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Guide to the Federico and Bertha Claveria Collection CEMA 130
CEMA 130  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Scope Note
  • Series Descriptions
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • Preferred Citation note

  • Title: Federico and Bertha Claveria Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 130
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.0 boxes
    Date: ca.1940 - ca.1990s
    Abstract: The Federico and Bertha Claveria Collection is made up of administrative records, subject files, correspondence, clippings, photographs and negatives, ephemera and other miscellaneous memorabilia documenting activities of the life of Federico Claveria, his family, and La Tolteca Tortilla Factory and restaurant. It Includes photographs taken by Claveria himself during his time as a Marine photographer.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Federico Antonio Maldonado Claveria was born on June 13, 1908 in Mexico City to Santurino Claveria and Maria Maldonado Claveria. His father emigrated to Mexico from the Basque Country, his mother was a native to Mexico City; the two had a total of three sons. The Claverias moved to San Antonio, Texas from Mexico City in 1912, during the Mexican Revolution. A little thereafter, the family moved to Los Angeles, where they would eventually become American citizens. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, Federico Claveria was 33 years of age and strongly desired to join the war effort of the U.S. Marines. Unfortunately, the status of his citizenship delayed his enlistment. Upon obtaining American citizenship, Claveria again met another speed bump when he failed his military physical due to his color blindness. The zealous Claveria did not take no for an answer. With his past experience in the Hollywood film industry as a commercial artist for RKO and Warner Bros. Studios, Federico Claveria became Private Federico “Freddie” Claveria, photographer and filmer of the U.S. Marines. He was placed in the Fifth Amphibious Corps, under Major General Holland M. Smith, who led them in the invasions of Saipan and Tinnian on the Pacific front of WWII. On July 16, 1946 Claveria was discharged as Technical Sergeant Claveria of the Marine Corps, returning home to his long-time girlfriend, Bertha Ciriza.
    After their marriage, Federico and Bertha Claveria moved to Santa Barbara, CA and started their own tortilla factory on December 18, 1946 naming it, La Tolteca, after the Aztec word “metropolis." This would be the third of a total of seven tortilla factory/restaurants under the same name. The other six locations were owned by Claveria’s uncles and a friend, spanning from Southern California to Phoenix, Arizona. Working hard 12-hour shifts, Freddie and Bertha were eventually able to open up a restaurant location under the same name in Santa Barbara. By the 80s La Tolteca had become a prominent business in the Santa Barbara County, raking in 1 million dollars in annual sales and supplying over 40 other restaurants in Santa Barbara and neighboring counties. At this time, the company employed about 40 full-time employees producing about 720,000 tortillas weekly; this feat gained them the Certificate of Achievement by the Valley Grain Products, Inc in 1986. Two years later the Claverias were again honored when the family business received the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce Recognition Award. Federico Claveria died on Sunday, June 5, 1993 at the St. Francis Medical Center. The restaurant remained in the Claveria family until its closing in 2006, 60 years after its opening. The current owner of the building has placed a commemorative plaque at the site, commemorating La Tolteca's six decades of serving the Santa Barbara community. La Tolteca’s iconic Model T Ford "Pie Wagon" was sold for 13,000 dollars in an auction to a local firm, Goodman Reed Motorcars, LLC who have added it to their perminant collection on Santa Barbara history. Claveria received a military ceremony and is buried at the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Claveria was survived by his wife Bertha, and their two sons Federico Santurino and Carlos.
    Federico Claveria lived a full life and left a lasting mark on those lives that he touched. He was quoted saying that one of his proudest moments was meeting President Ronald Reagan during a press luncheon. The president expressed a liking to Claveria’s hat, which was decorated with military pins and regalia. Claveria has been credited with developing the first significant automated tortilla making process. Aside from his culinary and photographic expertise, Claveria was a coin collector, being a part of the Assay Coin Collection since 1975, and a marksman, being a part of the Santa Barbara Pistol Club. His other affiliations are the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge, the American Legion, and the Masonic Lodge. Finally, the United States Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association awarded the annual Donald L. Dickson Memorial Award to Claveria in 1985.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    none

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Copyright belongs to UC Regents.

    Scope Note

    The Federico and Bertha Claveria Collection, CEMA 130, contains biographical material highlighting the life of Federico Claveria with an emphasis on his military career and his family-owned tortilla factory, La Tolteca, located in Santa Barbara, CA. The collection includes administrative documents, advertising materials, photographs, slides, negatives, and an extensive biographical section that includes articles about La Tolteca, Claveria’s time as a Marine, and a scrapbook put together by the Claveria family. The administrative documents span anywhere from the restaurant menus, record keeping, to legal documents. Within the advertising materials there are materials used to prepare the advertisements, and some of the finalized advertisements in the form of signs and ads that appeared in magazines or newspapers. The photographs include those taken by Claveria as a Marine photographer during WWII, in the Saipan and Tinnian invasions. Other photos are those taken for business use of the company, of employees, and inside the tortilla factory. Important to note within the photographs and articles series is La Tolteca's Iconic Model T Ford. Materials from this collection span from the 1940s – 1990s.

    Series Descriptions

    Series I Personal and Biographical Information 1946 - 1993
    This section consists of articles and photos that give insight on the personal life of Federico Claveria, which is mostly independent of his business activity in La Tolteca tortilla factory. There is special attention given to his life as a Marine Corps photographer, a scrapbook put together by the family, and also a family video titled, "Dukie's 6th Birthday".
    Series II Business Related Material 1946 - ca.2010
    The business materials consist largely of La Tolteca’s legal documents, sales contracts, wholesale price lists, and formal correspondence records from other business and government departments. Records of the Model T purchase can be found in the sales contracts. The records include the Certificate of Achievement Award that La Tolteca received from the Valley Grains Products, Inc. in 1986. Other notable materials are some of the menus and other memorabilia saved by the Claverias.
    Series III Business Articles 1946 - ca.2005
    The majority of the articles found in this section pertain to La Tolteca, and vary from reviews to publicity. This section gives an in-depth look at the lifetime of the factory from when it started until the selling of the company in 1993. Also included are two “Fiesta” editions of the Santa Barbara News Press from July 31, 1983.
    Series IV Advertising Materials ca.1950 - ca. 1990
    Advertising materials include the templates and sample ads prepared for use with the printing press or for visualization. There also includes many ads that were found in newspapers and magazines, and this part may overlap with some of the documents found in Series 3, Articles. Apart from the advertisements, also included are signs for La Tolteca.
    Series V Photographs, Slides, and Negatives ca.1940 - ca.1995
    Pictures depict factory and restaurant processes, family portraits, gatherings and parties, and of Claveria during his time in the war. Also included are photographs and negatives snapped by Federico Claveria himself during the Saipan and Tinnian invasions of WWII.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    Donation by Carlos Claveria (son).

    Preferred Citation note

    Federico and Bertha Claveria Collection, CEMA 130, Department of Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Santa Barbara County (Calif.)--History, Local.
    Tortillas