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Guide to the J. J. Mitchell Collection
Mss 83  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Collections at UCSB Special Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: J. J. Mitchell Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1828-1945
    Collection Number: Mss 83
    Creator: Mitchell, John J.
    Extent: .2 linear feet (1 half-size document box)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Del Sur
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    J. J. Mitchell Collection. Mss 83. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Mitchell, 1965.


    John James Mitchell, Jr. was born in Chicago on April 28, 1897 to a prominent banker and his wife. He was raised in the Chicago area and attended Yale University. After serving as an aviator in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force during World War I, he took a position at the Illinois Merchant Trust and Savings Bank, where his father was president. In 1925, Mitchell joined an elite group of young investors, all of whom were pilots during the war, in forming National Air Transport, a small company with ten cargo-carrying airplanes that would eventually evolve into United Airlines. In 1937, Mitchell joined the United Airlines board of directors, where he would remain for 42 years.
    It was during the 1920s that Jack Mitchell began making regular visits to the Santa Barbara area, and in 1929 he bought a large property on Zaca Lake that he named Rancho Juan y Lolita. He and several friends organized a group they called Los Rancheros Visitadores, which would hold annual "treks" on horseback around the California countryside. Mitchell served as the first president of the group, whose members and guests would include Edward Borein, Thomas Storke, Clark Gable, and Walt Disney. For 25 years, Mitchell led Los Rancheros Visitadores, and in 1979 he was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
    Along with his wife, Olga, and his three children, J. J. Mitchell lived at Rancho Juan y Lolita until the early 1960s, when he sold the property to movie star Jimmy Stewart. He then donated many of his belongings to various organizations, including books and manuscripts to UCSB Special Collections. The Mitchells lived in Montecito until his death on April 7, 1985.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection contains series of early 19th century documents registering cattle brands in California, as well as 1945 correspondence and a 1939 guestbook relating to Zaca Lake Ranch, California.
    The collection also contains a number of books pertaining to California and the American West, which have been cataloged separately and which may be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB Libraries online catalog.

    Related Collections at UCSB Special Collections

    Community Development and Conservation Collection (CDCC) - Rancheros Vistadores. SBHC Mss 1.