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March 20, 2018

CMF Board Elects Officers for 2018

 In accordance with the CMF By Laws, the CMF Board of Directors elected its officers for the current year during the winter board meeting held in conjunction with the recent California Missions Conference. Jim Lazarus, formerly the vice chair of CMF, was unanimously elected Board Chair. He will be joined on the CMF Executive Committee by newly-elected Vice Chair Alan Kemp, Secretary Dr. Edith Piness and Treasurer Mike Imwalle.


June 30, 2017

CMF Annual Report

The California Missions Foundation is pleased to publish the Foundation's 2016 Annual Report. Thank you to everyone that helped to make it a successful year. Read the Annual Report here.

June 30, 2017

CMF Grant Helps to Identify Unmarked Burial Site at Old Mission Santa Inés

A major project to determine if there are additional burials outside of the Old Mission Santa Ines walls was recently made possible by a CMF grant. After a two-phase effort that included both ground penetrating radar as well as a trained canine unit, historic burials were indeed discovered just outside of the current Mission cemetery walls and beneath ground where the Mission holds its annual summer Fiesta.
Long-time CMF member and Mission archivist Sheila Benedict has been reviewing the mission's burial records for more than decade and, in all, counted just under 2,000 names that were not marked in the present-day cemetery footprint. Based on her hunch, an institute team specializing in aged human remains was arranged using a grant from the California Missions Foundation.
In the end, a broad burial site, much larger than the current cemetery, was found. Ms. Benedict says that the origins of those buried is unknown, adding that they could be native Chumash, or a combination of Chumash and Spanish soldiers.
Both mission staff and Chumash tribal elders were on-site for the multi-day project. Any future marking or moving of the burials will be done with close approval of the Chumash, said Ms. Benedict.
The Chumash tribal chairman, Kenneth Kahn, told a local newspaper that "he appreciated the great working relationship the tribe and the mission have currently," adding "the Chumash Tribal Elders Council is mostly concerned with protecting the newly confirmed burial site."
"We've always understood that thousands of our people are on site there resting, and we want to make sure that we respect that and that any perimeters are respected as well," Kahn told the newspaper. "We know that a lot of activities take place on the mission grounds, and we want to make sure that there aren't any activities happening on top of the grave sites."


June 30, 2017

CMF Launches a Strategic Planning Process

On a bright morning in early May, members of the CMF board gathered in San Francisco. They came by car and by plane from all over the state and assembled in an office conference room on the Embarcadero. The purpose of this meeting was to begin the process of creating a strategic plan. Once completed, this plan will guide the activities of CMF for the next three years. For a plan to be truly strategic, it must attend to three distinct, yet interrelated concerns: 1) organizational structure, 2) stakeholder needs and expectations, and 3) measurable goals and objectives.
With these concerns in mind, members of CMF's board engaged in a day-long workshop. The core of this meeting was a SWOT analysis workshop wherein the group contemplated CMF's many strengths and engaged in critical reflection of its weaknesses. The group then explored potential opportunities and grappled with future trends that may threaten CMF's ability to meet its mission. Having gathered this information, the strategic planning committee will soon begin consulting with CMF members and key stakeholders to further this initial analysis.
Another important aspect of this planning process will be the study of similar institutions to get a sense of organizational models and success stories from similar institutions.
CMF can do anything, but it cannot do everything. The strategic planning process allows for an analytical and systematic examination of what CMF is and what it can be. Equipped with this information, the board, its membership, and key stakeholders, can develop specific and measurable goals prioritized to maximize CMF's efficiency and its capacity to meet its mission.
The Strategic Planning Committee expects to complete the planning process and to publish the strategic plan by early fall.


March 20, 2017

CMF Board Elects Officers for 2017

In accordance with the CMF By Laws, the CMF Board of Directors elected its officers for the current year during the winter board meeting held in conjunction with the recent California Missions Conference. Dr. Ty O. Smith, formerly the vice chair of CMF and the former president of CMSA, was unanimously elected Board Chair. He will be joined on the CMF Executive Committee by newly-elected Vice Chair Jim Lazarus, Secretary Dr. Edith Piness and Treasurer Mike Imwalle.


