Dodge and Harmer illustrations

Zephyrin Engelhardt (1851-1934), O.F.M., was born as Charles Anthony Engelhardt in Bilshausen, Hanover, Germany, on November 13, 1851. In 1852, he and his family emigrated to North America. In 1872, he entered the Franciscan order and was ordained in 1878. Soon, Father Zephyrin Engelhardt became known as the “Father of Mission History”. His work and research have made Engelhardt an authority and a key figure in reconstructing the History of California missions. During the first decades of the 20th century, he began to compile the first definitive books of each of the Spanish Missions in Alta California. Among his many works are “The Franciscans in California” 1897, “The Franciscans in Arizona” 1899 and “The Missions and Missionaries of California” 1908-1915.

Father Zephyrin Engelhardt reading the original register of San Juan Capistrano on the South Wing, 1920. The register was begun in Father Serra's own handwriting.

“The Missions and Missionaries of California” is a detailed five volumes study enriched with maps and illustrations. In the beginning, Father Engelhardt worked with Arthur Burnside Dodge (1863-1952), who, at the time, was Art Director of the Los Angeles Times. Dodge realized seven of the drawings which were published on the first part of the book. Later on, Father Zephyrin Engelhardt engaged Alexander Francis Harmer (1856-1925), who completed the illustrations of the remaining volumes. In the image gallery below, it is possible to admire Dodge and Harmer spectacular drawings. The illustrations depict a wide range of historical facts, from the founding of Mission San Diego, the fist mission in Alta California, to the discovery of San Francisco Bay, and from the Battle at Mission Santa Barbara to the Funeral of Governor José Figueroa and the Raising of the Flag of the United States at Monterey in 1846.

19th Century images of the California Missions

In his book “The Missions and Missionaries of California”, Father Engelhardt also published photographs, drawings and paintings of each of the twenty-one California missions. These images are from various artists, including Harmer and Dodge, and show the missions as they looked like during the first decades of the 19th century. The following image gallery depicts these lovely and intriguing historical images.