Department Blog

Special Collections

On This Day: February 2, 1916

February 2nd, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s On This Day post takes us back one hundred years to February 2, 1916 when the article, “Beautiful Snow Again In Davis,” ran in the Weekly Agricola.

The snow, which fell off and on during Thursday, January 27, 1916, remained on the ground until late the next day. As the article notes, the weather provided the students with the ammunition necessary for a snowball fight to take place between the residents of the North, South, and West Hall dormitories.

1916 wasn’t the only time that Davis has seen snow. Another storm in 1973 was captured in this image from our University Archives Photograph Collection.

Here’s hoping we see snow in Davis again!


From the February 2, 1916 Weekly Agricola

Fourth group of materials digitized by CAVPP now online

November 12th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

We are excited to announce that the next group of audiovisual materials digitized through our participation in the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) are now online at the Internet Archive. The recordings contain footage from several 1970s Whole Earth Festivals which include speeches by Buckminster Fuller and Russell Schweickart, various agricultural technology equipment in action, as well as the narration of a slide show about UC Davis campus development.

Here is the list of items with links to the digitized versions:


Blackwelder Manufacturing Company Records, D-326

Blackwelder’s Tow Type Tomato Harvester, Hastings Island (Rio Vista), California

Case Model G

Electronic sorting and fresh market harvester

Experimental two row harvester

Ford Loader at Brentwood, California

Ford Loader, bucket loading

Ford Loader in citrus

Ford Loader in Hollister, California

Green Tom pick and pack

Green Tomato harvest

Harvesting prunes

Harvesting single row

Original thinner, Ryer Island

Original weeder, Ryer Island

Pickle harvest, exp. ideas

Prunings sweeper

Sugar Beet Harvester, Imperial Valley

Sugar beet harvesting

Thinner (beets)

Tomato Harvester with Auto Header Height Control near Winters, California

Truck loading

UC Blackwelder tomato harvester

UC First Machine, BMC #1, Field Day and close-ups


Whole Earth Festival Records, AR-118

Buckminster Fuller Speech at the Whole Earth Festival, UC Davis

Future Fair, Whole Earth Festival, UC Davis

Ram Dass at the Whole Earth Festival, UC Davis

Russell Schweickart and Buckminster Fuller at the Whole Earth Festival, UC Davis

Scenes of the UC Davis campus and Whole Earth Festival

Whole Earth Festival, UC Davis


Paul Stumpf Slides of UC Davis and the City of Davis, MC107

UC Davis Campus Development


New exhibit: California in Song

October 8th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

We are pleased to announce that our latest exhibit, California in Song, has just been installed in the exhibit cases outside of Special Collections. This exhibit, created by Music Librarian Michael Colby, draws on the sheet music collections in Special Collections.

As long as there has been a California, and even before it became known by that name, it has inspired song. Through songs about the Golden State, we hear about its history—from the Gold Rush to the San Francisco earthquake, its places—from the St. Francis hotel to the city of Sacramento, and the dreams it has inspired of a better life in a wondrous place at the edge of the continent.

The first music in what is now known as the state of California was made by its first inhabitants, the Native Americans. Following its discovery by Europeans, the discovery of gold in the hills precipitated a massive influx of fortune seekers. Even the 1906 San Francisco earthquake inspired song.

The natural beauty of California inspired song, but so did many of its man-made creations, even the St. Francis Hotel! While the city of San Francisco inspired many a song, even Sacramento got a song, written by Eden Ahbez, who adopted a “hippie” lifestyle years before San Francisco celebrated the Summer of Love in 1967. Ahbez is best known for composing the Nat King Cole hit, “Nature Boy.”

California has inspired many dreams in its history, from the get-rich-quick dreams of the Gold Rush, dreams of escape from the Depression dust bowl, to dreams of Hollywood glamour, and the Aquarian Age dreams of Haight Ashbury in the 1960s.

California continues to inspire songwriters, beyond the examples given here. While the Beach Boys extolled the charms of “California Girls” of 1965, in 2005 Gretchen Wilson asked “ain’t you glad we ain’t all California girls?” Katy Perry’s 2010 “California Gurls” returned to the more common theme in keeping with the California dream.

The exhibit will run through Winter Quarter 2016 and can be viewed anytime that Shields Library is open.


Third group of materials digitized by CAVPP now online

October 8th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

We are excited to announce that the next group of audiovisual materials digitized through our participation in the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) are now online at the Internet Archive. The recordings include a panoramic view of the UC Davis campus from nearly sixty years ago, early footage of the UC Blackwelder tomato harvester, and audio recordings from a number of the UC Davis oral history interviews that were conducted with faculty and community members in the 1970s.

