Howard E. Gulick Papers, 1948 - 1980 (MSS 91)

Extent: 2.6 Linear feet (3 archives boxes, 2 card file boxes, 12 oversize folders, 6 slide boxes)

View OnlineSelected materials from the collection have been digitized.

Papers of Howard E. Gulick (1911-1983), author, cartographer and traveler in the Mexican states of Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur and Nayarit.

Howard Gulick was born in Visalia, California, on August 25, 1911. In 1920 he moved with his parents to Los Angeles and later, in 1922, to Glendale, California. Gulick graduated from Glendale High School in 1929 and from the California Institute of Technology in 1934 with a bachelor's degree in engineering.

From 1935 to 1972 Gulick worked for the Public Service Department of the City of Glendale as a civil engineer in the water and electrical utility department. During World War II (September 1942-January 1946), he served in the Air Force and was stationed at Yuma, Arizona. Apart from his duties as post engineer and purchasing officer, Gulick spent his free time practicing Spanish, exploring the border and developed an interest in the desert.

In 1950, he made his first long trip into Baja California, traveling as far south as Loreto in a new Jeep station wagon. Gulick continued to spend his vacations traveling the peninsula (except 1958) until 1961. In 1964, he recalled, "besides merely covering roads, I studied and looked for old trails, missions, ranches, etc. Along with all this, detailed notes of road mileages enabled me to plot the roads on a base map. During this period most long weekends were spent down there [often in the company of Faustino Perez of Ensenada], and frequently two-day weekends also."

Peter Gerhard, a historian, proposed that they collaborate on a guidebook to Baja California which would incorporate Gulick's notes for the road log portion. In 1956, the first printing of the Lower California Guidebook appeared at a time when popular interest in the peninsula was increasing. Gulick conceived of this guidebook "as a volume which would not only help the traveler find his way to hitherto unmapped roads, but would describe, from personal observation, the area and points of interest." Popular among peninsular travelers, the Lower California Guidebook was reissued in three updated editions before a fifth revised edition, entitled the Baja California Guidebook (1975) was published. Walt Wheelock replaced Peter Gerhard as co-author.

Between 1962 and 1964, Gulick shifted his focus to the state of Nayarit, Mexico, and, in 1965, published Nayarit, Mexico; A Travelers Guidebook To This Historic And Scenic State Of Mexico's West Coast, And Its Capital, The City Of Tepic. This work was the first English-language guidebook to Nayarit.

Howard Gulick died in 1983 in Glendale, California.

Papers of Howard E. Gulick, author, cartographer and traveler in the Mexican states of Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur and Nayarit. Gulick coauthored one of the first guidebooks on Baja California, the Lower California Guidebook (1956), which combined history and culture with field maps and mileage tabulation. His guidebook to Nayarit entitled Nayarit, Mexico; A Traveler's Guidebook To This Historic And Scenic State Of Mexico's West Coast, And Its Capital, The City Of Tepic (1965) was the first English-language guide to that state. The Baja California materials date between 1948 and 1973 and the Nayarit materials date between 1964 and 1965. Included are letters from botanist Annetta Carter and geographer Homer Aschmann, manuscripts and typescripts of Gulick's unpublished research papers, manuscript maps, published maps, journals and diaries from trips, and a large collection of color slide images of places and people in Baja California and Nayarit.

The collection is arranged in five series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE; 2) WRITINGS; 3) MAP MATERIALS; 4) SLIDES; and 5) JOURNALS.

Container List


Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) CORRESPONDENCE: Letters from numerous researchers, travelers and aficionados of Baja California and Nayarit between 1964 and 1980. Among the correspondents are Annetta Carter, Homer Aschmann, Harry Crosby, and anthropologist Tom Hinton. The series is arranged in chronological order with drafts of Gulick's letters at the end.

Box 1 Folder 1
General correspondence, 1964 - 1966
Box 1 Folder 2
General correspondence, 1966 - 1980
Box 1 Folder 3
Drafts of letters


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) WRITINGS: Unpublished manuscripts and typescripts based on Gulick's research. In his work entitled "The Coast of the Gulf of California from Punta Final to San Felipe," Gulick attempts to match the Jesuit Fernando Consag's description of the coast line, which he translated, with his own observations. Also included is Gulick's study of the Mixton War in Jalisco in the sixteenth century which includes his "Notes from Tello." The "Nayarit Notebook" contains manuscript maps of the state; notes on its history; and notes on the flora and fauna. Finally, the series includes a small notebook which describes a 1972-73 trip to Guadalupe Island and Scammon's Lagoon.

Box 2 Folder 1
Card file index

Includes file on common Spanish names of plants and books of Baja California.

Box 3 Folder 1
Coast of the Gulf of California from Punta Final to San Felipe

January 1957 - Typescript.

