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Hotel del Coronado Records,1887-1977

Special Collections


Library and Information Access

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA 92182-8050









Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Extent
Approximately 55 linear feet.

Copyright
The copyright interests in the materials found in this collection have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Special Collections and University Archives can only grant permission to publish materials for which it is the copyright holder. For further information, please consult the section on copyright in the rules for using collections, or contact the United States Copyright Office at (202) 707-3000 or http://www.copyright.gov.

Preferred Citation
Identification of item, folder title, box number, Hotel del Coronado Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Processing Information
Re-processed by Aislinn Sotelo and Jennifer Martinez, Spring 2005.

Encoded by
Jossie Chavez, 2006

Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
Library and Information Access
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-8050

Email: scref@rohan.sdsu.edu
Phone: (619) 594-6791
Fax: (619) 594-0466


Abstract

Since its opening in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado has served as one of the leading resort hotels in the United States and has been a major catalyst in the development of the City of Coronado. In 1970, the Hotel was designated a California State Historical Landmark and in 1971 was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is also a Coronado Historical Landmark and a San Diego County Historical Landmark. Owners of the Hotel have included such prominent San Diegans as John D. Spreckels, John Alessio, and M. Larry Lawrence.

The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, registers, financial and personnel records, photographs, and published miscellany. The collection documents not only the development of the Hotel del Coronado but contains valuable materials for the study of the history of the greater Southern California and Northern Baja California region.

Scope and Content

The collection is organized into the following series:

Series I. Bound Correspondence (Volumes 1-89)
The bound correspondence of this collection consists of copies of outgoing letters on onion skin paper and are mostly type written and signed, although a few volumes are almost entirely handwritten. All eighty-nine of the volumes contain a complete index either categorized by recipients’ last name with the corresponding page number, or as many of the later volumes are, by page number with the last name of the letters’ recipients.

The majority of the volumes of bound correspondence are copies of letters from the Hotel del Coronado’s President and Manager, Elijah S. Babcock (1849-1922) and are mostly profession in content, thought there are a few letters which are labeled “personal.” Beginning in 1904, we begin to see letters from the new Manager, Morgan Ross. The bound outgoing correspondence deals with a majority of topics, including the running of the early Hotel del Coronado such as letters to personnel, as well as much information on the early San Diego Water Company, the building of the Otay dam, streetlights, the ferry, Coronado Railway, as well as letters to guests about reservations, and Hotel promotion throughout the country.

Series II. Guest Registers (Volumes 90-185)
These registers are mostly oversized volumes which contain guests’ signatures, dates and room numbers dating from January 29, 1888 through August 23, 1926. These registers vary in appearance as some contain an appendix to other hotels in the United States titled, “American Hotel Register Company’s Hotel Guide” and others contain stamped and guild advertisements from various shops and services in San Diego such as, “Prof. G.A. Williams, Ladies Hair dresser, Wig Maker, Manicure, Chiropodist, Face Massage and Steaming, Superfluous Hair Removed by Electricity 859 Fifth Street.” Others read “Llewelyn’s Fine Footwear, A Specialty 724 Fifth St. Tel. 741 Red.” Also included are adds for the Ostrich farm on Coronado beach. Some of the later volumes contain pages of adds throughout the sign-in pages.

The earlier registers are were under the manager John B. Seghers, Jr. but quickly change to E.S. Babcock and then to Morgan Ross. Volume number 107 contains the signature of the famous Hotel del Coronado ghost, Kate Morgan. She signed in under the name of “Miss Lottie A. Bernard” from Detroit, room 308 on November 24, 1892. In addition, this register series houses volume 152 which on March 28, 1905 was signed by Henry James (1843-1916), the American writer known for such works as A Portrait of a Lady.

Series III.Room Books (Volumes 186-206)
Exact dates in this series are not always given, as the books are arranged as a large index in alphabetical order by guests’ last name. Each index letter entry has its own time span. Some of these books are almost entirely blank. This series contains the same information as Series II Guest Registers, including name (though not a signature), the check in date, and room number. However, in addition to the above information this series includes detailed descriptions of Hotel expenses, including laundry services, telegram charges and wine. Some of the more famous guest who can be found in this series are Abercrombie and Fitch who were checked in on October of 1890 in volume number 191, each under the corresponding first letter of their last name.

