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Dibblee Family Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AR-1993-097

Content Description

The Dibblee Family Papers contain correspondence from a who's who of Santa Barbara citizens from the second half of the 19th century. Subjects covered include Ranchos Las Cruces, San Julian, Santa Rita, and Simi; land grants for Lompoc, Salsipuedes and University; Gaviota Wharf, Cordero papers, sheep industry, cattle drives and livestock sales. The types of records include correspondence, telegrams, financial documents, legal papers, abstracts of title, survey field notes, maps, sketches, deeds, agreements, contracts, leases, insurance policies, loans, liens, statements, accounts, invoices, payments, receipts, protests, subpoenas, summons, disputes, settlements, estate summaries, wills, legislation, cargo manifests, employee lists, and genealogies.

The collection consists of 1,269 pieces of correspondence and records related to the operations of Rancho San Julian from 1842-1927.


  • 1842 - 1927


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head Archivist of the Gledhill Library.

Biographical / Historical

Rancho San Julian was established in 1817 as a source for meat, tallow, leather, and horses for the King of Spain's soldiers at the Presidio of Santa Barbara, California. Presidio Comandante Don Jose Antonio de la Guerra y Noriega received Rancho San Julian, about 48,000 acres, in lieu of back pay. The Rancho passed to Don Jose's sons, who sold it to Gaspar Orena during the difficult financial times caused by the drought of 1862-1864.

Albert and Thomas Dibblee purchase Rancho San Julian in 1867. A year later, Thomas Bloodgood Dibblee married Francisca de la Guerra, granddaughter of Don Jose, keeping the Rancho in the de la Guerra family.

In 1875, the Dibblees along with W. W. and Hubbard Hollister, built a pier at Gaviota for shipping cattle and sheep to the San Francisco market. Later, in the 1890s when the railroad reached Guadalupe, they drove the stock to the rail terminal there.

When Albert and Thomas Dibblee both died in 1895, Albert's family received the Jalama (western) portion of the land and Thomas's descendants retained San Julian. In 2000, 15,000 acres remained of the original 25,000 left at the time of the 1895 subdivision. As of 2020, Rancho San Julian continues to be held and worked by the descendents of Thomas Bloodgood Dibblee.


3 Linear Feet (in 3 record storage boxes)

Language of Materials



The Dibblee Family Papers consist of 1,269 pieces of correspondence and records related to the operations of Rancho San Julian from 1842-1927.


This collection is arranged in 4 series:

Series 1. Gaviota Wharf, 1868-1967

Series 2. Rancho Las Cruces, 1826-1995

Series 3. Dibblee Family Correspondence, 1864-1990

Series 4. Gaviota Wharf and Rancho San Julian, 1864-1896

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by A. Dibblee Poett

Related Materials

W. Dibblee Hoyt collection, SBHC Mss 70. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.


Poett, A. Dibblee. 1991. Rancho San Julian: the story of a California ranch and its people. Santa Barbara: Fithian Press.

Hoyt, W. Dibblee. 2000. Rancho San Julian dia del rancho. [Santa Barbara, Calif.]: Rancho San Julian.

Processing Information

The Dibblee Family Papers were processed by Chris S. Ervin CA in June 2019 and by Lauren Trujillo in November 2019.

Guide to the Dibblee Family Papers
Chris S. Ervin CA and Lauren Trujillo
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Gledhill Library Repository

136 E. De La Guerra
Santa Barbara California 93101 USA