Department Blog

Special Collections

50 Features of Special Collections: San Francisco Mime Troupe Records

August 23rd, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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Since the San Francisco Mime Troupe will be performing in Davis this Saturday, August 27, we decided that this week’s feature should highlight their organizational records.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe is San Francisco’s critically acclaimed and oldest professional political musical theater. It began in 1959 when Ronald G. Davis formed the R.G. Davis Mime Troupe while affiliated with the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop. Initially, the Troupe improvised silent mime performance “events,” but soon added sound, music, and dialogue. In 1962 they began producing free shows in San Francisco parks and moved from mime into other forms of drama: first adaptations of commedia dell’arte, then vaudeville, melodrama, and other American theater. In 1963, they severed connections with the Workshop, and changed the group’s name to the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

In the Sixties, under Davis’s direction, the Troupe affiliated itself with the new counterculture. They published ideas on Guerrilla Theater and Radical Theater and continued to play in theaters, in the parks, and on colleges campuses, appealing particularly to the Left. After some fairly unsettled early years which included revocations of park permits, arrests, and litigation, the San Francisco Mime Troupe was recognized with an Obie Award in 1967 for “unifying theater and revolution and grooving in the parks.”

In 1970 Davis left the company which then reorganized as a worker-managed collective. More awards followed: Obie Awards in 1971 for The Dragon Lady’s Revenge and in 1989 for Seeing Double as well as a Tony Award in 1987 for excellence in regional theater. The Troupe has, for the most part, moved from adaptations to original works written by members of the Troupe and continues to use performances to point out weaknesses in American society.
After more than fifty years of existence the San Francisco Mime Troupe continues to perform in the parks every summer, tour in the fall, and share their message through annual youth theater projects. Their mission continues to be “to create and produce socially relevant theater of the highest professional quality and to perform it before the broadest possible audience.”

The San Francisco Mime Troupe Records consist of unique items relating to the more than fifty year existence of the Troupe. The collection contains original and adapted scripts, financial papers, photographs, audio visual items, promotional material, correspondence, clippings, and office files.

This recent article in the Davis Enterprise provides more information about this year’s show which will be performed in Davis on Saturday, August 27 and in Sacramento on Sunday, August 28.

San Francisco Mime Troupe performs False Promises, 1976.

San Francisco Mime Troupe performs False Promises, 1976.

50 Features of Special Collections: Blackwelder Manufacturing Company Records

August 16th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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Since we’ve started to see trucks of recently harvested tomatoes on the local highways, we thought that it would be appropriate to feature the Blackwelder Manufacturing Company Records this week.

Blackwelder Manufacturing Co., located in Rio Vista, California, focused on the development of tomato harvesters and other agricultural equipment. In 1949, UC Davis agricultural engineer Coby Lorenzen and UC Davis vegetable crops researcher Jack Hanna developed a harvester and a tomato variety that could withstand the rigors of mechanical picking. During the 1950s, they refined the experimental harvester and in 1959 convinced Blackwelder Manufacturing to commercialize the design. The tomato harvester is said to have saved California’s processed tomato industry in the 1960s.

The collection contains business records, correspondence, photographs, films, patent information, manuals, bills of material, drawings, blueprints, and specifications. As part of the California Audiovisual Preservation Project, we’ve recently digitized a number of films from the collection. You can view the films on the Internet Archive here.

In addition, an oral history interview of Ernest Blackwelder is available here.

Blackwelder tomato harvester, undated.

Blackwelder tomato harvester, undated.

50 Features of Special Collections: Eastman’s Originals Collection

August 9th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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In celebration of the centennial of Lassen Volcanic National Park which occurs today, we are featuring our Eastman’s Originals Collection, which holds a number of historic images of the park. The Eastman Originals Collection contains photographs, negatives, and postcards for a wide variety of northern California locations and events, including dam construction, logging, mining, food processing, and community buildings and activities from circa 1890-1960.

Jervie Henry Eastman was born on July 20, 1880 in White Cloud, Michigan and moved with his family to northern California in 1886. In 1921, he moved to Susanville and established Eastman & Company as a commercial photography and post card studio. In 1936, Eastman hired Mirl Simmons, a young photographer from Hillsborough, West Virginia, to help with the postcard photography. Later, Eastman and Simmons became partners and the business expanded to provide photographic supplies to southeastern Oregon and studios in Westwood, Weed, and Susanville.

Eastman, who retired from photography in 1959 and sold his share of the business to Simmons, passed away in Susanville on February 11, 1969. Simmons ran the Eastman Studios until 1980, when he retired and sold the business to John and Shirley Castle. The Eastman’s Originals Collection (the historical postcards and negatives) was sold to Anne Fisher in 1982. She managed the collection until her retirement in 1994, when she donated it to UC Davis.

Special Collections has digitized 13,212 negatives in the collection. Those images can be viewed on Calisphere.