Of note, volume number 193 contains a chart of Hotel rates, “The ‘HW’ Hotel Rate Table for sale only by ‘The World Hotel,’ Chicago” in the front cover of the book. Volume 198 contains a “Southern California Coupons” with hotel rates posted in the front cover. Also some of the books contain handwritten lists of discounts for services allowed to certain guests only, such as boarders. In addition, volume 201 contains newspaper clippings about the train schedule.

Series IV. Reservation Records (Volumes 207-210)
This series of reservation books had handwritten entries organized in chronological order by dates with guests’ names, number of persons in party, and room preferences, along with notes. Some of these volumes contain an index in the front, though none of them have been filled out.

Interesting to note is that volume number 209 contains European post cards and volume 210 on page 203 has evidence of “white-out” to cover ink. Though there are few books in this series, they provide insight into the daily management of the Hotel.

Series V. Room Books of Guests’ Hometowns (Volumes 211-217)
This series contains guests’ names, room numbers, hometown and check-in and out dates in a large bound index. Some of the volumes in this series also contain guests’ home address. Volume 216 is organized in alphabetical order by guests’ home state, and volume 217 is organized in alphabetical order by guests’ home city. Each letter in the index has its own date span, although all of the letters are similar throughout the index.

Series VI. Mail Books (Volumes 218-220)
These mail books are arranged as one large bound index in alphabetical order with dates, guests’ names and addresses or hotel addresses where they can be reached or their mail forwarded to. Of note is that volume 218 contains a book plate in the front cover which reads, “Coronado Stables Rates, In Effect February 18, 1901,” followed by corresponding rates. In addition, there is also a handwritten paper pasted into the front cover with more rates dated “11/23/00” (that it “00” = 1900).

Series VII. Mailing Lists (Volumes 221-225)
This series contains information on guests’ home addresses. Volumes 221 and 222 are organized in a large index by guests’ last name including guests name, street and number, city, and state. Existing records of the collection note that volume 223 contains doctors’ names which correspond to those found in volume 224, with corresponding page numbers. Volume 224 is organized as a large index and is labeled with: name, street no., city, state, Informant’s name, address, pamphlet, letter, answer letter, and pamphlet again. Of note is that pasted inside the front cover of this volume is an alphabetical list of the first few letters of last names with the corresponding page numbers. Volume 225 is organized much in the same way as volume 224, although there is red ink used for writing the heading letters. Volume 225 also contains a piece of paper pasted at the beginning of the book with directions on how to fill out the blank book.

Series VIII. Miscellaneous Guest Records (Volumes 226-229)
Volume 226 of this series contains delinquent records of outstanding bills recorded in an index by delinquent’s last name. Volume 227 contains departures and room changes and is organized by date and spans across the page to include room number, departure, and number of persons in party, time, the room from which the guest is changing, a category labeled changes, and the new room number. Volumes 228 and 229 are arranged in chronological order. Of note is that volumes 228 and 229 allow a glimpse in to what foods people were eating at the Hotel del Coronado during the turn of the century as these contain bills for food from grocers which include mushrooms, oatmeal, graham flour, pineapple, turkey, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, green peas, canned milk, cream, veal, onions, eggs, and powdered sugar. Each grocery list is organized by date and under the name of the grocer.

Series IX. Boarder’s Ledgers (Volumes 228-232)
These volumes are arranged so that each entry spans across two pages and includes the following information: name, time of arrival, number of room, rates, wine account, telegrams, meals sent to room, fires, sundry accounts, total credit, and remarks. Some of the expenses listed for guests include laundry, drugs and baths as well. Volume 232 contains a paper pasted in the front endpaper which lists various drinks such as Absinthe, Apricot Brandy, Bourbon Whisky, Egg Lemonade, Gin and Whisky sours, Horkes Neck Cooler, Orangeade, and Rock & Rye Whisky with each drinks corresponding price.