Call for Articles for the Boletín, the Journal of the California Missions Foundation

The publications committee is now accepting articles and article proposals for the 2017 Boletín. The journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal that features the best of California Mission Studies from a wide variety of disciples. The committee is especially interested in articles that reflect the theme of the 2017 California Missions Conference: Change and Continuity in the Mission Lands of California. (CMF is currently spearheading a Multi-National effort to receive an UNESCO Nomination to Name El Camino Real de las Californias a World Heritage Site Cultural Corridor).
The Boletín committee is also willing to entertain articles/proposals on any topic related to California's pre-statehood history.
Generally, the committee is committed to accepting as many articles as possible, but there are restrictions on time and space for which the committee must account. In all cases, decisions to accept or deny an article/proposal will be based on the following criteria:
  • Relevance to the conference theme.
  • The Article's timeliness and/or distinctiveness
  • The Article's relationship to other articles (the Boletín should showcase the diversity of the field of mission studies. The committee will try to achieve balance by not accepting too many articles related to a particular region, discipline, or subject).
Interested authors should submit paper proposal by May 31, 2017. A timeline
for completion of the articles will be established between the committee and selected
Questions can be directed to the Committee at:
Click here to see the style guide.


Conference and Publications Committee:
Nick Tipon, Chair
David Bolton
Maureen Bourbin
Mike Imwalle
Lee Panich
Ty O. Smith


Application Window Opens to Host 2018 California Missions Conference

Looking ahead to Presidents' Day Weekend 2018, CMF is now accepting applications to host the 35th Annual California Missions Conference. As is tradition, the annual conference rotates between North and South, with the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line serving as the halfway point - 10 missions to the north, 11 to the south.
Applications to host the 2018 conference are limited to Missions and related historical sites from San Antonio de Padua to Sonoma, and should include:
  • An overview of the facilities to be used for the three day conference
  • Location for the Saturday Papers and the Friday CMF Institute
  • Location for the Saturday Night Banquet - including capacity and cost per person
  • Option for Friday Evening Reception and Keynote Address
  • Options for Sunday tours
  • Hotel Options, including group rates and proximity to proposed venues
  • Lunch options and costs for Friday and Saturday
Deadline to submit applications to host the 35th Annual California Missions Conference is Monday, March 27, 2017. Please either email your application and supporting material to or mail to CMF at P.O. Box 23035, Santa Barbara, CA 93121. Upon review of all applications, a decision will me made by April 30.
Please keep in mind that the Conference location can be a Mission or 'related historical site'. Attendance ranges from 125 to 250.
February 11, 2017

CMF Announces 2017 Award Recipients

CMF’s Mission Studies Committee has announced the recipients of its 2017 Awards, which will be presented during the Saturday evening Awards Banquet at Mission Santa Ines: researcher Marie Duggan (Norman Neuerburg Award), outgoing CMF board chair Wayne Donaldson (Edna Kimbro Award), dedicated Mission Santa Ines archivist Sheila Benedict (Chairman’s Award), devoted Mission preservation supporter John Jenkins (Chairman’s Award), and long-time CMF board member and mission preservationist Dr. Edith Piness (Chairman’s Award).


2017 Edna Kimbro Award Recipient

Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA
Mr. Donaldson was appointed by President Barack Obama as Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 2010. He was formerly the California State Historic Preservation Officer serving two Governors from 2004-2012. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic University, Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland and has received his Masters in Public History and Teaching from the University of San Diego.  Donaldson is a former Chair of the State Historical Building Safety Board, past Chairman of the State Historical Resources Commission, past executive board member of the California Missions Studies Association and past president of the California Preservation Foundation.

