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Guide to the Vallejo Family Papers
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Notes
  • Indexing Terms
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: The Vallejo Family Papers
    Dates: 1771-1975
    Bulk Dates: 1850-1938
    Collection number: 243.1
    Creators: Mariano G. Vallejo

    Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia Carrillo de Vallejo

    Luisa Eugenia “Lulu” Vallejo Emparan

    Platon Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

    Napoleon Primo Vallejo
    Extent: 5 cubic feet
    Repository: California. Department of Parks and Recreation
    Sonoma State Historic Park, Sonoma, CA

    Administrative Information


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the California State Parks. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact California State Parks.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item] Vallejo Family papers, 243.1, California State Parks, Sacramento, California.

    Biographical Notes

    A prominent early native Californian, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (1807-1890) was born in Monterey in 1807. In 1834, with the title Military Commander and Director of Colonization of the Northern Frontier, the Mexican Army sent him to take charge of secularization of Mission San Francisco Solano at what is now Sonoma. On June 24, 1835, he founded the Pueblo of Sonoma, laying out the 8-acre plaza and structures facing the plaza such as the soldiers’ barracks and his first home Casa Grande. A portion of the site of Casa Grande, the barracks, and the Mission are now on the site of the Sonoma State Historic Park. General Vallejo’s private rancho in Petaluma was a highly productive agricultural empire. The Petaluma Adobe is one of the largest adobe structures still standing in California, and is also a State Historic Park.
    General Vallejo was an advocate of United States annexation of California, and was active in early California State government. He established the new city of Vallejo as the second state capital, and was also involved in the founding of Benicia, the third state capital, which was named for his wife, Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia Carrillo de Vallejo (1815-1891). He also served twice as mayor of Sonoma.
    In 1850, General Vallejo purchased the land to build his new home, Lachryma Montis. The General and his wife lived there for 35 years. During that time, he was also involved in the establishment of the Sonoma City Water Works, utilizing the spring at Lachryma Montis.
    General and Mrs. Vallejo had 16 children, 10 of who survived to adulthood. (Genealogy attached; more detailed genealogy on file at Sonoma State Historic Park.) Much of the documentary artifact collection of the Vallejo family is from the papers of daughter Luisa “Lulu” Vallejo Emparan. The 15th of their children, she inherited, with her younger sister Maria Vallejo Cutter, Lachryma Montis. Mrs. Emparan was a major force in having her father’s place in early California history recognized, and acted as the first curator when her home became a State Historical Monument in 1933. With the assistance of her son, Richard Raoul ”Dal” Emparan, Mrs. Emparan also ran the Sonoma City Water Works until 1933, when ownership was transferred to the City of Sonoma.
    Also represented in the collection are the other Vallejo children and their descendants as well as the Carrillo family line of Mrs. Vallejo.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California History
    Mexican-American War, 1846-1848
    Sonoma (Calif.) History.
    Sonoma (Calif.) History Sources
    Sonoma County (Calif.)
    Sonoma County (Calif.) History
    Sonoma Water Works
    Emparan, Luisa Eugenia
    Vallejo, Francesca Maria
    Vallejo, Mariano G.
    Vallejo, Napoleon Primo
    Vallejo, Platon Mariano

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Vallejo Family Papers can be divided into 5 main categories of documents: correspondence, manuscripts and other writings, financial and legal documents, periodicals and publications, and a variety of miscellaneous documents. The collection includes facsimiles of original documents in addition to original documents, as well as research materials and specialized groupings, such as the memorabilia from Luisa Vallejo Emparan’s 1932 voyage to Panama as hostess on the S.S. Santa Rosa.
    Correspondence, composed of letters, greeting cards, postcards, and telegrams, is primarily between family members, the largest groupings of which are Spanish language photostatic copies of letters from General Vallejo to his children, and a large collection of letters and greeting cards kept by recipient Luisa Emparan. The collection of almost 200 postcards to/from family members not only serves to illustrate the family relations, but can also be seen as a reflection of social and cultural history.
    The family’s love of history as well as the arts (especially poetry and music) can be seen in the writings of both the immediate family and their descendants. General Vallejo himself left a diverse array of documents, from treatises on California history to poetry written on his children’s birthdays. Son Platon Vallejo wrote his “Memoirs of the Vallejo’s” in 1914. His brother Napoleon wrote a series of essays that covers a range of subjects, from defending his father’s place in history to reflections on “the ideal mate.” Platon’s daughter Francisca Vallejo McGettigan was an accomplished and published poet and composer.
    Financial and legal documents also cover a wide range. Household receipts from local merchants give details of daily family life. Land deeds, titles, and mortgages show not just the history of the Vallejo family holdings but also of the evolution of the town of Sonoma. Also included are court documents in the case of Mariano G. Vallejo vs. the United States, in which he petitions for restitution in the face of the losses he sustained as a result of the Mexican American War.
    The family’s interest in the intertwined subjects of their own history and California history are evident in the periodicals and other publications in the collection. From esoteric journals such as the Society of California Pioneers Quarterly and The Grizzly Bear, published by the Native Sons of the Golden West, and the literary journal The Northern Crown , to mainstream periodicals such as Motorland, family members were subjects of, contributors to, and collectors of such published material. Interest in the arts is again seen in the wide array of sheet music and music books, mostly used by Luisa Emparan but also by her oldest brother, music teacher Andronico Vallejo, and other family members.
    Finally, the collection contains a variety of miscellaneous documents and research materials such as scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, invitations and programs for events and performances, and a Senate Resolution issued in 1943 honoring Luisa Emparan. Also included are 2 research documents, one that focuses on the Vallejo genealogy and the other on General Vallejo’s relationship with Native Americans in California.
    The Vallejo Family papers have been organized into the following series:
    1. General Mariano G. Vallejo
    2. Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia Carrillo de Vallejo
    3. Luisa Eugenia “Lulu” Vallejo Emparan
    4. Platon Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, M.D.
    5. Napoleon Primo Vallejo
    6. Other Vallejo Descendants
    7. Sonoma Water Works