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About this collection

Mission Santa Clara Manuscript Collection, 1777-1903 (bulk 1777-1851)

The Mission Santa Clara Manuscript Collection consists of hundreds of manuscripts primarily written and collected by the Franciscan missionaries from the founding of the Mission in 1777 until the arrival of the Jesuits in 1851. The manuscripts deal with the missionaries’ spiritual endeavors, as well as various aspects of daily life at Mission Santa Clara. The collection includes sacramental records, account books, annual reports, governmental and ecclesiastical correspondence, choirbooks, and instructions on wool-processing, health care and cuisine, among others. The majority of the manuscripts are in Spanish.


Archives & Special Collections has arranged and described the Mission Santa Clara manuscripts and created an initial finding aid for the collection, which has been published on the Online Archive of California, as well as this preliminary digital collection. The collection is arranged into nine series: Series I: Sacramental Records; Series II: Informes (Mission Reports); Series III: Fr. Viader’s Miscellany Book; Series IV: Ecclesiastical and Governmental Correspondence; Series V: Secularization and the Formation of California’s First Diocese; Series VI: Personal Legal and Financial Records; Series VII: Music Manuscripts, Series VIII: Alta California Manuscripts, and Series IX: Pictorial Materials, Ephemera and Reproductions.


This digital collection consists of representative items from each of the series. Browse the carousel above to go to the samples, or link to them from the paragraphs below. For more information about the collection, including a detailed description of each series, visit the Guide to the collection at the Online Archive of California. 


Series I: Sacramental Records, 1777-1903

The sacramental records of the Mission Santa Clara Manuscript Collection register the baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials administered by the Franciscan clergy (1777-1851) and the Jesuit clergy (1851-1903) as a fundamental part of their ministry at Mission Santa Clara.


We have digitized the baptisms, marriages, and burials administered by the Franciscan clergy; they are available in the Mission Santa Clara Sacramental Records collection.

* Note: Items with an asterisk include a translation in the PDF. All translations have been done by Deborah Oropeza unless otherwise indicated.


Series I images include:

The binding from the first book of Baptisms, 1777-1804
Mission Santa Clara’s first baptismal records, 1777*
The Baptismal record page for Alexandro Siros, 1845
The Marriage record of Gaspar and Cipriana, 1790
The Burial record page for Egidia, 1797
Dedication of Mission Santa Clara by Fr. Junípero Serra, 1784*


Series II: Informes (Mission Reports),1777-1832

The Informes series consists of three different sets of periodic reports prepared by the Franciscan missionaries of Santa Clara, The Annual Reports, The Biennial Reports, and the Easter Precepts Reports.

Note: the 1823 Report includes a translation of the text. 

Series II images include the following sources:

Mission Santa Clara First Annual Report, 1777
The 1782 Annual Report
The 1823 Annual Report*
The 1840 Annual Report

The Easter Precepts Reports, 1808-1809


Series III: Fr. Viader’s Miscellany Book,1779-1822

Father Viader’s Miscellany Book is a collection of numerous manuscripts that was assembled apparently by Father José Viader, one of the most influential Franciscans in Mission Santa Clara (where he served from 1796 to 1833). The predominant themes in these manuscripts are: 1) church doctrine, liturgy and regulations, 2) health care, 3) food production and preparation, and 4) economic legislation and production in relation to the Alta California missions.


Series III images include short treatises and essays such as:

On inoculation, 1798*
Caesarian birth, 1804
Castigo (Punishment)*

Kitchen management*
Producing olive oil*
Processing wool
The voyage of Fr. Juan Riobó, 1779
Remedios varios de Quijano (Various Remedies by Quijano)*


Along with these excerpts, we have digitized the entire Miscellany, and it is presented here:

Fr. Viader's Miscellany Book


Series IV: Ecclesiastical and Governmental Correspondence,1802-1872

Every mission in Alta California had a Libro de Patentes, a book where the missionaries copied the official correspondence they received before they forwarded the original letters to another mission. The first section of Mission Santa Clara’s Libro de Patentes contains letters received during the years 1806-1846 from the Franciscan superiors. The second section of the Libro de Patentes includes correspondence received by Mission Santa Clara during the years 1812-1844 from the episcopal authorities from Sonora and Santa Barbara and the Spanish and Mexican governments. The Manuscript Collection also holds a collection of letters that were sent out from Mission Santa Clara throughout the years 1802 to 1872.


