The University Library's Special Collections offers UCSC's academic community, visiting scholars, and the general public access to the library's most unique holdings. Established in the late 1960s, the department supports the University's academic program and its instructional and research interests. It also preserves and promotes collections that hold particular historical and cultural significance to an international scholarly community, houses and provides access to publications and archives focusing on the geographic region of Santa Cruz, and serves as the repository for UCSC administrative archives.
To view exhibits on some of our special collections, please see the following:
Earle and Akie Reynolds Archive
Erik Lauritzen Photographs
Hayden White Rare Book Collection
Kenneth Patchen Archive
Lou Harrison Archive
Norman O. Brown Papers
Robert A. and Virginia G. Heinlein Papers
Special Collections acquires material by purchase, transfer, and gift. Decisions on what is collected are made by the Special Collections Librarian based on criteria such as the following:
Relationship to the Campus’s Academic Plans
Relevance and Consistency with the Goals and Activities of the University Library
The Importance of Material for Scholarly Research
Maintaining the Integrity of Extant Collections
Commitment to Providing Regional Resources
Ability to Catalog, Conserve, House, and Promote Material in a Proper Manner
The many exceptional collections and archives in Special Collections are often testimonies to the generosity of its friends and donors.
Holdings in book arts range from a distinguished representative collection of 16th Century Italian printing donated by Professors Hayden White and Margaret Brose to the experimental book sculptures of artist Gaza Bowen. Additionally, a select collection of books in facsimile, particularly medieval manuscripts, is held. Special Collections supports the thriving Santa Cruz book arts and printing community and documents the presses that were established on the UCSC campus. Books created on and off the press, and artist books of various sizes and structures, such as miniature books and paper-engineered moveable books, are collected.
Important collections include:
The archive of the Trianon Press of Paris, France.
Editions from renowned California printers at the Grabhorn Press, Arion Press, Greenwood Press, and Flying Fish Press.
Leonard Baskin and Gehenna Press.
Local Santa Cruz printers at Foolscap Press, Moving Parts Press, and at the press of Peter and Donna Thomas.
The Pop-Up book collection of Ann Gibb and Sandor Nagyszalanczy.
Books created and printed by William Everson and others at the UCSC Library's LimeKiln Press (1967-1982.).
Student work produced at UCSC's Cowell Press.
Collections relating to artists and musicians feature paintings and other artwork by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Daniel Stolpe and important collections of the conductor George Barati and the folk singer Rosalie Sorrels.
Other collections of significance include:
The personal mycology collection of John Cage and an auxiliary collection on his work as an avant-garde composer.
The Sibyl Moholy-Nagy Collection (1909-1970) featuring correspondence, photographs, and articles by the architectural historian and critic.
The archive of Lou Harrison, American composer and pioneer in the use of alternate tunings, new instruments, and the influence of world music, including manuscripts, scores, notebooks, and correspondence.
The Frank Kofsky Audio & Photo Collection of the Jazz and Rock Movement 1966-1968, a collection of writings, papers, photographs, and audio files of interviews taken with important musicians.
The Grateful Dead Archive, a trove of musical and historical artifacts, papers, and documents about the band, its individual members, and its influence on contemporary social structure and music history.
Special Collections' exceptionally strong photographic collections began with a gift in the late 1960s of Edward Weston's project prints. The photographic collections, now numbering close to half a million items, have continued to grow through the acquisition and archival gifts of works by important contemporary photographers working in both the documentary and fine art tradition.
Selected photographers whose work is represented in Special Collections include:
Ansel Adams. Holdings include several hundred UCSC views, representation from the Fiat Lux series, and several individual prints.
Morley Baer. Includes photographs of California landscape, vernacular buildings, and architecture by nationally known architects.
Ruth-Marion Baruch. Includes photographs relating to 1960s San Francisco Bay Area, documentation on Haight-Ashbury, and the Black Panther Party.
Pirkle Jones. Includes photographs documenting California towns and their residents. Jones was known for collaborative photographic projects with Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Ruth-Marion Baruch.
Erik Lauritzen. Includes fine art photography, abstractions, landscape of the American West.
Brett Weston. Includes fine art photography, landscape of Central California coast and Mexico, and abstractions.
Wynn Bullock. Master mid twentieth century photographer; work includes landscapes and views of Central California coastal areas, figurative work, and color light abstractions.
