Beginning with a nucleus of gifts from Ellen C. Barrett, Francis Howell, Helen Raitt, and others, the Baja California Collection has developed into a major resource for Baja California studies. Over 1,800 books, journals, newspapers, maps, photographs, and manuscripts support comprehensive research in the history, politics, culture, economy, and natural history of the Baja California peninsula. Literature is included when Baja California forms the subject of the work.
Geophysical, archeological and biological studies, descriptions by early explorers, civil codes, mission records and accounts, documentation of settlements, guidebooks, travel narratives and journals, family and local histories, economic reports and statistics, reports on US/Mexican border affairs, and contemporary trade relations reflect the topical breadth of these resources, which range in date from the mid-eighteenth century to the present.
Most of these are Spanish language materials published largely in Baja California or in the United States, although many of the histories, guidebooks, and early works on natural history are in English. Some interesting examples in the collection include 1889/90 issues of Periodico Oficial, a government newspaper for the Baja district of Mexico that published legal news and announcements but also included extensive advertising and sales notices; Lower Californian, an English language newspaper published in Ensenada in the late nineteenth century; Coleccion de los principales trabajos ... de los territorios de la Alta y de la Baja California (1827), an important compilation of eight of the earliest works proposing a government for the Californias; Lessepas's De la colonizacion de la Baja California (1859), one of the earliest quantitative summaries of colonization efforts; Report on the Property of the Triunfo Silver Mining and Commercial Company of Lower California (1866), a promotional report describing mining operations and encouraging American development; the Richard Dering Letters, penned in the mid-nineteenth century by a settler of the Lower California Company; and the papers of cartographer and travel writer Howard E. Gulick.
Additional early accounts of Baja explorers and missionaries appear in the department's Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages. Complimentary materials on marine science are held by UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The UC San Diego Library also holds an extensive collection of contemporary documents about Baja California business and trade.
Bibliographic access to these materials is provided through ROGER WEB and MELVYL, the UC San Diego Library and UC-wide online library catalogs. Finding aids for Baja California manuscripts are also available online.