Rare Books Owned by the de la Guerra Family Now at the Presidio Research Center

By Torie Quiñonez

The Presidio Research Center recently received a donation of the personal papers of Delfina de la Guerra, the last member of that illustrious family to reside in the Casa de la Guerra. Delfina was born in 1861, and was the daughter of Pablo de la Guerra and Josefa Moreno y Castro. Aside from her travels as a young woman, she spent her whole life at the Casa, until just ten years before her death, when she went to live with a friend who cared for her until she died.

Torie Quiñonez looks for identifying marks to help date and catalog the de la Guerra books. Photo by Anne Petersen

The woman with whom Delfina spent the last years of her life was a relative of the Campbell family, currently of Virginia. They inherited a trunk that had been left with various family members and ended up having belonged to Delfina de la Guerra. A trove of personal effects from the trunk was brought to us by the Campbells, including two eighteenth century books that probably belonged to her.

One of the books is a guide to the holy city of Rome for the Catholic tourist. Printed in 1769, the year of the first Spanish occupation of Alta California, this book was almost 100 years old by the time Delfina could read it.

The other book, printed in 1788, is a work in Latin by a Father Franciscus (or Franz) Henno. It appears to have been intended for use in the religious and moral instruction of young people. If anyone reading this blog knows more about Father Henno, please comment!

These books will be cataloged and added to the Research Center’s small collection of rare books, while remaining intellectually linked to the Delfina de la Guerra Collection from which they originate.

Torie Quiñonez is the librarian at the Presidio Research Center, a library and archive available to the public by appointment at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park

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