Series X. Room Books of Financial Records (Volumes 233-251)
This series of financial records allows much research on the everyday administration of the Hotel del Coronado, including how the Hotel spent its money, how many hours Hotel personnel worked and how much they were paid, as well as what daily life was like for guests at the Hotel in volumes such as 238 which includes cash receipts of expenses such as board, bar, billiards, slot machines and bath house and volume 239 which includes cash register tickets and ticket orders for things such as 25¢ movies, bar orders, and billiards. Volume 233 is a ledger organized by guest name at the top of the page, then by date with a list of numbers and payment types. Volume 234 a ledger, is arranged by date, then names and umbers and sums with expenses such as tea room, laundry, and board. Volume 235 is an oversized ledger arranged by date while others such as volume 236 of accounts receivable is organized as a large index and includes deposit accounts. Of note is that volume 237 is compiled of a list of vendors including Pacific Laundry Dry Cleaners, and Allen’s Press Clipping, who is responsible for most of the newspaper clippings found in the Hotel del Coronado Collection. Volume 240 is in the form of a large bound index in the front of the volume, although it is almost entirely empty except for one loose leaf with information of slot machines. The rest of the volume is comprised of copies of letters on onion skin paper which provide information on Tent City café and band, as well as Hotel del Coronado “Monthly Statement of Earnings and Expenses.” The cover of this volume is labeled “Statement Reports and Exhibits.”

Series XI. Miscellany (Volumes 252-256)
This miscellany series consists of a log book, a lost and found book, two Bell Boys’ records books, and a laundry record book. Of note is that pasted on the cover of volume 256 laundry record book is a listing of employee discounts for laundry services, however, much of this volume is blank except for some writing on one of the front end pages which mentions Tent City Café, and page 40 which is filled out. Similar to some of the other series, these materials provide information on the everyday workings of the Hotel del Coronado.

Series XII. Coronado Tent City (Volumes 257-259)
The Coronado Tent City series consists of a general ledger, a cash book and an account book. Interesting about this collection is that since Tent City no longer exists, for those who have never been there will never have the chance. The closest to Tent City one can get is through their records, of which a small portion is housed in this series.

Series XIII. Coronado Country Club (Volumes 260-262)
The Coronado Country Club series consists of a book of the Official Polo scores from 1912-1925, a book which contains resignation of membership dating 1913-1920 which also includes some information on resigning members such as their membership date, and a register.

Series XIV. Scrapbooks (Volumes 263-303)

Series XV. Photographs (Box 1)
This box consists of a collection of 110 photographs, of which the majority date to the 1880’s and early 1900’s, however there are also numerous pictures commemorating the opening of the Coronado Bridge in1962 including pictures of the then California Governor, Ronald Reagan, as well as a few photographs dating to the 1970s. Older prints are business-trade postcard advertisements. Many of the photographs contained in this collection have been copied as a print and are included in the same folder with the original photograph. The subject of the photos varies, however they all have the common theme of the Hotel del or the surrounding Coronado area. Included are scenery pictures of the lovely Pacific coast as well as pictures of the construction and interior of the Hotel del Coronado, Tent City, the historic Coronado Methodist Church, as well as local homes and city buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the early city of Coronado Beach.

Series XVI. Incoming Correspondence from 1911 (Box 2)
The incoming correspondence found in Box 2 I and II is arranged alphabetically by sender’s last name; however, when there are replies to the sender they are included next to the corresponding letter and are found in the folder under the sender’s last name. Much of the content of the correspondence in Box 2 concerns payment of bills or requests for accommodations at the Hotel del Coronado, guests’ lost personal items, and requests for forwarding guests’ mail. This box also includes 3 forwarding address folders with no date which include the original index dividers.

Subject Access Terms

Hotel Del Coronado (Coronado, Calif.)
Coronado (Calif.) – History
San Diego (Calif.) – History
California, Southern – History
Baja California (Mexico: State) – History

Hotels – California – Coronado
Tourism – California, Southern.

Related Collections at San Diego State University
Henry James Collection

Related Collections at other Repositories
http://www.hoteldel.com/
http://www.coronadohistory.org
http://www.sandiegohistory.org/histsoc.html

