Guide to the Delfina de la Guerra Papers MS-21

Torie Quiñonez with revisions by Chris S. Ervin CA
Presidio Research Center
215 East Canon Perdido St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Language of Material: Spanish; Castilian
Contributing Institution: Presidio Research Center
Title: Delfina De La Guerra Papers
creator: Guerra, Delfina de la
Identifier/Call Number: MS-21
Physical Description: 1.5 Linear Feet in 5 boxes
Date (inclusive): 1876-1940
Abstract: The Delfina de la Guerra Papers contain the personal papers of Delfina de la Guerra, the last member of the de la Guerra family to reside in Casa de la Guerra. The materials in the collection include photographs, letters, clippings, objects, and pressed flowers.

Scope and Contents

The Delfina de la Guerra papers contain letters and postcards, a scrapbook, loose newspaper clippings, keepsake pressed flowers attached to paper and the leather folder in which they were previously housed, an inscribed book of genealogy, photographic prints and photographic negatives, a notepad, and a printing block depicting the Casa de la Guerra. Clippings consist of mostly obituaries and society announcements concerning the De La Guerras and their relatives, as well as Santa Barbara news. Many of the clippings in the scrapbook are poetry in English and Spanish. The letters are very romantic and written in Spanish. The pressed flowers include information written on their attached papers about where they were procured, the significance of the site, and the date. The photographs are mostly portraits of unidentified people, probably family members.

Biographical / Historical

Delfina de la Guerra was born on March 21, 1861 and died April 25, 1953. She was the daughter of Pablo Antonio de la Guerra and Josefa Moreno y Castro. She was the sister of María Francisca Antonia (Francisca), Carlos Pablo, María Paulina (Paulina, died the year Delfina was born), Ana María Elena (Elena, died when Delfina was five), Herminia Andrea, and Ynez (no birth or death date given), as well as two siblings who died before Delfina was born (including her twin brother). It is not known how Delfina supported herself, her family fortunes having dwindled and wage-earning men deceased by the time she came of age. She did volunteer as a translator/interpreter at the East Side Social Center, where her sister Herminia was a social worker. Various sources mention that Delfina gave Spanish lessons to Irene Hoffmann, wife of Bernhard Hoffmann, and this is how the relationship formed that eventually led to the restoration of the Casa de la Guerra and development of El Paseo commercial complex.
Delfina de la Guerra carried on her family's ideal of graciousness and the preservation of the old sense of nobility that early 20th century boosters sought to imbue upon the local culture. She was the last surviving member of the family who lived in the Casa and ruled benevolently as de facto figureheads in their Spanish- and Mexican-era heyday. Not much is known about Delfina herself except for the fact that she experienced the turn of the 20th century as a fairly modern woman, unmarried and traveling unchaperoned across the country and abroad. She seemed to have been sentimental and religious, as evidenced by the poetry and religious works she collected in her scrapbook, as well as the collection of flower and plant sprigs kept as souvenirs of her travels as a younger woman from 1893-1915).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William Gaston Campbell and family, descendants of Elizabeth LeClerc Campbell, Delfina's companion and caregiver before her death.

Related Materials

See; Bowman, Mary M. 1915. Delfina de la Guerra manuscript collection : Report to California Historical Survey Commission. F864.B67 1918 (2 volumes) in the Presidio Research Center.
Personal and business papers of members of the De la Guerra family may also be found at the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library, The Huntington Library, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and the Academy of American Franciscan History.

Processing Information

The Delfina de la Guerra papers were processed by Torie Quiñonez, Presidio Research Center Librarian and Archivist. Selected materials from the Delfina de la Guerra papers were digitized by Katherine Lowe. Finding aid written by Torie Quiñonez. Collection guide revised by Chris S. Ervin CA on 2020-03-30.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Delfina de la Guerra Papers, MS-21, Presidio Research Center, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, Santa Barbara, California.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to researchers. Please use digital facsimiles when possible.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist and Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital facsimiles of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Existence and Location of Copies

View selections from this collection online at

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Casa de la Guerra (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Botanical specimens
Guerra Family
Guerra, Francisca de la
Guerra, Herminia de la
Dibblee, T. W. (Thomas Wilson)
West, George
West, Rosa de la Guerra

box 1, folder 1-4

Photographs ca. 1872-1925

Scope and Contents

Various photographic prints of unidentified subjects and family members, some with identifying inscriptions. Known subjects include: Delfina de la Guerra, Herminia de la Guerra, Francisca de la Guerra Dibblee, Wilson Dibblee, George West, and Rosa de la Guerra West.
box 1, folder 5

Correspondence 1894-1912

Scope and Contents

Letters from Arturo (no last name) to Delfina de la Guerra (March-June, 1894); Postcards from unidentified correspondents (Monterey, California, October 1912 and México, February 1907); Wedding invitation from George William West and Rosa Blanca de la Guerra West (August 1912).

Clippings 1871-1918

box 3


box 1, folder 6

Loose Clippings



box 4

Tooled leather folder bearing image of Santa Barbara Mission

box 4

Copper plate printing block bearing image of front view of Casa de la Guerra

box 4

Notepad with leather cover bearing the name "Delfina"

box 1, folder 7

Breve Relacion del Origen, y Descendencia de la Ilustre, y Antigua Casa del Solar de Ibio, Dicha de la Guerra 1663 (facsim.)


Inscribed in 1927 by Thomas Wilson Dibblee to Delfina de la Guerra and Herminia de la Guerra.
box 5

Pressed Flowers 1893-1915

Scope and Contents

Thirteen specimens of flowers and plants attached to handwritten notes.