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Richard Whitehead Papers

Identifier: MS-02


  • 1775-1986


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Historic 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.

Biographical / Historical

was born July 11, 1907 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After a career as a land use planner for Santa Barbara County, Whitehead joined the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation as a board member in 1969 and became President in 1972. During his retirement he worked for many years on the reconstruction of the Presidio, doing the initial surveys for the archaeology work and collecting all the documentary evidence he could find from libraries all over the world. He organized many paid and unpaid translators as well as spent many hours himself transcribing and translating many of the documents he ordered from the Bancroft Library, the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library, and the Archivo General Nacional. Whitehead established the Presidio Research Center and donated most of his personal research materials which formed the foundation of the Center’s collections. His hope was that the Research Center would become a major facility focusing on the four presidios of California, with additional material on Loreto, the southwest U.S. and the northern frontier of Mexico.

In addition to his Presidio research, Whitehead also edited a new printing of An archeological and restoration study of Mission La Purísima Concepción : reports written for the National Park Service and Voyage of the Frigate Princesa to Southern California in 1782, as well as several articles. He was also a dedicated board member of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library and conducted much of his research there. Whitehead died in Santa Barbara on August 25, 1988. His book on the Santa Barbara Presidio, Citadel on the Channel, was published posthumously by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in 1996.


25 boxes

Language of Materials


Related Materials

See also the Richard Whitehead Papers, UCSB Special Collections, SBHC Mss 9,

Separated Materials

A file regarding library acquisitions was transferred to the Research Center office files. Maps from Whitehead’s collection are located in the oversize map files. Books from his collection are located in the reading room and are listed in the online catalog. Original illustrations and artwork have been refoldered separately in flat files or are part of the curatorial collection.

Guide to the Richard Whitehead Papers
Arrangement and description by Research Center staff with assistance from Lauren Pugh, intern. Finding aid written by Laurie Hannah.
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Presidio Research Center Repository

215 East Canon Perdido St.
Santa Barbara CA 93101 USA
(805) 961-5369