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Special Collections & Archives

We welcome your visit to the following exhibits during all McHenry Library hours!


resist / record / repair: New Works in Special Collections & Archives

Third Floor Gallery, July 1 - December 12, 2021

In this exhibit we share selected artists’ books, games, booklike objects, zines, prints, and sculptures that we acquired during the past two years of isolation and invite you to consider your own creative practices and how they may have been changed. We see each creative work -- your own as well as those included in this exhibit -- as a means of help and an aid to memory as we all continue the work of creating new futures together. (View the exhibit checklist.)




When We Paint Our Masterpiece: The Art of the Grateful Dead Community

Dead Central, on the main level of McHenry Library, 1 July 2021 - 22 December 2022

Any reference to the Grateful Dead, perhaps the world’s most iconic improvisational band, can easily conjure images in one’s mind of psychedelic tie-dyed clothes, dancing bears, and rose-garlanded skeletons. But just as they defied expectations with their music, the band also inspired in their listeners a diverse visual landscape in response to their songs. 

The creative works presented in When We Paint Our Masterpiece, drawn from the Grateful Dead Archive, reveal a richly envisioned and varied world of design practices, international traditions, visual icons, and art forms. Sent to the band from around the world, these works document the blossoming of a transnational community of Dead Heads even in countries where the band never toured, like Japan. 
This artwork also reveals the deep affection that the band and its staff—who curated the collection piece by piece—had for Dead Heads’ unique and broadly conceived notions of what Grateful Dead-related art could and should be. Pencil sketches, abstract works, portraits, and screenprints share space with sculptures in paper and metal. Repurposed found objects as well as comic art and drawings inspired by the English Arts & Crafts movement a century ago all have a place here. The Grateful Dead’s universe made space for all of these patterns and images.  
These works, considered collectively, offer a powerful example of the possibilities of fan culture. Collaboratively created, expanded, and improvised for over half a century, the art of the Grateful Dead fan community remains vibrant today. Dead Head artists like Miki Saito and others continue to make new art, and as stewards of the Grateful Dead Archive, we “hang it up and see what tomorrow brings,” as Robert Hunter counseled so long ago. 

(card sent to the Grateful Dead from Dead Heads Japan, with art by Miki Saito)

Selected Previous Exhibits at McHenry Library

“Archival Research as Penance": The Papers and Library of Hayden V. White

Drawing on Hayden White’s newly available archive, this exhibit traced various sites of his intellectual work, teaching, and activism. Curated by Christian Alvarado and Patrick King, 2019-2020 Fellows in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training. (1 November 2019 - 20 March 2020)

Quiet on Set! The Cinematic History of Santa Cruz

Although many early films shot among the redwoods and seaside in Santa Cruz are now lost, photographs and film stills featured in this exhibit capture the work of movie legends like Madame Sul-Te-Wan, longtime Santa Cruz resident ZaSu Pitts, Mary Pickford, and Cecil B. DeMille. Curated by Klytie Xu and Caroline Alfonso, students at Porter College, with help from Luisa Haddad and Jessica Pigza. (1 August - 20 October 2019)

Norman O. Brown: Into the Future

Curated by the organizers of Norman O. Brown: Into the Future, a conference occurring May 17th and 18th at Page Smith Library, Cowell College, this exhibit presented a selection of documents and photographs from Norman O. Brown's papers held in Special Collections & Archives. (18 April - 19 May 2019)

Education and the Avant Garde: How Fluxus Artists Shaped the Arts at UC Santa Cruz

A spirit of experimentation and participation, as championed by artists of the Fluxus movement, influenced a number of campus endeavors in the late 1960s. This exhibit traced the influence of avant garde art on an ambitious and collaborative year-long experience in which students, visiting artists, and early faculty collectively defined the future of arts on campus. Curated by Jessica Pigza. (15 March - 19 May 2019)

New Twists on Old Tales: 1000 Years of Handmade Books

Curated by undergraduates in The Art of the Book (a History of Art and Visual Culture course taught by Elisabeth Remak-Honnef), this exhibit examined the history of iconic medieval manuscripts alongside explorations of modern artists' reworkings of structural, thematic, or historical themes within these medieval works. (20 March - 17 May 2019)

Pop Up! Movable Books & Art

Drawing on the Ann Gibb and Sandor Nagyszalanczy Collection of movable books, this exhibit featured a selection of works ranging from commercially produced works created for children decades ago to inventive pop-ups and handmade artists’ books meant for anyone who loves books that push the boundaries of what a book can do. Curated by Luisa Haddad and Rebecca Rapp. (September 2018 - February 2019)

