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Guide to the Clifton F. Smith Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography
  • Material Catalogued Separately

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Clifton F. Smith papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1861-1998
    Collection number: MSS-05
    Creator: Smith, Clifton F.
    Extent: 15 linear feet 23 boxes and 2 oversize folders
    Repository: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Blaksley Library.
    Santa Barbara, California 93105
    Abstract: Research notes, correspondence, photographs, maps, field notebooks, and other materials of regional botanist and collector Clifton Smith.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Librarian.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    Clifton F. Smith papers, Blaksley Library, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

    Acquisition Information

    Bequest, 1999.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Botanist, author, librarian, and collector of regional historical materials. Born Feb. 25, 1920 in Santa Barbara, where he lived his whole life until his death March 6, 1999.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Research notes, correspondence, publications, photographs, maps, printed matter, and memorabilia are included in this collection. The bulk of the textual materials constitute two series: Regional history files pertaining to the history of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, and research materials and drafts for A Flora of the Santa Barbara Region in its two editions. Smith interfiled notes, correspondence, and published materials into subject folders, instead of keeping separate files for different types of materials. Ephemeral materials, such as advertisements, newspaper clippings, promotional brochures, menus, napkins, invitations, and stationery are interspersed throughout the subject files, although there are several separate ephemera folders. Subjects pertaining to regional history represented in the collection include education, events, missions, ranching, art, organizations, and business. Research materials for Smith's books focus on the natural history and vegetation of Santa Barbara County and the northern Channel Islands, with an emphasis on plant distribution, ethnobotanical uses of native plants, rare plants, and the history of exploration and plant collection in the region. A separate series of field notebooks and card files on individual plants is kept in the Garden Herbarium and corresponds to plant specimens collected by Smith.
    The photograph series contains approximately 380 items depicting the Santa Barbara region from the late 1800s to the present. Topics include landscapes, plants, buildings, missions, transportation, events, and people. Formats are mostly black and white prints of various sizes with some transparencies.
    The memorabilia series contains personal items used by Smith, such as his typewriter, or items, often humorous, created for him by friends.


    Arranged in 8 series: 1. Biographical materials; 2. Correspondence; 3. Regional history files; 4. Publications; 5. Field notebooks and card files; 6. Photographs; 7. Oversize materials; and 8. Memorabilia.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Smith, Clifton F.
    Margelli, Maria.
    Smith, Dick. 1920-1977.
    Stanton, Carey. 1923-
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.)--History.
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.)--History--Photographs.
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.)--Description and travel.
    San Luis Obispo County (Calif.)--History.
    Ventura County (Calif.)--History.
    Channel Islands (Calif.)
    Plants--California--Santa Barbara County.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Promotional materials.
    Photographic prints.


    Smith, Clifton F. A Flora of the Santa Barbara Region, California2nd ed. (Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Capra Press, 1998).
    Kruska, Dennis A Celebration of Clifton F. Smith's Life 1920-1999: A Santa Barbara Native Son(Sherman Oaks, 1999).

    Material Catalogued Separately

    • Books and other selected printed materials have been transferred to the Blaksley Library book collection.
    • Field notebooks and card files have been transferred to the Herbarium.