University Library

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Our Collections

To find a collection, archive, or book: Search Cruzcat for archives and other material in Special Collections by limiting the location to McHenry Spec Coll. Cruzcat records give the call number and a summary of the collection. Links to finding aids are included when available.

For more detailed information about a collection: Search the Online Archive of California for electronic finding aids to many of the collections. Finding aids include more detailed information about papers or records within a collection. Note: Finding aids are not available for all collections.

Find Digital Collections: Browse UCSC's digital collections on UCSC and local history, maps, and more.

Rare, Fine Press, and Artist Books

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.

Cowell Press: George Kane and unidentified student award winnersImportant 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.

Image: Cowell Press: George Kane and unidentified student award winners. Carol Foote photographs. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Art and Music Collections

Collections relating to artists and musicians include:

Image: The Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia. Frank Kofsky Audio and Photo Collection of the Jazz and Rock Movement. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Photography Collections

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.
  • Edward Weston. Includes silver gelatin prints printed by Bret and Cole Weston with Dody Thompson under the supervision of Edward Weston. This collection requires advance notice for access. Patrons may request to view a maximum of 20 prints per day. Patrons may not touch the photographs or matting. Special Collections staff will display requested prints for viewing purposes. Please contact Special Collections and Archives at least 24 hours in advance to request access.
  • 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. Also, see our digitized Branson DeCou slides.

Additionally, Special Collections has approximately 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. See our list of aerial photographs, including digitized photographs. Also, see our Santa Cruz County History Digital Collection.

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.

Image: Yosemite National Park: bear (Ursus americanus) on the hood of a 1936 Buick, with Branson DeCou inside the car. Branson DeCou archive. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Literary Collections

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:

Science Collections

36-inch refractor, the "Great Lick Refractor": view with H. D. Curtis and the Mills spectrographSpecial Collections hosts the Lick Observatory Archives, which includes records from about 1870 to the mid-twentieth century describing the founding construction and operation of the observatory and documenting all aspects of the early astronomical ambitions and achievements of its founders.

Click here for more information on the Lick Observatory Archives.

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.

Special Collections also maintains the papers of many prominent UCSC science faculty, including:

Image: 36-inch refractor, the "Great Lick Refractor": view with H. D. Curtis and the Mills spectrograph. Lick Observatory Records. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Feminist History/Gender Studies Collections

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, as well as the records of the UCSC Feminist Studies Department and the Women of Color Research Cluster.

Special Collections holds the Gloria Anzaldúa Altares Collection, a collection of figurines, small clay pots, masks, rattles, candles, altar cloths, and other ephemera used by independent scholar, creative writer, and internationally acclaimed feminist theorist Gloria E. Anzaldúa in her spiritual life and creative process as a writer.

Local History and SantaCruziana

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:

Image: Club surfers standing in front of surfboards: Don Patterson, Harry Murray, Rich Thompson, Alex Hokamp, Blake Turner, Bill Grace, Dave (Buster) Steward, Fred Hunt, Harry Mayo, Pinky Pedemonte, Tommy Roussel at Cowell Beach. Harry Mayo Surfing Photography Collection. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.