Joanne Alford Baja California Collection, 1963-1996 (MSS 0801)

Restrictions: Original audiovisual media formats are restricted. Researchers may request user copies be produced in advance for non-digitized items.

Extent: 1.4 Linear feet (1 half archives box, 5 card file boxes, and 5 films)

Digital Content

All slides and two films from the collection were digitized prior to deposit. Researchers may inquire for access.

Writings, slides, and films documenting a 1963-64 mule expedition through Baja California organized by Joanne Alford and Andrew Meling.

In 1963, Joanne Alford, a San Diego engineer, and Andrew Meling, a Baja California native whose family operated a cattle ranch south of Ensenada (Rancho San José, or Meling Ranch) proposed to travel the length of Baja California by mule train. They planned a south-bound tour following old trails, with detours to sites of historical and geographical interest, including mission ruins and rock and cave painting sites. According to Reid Moran, the botanical curator of the San Diego Natural History Museum, the route was divided into six unequal legs: Tecate to Meling Ranch, then on to Bahía de los Angeles, Mulegé, Loreto, La Paz, and finally, Cabo San Lucas. Alford and Meling attempted to recruit paying guests to accompany them on the journey. They were joined for sections of the trip by a rotating cast of several people, including Reid Moran, the botanical curator of the San Diego Natural History Museum; Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor Gifford Ewing and his daughter, Eva C. Ewing; Howard "Tío" McFarland of San Antonio, Texas; Richard Johnston and Louis "Duke" Baldwin (photographers); and Wayne Lange, Catherine Barton, and Edward "Bud" Bernhard of San Diego. Due to drought, severe conditions, stress on the mules, and other difficulties with planning and execution, the expedition lasted five months, from December 1963 to its conclusion in May 1964. Meling and Alford were the only travelers to ride into Cabo San Lucas.

Richard Johnston and Duke Baldwin, both third-year students at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, joined the trip free of charge and were tasked with creating photographic documentation, including stills and films. They parted from the expedition at Bahía de los Angeles, and from that point forward, Alford and Meling assumed responsibility for photography. According to Reid Moran, Alford planned to use the images and journals created on the trip to write an article for National Geographic magazine, develop a book on Baja California, and to prepare talks and lectures.

Writings, slides, and films documenting a 1963-64 mule expedition through Baja California organized by Joanne Alford and Andrew Meling. The south-bound route was roughly planned in six legs: Tecate to Meling Ranch, then on to Bahía de los Angeles, Mulegé, Loreto, La Paz, and finally, Cabo San Lucas. The collection includes extensive notes about the slide images prepared by Alford, and a digital copy of a trip journal by Reid Moran, the botanical curator of the San Diego Natural History Museum, who accompanied the expedition for three months.

Container List

COLLECTION

Box: 1 Folder: 1
Correspondence, 1963-1964

Photocopied correspondence regarding Meling Ranch and the Baja California mule expedition.

Box: 1 Folder: 2
Notes regarding slides, locations, and expedition participants, ca. 1964
Box: 1 Folder: 3-4
Muleback expedition through Baja California - Summary and slide descriptions, 1964

Trip summary and descriptions of slides prepared for a National Geographic proposal. Organized by subject areas: 1) People of the country and the way of life. 2) Ranches and houses. 3) Botanical. 4) Missions. 5) General scenery. 6) Rough trails. 7) Trip participants. 8) Mule-packing. 9) Miscellaneous trip scenes. 10) Towns. 11) Caves and paintings. 12) Hotels. 13) Miscellaneous - Economic.

Box: 1 Folder: 5
Trip journal with botanical notes by Reid Moran, 1963 December-1964 March

Print-out of a PDF image of the original journal.

Box: 2 Folder: 1-20
Slides - Rolls 1-9A, 1964
Box: 3 Folder: 1-19
Slides - Rolls 10-19, 1964
Box: 4 Folder: 1-20
Slides - Rolls 20-30, 1964
Box: 5 Folder: 1-19
Slides - Rolls 31-42, 1964
Box: 6 Folder: 1-8
Slides - Rolls 43-46, 1964
Oversize: FB-546 Folder: 15
Our Journey Through Baja California by Muleback, 1963-1996

Spiral-bound reproduction of scrapbook produced by Joanne Alford for Andrew Meling. Contains photographs with captions and annotated maps.

Oversize: FS-135
16mm film - Baja California mule expedition (part 1), 1963-1964

Andrew Meling and other participants packing and riding mules in Baja California. Includes footage of rock paintings.

Original restricted (digital version available).

Oversize: FS-136
16mm film - Baja California mule expedition (part 2), 1963-1964

Footage of mules and Baja California landscapes.

Original restricted (digital version available).

Oversize: FS-131
16mm film - #78187, ca. 1963

Andrew Meling and another person making tortillas over campfire.

Restrictions Apply

Oversize: FS-132
16mm film - #78189, ca. 1963

Andrew Meling gathering firewood and fodder, and saddling mules.

Restrictions Apply

Oversize: FS-133
16mm film - #78190, ca. 1963

Alforjas (cowhide saddle bags), Andrew Meling, and Joanne Alford.

Restrictions Apply