The Letters of Alfred Robinson to the De La Guerra Family of Santa Barbara, 1834-1873. Translated and annotated by Maynard Geiger. Los Angeles: The Zamorano Club, 1972. Illustrations. Notes. 67 pages. $ 10.00.
Alfred Robinson, who is still remembered as the author of the classic Life in California (1846 & 1891), was a New England merchant who first came to California in 1829. Seven years later, in 1836, Robinson married into the prominent De La Guerra family, taking his bride, Anita, back to Boston. While working or visiting on the East Coast, between 1839 and 1861, Robinson wrote most of the letters that comprise this volume, to his father-in-law, José de In Guerra y Noriega, and to his brother-in-law, Pablo de In Guerra.
Robinson’s letters provide occasional glimpses into his business affairs and political opinions. In many cases, however, these have been treated more fully in his Life in California, or in Adele Ogden’s “Business Letters of Alfred Robinson,” California Historical Quarterly (1944). Thus, Geiger’s main achievement in his careful editing and translating of this personal correspondence has been to shed light on family matters.
Copies of this handsome edition are available through Dawson’s Book Shop in Los Angeles, and are certain to become collector’s items. DJW