6300+ New Photographs from Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones

Ruth-Marion Baruch Photo of a Black Panther rally, 1968

The library is happy to announce the publication of over 6000 images from the Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones Photography collection. Negatives in the collection were scanned by the vendor Pixel Acuity here in McHenry Library near the end of June. The California Digital Library provided funding and administrative support for bringing Pixel Acuity to campus.  They digitized over 6360 original negatives in less than three days.  The images have now been loaded into the UC Santa Cruz Library’s Digital Collections site, augmenting the collection of Haight Ashbury photographs that were added to the site last spring.  We are lucky to be able to work with Pixel Acuity, who’ve also worked with the Smithsonian, the National Archives, and the Andy Warhol archives among many other institutions.

The collection itself is divided into several series, documenting life in the Bay Area in the 1950’s and 60’s.  Some of the notable series are Death of a Valley, which chronicles life in the town of Monticello before it was flooded to form Lake Berryessa.  The Black Panthers series captures images of the party leadership and activities in 1968.  Smaller series and photo essays include documentation of people and the communities around the Bay Area: San FranciscoWalnut GroveFlea MarketIllusion for SaleRenaissance Faire and Shape of Birth.

Much more information is available in the Finding Aids for the Pirkle Jones Photographs and the Ruth-Marion Baruch Photographs in the Online Archive of California.

A note about the titles of the photographs:  The library digital collections site displays the photographers’ title of each image.  Many of the images are “untitled” because they were never printed or displayed by photographers.  In those cases, the library has listed descriptive information from the donor’s inventory in the Subseries Title field to give some context about the subject of the photographs.  Certain descriptions of the documentary images include racialized language such as identification by race, ethnicity, or physical appearance. They reflect the social attitudes of the 1950’s and 1960’s, when the photographs were taken.

Staff members from several departments contributed to the project.  Archivist Mary deVries processed the collection of negatives.  Metadata librarian Rachel Jaffe remediated the metadata, adding linked data terms and making it interoperable with collections in Calisphere and the Digital Public Library of America. Angelika Frebert worked with the vendor ahead of time to assure the image specifications met the national standards we use for our other digitization projects. Library applications developer Ned Henry did a ton of programming on the back end of the system to get the new Digital Collections site up and ready to ingest and display such a large collection.  Library ITS worked with us to make sure the network and library servers could handle the ingest process. The Digital Asset Management System project team and Digital Initiatives department checked over each image and item to make sure the records ingested properly into the system.

The images are now available in Calisphere and the Digital Public Library of America.  We’re working to have the collection and thumbnails available in Library Search.  Pixel Acuity also digitized a collection of Dorothea Lange negatives, which should be published later this fall.  Stay tuned for an announcement about that!