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Early California Lantern Slides

Identifier: MS-47

The Early California Lantern Slides consist of 89 glass lantern slides of California missions and landscapes.

The collection is mostly a study of both interior and exterior views of most of the California missions, from Mission San Diego de Alcalá in the southwest corner of Calfornia to Mission San Francisco Solano in the north.

As a collection, the slides are an interesting study of mission architecture: we can observe the various styles of the missions, such as neoclassical and Baroque. They also provide a larger context for the missions as they appeared in the early twentieth century: distressed and ruined by neglect, earthquakes, weather, and human hands. They provide a before-and-after comparison to study the preservation movement and efforts to reconstruct the missions in the first half of the twentieth century.


  • 1900-1930

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Director for Historical Resources. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Research Center 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. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital facsimiles of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.


2 boxes ; - 11 x 5 x 6 in.

89 Photographic Slides ( - Glass lantern slides)


The Early California Lantern Slides are comprised of 89 glass lantern slides made between 1900 and 1930. The images are primarily of California Missions, but also include other regional subjects such as the California Aqueduct.

Biographical / Historical

Lantern slides are positive film images sandwiched between two pieces of glass and wrapped with black tape to secure them. They were designed to be projected on a wall through a variety of "Magic Lanterns," which were the precursors to the carousel slide projector manufactured by Kodak from 1961-2004.

Although the images in the collection are not dated, their subject matter indicates that they were taken sometime between 1900 and the 1930s—after the missions fell into ruins, but before various reconstruction and conservation projects began in earnest.

There is no indication of who was the photographer or photographers, as is often the case with commercially produced lantern slides.


The lantern slides are organized in sequential order by the unique number assigned by the manufacturer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This set of lantern slides was acquired by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in 2018 from the Oberlin College Archives. The donation was facilitated by Laurie Hannah.

Related Materials

California Mission Lantern Slides online exhibit at

Hannah, Laurie. "Research Center Acquires New Mission Collection". La Campana, 44(2), Spring 2018.

Processing Information

The Early California Lantern Slides were processed by Laurie Hannah in 2018 and the collection guide written by Chris Ervin in 2019.

Guide to the Early California Lantern Slides
Chris S. Ervin CA and Laurie Hannah
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Presidio Research Center Repository

215 East Canon Perdido St.
Santa Barbara CA 93101 USA