Scope and Content
Title: Bernal Family Papers
Dates: 1849-circa 1896
Collection Number: Consult
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: The chronologically-arranged documents
demonstrate the range of legal, financial and real estate-related transactions
initiated by or concerning the Bernal family and their associates. Included in this
series are legal contracts, mortgages, leases, title deeds, promissory notes, tax
receipts, and general accounting records. The series also includes personal and
business letters to and by the Bernal family members and their associates. Two
portraits comprise their own series. Both portraits were taken by San
Francisco-based photographers, Charles Lake Cramer and George Daniels Morse,
sometime during the last thirty years of the 19th century. Finally, ephemera are
contained in the last folder of the collection. Subjects include H. W. Halleck,
Joseph Mora Moss, real property in California, San Francisco, San Mateo County and
Language of Material: The records are in English and
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the
Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual
materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the
Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as
owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain
permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the
Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights.
Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
[Identification of item], Bernal Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San
The Huntington Library purchased the collection from the Argonaut Book Shop in
The Bernal Family resided in the San Francisco Bay area during the latter part of the
nineteenth century. Carmen Sibrian de Bernal, who was born at San Juan Bautista
Mission on April 14, 1804 (Early California Population Project baptism SJB 01300)
married Jose Cornelio Bernal on June 26, 1819 at Santa Clara Mission (ECPP marriage
SCL 01883). As these documents reveal, Carmen Sibrian de Bernal assumed a greater
role in the family’s legal and financial matters after the death of her husband in
November 1850 (ECPP death SFD 05614). The documents also demonstrate that the
couple’s son, José de Jesus Bernal, born circa December 26, 1830 at San Francisco
Mission (ECPP baptism SFD 06528c), also took an active role in the family’s
dealings, particularly in real estate affairs. José de Jesus Bernal eventually
married Geronima Rufino, whose family members also contributed to this collection.
Other persons who had familial ties to the Bernals include members of the Vasquez
and Higuera families. Other associates include members of the Italian and
Euro-American communities in the San Francisco area.
Scope and Content
The papers consist of the following series:
- The chronologically-arranged documents demonstrate the range of legal,
financial, and real estate-related transactions initiated by or concerning
the Bernal Family and their associates. Included in this series are legal
contracts, mortgages, leases, title deeds, promissory notes, tax receipts,
and general accounting records. The series also includes materials created
and / or signed by California-based administrators, most notably by Jacques
Antoine Moerenhout. The Belgian-born Moerenhout served as consul for France
in the United States and Tahiti and authored The Inside Story of the Gold
Rush (Campbell 85). Also represented is Henry Haight, the San
Francisco-based banker and uncle of the tenth governor of California, Henry
- The chronologically-arranged correspondence includes personal and business
letters to and by the Bernal Family members and their associates. Many
letters were directed to Geronima Rufino de Bernal, with a minority of
letters directed to Carmen Sibrian de Bernal.
- Two chronologically-arranged portraits comprise their own series. Both
portraits were taken by San Francisco-based photographers, Charles Lake
Cramer and George Daniels Morse, sometime during the last thirty years of
the nineteenth century. Only the sitter in Morse’s photograph was named and
identified as Luis Ruffino.
- Finally, ephemera are contained in the last folder of the collection.
These items include: a blank indenture form signed by Charles C Moore; a
“Compromisos” (or Obligations) printed card, filled in with pencil; an empty
envelope addressed to Carmen Sibrian de Bernal, postmarked Jan. 3, 1882; and
two business cards, one for Mr. and Mrs. Aldrich and the other for Mr. and
Halleck, H. W. (Henry
Moss, Joseph Mora,
Deeds -- California.
Landlord and tenant --
Land titles -- Registration and transfer
Leases -- California.
Mortgages -- California.
Real property tax --
Taxation -- California -- San
Women -- California.
California -- History --
19th century -- Sources.
San Mateo County
Deeds California 19th
Leases California 19th
Legal documents California 19th
Letters (correspondence) California