Series IV images include correspondence such as:

Fr. Viader's Letter Regarding Elections in Mission Santa Clara, 1799*
Fr. Vicente Sarría´s Letter Concerning Instruction and Sacraments for Indians, 1813
The Mission's Responses to the Government's Questionnaire about Indian Society and Culture, 1814*
News of Napoleon's Defeat by Russia, 1814*
Fr. Mariano Payeras's Letter Requesting Financial Support for Presidios, 1821
Fr. García Diego's Letter Approving Dedication of New Church in San Jose, 1843
Patente del R.P. Guardián Fr. José Gazol (Official Letter from Reverend Father Guardian Fr. José Gazol)*



Series V: Secularization and the Formation of California’s First Diocese


This series deals with the significant process of secularization initiated in 1833 which intended to transfer the California missions to the secular, or diocesan, clergy as well as establish a new administration and distribution of mission property.  This series also addresses the formation of California’s first diocese in 1840 and the appointment of the first bishop Fr. García Diego (who had served at Mission Santa Clara).

Series V images include the following documents:

The Decree by the Mexican Government Stipulating the Secularization of the California Missions, 1833*
Fr. García Diego's Response to the Governor Regarding Secularization, 1833
The Land and House Grant for Silveria Pacheco, 1840*
The Acquisition of Mission Santa Clara's Vineyard, 1849
The Canonical Process for Francisco García Diego's Appointment as the First Bishop of California, 1839


Series VI: Personal Legal and Financial Records, 1840-1878

This brief series (approximately 15 manuscripts) deals with various legal and financial affairs of the men and women who lived in the region of mission Santa Clara throughout the years 1840s to 1870s.  The manuscripts found in this series include wills, marriage licenses granted by the civil government, receipts for funeral expenses, and marital litigations, among others.


Series VI images include records such as:


Ignacio Alvisu's Will, 1848
Juana Pacheco's Petition for Marital Separation, 1846
A Marriage License and Certificate, 1872


Series VII: Music Manuscripts,bulk undated

The Mission Santa Clara Manuscript Collection includes four music manuscripts. The main manuscript is a large Choirbook for which Father Narciso Durán, from Mission San José, was the scribe. According to Craig Russell the Mission Santa Clara Choirbook, along with two other written by Father Durán, “constitute the richest and most invaluable anthologies of music from the mission period.”


FSeries VII images include:

Music from the Feast Day of Santa Clara
Music from the Feast of Pentecost, c. 1812
The Mass in the key of C
Music Treatise about Canto Figurado


Series VIII: Alta California Manuscripts,1816-1851

The Mission Santa Clara Manuscript Collection holds a considerable number of manuscripts concerning the entire region of Alta California.  These documents include statistics regarding the demography, economic production and military of Alta California, Mission account books, and an early historical narrative of Alta California.


Series VIII images include such Alta California documents as:


The General Summary Manifesting the State of Nueva California's New Sites, 1816*

Account of the Provisions Given to the Indians of the Former Mission of San Jose, 1837

Register of Medicines for the Missions, 1811

Political Election Notice, 1837


We have digitized the complete versions of the 1837-1838 Mission San Jose account book and the more concise 1837 Mission San Jose account book from this series. It is available here: Mission San Jose Account Books


Series IX: Pictorial Materials, Ephemera and Reproductions, 1777-1903

This series includes 19th -century photographs, sketches and an etching of Mission Santa Clara as well as ephemera related to the California missions. The series consists primarily of Photostats of manuscripts from the previous series.

Series IX images include photographs and sketches such as:

Mission Santa Clara Indian Dwelling, Early 19th Century

Mission Santa Clara Indian Residence, 1807

Mission Santa Clara Indian Apartment, c.1850

Mission Sta. Clara 39° 20' Lat. on the bay of San Francisco, 1842

Mission Santa Clara 1850-1852

View of the Church and House of Santa Clara as They Were in 1851 when Father Nobili Took Possession, 1855

Santa Clara, 1881

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