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Guide to the New San Diego Hotel Registers MS 13
MS 13  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Comments

  • Title: New San Diego Hotel Registers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 13
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.5 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1869 January 1-1877 August 31
    Abstract: This collection contains two registers from the New San Diego Hotel dated January 1, 1869-October 15, 1875 and October 15, 1875-August, 31, 1877, each listing guest names and residences.
    creator: New San Diego Hotel.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    The New San Diego Hotel property was one of the first two residences in New Town (San Diego) built in 1850 by William Heath Davis and located at the corner of State and F streets – the other property was the Davis residence, known as the Davis House. Before beginning operations as the New San Diego Hotel, the property was run by Davis as a rental house. In 1867 it was purchased for $100 by Alonzo Horton, who then sold the property the following year to Captain Samuel Sumner Dunnells for $1000. Dunnells remodeled the property and began operating it as the New San Diego Hotel in 1868. Dunnells leased the Hotel to G.G. Bradt and S.S. Gordon one year later, but remained as the Hotel's proprietor for a number of years. The Hotel was touted as a “first-class house” and continued operations until 1885.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains two registers from the New San Diego Hotel dated January 1, 1869-October 15, 1875 and October 15, 1875-August, 31, 1877.
    The first register (1869-1875), manufactured by Jas. B. Smith and Company, Philadelphia, contains pre-printed pages with columns for date, names, residence, room, and time of arrival. The time of arrival column is often occupied by a B, L, D, or S, or sometimes contains the full spelling of Bed, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, or Supper. This is the same for the second register in the collection. All entries in this register are in black ink except for some entries in blue ink on November 29 and December 22, 1869.
    The second register (1875-1877), manufactured by Hicks and Company, contains pre-printed pages with the name of the hotel and S.S. Dunnells as proprietor. Each page contains columns individually listing date, name, residence, room, and arrival. Between each register page is a blotter page that contains the same local advertisements, as well as some from Los Angeles and San Francisco, including an advertisement for the San Francisco Chronicle. The register also contains an additional loose blotter page with more advertisements.
    Both registers include local prominent guests such as John G. Capron, Couts family, Thomas Hodges, Abraham Klauber, and Frank Whaley, as well as traveling shows such as the Great Paris Exposition Circus Co., California Minstrels, San Francisco Minstrels, and the Circus and Animal Show. The jury in the case of "Cal. vs. Daniel Nourian" and a number of judges are also listed as guests. Many local guests stayed at the Hotel on multiple occassions and are listed on multiple dates. Most of the guests traveled from towns local to San Diego and throughout California, while others came from as far as Pudget Sound, New York, Mexico, France, and Norway.


    The two registers and pages within each register are arranged chronologically.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Both registers are discolored and the covers are warped. The cloth covers on both registers are torn and receding. Several register and blotter pages are torn. Some pages are also either detached from binding or removed from registers. Ink splatters and transfers are on many pages. (July 29, 2011)

    Preferred Citation

    New San Diego Hotel Registers, MS 13, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Sean Flores and Stephanie Mirkin on July 29, 2011.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.


    Both registers contain names of both nationally and internationally prominent people including:
    Prince of Wales, December 28, 1869
    Ulysses S. Grant, June 12, 1876
    Sitting Bull and General Custer, August 6, 1876
    Samuel J. Tilden and Thomas Hendricks, August 6 and 16, 1876
    Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler, August 16, 1876
    Count von Arnim (Prussian aristocrat), March 12, 1877
    Lord Benjamin Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield), British Prime Minister, March 16, 1877
    Governor (of California) William Irwin, July 7, 1877
    As far as we can research, they did not stay at the hotel and their names were possibly added to enhance the register and reputation of the Hotel.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    California Minstrels.
    Capron, John G.
    Circus and Animal Show.
    Couts family
    Davis, William Heath, 1822-1909
    Dunnells, Samuel Sumner, Captain
    Everheart, Emma
    Fletcher, Robert
    Fletcher, William, Jr.
    Gordon, S. S.
    Great Paris Exposition Circus Co..
    Hodges, Thomas
    Klauber, Abraham, 1831-1911
    Le Barr, John
    New San Diego Hotel.
    Nilsauer, James
    San Francisco Minstrels.
    Treat, John
    Whaley, Francis Hinton
    Historic hotels
    Hotels -- California
    San Diego (Calif.)