He is an architect of innovative design, contractor, and author and has received several awards in preservation architecture including the National AIA Historic Resources Committee Fellow, the California Council, American Institute of Architects Award of Excellence and the Historic Preservation Award, and was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 1992. Architect Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA celebrates its 39th year practice in California, Arizona, and Nevada.


2017 Norman Neuerburg Award Recipient

Marie Christine Duggan
Dr. Marie Christine Duggan grew up in Berkeley, California and finished her education at the New School for Social Research in New York. Dr. Duggan studies how market forces shaped human lives in 18th century Spanish California and 19th century Mexican California. In 1995, Dr. Duggan located account books for nine California missions in Mexico’s National Archives, which were the basis for her 2000 PHD dissertation, Market and Church on the Mexican Frontier.  She received in 1997 the Norman Geiger Fellowship for research at the Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library and the Haynes Foundation Fellowship for Research at the Huntington Library. She analyzed the Santa Barbara Mission-Presidio accounts at the SBMAL, and the San Francisco Mission-Presidio Accounts at the Huntington.

In 1998, she received a fellowship from the Pew Program in Religion and American History at Yale University to analyze the De la Guerra business correspondence at the SBMAL. Quantitative analysis revealed the pattern of economic development in Spanish California, and showed the cessation of financing in 1810.  In 2005, she published “Laws of the Market vs. Laws of God” in History of Political Economy (HOPE) describing how the missionaries responded to the cessation of financing in 1810 by turning to international commerce in hides and tallow.

In 2016 she published in Pacific Historical Review “With and Without an Empire: Financing of California Missions Before and After 1810.” In 2012, she joined the Mexican Economic History Association (AMHE) and in 2014 the Iberian Society for the History of Economic Thought (AIHPE). She is currently writing a book: Piety and Profits in Alta California: Institutional Crisis and Change between 1769 to 1834, which situates California’s development in the context of the Spanish Enlightenment and Mexico’s trade with the Pacific Rim. She teaches economics at Keene State College in New Hampshire and is the mother of two children.

November 9, 2016

1st Annual Institute for the Study of Presidios Hosted by CMF, Friday, February 17, 2017

For the first time in its history, the California Missions Conference will host a "Institute for the Study of Presidios" which will deal with topics related to the various Presidio Districts, both present and historically. These Districts served as administration centers during the Spanish period and, in California, included four distinct districts: Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

The inaugural session of the Institute for the Study of Presidios will be held on Friday, February 17 from 9-12:30 pm at Mission Santa Inés as part of the California Missions Conference weekend. Speakers will give a variety of presentations including talks on each of the four presidio districts, as well as related topics. The Institute will also include discussion about research in each of the four Presidio Districts of Alta California.

"We will also be talking about organizing research by Presidio districts which is timely with the on-going El Camino Real project efforts," said Dr. Jarrell C. Jackman, a current CMF board member who was recently named a CSPRA Honorary State Park Ranger as well as Commander of the Royal Order of Queen Isabella the Catholic for his efforts preserving and interpreting the Spanish history of Alta California. In proposing the idea of the Institute for the Study of Presidios, Dr. Jackman, who will chair the session, said: "It is a way of broadening the scope of research and interest of CMF and everyone involved."

The Institute for the Study of Presidios is open to all 2017 California Missions Conference registered attendees. Additional information, including speakers and more, will be distributed in the January edition of Correo as well as on the CMF website,

November 9, 2016

2016 Boletín on the Press and Soon to Be on your Doorstep

Fall is traditionally a time of harvest. As in past years, the CMF Publications Committee is busy reaping the scholarship that was planted during last year's conference and that has otherwise grown within our community of mission scholars and enthusiasts. This year's Boletín is at the press! The good folks at 360 Digital Books are again turning our digital file into a real life, hold-it-in-your-hand journal. Dues paying members at the Regular and Supporter's Circle Levels or higher should expect their copies to arrive in early December. Again, it has shaped into a quality publication. Here is a list of just a few of the articles to whet your appetite:

David McLaughlin, Twenty-One Missions - Hundreds of Historical Illustrations

Glenn Farris, Who Were the Likely Residents of the "Casas Para Familias" at Missions La Purisima Concepcion and San Juan Bautista?

