Dona Concepcion Arguello Photo : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Dona Concepcion was supposedly the most beautiful woman in all of California yet I have not been able to find a photo of her anywhere. One person has heard a rumor that a drawing of her is in a church or mission in Vallejo, California. Does anyone know where a photo of her drawing might be found? Note: Take out the stardash in my email since I don't like junkmail. In any case I will be canceling my email address in December so as to put an end to all the junkmail once and for all.

-- Harry Murphy (*), October 28, 2001


Concepcion Arguello (b. 1791, d. 12/23/1857, buried in Benecia) was a little before photography. Her romance with Nikolai Rezanov took place in 1806. (The world’s first photograph (1827) can be seen at: She became a nun when her Russian fiance (Rezanov) did not return. It seems unlikely that, as a nun, she would have had her portrait done.

You may find a painting or engraving of her in either of these two books:

The Romance of Nikolai Rezanov and Concepcion Arguello/the Concha Arguello Story (Alaska History, No 48), Richard A. Pierce, Editor (available through Amazon)

Based on the 1806 journals of visitors to the Spanish Presidio of San Francisco, The Romance of Nikolai Rezanov and Concepcion Arguello by Eve Iversen chronicles the relationship between the daughter of Commandante Arguello and a Russian Count. (Mentioned in the Presidio Newsletter)

-- Rosa Debonneheure (, October 29, 2001.

Holy cow. I just tried "Concha Arguello" instead of "Concepcion" and came up with the text of the book, not to mention quite a few interesting others. ov/indexBody.html

-- Rosa Debonneheure (, October 30, 2001.

In 2000, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael published Strength of Our Roots - Faith In Our Vision. It has photographs of most of the sisters since the time their community was founded in 1850. Page two of this outstanding publication does NOT have a photo of Concepcion Arguello, aka Sister Mary Dominga. I asked a good friend of mine, who is a member in this community, why there was no photo of Concepcion. She stated, simply: "We do not have a photo of her. Why? Well, in those days nuns/sisters did not take photographs. As an exception, some did...but, most did not. There is a monument to Concepcion located in the Sisters' Section of Saint Dominic Cemetery were she is buried in Benicia, CA.

God bless,

Father Anthony Patalano, O.P.

-- Father Anthony Patalano, O.P. (, May 11, 2003.

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