articles and clippings, photographs, and and drawings of projects designed by Underhill. Architectural drawings of the Dibblee and Ward homes, photographs of the some of his work in Montecito, as well as photographs and clippings of Underhill's own houses. It also contains many postcards and promotional photographs of Spain-- its people and cultural landmarks.
Box 1, Folder 19

Bacon house (Montecito, Calif.) undated

Scope and Contents note

Photographs of waterfall and landscaping; possibly the Chatfield-Taylor house?
Box 1, Folder 20

Bartlett Polo Club Building (Montecito, Calif.) undated

Box 1, Folder 21, Box 1, Folder 40

Billings, C.K.G. house (Montecito, Calif.) 1918

Box 1, Folder 22

Bolot, George C. house undated

Box 1, Folder 18

Chatfield-Taylor, Hobart "Farafield" (Montecito, Calif.) undated

Scope and Contents note

Exterior photographs of house and garden.
Box 1, Folder 23

Coleman house (Montecito, Calif.) circa 1913

Box 1, Folder 24, Drawer 543, FlatFile 1

Dibblee, Franscesca house 333 Junipero Plaza (Santa Barbara, Calif.) circa 1910

Scope and Contents note

2 drawings and one negative of floor plan and landscape plan.
Box 1, Folder 25

Douglas, Walter house undated

Box 1, Folder 32

Knapp, George Owen house "Arcady" (Montecito, Calif.) undated

Box 1, Folder 33

Miscellaneous clippings undated

Scope and Contents note

Miscellaneous clippings about applications of ancient technology.
Box 1, Folder 26

Norton, Mary house (Montecito, Calif.) undated

Box 1, Folder 27, Box 1, Folder 41

Peabody house (Montecito, Calif.) circa 1917

Box 1, Folder 28

Spanish architecture travel photographs and postcards circa 1910s

Scope and Contents note

Handwritten captions on back in German.
Box 1, Folder 29

Spanish art and sculpture postcards undated

Box 1, Folder 30

Spanish Peasant photos and postcards undated

Box 1, Folder 31

Spanish and Native American textiles and people undated

Box 1, Folder 2

Underhill, Francis house (Montecito, Calif.) 1902, 1909, 1915

Scope and Contents note

Articles and clippings about Underhill's own house; includes handwritten list of projects.
Box 1, Folder 34

Underhill, Francis house "Los Alisos Ranch" (Montecito, Calif.) circa 1910-1920

Box 1, Folder 35

Underhill, Francis house "La Chiquita" (Montecito, Calif.) circa 1904-1905

Box 1, Folder 36

Underhill, Francis portraits 1894-1918

Box 1, Folder 37

Unidentified Photographs undated

Scope and Contents note

Unidentified photographs of a woman, loggia, San Marcos pass, and horse with carriage.
Drawer 543, FlatFile 2

Ward, Willis house (Montecito, Calif.) 1915-1916

Scope and Contents note

17 drawings of plans, sections, elevations, and details.
Box 1, Folder 38

Wetmor, Arthur Oglivy house (Montecito, Calif.) undated