Several 16mm films from the collection have recently been digitized through our participation in the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP). The films, which are of scenes of Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity Counties, can be viewed here.

Cinder Cone and Butte Lake, Calif, 1938.

Cinder Cone and Butte Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park (Calif.), 1938.

50 Features of Special Collections: Map of Sacramento Valley, 1849

August 4th, 2016 by Dawn Collings
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Early maps showing the Sacramento Valley and gold fields include this charming map. The Sacramento Valley from the American River to Butte Creek, 1849. A staff favorite because it shows a route from Sacramento to Benecia which crosses Putah Creek approximately where the City of Davis sits today.

Some landowners and ranchos are named on the map. “Wolfs Kills” (Wolfskill) is located along “Puta Creek” (Putah Creek) near a trail pointing toward “Vaca’s and Berry’s Ranchos” (Vacaville and Berryessa).

Throughout the valley, it notes areas of natural vegetation and lands for farming and ranching with statements such as “Sycamore & Oak,” “Rich Arable Soil,” and “Good Grazing on these Plains.” Elk, antelope, and large herds of wild cattle and horses are noted in the region north of “The Buttes” (now known as the Sutter Buttes near Marysville).

Roads on the map include “Waggon Route to the Yuba Mines” and “Benecia Road impassable during Rainy Season.” Roads headed east from Sacramento into the Sierra Nevada foothills direct you to the gold region near “Colluma” (Coloma, the location of Sutter’s mill), Dry Diggings, “Karnaka Diggings” (Kanaka Diggings), and “Mormon Isla” (Mormon Island–which was a sandbar not an island) along the South Fork of American River.

The map was published as part of U.S. congressional Serial Set vol. 558, S. Ex. Doc. 47-2, 1st Session, 31st Congress.

You can view this map in the Map Collection room on the Lower Level of Shields Library, 1:00-5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Map Call Number: MAP G4362.S33 1849 .D3

Sacramento Valley 1849Click here to enlarge.

50 Features of Special Collections: Shakespeare’s 2nd Folio

July 29th, 2016 by Jenny Hodge
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In 1958, the University of California acquired the extensive personal library of C.K. (Charles Kay) Ogden, British linguist and philosopher. The University divided the library among the extant campuses: Berkeley, UCLA, Davis, Santa Barbara, and Riverside. The Davis library’s portion was nearly 10,000 volumes.

A Second Folio, the second edition of Shakespeare’s works printed in 1632, was part of the C.K. Ogden library. Second Folio is the term applied to the 1632 edition of the collected plays of William Shakespeare, following upon the First Folio of 1623. There are almost 1,700 changes from the First Folio. When the time came to place it, Berkeley and UCLA both said that it duplicated their holdings. So, the placement fell to Davis, Santa Barbara, and Riverside. Instead of making the placement based on the flipping of a coin, a time-honored ritual, the University Librarians decided to base the placement on the outcome of the 1958 World Series.

In 1958, the American League was represented by the New York Yankees, the National League by the Milwaukee Braves. The same teams had played the 1957 series, with Milwaukee winning in seven games. According to former University Librarian J.R. Blanchard’s Reminiscences, “Davis was fortunate in drawing the New York Yankees, who knocked in the winning run of the 1958 baseball series, which also meant the Second Folio was pitched out to the Davis campus.”

This copy has the ownership signature of Henry Bradshaw. His brother John Bradshaw was president of the court that beheaded King Charles I.

Shakespeare's 2nd folio

 

50 Features of Special Collections: Sanfield Papers and Hunold Collection

July 22nd, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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As the 31st Sierra Storytelling Festival takes place in Nevada City, California this weekend, we decided to feature two of our collections that are related to the annual event.

An author and phenomenal storyteller,  Steve Sanfield founded the Sierra Storytelling Festival in 1985 and served as its director until his retirement in 2002. He was also the author of more than thirty books, including The Adventures of High John the Conqueror, Bit by Bit, The Great Turtle Drive, and A Natural Man: The True Story of John Henry, among others.

The Steve Sanfield Papers contains files related to the Sierra Storytelling Festival, as well as personal journals, manuscripts, correspondence, publications, audio tapes, and ephemera relating to his life and career.

In 1988, photographer Ray Hunold accompanied his wife, Bernice, to the Sierra Storytelling Festival where they met Sanfield. When a hired photographer did not show up, Ray Hunold was asked to step in and shoot photographs for the Festival’s files. He then became the official photographer for the Sierra Storytelling Festival from 1988 through 2002. He also served as the photographer for the National Festival of Storytelling in Jonesboro, Tennessee.

The Raymond Hunold Photograph Collection contains over 70,000 images documenting the resurgence of storytelling in the United States as an art form.  Another aspect of the collection is his work as a nature and travel photographer which includes subjects such as San Francisco city scenes, western flora and fauna, Native American sites, and national parks and monuments.

You can find out more about the Hunold Collection via the web exhibit here.

 

Steve Sanfield, director, surrounded by his storytellers, by Ray Hunold.

