Department Blog

Special Collections

50 Features of Special Collections: Direction of the Road, Artist’s books

September 30th, 2016 by Jenny Hodge
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This week we are highlighting one of our artists’ books Direction of the Road by Ursula K. Le Guin. The story is narrated by an oak tree on the side of the road. As someone approaches the tree it grows in size and as the viewer walks away the tree diminishes in size. As time passes, modes of transport and traffic increase forcing the tree to work extra hard to grow and shrink in quick succession.

The story by Ursula K. Le Guin was published in 1974, however, we are highlighting an artists’ book published in 2007 by Foolscap Press.  The story is printed on linen paper with occasional pressed leaves which makes a sort of rustling sound as you turn the pages. The book is presented in a portfolio box with an original woodcut illustration and a mirror made of plastic tubing to view the image.

“The art on this portfolio box is an original woodcut by Aaron Johnson. It is done in a form called anamorphic art … Aaron Johnson’s woodcut … casts the viewer into an active role in relation to the art and, most important for the story, it allows the image freedom of movement. The image may be viewed by removing the mirrored cylinder from its elastic stays and standing it on end within the printed circle on the woodcut. The “corrected” image can then be seen reflected in the mirror. The woodcut, handprinted by Aaron Johnson at Foolscap Press, is limited to 150 copies, signed by the artist.”–Colophon to portfolio box.

The beauty of an artists’ book is that not only is the story a work of art but also the form the book is presented in. Upon approaching the portfolio the reader becomes part of the story watching as the tree grows and then shrinks as the reader retreats. This presentation mirrors the idea of the story and further encourages the reader to reflect on differences in perception.

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For more artists’ books in Special Collections look for the Fine Press and Book Arts Collection.

 

Flashback to the tank rush on September 23, 1916

September 23rd, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Today, we flashback to the tank rush held one hundred years ago on September 23, 1916. The photos of the event below are from the scrapbook in the Harry Hazen Papers.

The tank rush tradition dates back to at least 1913 when a class “fight” took place at the swimming tank. In subsequent years, a tank rush was formalized and the freshmen and upperclassmen battled to push each other into the tank.

The 1917 Farm Rodeo yearbook offers the following description of the 1916 event:

“At the given signal, the Seniors jumped on the Fresh with a loud cry, and for five or ten minutes the action was fast and furious. During this time as many, if not more, upper classmen than Freshmen went into the tank with a loud splash and many bubbles. But soon experience and team work began to show itself.

The upper classmen broke up into bunches of six or seven, and then it was just a procession, the ‘veterans’ carrying the Fresh up one by one and dumping them in.”

In later years, the tank rush tradition evolved into the Frosh-Soph Brawl. At different times, the Brawl, which was held during the first month of classes, consisted of the following events between the freshmen and sophomores: a tug-of-war, obstacle race, jousting, a haystacking contest, and the tank rush.

Stay tuned for our next installment from the Harry Hazen Papers.

Tank rush, September 23, 1916

Tank rush, September 23, 1916.

Tank rush, September 23, 1916.

Tank rush, September 23, 1916.

Throwback to the University Farm Agricola on September 22, 1916

September 22nd, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

In celebration of the California Aggie‘s return to a weekly print edition which launched today, here is a throwback to the Weekly Agricola issue from September 22, 1916.

Publication of the Weekly Agricola, a four page student newspaper, began on September 29, 1915.  The September 22, 1916, issue debuted the new title of University Farm Agricola. In November 1992, the newspaper became the California Aggie.

Front page of the September 22, 1916 University Farm Agricola

Front page of the September 22, 1916 University Farm Agricola

 

50 Features of Special Collections: Harry Hazen Papers on the University Farm

September 21st, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

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As today marks the first day of instruction for the 2016 Fall Quarter, we’ve chosen to highlight the collection of Harry Hazen, a student who enrolled at the University Farm (now UC Davis) exactly one hundred years ago in the Fall of 1916.

The Harry Hazen Papers on the University Farm document student life during the earliest years of the Davis campus. The collection, which includes a scrapbook of photographs and memorabilia from 1916-1918, the booklet “Harry and I on the University Farm,” Hazen’s 1918 diploma, two family photographs, as well as booklets on apiculture, was donated in April 2016 by Hazen’s granddaughter.

Harry Edward Hazen was born in 1897 in Los Angeles, California to Reverend E.A. and Eleanor Hazen. He attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, graduated in 1915, and attended the University of California beginning in the fall of 1916. In 1918, Hazen was awarded his diploma from the University of California Farm, College of Agriculture. He then moved to Modesto, California, and became a commercial beekeeper. In 1920, Hazen married Ethel Thamer Blackburn; their daughter Lorraine was born in 1923. Later that year, the Hazen family returned to Los Angeles, where Harry founded the Hazen Hardwood Flooring Company in North Hollywood. Harry Hazen remained in Los Angeles until his death in 1953.

The photo shown below is found on one of the first pages of the scrapbook. Taken on September 19, 1916 it shows the student body in front of West Hall, a dormitory which was located where the Memorial Union now stands.

Stay tuned throughout the year as we’ll be posting other items from Harry’s scrapbook while we look back at campus one hundred years ago.

First Day of School, September 19, 1916.

First Day of School, September 19, 1916.

Mark your calendar: Sacramento Archives Crawl on October 8

September 20th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is excited to be participating again this year in the Sacramento Archives Crawl. This year’s event will occur from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2016.

The California State Library, California State Archives, Center for Sacramento History and Sacramento Public Library will serve as hosts and open their doors in celebration of National Archives Month. This year’s theme is A Thirst for History.

As with past Sacramento Archives Crawls, participants will start at any of the four host locations and gather stamps in their passports as they view treasures from dozens of archives and special collections libraries, visit with archivists, and go on special behind-the-scenes tours. Those who visit at least three host locations during the 2016 Archives Crawl will receive a set of beautiful limited-edition coasters. The coasters, which you can preview below, are available while supplies last.

Special Collections staff will be hosting a table at the California State Library, 900 N Street, Sacramento. Stop by and say hello!

More information about the Sacramento Archives Crawl can be found here.

Image on the homepage is Sacramento, California, 1953 from our Eastman Originals Collection.

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50 Features of Special Collections: Ellen Schutt Pomological Watercolors

September 16th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
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With apple season now in full swing, it is only fitting that we feature the Ellen Schutt Pomological Watercolors this week.

Ellen Isham Schutt (1873-1955) was an illustrator with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 1904-1914. From 1914-1915, she worked with the Department of Pomology at the University of California where she created this collection of 286 watercolors of fruits, most of which are apples. These watercolors, which were created as part of the department’s work to systematically identify apple varieties, were created for classroom use and for demonstration purposes. They illustrate examples of a variety of conditions including cold storage, core rot, injury damage, and moth damage, among others. The apples are usually shown in two views: a full view and a half section. The watercolors are available online here.

Some examples from Schutt’s work with the USDA are available on their website.

Jonathan, Mendocino Co., California, 1915.

Jonathan, Mendocino Co., California, 1915.