Container List

Series I: Bound Correspondence

Inclusive Dates

Book Number

Feb 1888 - Mar 18881
Apr 1888 - Sep 18882
Sep 1888 - Nov 18883
Oct 1888 - Jun 18904
Jan 1889 - Mar 18895
Jul 1889 - Sep 18896
Sep 1888 - Dec 18897
Dec 1889 - Feb 18898
Feb 1890 - Mar 18909
Mar 1890 - May 189010
May 1890 - May 189011
May 1890 - Jun 189012
Jun 1890 - Jul 189013
Jul 1890 - Sep 189014
Nov 1890 - Dec 189015
Dec 1890 - Jan 189116
Jan 1891 - Feb 189117
Feb 1891 - Mar 189118
Jul 1891 - Sep 189119
Sep 1891 - Dec 189120
Dec 1891 - Feb 189121
Feb 1892 - Apr 189222
Jun 1892 - Oct 189223
Sep 1892 - Oct 189224
Feb 1893 - Apr 189325
Apr 1893 - Jul 189326
Jul 1893 - Aug 189327
Aug 1893 - Oct 189328
Oct 1893 - Nov 189329
Nov 1893 - Dec 189330
Dec 1893 - Feb 189431
Dec 1893 - Jan 189432
Feb 1894 - May 189433
May 1894 - Jul 189434
Jul 1894 - Dec 189435
Dec 1894 - Jan 189536
Jan 1895 - Apr 189537
Apr 1895 - Jul 189538
Jul 1895 - Oct 189539
Oct 1895 - Dec 189540
Dec 1895 - Mar 189641
Mar 1896 - Jun 189642
Jun 1896 - Aug 189643
Aug 1896 - Nov 189644
Sep 1896 - Dec 189645
Dec 1896 - Feb 189746
Feb 1897 - Mar 189747
Mar 1897 - May 189748
May 1897 - Aug 189749
Aug 1897 - Nov 189750
Nov 1897 - Feb 189851
May 1896 - Aug 1896
18 May, 1897,
Aug 1897 - Dec 189852
Feb 1898 - Apr 189853
Apr 1898 - Jun 189854
Jun 1898 - Aug 189855
Aug 1898 - Oct 189856
Oct 1898 - Nov 189857
Nov 1898 - Jan 189958
Jan 1899 - Feb 189959
Feb 1899 - Mar 189960
Mar 1899 - Apr 189961
Apr 1899 - May 189962
May 1899 - Jul 189963
Jul 1899 - Sep 189964
Sep 1899 - Oct 189965
Oct 1899 - Dec 189966
Dec 1899 - Feb 190067
Feb 1900 - Apr 190068
Apr 1900 - Jul 190069
Jul 1900 - Sep 190070
Sep 1900 - Dec 190071
Dec 1900 - Jan 190172
Jan 1900 - Mar 190173
Mar 1901 - May 190174
May 1901 - Jul 190175
Jul 1901 - Sep 190176
Sep 1901 - Nov 190177
Nov 1901 - Feb 190278
Jul 1902 - Oct 190279
Oct 1902 - Jan 190380
Jan 1903 - Apr 190381
Apr 1903 - Jul 190382
Jul 1903 - Dec 190383
Dec 1903 - Jan 190484
Jan 1904 - Dec 190485
Jan 1905 - Mar 190586
Mar 1905 - Nov 190587
Nov 1905 - Oct 190688
Oct 1906 - Sep 190789
Back to Series Outline