Box 3 Folder 2
Log of the voyage which Father Fernando Consag of the Company of Jesus,

[title continues] Missionary of the Californias, made in discovery of the east coast of California to the Colorado River where its strait ends, by order of Father Christopher de Escobar y Llamas, Provincial of New Spain, of the Company of Jesus, Year of 1746. Typescript translation with pencil annotations and manuscript map.

Box 3 Folder 3
Mixton War


Box 3 Folder 4
Mixton War

Guzman's Conquest. Manuscript with maps and annotation.

Box 3 Folder 5
Nayarit Notebook

Manuscript and typescript.

Box 3 Folder 6
Notes from Tello

Manuscript and typescript

Box 3 Folder 7
Notes taken on Pacific Islands and Scammon's Lagoon Trip

12/26/72-1/2/73. Manuscript.


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) MAP MATERIALS. Arranged in two subseries: A) Materials by Howard Gulick, and B) By Others.

A) Materials by Howard Gulick: Working notes, drafts and finished maps, and mileage tabulations for a series of maps reproduced in Lower California Guidebook and Nayarit, Mexico: A Traveler's Guidebook. While traveling and camping, Gulick made maps using elements of existing published maps for templates. He combined compass sightings and mileage tabulations to locate more accurately natural features, roads, towns, and ranches.

B) By Others: Gulick's collection of published maps, are arranged by corporate author.

By Howard Gulick

Box 3 Folder 8
Baja California notebook

Includes compass observations, compass calibration graphs and manuscript maps.

Box 3 Folder 9
Mileage tabulations
Box 3 Folder 10
Mileage tabulations
Oversize MC-023-01

Final ink originals - nos. 1-16.

Oversize MC-023-02

Draft pencil maps - nos. 1-6.

Oversize MC-023-03

Draft pencil maps - nos. 7-16.

Oversize MC-023-04

Miscellaneous blueprint copies.

Oversize MC-023-05


Oversize MC-023-06

2 pencil and felt pen draft maps.

By Others

Oversize MC-023-07
Baja California

Mexico. Comision Intersecretarial Coordinadora del Levantamiento de la Carta Geographica de la Republica Mexicana (1957). Scale = 1:500,000.

Oversize MC-040-01
Baja California

Mexico. Direccion de Geografia Meteorologia e Hidrologia (1943). Scale = 1:500,000.

Oversize MC-040-02
Baja California

United States. U.S. Air Force navigational maps. Scale = 1: 500,000.

Oversize MC-040-03
Baja California

United States. Hydrographic maps.

Oversize MC-040-04
Baja California

Miscellaneous maps.

Oversize MC-040-05



Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) SLIDES: 35mm color slides of Baja California and Nayarit which Gulick took during his travels. They record landscapes, ranches, towns, people, and life along the transpeninsular highway before it was paved. A typescript list of slides, transcribed from Gulick's holograph logs, provides individual descriptions, number of items, and dates for the images. The slides are arranged according to the routes described in the guidebook. The slides have been digitized and may be viewed by clicking the link below.

Items available online

Box 4 Folder 13
Logs of Gulick's slide descriptions
Box 4 Folder 14
Baja California - Rolls 1 - 72

Includes transcription of Gulick's holograph slide logs.

Box 4 Folder 15
Nayarit - Rolls 73 - 114

Includes transcription of Gulick's holograph slide logs.


Scope and Content of Series

Series 5) JOURNALS: Trip logs from Baja California between 1948 and 1967. These bound volumes record places and mileage with occasional narrative description. Volumes 37 and 38 are written in diary form with dated entries and relate to Gulick's travels in Nayarit and minor trips to Baja California.

Box 5 Folder 1
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 2. 7/17/48 - 2/13/50.

Box 5 Folder 2
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 3. 3/4/50-7/31/50.

Box 5 Folder 3
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 4. 5/11/51-6/7/52.

Box 5 Folder 4
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 6. 2/28/54 - 4/15/55.

Box 5 Folder 5
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 7. 4/15/55 - 4/22/56.

Box 5 Folder 6
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 8. 4/22/56 - 4/28/57.

Box 5 Folder 7
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 9. 4/28/57 - 2/22/59.

Box 5 Folder 8
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 10. 2/22/59 - 10/12/59.

Box 5 Folder 9
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 12. 9/1/60 - 4/20/61.

Box 5 Folder 10
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 13. 4/20/61 - 11/25/61.

Box 5 Folder 11
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 14. 12/4/61 - 6/22/63.

Box 5 Folder 12
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 15. 6/22/63 - 2/19/72.

Box 5 Folder 13
Baja California Trip Log

Volume 16. 4/25/65 - 5/2/67.

Box 5 Folder 14

Volume 37. 5/1/64 - 11/23/64.

Box 5 Folder 15

Volume 38. 11/23/64 - 7/24/65.