Writing the Space Age: Robert Heinlein, Science Fiction Comics, and the Invention of the Future

Through an examination of science fiction, comics, and the archive of writer Robert Heinlein, this exhibit explored the ties between science fiction and the inventions that inspired scientists, writers, and fans to invent the futures they imagined. Curated by Jessica Pigza, with the guidance and vision of James Gunderson. (15 August 2018 - 24 February 2019)



Reading Room and Exhibits Now Open

1 July 2021

We are pleased to welcome researchers back to the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room this summer on Tuesday and Thursday, between 1:00pm and 4:00pm. If you wish to pursue your research within our collections, we invite you to request materials and make an appointment to visit. Select the date you wish to visit when requesting materials via your Aeon Request AccountLearn more about using Aeon. For remote reference inquiries please continue to email

We are also pleased to report that our exhibit spaces are now open anytime during McHenry Library hours!

In our Dead Central Gallery we have re-opened When We Paint Our Masterpiece. And in the Third Floor Gallery we have just opened a new exhibit called resist/record/repair: New Works in Special Collections & Archives. This exhibit features newly acquired artists’ books, games, booklike objects, zines, prints, and sculptures that reflect our shared and individual experiences of the past two years. This exhibit will be on view through December 12, 2021. (View the exhibit checklist.)



series of photographs of Seema WeatherwaxSpecial Event: Echoes of Seema Weatherwax: History, Sound, and Creative Practice in the Archive

View the event recording here. This event was held on May 3, 2021.

The University Library’s Center for Archival Research and Training (CART) is pleased to invite you to help us celebrate the recently processed audio archive of the Sara Halprin Interviews of Seema Weatherwax on Monday, May 3rd,1:00-2:30pm.

Brock Stuessi, a former CART Fellow who processed this archive, will be joined by scholar Michael J. Kramer to discuss the unique opportunities of working with sound archives and the ways that the recorded words of Santa Cruz photographer and activist Seema Weatherwax -- who worked with the Weston family, Ansel Adams, and other notable photographers during her artistic career, and who was married to writer and political activist Jack Weatherwax -- give voice both to the historical value of everyday life and to her important legacy of activism and art.

Moderated by Alix Norton, Archivist for the Center for Archival Research & Training (CART)

Learn more and REGISTER to attend this virtual event.


Now Available: The Empty Year: An Oral History of the Pandemic(s) of 2020 at UC Santa Cruz

2 April 2021

The University Library’s Regional History Project has published The Empty Year: An Oral History of the Pandemic(s) of 2020 at UC Santa Cruz, a book of twenty-two transcribed and edited oral histories gathered in late 2020 by a team of five UCSC student oral historians (undergraduate and graduate students). The team of students gained valuable and versatile professional skills and personalized knowledge in the areas of interviewing, project design and execution, communication, recording, team-building and collaboration, storytelling, and oral history research. The project was funded by a Radical Resilience small grant from the Division of Student Affairs and Success and funding from The Humanities Institute and the University Library.

While the pandemic can be mapped and tracked and tallied with numbers, for it to be understood and felt for many, if not most people, we need stories. The Empty Year calls for the deep listening of another to bind and cohere into something more whole, something more sustainable and resilient. The book is an impressionistic illustration of an unstable present and documents that present as part of the historical record, for an unknown future. The 540-page book is published in both hardbound and electronic format and illustrated with full-color images by Shmuel Thaler and several other local photographers.

You may read and download The Empty Year for free via UCSC E-Scholarship. Copies of the hardback book will be available in the University Library and are also available for purchase from For more information contact Irene Reti, Director of the Regional History Project at



Join Us on Jan. 28th for a Conversation with Book Artist Felicia Rice

Join Special Collections & Archives, in partnership with the Institute of the Arts & Sciences, for an evening with internationally renowned book artist Felicia Rice. Rice's work has always hinged on collaboration and community in order to explore and comment on some of the most tangled issues of our time, from questions surrounding identity to the sustainability of our planet. At this event some of Rice’s closest collaborators, including UCSC Arts Faculty, T.J. Demos and Jennifer González, will join Rice in conversation about her work, the process of collaboration, and the power of artists’ books to fuel our collective imaginations as we work to cultivate futures of social justice.

Learn more and register for this Jan. 28th event here!



Cabrillo Music Festval Tapes - photo by Carolyn LagattutaAudio Archive of Cabrillo Music Festival Recordings Now Available

23 October 2020

UCSC Library is is pleased to announce the completion of an exciting music preservation project, Digitizing the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music: Putting Experimental Music in Conversation with Classical Tradition.

