UCSC Campus History Resources

Compiled by University Library staff, the resources on the UC Santa Cruz Campus History website support leadership programs offered by UCSC’s Staff Training and Development team, although they will also be of interest to the general campus community. These resources provide a central starting point for visitors requiring detailed knowledge of the campus’s history in a short amount of time.The website organizes materials by format and includes text resources, images, oral history transcripts, and archival collections. Each section includes contact information for the responsible department to facilitate further in-depth inquiry.


Library Collections

The University Library holds many archival collections covering a wide range of topics related to institutional history. These collections are usually the papers of a significant group or individual who played a key role in the activities of the campus or whose work supports the academic programs at UCSC. Since individual subject areas of interest will vary from person to person, we recommend browsing the list of electronic finding aids on UCSC’s Online Archive of California (OAC) website:



Oral Histories

Oral histories are an invaluable source of information to Santa Cruz’s campus and local community, providing first-hand perspectives and primary resources on the history and development of the university and its programs and documenting social change along the Central California coast. The University Library’s Regional History department records and transcribes interviews with individuals with historically significant personal experience. All oral histories are posted in full text as PDF documents on the Regional History website:




The oral histories hosted in the “Institutional History of the University of California, Santa Cruz” section (#2) will be most useful to participants in campus leadership programs. We do recommend browsing the other documents to attain a well-rounded understanding of Santa Cruz regional history.



UC Santa Cruz is one of the UC system’s most picturesque campuses, nestled between majestic redwood trees and sweeping plains, overlooking the expansive Monterey Bay. The restful beauty of the campus grounds and the comfortable residential and academic buildings play a key role in a UCSC student’s successful college experience. The images in the gallery below show the historical development of the campus from its Cowell Ranch days to the energetic student protests of the 1980s. Visitors can locate additional images of the campus in the (Special Collections) and (Visual Resources) departments. The campus’s online news bulletin, Currents, also contains images that accompany select articles.



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(Click - through images UNDER CONSTRUCTION)


Additional Resources

The University Library holds many print and media resources about the UC Santa Cruz campus and its history. Visitors interested in more specialized research are advised to conduct subject or keyword searches in UCSC’s online catalog, CruzCat. Additional links of interest include:




The University of California has also developed a systemwide digital archive that contains basic descriptive information about each of the campuses. The following URL directs visitors to UC Santa Cruz's section of the site and provides information on topics like student activities, colleges and housing and academic programs:


University of California Digital Archives


On this page, for efficient and effective research purposes, we have included a select bibliography of pertinent historical resources held in (Special Collections). Each citation lists the item’s call number for easier retrieval. Please contact Special Collections staff at speccoll@library.ucsc.edu or at (831) 459-2547 if you have additional questions.




Visitors can find finding aids to additional archival and primary resources on the main Online Archive of California website and on the website of the California Digital Library.


Other departments that may assist visitors to the site include:

This website is not a comprehensive list of materials pertaining to UC Santa Cruz; rather, it cites key sources of information that will most quickly and efficiently provide its users with a solid overview of the campus’s history and background. Visitors to the site are encouraged to conduct further research using the library’s diverse resources.


For additional questions about library resources or the content of this website, contact Special Collections at speccoll@ucsc.edu or (831) 459-2547.