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Special Collections & Archives

Collections Overview

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 a 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 formerly 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 farming techniques now inspiring a worldwide movement.

Image: Cowell and Stevenson Colleges: aerial view of the construction, with the Student Housing Trailers (1966). Gordon R. Sinclair papers. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

UCSC Campus History Digital Collections

Many campus history materials have been digitized and are available online in the UCSC Library Digital Collections.

UC Regents tour campus siteThe collection includes photographs, maps, and architectural drawings documenting the historical development, culture and social environment of one of the UC system's most beautiful campuses, the University of California, Santa Cruz.

UCSC's Regional History Project has been documenting the history of the Central Coast of California and the institutional history of UC Santa Cruz since 1963, through oral history.

Image: University of California, Santa Cruz planning: UC Regents tour the site for UC Santa Cruz: Chancellor McHenry, with Gerald Hagar, president of the regents board; Elinor Heller, a regent; John Carl Warnecke, head of the campus architectural team; and Donald McLaughlin, a regent. Gordon R. Sinclair papers, 1957-1979. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Collection Scope

University Archives is the official repository for selected inactive campus records that have enduring administrative, legal, or research value. The records contained in University Archives document the history, policies, and procedures of the Campus and the decision making process of its administrators. The Archives include the following:

Administrative Records

Vital records as determined by the UC and UCSC Disposition Schedules as they are identified and deemed inactive by their Office or Record. Administrative Records include:

  • Chancellor’s Office (examples include records of operation, organizational charts, minutes of Regents’ meetings held at UCSC)
  • Facilities and Planning Offices (examples include Long Range Development Plans, campus environmental impact reports, Campus Academic Plans)
  • Academic Senate Office (examples include agendas and minutes, committee membership lists)
  • Office of Research (examples include reviews of UCSC entities)
  • Contracts, Grants, and Gift Offices (examples include documentation relating to foundation and trust donations)
  • Accreditation documentation
  • Founding and incorporation documents

Records Documenting UCSC History, Campus Life, and Culture

  • Campus funded publications, such as catalogs, directories, student newspapers, yearbooks, personnel manuals, faculty, student and staff handbooks.
  • Selected material documenting administration, activities, and events of the Colleges, Schools, Centers, Institutes, Organized Research Units, Libraries
  • Campus maps and guides
  • Photographs depicting UCSC activities, events, personnel

Theses and Dissertations

For information on finding UCSC theses and dissertations, see our Electronic Theses and Dissertations guide.

Faculty Papers

Faculty papers are resources of university history in addition to documenting the careers of individuals. The personal and professional papers of faculty affiliated with UCSC are selectively collected and primarily administered as manuscript collections within Special Collections. Please consult with the Head of Special Collections for more information.

Accessing University Archives

In most cases University Archives are public documents. The material does not circulate but may be viewed within Special Collections during regular posted open hours.

In general, UCSC University Archives do not acquire records that have permanent restrictions on access; such records are usually retained by their Office of Record. We are in compliance with the California Public Records Act and the Information Practices Act.

University Archives Copyright

Copyright for UCSC administrative records and campus publications are held by the Regents of the University of California, and comply with policies stated in the “University of California Policy on Copyright Ownership.” Copyright for theses, dissertations, some faculty papers are owned by their authors.

Transferring or Donating to the University Archives

UCSC administrative departments and academic units may transfer material to the Archives when the records are appropriate for permanent retention and when the records are deemed inactive as determined by the Records Disposition Schedule. A transfer form must be filled out by the Office of Record. Please contact the Campus Records Manager at (831) 459-3411 for advice or assistance in identifying non current files to transfer, and to obtain a copy of the transfer form.

Learn more at Transfer or Donate Collections to the University Archives.

Material documenting the history of Campus’s social and cultural life is of interest to the University Archives. Please contact the University Archivist regarding donating historically valuable material.

Once transferred to the Archives, the records are the responsibility of the University Archivist. If the published retention schedule of a record is “permanent,” the University Archivist does not have the option to dispose of the record and must ensure that it is retained permanently. If however, a record sent to the Archives does not have a permanent retention period, the University Archivist may dispose of it at any time, in any manner that is deemed appropriate to the particular record.