Founded in 1963, the Cabrillo Festival is distinctive in its focus on contemporary symphonic music by living composers. This project preserves and makes available significant works by experimental artists such as Annea Lockwood, John Cage, Lou Harrison, and many others. Recordings were drawn from two collections held by UCSC Special Collections: the Cabrillo Festival records and the Other Minds records.

The recordings are now discoverable on the UC Santa Cruz University Library Digital Collections site. Learn more at the UCSC News Center.


Over 10,000 photos documenting over a century of Santa Cruz history now published online

6 October 2020

Taken between 1866 and 1995 and collected by local journalist, photographer, and documentarian Preston Sawyer, the collection includes photographs he took as well as many taken by others over decades. (Preston as a young man is pictured at right.) These images offer glimpses of the region’s past: industries, homes, parades, schools, street and waterfront scenes, disasters, schools, and quite a few once-famous actors participating in the region’s early 20th-century film industry. And as of October 1st, visitors to the Library’s Digital Collections can now browse and explore the entirety of this significant collection from the comfort of their own homes. 
The Santa Cruz County Historic Photograph Collection has always been of great interest for students as well as visiting researchers who would pore over the boxes of printed photographs (the collection fills 154 boxes) in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room in search of details of history, genealogy, vernacular photography, and film history. Teresa Mora, Head of Special Collections & Archives, describes the collection as “a boon to local historians, genealogists and amateur researchers, providing unique insights into various aspects of Santa Cruz history as well as a better and deeper understanding of how the Santa Cruz of today came to be.” 


Fall 2020 workshops hosted by Special Collections & Archives

14 September 2020

The Fall 2020 calendar of archives-focused workshops is now available on the Library's calendar. It includes mycology, a critical discussion of silences in the archives, and a deep dive into oral history. Check out the details and register to attend



Now Available: Seeds of Something Different: An Oral History of UC Santa Cruz

16 March 2020

From UC Santa Cruz's Regional History Project, Seeds of Something Different: An Oral History of the University of California, Santa Cruz weaves together first-person accounts of the campus's evolution, from the origins of an audacious dream through the sea changes of five decades. This masterful two-volume work includes 200 voices from over fifty years of oral histories, and is illustrated with a trove of archival images from Special Collections & Archives. Visit the SEEDS homepage to read all about the book, its related event series, its companion digital exhibit, and how you can contribute your own history.

seeds and whispers: a glimpse into the Karen Tei Yamashita Papers 

Anny L. Mogollón (Literature PhD student and Fellow in the Center for Archival Research and Training) utilized the papers of Karen Tei Yamashita (MS 465) to create an exhibit exploring "the question of did the author write this? And perhaps too, how long did these stories haunt them before they were set down on paper." Yamashita is an author, playwright, and UCSC professor known for her works of Asian American literature and magic realism, including I Hotel (2010) and Tropic of Orange (1997), both of which Mogollón explores in this exhibit through early drafts, photographs, and research materials from Yamashita's papers.


Another Renga 

Eric Sneathen (Literature PhD student and Fellow in the Center for Archival Research and Training) wrote this essay reflecting on his time using archival materials, and the distance felt during the COVID-19 pandemic. He used Out in the Redwoods, a collection of oral histories documenting the LGBTQ experience at UC Santa Cruz from 1965-2003, as a starting point in his reflections. Sneathen also wrote a poem during his fellowship, which will be printed and bound, and available in the Special Collections reading room.


"If I had to live my life over again, I would be a botanist": John Cage's Mycology Collection

Joseph Finkel (Musicology PhD student and Fellow in the Center for Archival Research and Training) tells the story of John Cage's interest in mushrooms and its connections with his career as a composer and artist. Finkel also recounts the history of how the John Cage Mycology collection (MS 74) at UC Santa Cruz came to be part of Special Collections & Archives. He used archival materials and books from this collection, among other sources, to complete this multimedia project


Echoes of Seema

Curated by Brock Stuessi (musicology graduate student and Fellow in the Center for Archival Research and Training), Echoes of Seema is a creative rearrangement of the Sara Halprin interviews of Seema Weatherwax collection. The multi-media exhibit includes original musical compositions by Brock Stuessi which he collaged with selections of audio recordings of interviews with Seema. These audio compositions are arranged alongside examples of Seema's own photographic work, as well as photos taken of Seema and her friends and family.



If Only All Barriers Could Be Removed...

Michael Conlee, a senior majoring in Sociology and Art History at UCSC, has completed his HAVC service-learning practicum with the Library's Special Collections & Archives.

For his practicum, he chose to create a digital scholarship project on the theme of prison abolition and Bay Area histories of related activism. He worked with Bettina Aptheker's archive, photography by Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones, and other visual collections from Special Collections & Archives.