Series II: Guest Registers

Inclusive Dates

Book Number

Jan 1888 - Apr 188890
Apr 1888 - Aug 188891
Aug 1888 - Dec 188892
Dec 1888 - May 14, 188993
Mar 1889 - Jul 1889,
Jan 7-12, 188994
Aug 1889 - Jan 1-6, 189095
Jan 1890 - Mar 189096
Mar 1890 - May 189097
May 1890 - Aug 189098
Apr 1891 - May 189199
Jun 1891 - Aug 1891100
Aug 1891 - Dec 1891101
Dec 1891 - Feb 1892102
Feb 1892 - Mar 1892103
Mar 1892 - May 1892104
May 1892 - Aug 1892105
Aug 1892 - Nov 1892106
Nov 1892 - Feb 1893107
Mar 1893 - May 1893108
May 1893 - Aug 1893109
Aug 1893 - Dec 1893110
Dec 1893 - Feb 1894111
Feb 1894 - Apr 1894112
Jun 1894 - Sep 1894113
Sep 1894 - Dec 1894114
Jan 1895 - Mar 1895115
Mar 1895 - May 1895116
May 1895 - Aug 1895117
Aug 1895 - Nov 1895118
Nov 1895 - Feb 1896119
Feb 1896 - Apr 1896120
Apr 1896 - Sep 1896121
Sep 1896 - Feb 1897122
Feb 1897 - Apr 1897123
Apr 1897 - Sep 1897124
Sep 1897 - Nov 1897125
Dec 1897 - Mar 1898126
Mar 1898 - Sep 1898127
Sep 1898 - Jan 1899128
Jan 1899 - Apr 1899129
Apr 1899 - Sep 1899130
Sep 1899 - Jan 1900131
Feb 1900 - Mar 1900132
Mar 1900 - Jun 1900133
Jun 1900 - Sep 1900134
Sep 1900 - Dec 1900135
Jan 1901 - Feb 1901136
Mar 1901 - Apr 1901137
Apr 1901 - Jul 1901138
Jul 1901 - Sep 1901139
Oct 1901 - Dec 1901140
Jan 1902 - Mar 1902141
Mar 1902 - Apr 1902142
Dec 1902 - Feb 1903143
Feb 1903 - Apr 1903144
Apr 1903 - Aug 1903145
Aug 1903 - Dec 1903146
Dec 1903 - Feb 1904147
Feb 1904 - Apr 1904148
Apr 1904 - Jul 1904149
Jul 1904 - Oct 1904150
Oct 1904 - Dec 1904151
Dec 1904 - Apr 1905152
Apr 1905 - Oct 1905153
Oct 1905 - Mar 1906154
Mar 1906 - Jul 1906155
Jul 1906 - Jan 1907156
Jan 1907 - May 1907157
May 1907 - Sep 1907158
Sep 1907 - Feb 1908159
Feb 1908 - May 1908160
May 1908 - Oct 1908161
Oct 1908 - Feb 1909162
Mar 1909 - Jun 1909163
Jun 1909 - Nov 1909164
Nov 1909 - Mar 1910165
Mar 1910 - Jun 1910166
Jun 1910 - Nov 1910167
Nov 1910 - Mar 1911168
Mar 1911 - Jun 1911169
Jun 1911 - Sep 1911170
Sep 1911 - Feb 1912171
Feb 1912 - Jun 1912172
Jun 1912 - Nov 1912173
Nov 1912 - Mar 1913174
Mar 1913 - Jul 1913175
Jul 1913 - Dec 1913176
Dec 1913 - Apr 1914177
Apr 1914 - Aug 1914178
Aug 1914 - Feb 1915179
Jan 1915 - May 1915180
Feb 1915 - Jul 1915181
Jun 1915 - Sep 1915182
Jul 1915 - Nov 1915183
Jan 1919 - Dec 1919184
Jan 1929 - Feb 1930185


Series III: Room Books

Inclusive Dates

Book Number

Feb 1888 - Sep 1888187
Feb 1888 - Aug 1888188
Oct 1888 - Apr 1889189
May 1889 - Feb 1890190
Mar 1890 - Jun 1890191
Oct 1890 - Jul 1891192
Aug 1891 - Apr 1892193
May 1892 - Mar 1893194
Apr 1893 - May 1894195
Apr 1894 - Aug 1895196
Sep 1895 - Aug 1896197
Sep 1896 - Jan 1898198
Feb 1898 - Jan 1899199
Feb 1899 - Nov 1899200
Dec 1899 - Jul 1900201
Aug 1900 - Mar 1901202
Apr 1901 - Feb 1902203
Mar 1902 - Mar 1903204
Mar 1903 - Feb 1904205
Mar 1904 - Feb 1905206
Feb 1905 - Dec 1905207

Series IV: Reservation Records

Inclusive Dates

Book Number

Jun 1901 - Feb 1902208
Dec 1910 - Apr 1902209
Dec 1903 - Apr 1904210
Dec 1906 - Mar 1910211

Back to Series Outline

Series V: Alphabetical Listings of Guests by Name

Inclusive Dates

Book Number

Nov - Dec ca. 1899 (Not specifically dated but 14 months prior to 1900) 212
Feb 1900 - Nov 1900213
Nov 1901 - Apr 1902214
Feb 23, 1930 - Jan 5, 1931215
Dec - Oct (no year)216
1888 - 1891 (Alphabetical listing of guests by their home state) 217
Dec 1899 - Feb 1902 (Alphabetical listing of guests by their home city) 218

To see Series VI through XVI


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