Martha Ann Francisca Vallejo McGettigan, The Great Pageants of Mission San Juan Bautista: Bringing the History of California to Thousands

Robert H. Jackson, The Huatápera and the Sixteenth Century Franciscan and Augustinian Doctrinas among the P'urépecha of Michoacán


August 25, 2016

Old Mission Santa Barbara to Receive 2016 Preservation Award from CPF

The California Preservation Foundation has announced that Old Mission Santa Barbara will be a recipient of a 33rd Annual Preservation Award at a gala dinner in Orange County on Thursday, September 29. OMSB is receiving the prestigious award for the work performed under a Save America's Treasure's Grant awarded to the California Missions Foundation. CMF administered the three year project.

The award recognizes the extensive work at the Mission, both interior and exterior, which included repairs and painting of the Church's façade, repair of water damage in the convento wing, retrofit stabilization of the historic crypt, and the opening of the second story Rose Window.

The matching grant from the Interior Department and the National Parks Service was the final of four Save America's Treasure grants awarded to California Missions Carmel, San Miguel, San Luis Rey and Santa Barbara.

Tickets for the gala must be purchased by September 22 by visiting

August 25, 2016

Mission San Antonio Continues retrofit Project

Following successful retrofit work on the Mission church, efforts have now been focused on the historic convento wing also in need of mandated retrofitting. Mission officials have made great strides toward their ultimate goal of retrofitting the entire quadrangle, but according to Mission Administrator Joan Steele, a lot of work and fundraising is still needed to complete the multi phase project.

"Currently we have reached a milestone: Completion of Phase II (the South Convento) of the Retrofit/Restoration Project is within sight (goal being mid to late October, 2016.)," said Ms. Steele. "Work on Phase III has already begun. Roofing tiles have been removed from the Western Convento wing and the preparatory work in the attic has commenced. Between the parish business, the construction work, the daily visitors and the Retreat Center guests, the Mission is a busy place!"

At Mission San Antonio de Padua during a recent site visit, CMF Board member Dr. Robert Hoover (left), Mr. John Jenkins of the Field Foundation (right), and CMF Executive Director David A. Bolton.

At Mission San Antonio de Padua during a recent site visit, CMF Board member Dr. Robert Hoover
(left), Mr. John Jenkins of the Field Foundation (right), and CMF Executive Director David A. Bolton.


July 15, 2016

2015 CMF Annual Report Now Online

2015 Annual Report CoverThe California Missions Foundation's 2015 Annual Report is now online and available to read. Click the link below to learn about all the exciting contributions CMF has made to the missions community in 2015.

2015 Annual Report


May 26, 2016

CMF Board Member Honored with Medal

Current CMF Board Member and Long-time CMSAer Dr. Jarrell C. Jackman recently received Spain's La Medalla de Isabela la Catolica. Click here to view the video of the Medal presentation.

CMF Correo

CMF Correo masthead

The California Missions Foundation publishes a quarterly electronic newsletter, Correo, with news, calendar of events, and information about the California Missions and related historical sites. It also contains information about the California Missions Annual Conference, upcoming events which might be of interest to CMF members, and various other items of interest and concern. The Correo is supervised by CMF's California Mission Studies Committee as well as CMF's office staff.

The electronic newsletter, Correo, is sent quarterly by email to members and other Friends of CMF. It also contains information about the California Missions Annual Conference, upcoming events which might be of interest to CMF members, and various other items of interest and concern.

Submissions should be e-mailed as an attachment to:

Correo Archive

2017 November CMF Correo
2017 June CMF Correo
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2017 February CMF Correo

2016 November CMF Correo
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2015 December CMF Correo
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