Guide to the Grover Barnes papers CEMA 115

Processed by Callie Bowdish, Danely Segoviano, Daisy Martinez, and Mari Khasmanyan
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
June 2009
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara 93106-9010
Phone Number: (805) 893-3062

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


Series I Personal and Biographical 1906-2006

box 14

100th Birthday Guest List Sign in Book

box 14

Birthday Guest List Sign in Book 2002

box 1, folder 1-3

Address and Telephone Books

box 1, folder 4

Articles on Grover Barnes

box 1, folder 5-8

Awards and Certificates 2001-2005

box 14

Silver tray

box 14

Awards and Plaques

box 7, folder 13

Barnes Centennial Celebration 2006

box 1, folder 9

Biographical Information 1947-2007

box 1, folder 10-14


box 13

Plaque given to Martha Clyde from Grover Barnes

box 1, folder 15-26

Martha Clyde Scrapbook on Grover Barnes

box 1, folder 27-28

Montecito Magazine "Welcome to the Miramar Mr. Grover, Sir!" Fall 2000

box 15

Typewriter circa 1950s


Series II Correspondence 1956-2007 and undated

box 2, folder 1-21


box 3, folder 1- 18


box 4, folder 1-29

Outgoing 1955-2009

box 4, folder 30-34

Santa Barbara News Press - Letters to the Editor 1993-2008


Series III Original Writings 1985-2008 and undated

box 5, folder 1-2

Articles by Grover Barnes

box 5, folder 7

Holiday - Father's Day

box 5, folder 8

Holiday - Mother's Day

box 5, folder 9

Holidays - Various Days

box 5, folder 14-24

Original Writings


Series IV Churches 1950-2006

box 6, folder 1

African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church 1950-2002

box 6, folder 2-3


box 6, folder 4

Hymns and Pamphlets

box 6, folder 5

Miscellaneous Church Documents

box 6, folder 6-8

Saint Paul AME

box 6, folder 9

Saint Paul AME Church Business Records 1990s

box 6, folder 10

Santa Barbara African American Church Anniversaries

item A17251

Santa Barbara High School Visitors Concert undated

item A17249

Sister Bernadette 1st Sermon, Family Meeting Mosleys and LLL undated


Series V Miramar Hotel

box 5, folder 3-6

Does a Bellman Talk? 20 July 1966

box 8, folder 7

Miramar-Business Proposal for Creative Food Company September 2001

box 8, folder 8-12

Miramar Hotel undated

box 8, folder 13-14

Miramar Hotel and Book

box 14

Miramar Bell Hop Jacket with Name Tag

box 5, folder 10-13

Miramar Writings

box 9, folder 6

Montecito Magazine "Behold the Miramar! A Seaside Resort with Old-Time Flavor" Fall 1989

box 9, folder 7

Montecito Magazine "Harold Doulton's Historic Photos and Childhood Memories of.. Growing Up at the Miramar" Fall 1997


Series VI Subjects and Publications 1976-2009 and undated

item A17249

About Mrs. Shirley with Big Jim undated

box 7, folder 1-12


box 7, folder 14

Black Santa Barbara Historical Calendar 1995

box 7, folder 15-20

Collage Materials

box 13

Collages - Large

box 7, folder 21

Ethel B. Barnes Fund 2002

box 8, folder 3-6


box 8, folder 1-2

Magazine Covers featuring African Americans

box 8, folder 15-17

Miscellaneous undated

box 9, folder 1-5

Miscellaneous-Events undated

box 9, folder 8-11

NAACP - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

box 13


box 9, folder 12-24

Politics undated


Series VII Photos 1940s-2000s

box 10

Grover Barnes Photo Album 1

box 11

Grover Barnes Photo Album 2

box 12

Grover Barnes Photo Album 3

box 13

Larger Photographs