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Photographs of Adobes of Northern and Southern California: Finding Aid
photCL 528  
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Collection Details
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  • Overview of Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of Collection

    Title: Photographs of Adobes of Northern and Southern California
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1912-1960
    Bulk dates: 1930-1949
    Collection Number: photCL 528
    Creator: Soberanes, Lucius, 1882-1959.
    Extent: 278 photographs in 2 boxes; prints 26 x 32 cm (10.25 x 12.5 in.) and smaller, album pages 37 x 29 cm (14 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: A disbound album of primarily amateur snapshots of 19th century California adobes taken during the 1930s and 1940s by Lucius Panfelo “Paul” Soberanes (1882-1959), a descendant of early Spanish landholders in California. The photographs primarily document the exteriors of the historic adobes and include typewritten captions added by Soberanes in the 1950s. A strong emphasis is given to adobes in Monterey County, especially in downtown Monterey. The album’s strength is in the documentation of lesser-known adobes, which include not only houses, but also commercial and military buildings such as hotels, soldiers’ barracks in Sonoma, and the Bale Grist Mill in Napa.
    Language: English.
    Finding aid last updated on April 30, 2014.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    Photographs of Adobes of Northern and Southern California. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Mrs. Lois Soberanes Lambert on May 4, 1995.

    Sources used in the creation of this finding aid

    Albertson, Dean. “Dr. Edward Turner Bale, Incorrigible Californio.” California Historical Society Quarterly 28 (1949): 259-269.
    Autry National Center. “Braun Research Library.” Accessed May 21, 2013. http://theautry.org/research/braun-research-library 
    eHumanity. “eHumanity: free portal for digital native-american cultural items.” Accessed May 21, 2013. http://e-humanity.org/index.php 
    Hoover, Mildred Brooke, Hero Eugene Rensch, and Ethel Grace Rensch. Historic Spots in California. 3rd ed. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1966.
    Library of Congress. “Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.” Accessed May 21, 2013. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/  
    Mathes, Valerie Sherer, and Diane Moll Smith. Sonoma Valley. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.
    [Obituary for Vera Irene Soberanes] Oakland Tribune, 14 March 1970, page 22-E.
    Winslow, Carleton M. Discovering San Luis Obispo County. San Luis Obispo, Calif.: [s.n.], 1971.

    Biographical Note

    Lucius Panfelo "Paul" Soberanes (1882-1959) was born in California on December 30, 1882, and was a descendant of Spanish soldier Jose Maria Soberanes, who arrived in California in the 1700s, and Feliciano Soberanes, who purchased the Soledad Mission Rancho in 1846.
    City directories indicate that Soberanes worked as a painter and autoworker in Oakland, California. He was married to Vera Irene Soberanes (died 1970) and they had three children: Leonard Soberanes, Vera Soberanes Woodside, and Lois Soberanes Lambert. Soberanes died on April 19, 1959.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of a disbound album compiled by Lucius "Paul" Soberanes (1882-1959) of primarily amateur snapshots of 19th century California adobes taken during the 1930s and 1940s, with typewritten captions added by Soberanes in the 1950s. Soberanes, a descendant of early Spanish landholders in California, put much of his energy into personally photographing adobes in Northern California for his album; not only did he travel through Monterey County, but also Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Solano, and Ventura Counties. He also added a small number of professional photographs by L.A. Sanchez and E.R. Jackson and a photograph of a drawing by E.A. Burbank into the album.
    Some of the adobes are shown to be in disrepair while others had been restored by the then adobes’ owners, state agencies, historical societies, or service organizations. Of the Monterey adobes featured, the best known include Casa Soberanes (House of the Blue Gate), the Cooper-Molera Adobe, Alvarado Adobe, Casa Gutierrez, Casa de la Torre, and Casa Amesti. Various adobes in Monterey County were held by the Soberanes family, including the Alta Vista Adobe, and the Rancho El Alisal and Rancho Ex-Mission Soledad properties. Other prominent adobes in Northern California are the Vicente Martinez Adobe, Petaluma Adobe, Castro Adobe, and Dana Adobe. There are some photographs of Southern California adobes, especially in Santa Barbara and San Diego; adobes from these areas include the Gonzalez House, Casa de Bandini, Casa de Estudillo, and Rancho Camulos. Soberanes, his wife, and his children appear posing on the adobe grounds in some of the photographs.
    Photograph captions in the list of photographs are transcribed exactly as they appear in the album. The dates mentioned most often refer to an adobe’s construction date; photographs are printed later. Photographs from pages 119, 121, and 144 are missing from the album. In addition to the prints, there are 2 postcards (Items 155-156), a photomechanical print (page 151), and one cyanotype (page 137).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Alvarado Adobe (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Alviso Adobe (Milpitas, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Boronda Adobe (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Casa Amesti (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Casa de Bandini (San Diego, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Casa de la Guerra (Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Casa de la Torre (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Castro Adobe (Watsonville, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Castro-Breen House (San Juan Bautista, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Cooper Molera Adobe (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Dana Adobe -- Photographs.
    Estudillo House (San Diego, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Gonzalez House (Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Gutierrez Adobe (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    House of the Four Winds (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    John Marsh House (Brentwood, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Lachryma Montis (Sonoma, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Lara-Soto House (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Lugo Adobe (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mission San Juan Capistrano -- Photographs.
    Olivas Adobe (Ventura, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pacific House (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Petaluma Adobe (Petaluma, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pio Pico Adobe (Whittier, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Rancho Camulos (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Rancho Milpitas -- Photographs.
    Rios-Caledonia Adobe (San Miguel, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Salvador Vallejo Adobe (Sonoma, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sanchez Adobe (Pacifica, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Vasquez Adobe (Monterey, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Vicente Martinez Adobe -- Photographs.
    Adobe houses -- California -- Photographs.
    Barracks -- 1830-1840 -- Photographs.
    Building, Adobe -- Photographs.
    Officers’ quarters -- 1840-1850 -- Photographs.
    Historic buildings -- California -- 1800-1900 -- Photographs.
    Hotels -- California -- Photographs.
    Theaters -- 1850-1860 -- Photographs.
    Alameda County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Contra Costa County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Monterey (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Monterey County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Napa County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    New Almaden (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Diego (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Fernando (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Juan Bautista (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Luis Obispo County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Miguel (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Barbara (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Cruz (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Cruz County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Solano County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sonoma (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sonoma County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Ventura County (Calif.) -- Photographs.


    Photograph albums.
    Photomechanical prints.