Steve Sanfield, director, surrounded by his storytellers, by Ray Hunold.

Entrance to the outdoor stage, Sierra Storytelling Festival, 1989. Photograph by Ray Hunold.

Entrance to the outdoor stage, Sierra Storytelling Festival, 1989. Photograph by Ray Hunold.

 

50 Features of Special Collections: Colby E. “Babe” Slater Collection

July 15th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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Since this is our 50th golden anniversary, it is only fitting that our next feature is the collection of UC Davis’ first Olympic gold medalist, Colby E. “Babe” Slater.

 

Colby E. “Babe” Slater (1896-1965) graduated from the University Farm School (now UC Davis) in 1917. An outstanding athlete, Slater played on the U.S. Olympic rugby team and won gold medals for rugby in 1920 and 1924, when he served as captain of the team. The 1924 Olympic Games were the last to feature rugby – until now. Rugby returns to the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

 

In celebration of rugby’s return to the Olympic Games after a 92 year hiatus, we’ve created an exhibit and a website highlighting the Slater Collection, which includes correspondence, publications, ephemera, and photographs from his participation in the Olympics Games. You can view the exhibit on display in Shields Library and the website at slater.lib.ucdavis.edu

 

Additionally, the Library will host a special celebration of the legacy of Babe Slater on July 30. Event and rsvp details are available here.

 

Colby E. “Babe” Slater, third from left, plays in the gold medal rugby match at the 1924 Olympics.

Colby E. “Babe” Slater, third from left, plays in the gold medal rugby match at the 1924 Olympics.

50 Features of Special Collections: Cuneiform Tablet

July 8th, 2016 by Jenny Hodge
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The Sumerian Clay Tablet was acquired by the rare book collection in 1966, purchased in 1962 from Dawson’s Book Shop in Los Angeles. The tablet is from Sumeria, modern day southern Iraq, circa 1974 BC/BCE (short chronology). The cuneiform inscription is an administrative text written during the Third Dynasty of Ur at Umma, which was at the center of a large agricultural district in southern Mesopotamia. The text orders the hiring of persons to perform agricultural work on the fields belonging to the temple of Shara, the chief god of Umma.

Not only is the Sumerian tablet the oldest item held in Special Collections, but it is also a source of interest and research on the UC Davis campus. In 1976 Professor R. David Freedman of the Religious Studies Department provided a detailed translation of the 19 lines of cuneiform found on the tablet as well as the seal impression which reads, “Mese, the scribe, son of Dada”.[1]

In 2003 the Sumerian tablet was examined by undergraduate history major Ellen Joyce under the mentor-ship of Professor Stylianos Spyridakis. Working with Special Collections and the Geology Lab on campus Ms. Joyce was able to weigh, photograph and examine with a stereo microscope the tablet as part of her research project through the MURALS program.[2]

The Sumerian tablet is a staple when presenting Special Collections materials to classes on the history of the book and how ideas are recorded. It is also a visitor favorite when brought out to be displayed for groups and patrons. The tablet can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room from 10-5, Monday thru Friday.

3 sides covered with cuneiform inscriptions, 1 narrow side and both ends blank. 7.7 x 5 x 2 cm.

3 sides covered with cuneiform inscriptions, 1 narrow side and both ends blank. 7.7 x 5 x 2 cm.

[1] Information Sheet kept with tablet in Special Collections, University Library, UC Davis. PJ4071 .S9

[2] Teng, Santani. “Out of the Past.” The California Aggie 9 Feb. 2003: Print.

Happy 50th Birthday Special Collections!

July 1st, 2016 by Jenny Hodge

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We are excited to celebrate 50 years of Special Collections in the University Library!

“On July 1, 1966 the Department of Special Collections opened its door for service to the public at 201 Library. As announced in the January 21 issue of CUD, Donald Kunitz has been appointed Head of the Department.” From the July 8, 1966 issue of the Library newsletter titled, CUD.

As part of our celebration we will be highlighting 50 features of Special Collections. Each week we will present a unique feature adding up to 50. Stay tuned for our first post in this series!

 

 

Birthday celebration, undated.

Birthday celebration, undated. Image from the Eastman’s Originals Collection.

 

Event announcement: Doing Ethnic Studies Research with Special Collections

May 11th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Please join us for this program:

Professor Richard Kim from the UC Davis Asian American Studies Department will be speaking on his forthcoming book, Freedom without Justice, which draws on the papers of the influential investigative reporter Kyung Won Lee. The Kyung Won Lee Papers are in Special Collections and also online through the Online Archive of California.

Daryl Morrison, Head of Special Collections will introduce Professor Kim’s presentation, which underscores the importance of Special Collections and the work it does in facilitating contemporary research.

Event details:

Professor Richard Kim

Thursday May 19, 2016

3:00-4:30 PM

Library Instruction Room, Room 205

Peter J. Shields Library

UC Davis

This event, organized by LAUC-D, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.