Edna Bullock. Includes fine art photography with emphasis on work in the figurative tradition.
Verna Johnston. Studies of nature, animals, and landscape in the American West are included.
Branson DeCou. Documentary photography, travel views from five continents in first half of 20th Century make up this large collection; includes over 10,000 hand painted lantern slides.
Additionally, Special Collections has approx. 50,000 local historic photographs—from aerial views of the Northern California Coastline to depictions of the city of Santa Cruz at the turn of the century.
A small number of works demonstrating the evolution of photographic formats from daguerreotypes to digital prints are also collected.
List of photographers whose work is represented in the collection.
Special Collections holds an extensive collection of books of 19th and 20th Century poetry, many donated from the private libraries of well-known poets such as George Hitchcock, Morton Marcus, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The complete published oeuvre of author and diarist Anaïs Nin is part of the collection. Additionally, the archives of selected authors, poets, and other literary figures can be found amongst the holdings.
Comprehensive archives include those of:
Kenneth Patchen, poet, novelist, visionary, and pacifist
Robert Heinlein, the "dean" of American science fiction and a Hugo Award winner
Morton Marcus, poet, author, film critic, and educator
Jaime De Angulo, novelist, ethnomusicologist and linguist
William Everson, poet, literary critic, and fine press printer (also known as Brother Antoninus)
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian, social critic, and essayist
Colin Fletcher, pioneering backpacker and writer; author of the hiker's "bible", The Complete Walker.
Science and Astronomy:
Special Collections hosts the Lick Observatory Records. The archives of the Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton, include records from 1870-1945, correspondence, copybooks, diaries, logs, papers of the Observatory’s directors, and extensive photographic collections. Special Collections holdings on the history of astronomy, including many pre-1850 editions, originated from the collection of the Lick Observatory Library. Its Horoscope of Hanns Hannibal Hütter von Hütterhofen written by Johannes Kepler in the late 1500s is one unique example.
Santa Cruz has a strong history of supporting activities of women. The archives of the Friday Shakespeare Club of Santa Cruz, the city’s first women’s club, founded in 1903, reside in the Library. In addition, Special Collections hosts the records of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs and the archives of several important feminist presses, such as the Shameless Hussy Press and HerBooks Feminist Press .
The University Archives holds the papers of prominent women faculty members, including those of activist and founder of UCSC's Women's Studies program Bettina Aptheker, the papers of astronomer Sandra Faber, and the papers of biologist Jean Langenheim, UCSC's first female science professor.
Since its founding in 1965 Special Collections has participated in documenting California history and has assembled collections of regional historical materials with a unique focus on the achievements of Santa Cruz County and the City of Santa Cruz.
Its collections of pre-statehood documents, scrapbooks and clipping files, photographs and photo albums taken and compiled by local residents and professional studio photographers, and publications by local authors and institutions make Special Collections a major research site for the study of Santa Cruz history and Santa Cruziana artifacts.
Among its most important collections are the papers of pioneer families such as the Porter Family, the collections of Preston Sawyer, and the papers of contemporary political figures such as Santa Cruz supervisor Hulda McLean and State Senator Henry Mello.
Major archival holdings with searchable indexes and full text documents include:
Special Collections is the principal repository for the UCSC university archives, preserving non-current records and historical information documenting the campus, its people, its administration and its culture.
Holdings include University publications such as campus directories and general catalogs, the schedule of classes, City on the Hill newspaper, long-range development plans, and gallery exhibit catalogs.
UCSC Masters’ theses and Ph.D. dissertations are made available through Special Collections, as are the papers of some of its most important faculty members and administrators. Notable among these are the papers of Dean McHenry, the first UCSC Chancellor, the papers of scientist and biology professor Kenneth Thimann, the papers of molecular biology professor Harry Noller, the papers of classics and comparative literature professor Norman O. Brown, and the papers, films, and recordings of anthropologist and naturalist Gregory Bateson.
The importance of the campus as a historic and cultural center for the city of Santa Cruz is revealed in the founding papers of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the professional repertory company in residence at UCSC. The Alan Chadwick Papers and UCSC Farm and Garden photographs document the work of Chadwick as a master gardener, and a leading innovator in the organic faming techniques now inspiring a worldwide movement.