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Ruiz, Russell A. (Russell Antonio), 1925-1988



  • Existence: 1925 - 1988


Russell Antonio Ruiz was a local artist-historian who in many ways may be called the father of the contemporary restoration of the Santa Barbara Presidio. Mr. Ruiz was himself a presidio soldier's descendant. He claimed direct ancestry to Felipe de Goicoechea, early comandante of the Spanish Royal Presidio. Prior to the founding of the Santa Barbara Trust, Mr. Ruiz expressed a goal to restore the Santa Barbara Presidio. He devoted more than thirty years of totally volunteer effort to this end. Russell provided historical accounts, drawings and paintings, models of buildings, flags, hand-made soldiers uniforms, presidio soldier models, construction, direction, and archaeological advice to the presidio project.

Russell Ruiz was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in January of 1971. He was made Honorary Life Trustee in 1984. Mr. Ruiz was also a life member of the Santa Barbara Historical Society. He acted as historian for the Quabajai Indian Association and was a member of Los Californianos and of Los Pobladores 200. In 1977, Mr. Ruiz served as honorary grand marshal of the Old Spanish Days historical parade.

Mr. Ruiz was best-known for his paintings and pen and ink sketches of early California. His drawings of early Santa Barbara history appeared in numerous publications. Russell Ruiz received an Award of Merit for outstanding contributions to California history from the California Historical Society in 1968. He was lauded by the society at that time for his work in skillful oil and watercolor paintings and scale models of historic sites backed up by resourceful scholarship and meticulous research."

ā€” Obituary written by Michael R. Hardwick and published in the Winter 1988 issue of La Campana.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Santa Barbara Legacy Reel Audio Tape Collection

Identifier: AR-2022-003
Abstract The Santa Barbara Legacy Reel Audio Tapes Collection contains the earliest recordings of people and events of mid-20th century Santa Barbara historic preservation. From the 1950s into the 1970s, there was a concerted effort at the local, county, and state levels to raise awareness of Santa Barbara's storied past. During this period the Historical Society, as the Museum was then known, began a publications program, established a decade-long presence at the Santa Barbara Mission, and built...
Dates: 1952 - 1977

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  • Subject: Historic preservation X