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Barnes (Grover) papers
CEMA 115  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Biographical/ Historical note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Processing note
  • Related Collections
  • Scope Note
  • Series Description
  • Conditions Governing Use note

  • Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
    Title: Grover Barnes papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 115
    Physical Description: 8.5 Linear Feet 9 document boxes, 3 binder boxes and 2 oversize boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1920-2009
    Date (bulk): 1985-2006
    Abstract: This collection chronicles the life of Grover Barnes, the man whom Santa Barbara has dubbed "The Ambassador of Hospitality." His extraordinary charm and service as a "Bell Captain" at the Hotel Miramar Resort has made him famous in the community. He lived a life of civic involvement and participated in many local groups such as the NAACP Santa Barbara Chapter, the Eastside Study Group, the George Washington Carver Scholarship Society and the St. Paul AME Church in Santa Barbara. He received many honors on his 100th birthday. Barnes' correspondence, editorials, original writings, and photographs are featured in this collection.
    General Physical Description note: 9 document boxes, 3 binder boxes and 2 oversize boxes
    Language of Material: English .

    Conditions Governing Access note

    Service copies of audiovisual items may need to be made before viewing or listening. Please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

    Biographical/ Historical note

    Grover Cleveland Barnes was born to John R. and Nannie Barnes on November 18, 1906 in Percialla, Texas. He left the farm in 1922 for Grockett, Texas where he worked in a private home. He later graduated from high school earning an athletic scholarship to Bishop College. Due to difficulties he was unable to finish his almost complete degree in History.
    Grover Barnes moved to Tyler, Texas where he worked in construction and cleaning and pressing. Grover immigrated to California in the 40's. He became a porter at the Hotel Miramar Resort and was a "Bell Captain" from 1947 until 1981. It has been said that Grover Barnes is an inimitable part of history of the city of Montecito. His level of service is remembered by generations of guests. He was known for his warm hospitality to the young and old, the rich and famous, and the not so rich and famous. Mr. Barnes was also close friends with the Gawzner family who owned the Miramar Resort at the time.
    Barnes resided in Santa Barbara for over half a century with his wife Ethel, and at one point was the oldest man alive in the city. In 2001, The Santa Barbara Independent designated him as a Local Hero in Santa Barbara and affectionately called him "The Ambassador of Hospitality." He was actively involved in many community organizations including the NAACP Santa Barbara Chapter, the Brotherhood of Santa Barbara, The Mason Lodge, the Eastside Study Group and the George Washington Carver Scholarship Society. Grover Barnes was a member of the St. Paul AME Church in Santa Barbara for over 50 years.
    Grover Barnes passed away at the age of 103 on May 3, 2010 at his home in Santa Barbara.

    Preferred Citation note

    Grover Barnes Papers, CEMA 115, Department of Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Processing note

    Processed by Callie Bowdish, Danely Segoviano, and Mari Khasmanyan

    Related Collections

    Santa Barbara African American Local History Collection (CEMA 99), Santa Barbara Afro-American Oral History Project Collection (CEMA 42), James McMillan Papers (CEMA 007), and Anita Mackey Papers (CEMA 57)

    Scope Note

    This collection covers Grover Barnes records from the 1920s to 2009. It consists of nine document boxes, three photo albums (binder boxes) and two oversize boxes. There are seven series that cover personal biographical information, his correspondence, original writings and editorials, church documents, the Miramar Hotel related documents, photos from the 1940s-2000's, and items like plaques and Miramar memorabilia.

    Series Description

    Series I Personal and Biographical, 1906-1992
    This series housed in box 1 and oversized boxes 5 and 6 includes awards and plaques, articles about Grover, his telephone books, birthday guest sign in books, and a collage that was presented to Grover Barnes.
    Series II Correspondence, 1956-2007
    In boxes 1-3 are incoming letters to Barnes and copies of outgoing letters from Barnes that were collected over the years. The bulk of these are letters and cards to him. These letters include the envelopes with some of his notes about their contents. Barnes remained active in the Santa Barbara community after his retirement by writing letters to the editor of the Santa Barbara News Press. His letters to the editor were published on a regular basis. Copies of his letters sent are included in the four folders titled under Santa Barbara News Press.
    Series III Original Writings, 1985-2008
    Barnes wrote consistently and submitted articles for his church newsletters. These and other writings, including articles about holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day are included in this series.
    Series IV Churches, 1950-2006
    Barnes was active in various Santa Barbara churches such as the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and St. Paul's African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Included in this series are various newsletters and documents related to such churches, as well as an audio casette of a sermon.
    Series V Miramar Hotel
    Having worked as a Bell Hop Captain at Miramar for about 35 years, Barnes was closely connected with other co-workers and staff and has many memorabilia from those years. This series contains his written work Does a Bellman Talk?, various hotel related documents, his bell hop jacket, and magazine articles he collected relating to the Miramar.
    Series VI Subjects and Publications
    This series contains side projects and events related to Barnes' life. Subjects include various collage materials, the Black Santa Barbara Historical Calendar, and collections of magazines and articles pertaining to black history. Barnes corresponded with a wide variety of people and wrote to local officials as well as prominent national figures such as then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama who was a presidential contender and this is included in the political folders of this series. NAACP documents are also included, as well as documents relating to his fund named after his wife, Ethel B. Barnes.
    Series VI Photos, 1940s-2000s
    Photos represent various moments in Grover Barnes' life. There are photos of his family and friends in the Santa Barbara area as well as photographs of the Grover Barnes Centennial Birthday Celebration dinner. Photos range from Polaroids to digital copies.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Montecito (Calif.)
    African Americans -- California -- Santa Barbara
    African Methodist Episcopal Church
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.) -- History, Local