Seeds of Something Different

Created as a companion for Seeds of Something Different: An Oral History of the University of California, Santa Cruz, edited and published by the UCSC Library's Regional History Project, this exhibit features an array of photographs, oral history clips, posters, and other archival objects that reveal the richness of UCSC's archival collections. Do you have stories and documents to add to the history? Please visit the exhibit and submit your materials for curation. Curated by Alessia Cecchet (graduate student, Film & Digital Media).



Songs of Labor & Transcendence: The Trianon Press Archive

Explores the breadth of a renowned Paris-based press’s publications and the painstaking processes used to make them. Their books include astonishing facsimiles of work by artists such as William Blake and Marcel Duchamp, as well as books documenting prehistoric rock paintings of sub-Saharan Africa and early European art and architecture. Curated by Jessica Calvanico, Morgan Gates, Hannah Newburn, and Nicholas Whittington, 2018-2019 Fellows in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training.



Inquiring Into Other Minds: The Cultivation of Experimental Music in the Bay Area and Beyond

Chronicles the evolution of Other Minds (OM), a Bay Area music non-profit devoted to promoting new and experimental music from around the world. Using the organization’s archives, the exhibit traces early activities of co-founders Charles Amirkhanian and Jim Newman to establishment of the OM Festivals, high-profile productions, audio recording preservation efforts, and significant contributions to Pacifica Radio’s KPFA 94.1 FM. Curated by Madison Heying and Jay Arms, 2017-2018 Fellows in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training.


Celebrating Innovation and Public Engagement at UC Santa Cruz

Highlights the ways that four distinctive collections from the University Archives -- Prof. Raymond F. Dasmann’s papers as well as the records of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Feminist Studies Department, and the Women of Color Research Cluster -- each reveal facets of UCSC’s identity as a public university with connects within the university community, with the city of Santa Cruz and state of California, and across the globe. Curated by Alina Ivette Fernandez, Megan Martenyi, LuLing Osofsky, Alex Ullman, and Maggie Wander, 2016-2017 Fellows in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training.


Pictures and Progress: the Black Panther 1966-2016

Featuring posters by Emory Douglas, photographs by Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones, and over forty comic books, this exhibit considers the role of women in the Black Panther Party alongside portrayals of the Black Panther character and of African Americans in the second half of the twentieth century. Curated by crystal am nelson, Cathy Thomas, and Kiran Garcha, PhD students at UCSC.




Reading Nature, Observing Science

Examines the Lick Observatory Records and the Kenneth S. Norris Papers through the historical construct of the "book of nature,” and questions how science has treated nature as a text. Curated by Danielle Crawford, Alex Moore, and Christine Turk, 2015-2016 Fellows in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training.




Activism in the Archives: Radical Imaginaries of the 1960s and 1970s

Drawing on the papers of Ruth-Marion Baruch, John Thorne, and Karen Tei Yamashita, three key cultural figures with roots in northern California who are united by their dedication to cultural and political activism and their involvement in and/or relationship to the social justice movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s: the Black Power, Flower Power, Red Power, and Yellow Power movements. Curated by crystal am nelson, Melissa Eriko Poulsen, and Samantha Williams, 2014-2015 Fellows in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training.



Chancellor Dean McHenry, the Political Mastermind behind UC Santa Cruz

Explores how founding UCSC Chancellor Dean McHenry's experience in California politics from the 1930s to the 1950s, including his participation in Upton Sinclair's 1934 End Poverty in California (EPIC) gubernatorial  campaign and his key role in authoring the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, helped him develop the savvy and political acumen to create and lead a boldly experimental campus of the University of California.



Love on Haight: The Grateful Dead and San Francisco in 1967

Virtual Tour of the Exhibit
Digital Exhibit
Examines the different modes of representation -- press, literary happenings and publications, photography, and music -- that translated and transformed the Summer of Love from a hippie movement in San Francisco to a nation-wide spectacle with the Grateful Dead as the house band. Curated by Mary deVries, Kate Dundon, Janet Young, and Elizabeth Remak-Honnef.



Put Your Gold Money Where Your Love Is, Baby: Counterculture, Capitalism, & the Grateful Dead

Virtual Tour of the Exhibit
Digital Exhibit
Explores how the band invented, improvised, redefined, and pioneered business practices that revealed new ways of thinking about work, about being in business, and about the relationship between creators and their communities. It draws on the newly processed business records of the band. Curated by Jessica Pigza, Alix Norton, and Gabriel Saloman Mindel (2017-2018 Fellow in the Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training).