Here is the list of items with links to the digitized versions:


Audiovisual Collection

Panoramic View of the UC Davis Campus


Roy Bainer Papers

Windrow Loader at George Wilson’s Place, Clarksburg, Calif.


Blackwelder Manufacturing Company Records

Almond Harvest

Fordson Cultivator

Harvesting Operation with the University of California; Johnson, Hume, FMC

UC Blackwelder Tomato Harvester


UC Davis Oral History Office Records

The College Cowboy–Reuben Albaugh: Interviews

The Engineering of Abundance: An Oral History Memoir of Roy Bainer

Adventurer in Animal Science–Harold H. Cole: Interviews

Earl Coke Oral History: Reminiscences on people and change in California Agriculture

Chemical Weed Control Researcher, Alden S. Crafts

James P. Fairbank: Engineer on the Land

An Old Professor Ruminates: Interviews With Max Kleiber

William J. “Bill” Kuhrt, Dean of California Marketing Programs

Ben A. Madson, Pioneer in Agricultural Education

John O. Rowe:  Johnnie Shorthorn: Interviews

The World is My Campus: Interviews with Knowles A. Ryerson

Henry Schacht and the Art of Agricultural Communication: Interviews

Bernie Sisk in the House: An Oral History

An Heir To a Land Grant: Julius Trescony

C. John Tupper

Henry A. Weinland:  Recollections of Forty Years Work with California Farmers as County Farm Advisor


From Interviews With Persons Involved in the Development of the Mechanical Tomato Harvester:

Gordie C. Hanna

Coby Lorenzen

Eugene Winters

Mel Zoble

From Selected Recollections of the Founding & Early Years of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine:

Ronald Bolstad

Donald R. Cordy

Donald E. Jasper

Logan M. Julian

Stewart H. Madin

Margaret Meyer & Paul D. DeLay

October is American Archives Month

October 2nd, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Archives Month is a collaborative effort by archivists around the nation to highlight the importance of historical records. More information about Archives Month events in California is available on the California Archives Month website.

Special Collections is celebrating Archives Month by participating in the fifth annual Sacramento Archives Crawl on Saturday, October 3. We’ll have a table at the California State Library. Stop by and say hello.


Happy 100th Birthday to the California Aggie newspaper!

September 29th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

On this day in 1915, publication of the Weekly Agricola, a four page student newspaper, began. Renamed the University Farm Agricola in 1916, the paper became the California Aggie in November 1922.

Happy 100th Birthday, California Aggie!






Gerome says “Welcome Aggies!”

September 24th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

On this, the first day of instruction of the fall quarter, Gerome says Welcome Aggies! This week he presents the publication titled, Welcome Aggies which served as an orientation handbook for new students. Published during the 1950s-1960s, it contained information about orientation week, housing, traditional activities, ASUCD, campus publications, musical organizations, sports, songs and yells, the Library, as well as traffic rules.




Recent additions to our patron published project list

September 15th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

We compile a list of works by researchers who have used Special Collections resources and have cited our collections in their publications. The list is available on our website. Recent additions to the list include:

-Longhurst, James. Bike Battles: a History of Sharing the American Road. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015.

-Purcell, Hugh. A Very Private Celebrity: The Nine Lives of John Freeman. New York: Biteback Publishing, 2015.

-Schneider, David. Crowded by Beauty: the Life and Zen of Poet Philip Whalen. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2015.

-Vanderhoef, Larry N. Indelibly Davis: a Quarter-century of UC Davis Stories … and Backstories. Davis, Calif.: The Regents of the University of California, Davis Campus, 2015.


We welcome additional information that can be added to the list. Please contact us at

New Calisphere site release

September 15th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

The California Digital Library (CDL) is pleased to announce the official, public release of the new Calisphere website, currently in beta mode. Calisphere provides free access to unique and historically important artifacts for research, teaching, and curious exploration. The collections on Calisphere have been digitized and contributed by all ten campuses of the University of California and other libraries, archives, and museums throughout the state. You’ll find digital images from UC Davis Special Collections here.

The new Calisphere boasts a clean modern look, user-centered design, and new features, including:

-Collection and institution browse and landing pages, for more context

-Filters for type, decade, collection, and institution to help users drill down into search results

-View and sort options for further customizing and making sense of search result sets

-Intuitive item-level controls like “get citation” and “contact owner” buttons

-A “sticky” search results carousel that keeps track of a user’s search while on a selected item

-Fully responsive design, meaning users can access the site on tablets and mobile devices

CDL will be adding more collections and functionality over the coming months (including migrating the Themed Collections, California Cultures, and the Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive to the new site), with the goal of replacing the old site in late 2016.


horizontal Calisphere banner

Music Monday: You’re a Million Miles from Nowhere

September 14th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s Music Monday feature is the song, You’re a million miles from nowhere: when you’re one little mile from home, from the Sheet Music Collection.