Bill Villa at the Presidio Research Center with books from his mother, Margarita’s, collection. Photo by Anne Petersen
In June of this year, Bill Villa made a remarkable donation to the Presidio Research Center: his mother Margarita’s personal library. Many of you may have known Margarita Villa. A descendant of the Presidio’s founding families, she was well-known locally for keeping an extensive collection of books on genealogy and early California history, as well as research files on our community’s oldest families. As Bill told us, his mom “had a passion about Santa Barbara and spent many years collecting information and attending meetings all over the state regarding the history of California.” Margarita freely shared her research with others interested in learning about their family history.
Bill Villa took his task of determining the best repository for Margarita’s collection very seriously. Much to our delight, the Presidio Research Center became the destination for the majority of her collection. Bill said, “This is my inheritance! As custodian of this collection I wanted to make sure it would be appreciated. My mother would be grateful to know that these files will be available to families searching for their roots—especially at the Presidio.”
If you are interested in Margarita Villa’s collection, please get in touch with us at the Presidio Research Center. Any incoming collection requires processing by a librarian before it can be fully accessible, which can take some time, but we would be happy to provide information. We want to send a special thank you to Bill Villa for diligently working to find the right home for this valuable resource. It is collections like this that give richness and diversity to small libraries like ours.
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.