Department Blog

Special Collections

On This Day: April 20, 1990

April 20th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s On This Day post celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the UC Davis Principles of Community. More information about the history of the Principles of Community can be found on the Office of Campus Community Relations website here.

The photo below, from the Strategic Communication Records, ran in the April 27, 1990 issue of Dateline. The caption reads: “The Principles of Community” document was ceremoniously signed last week by Chancellor Theodore L. Hullar and representatives from five of the six constituent organizations that govern UC Davis. Noting that the document was a group product, Hullar said “We did this together – that’s what community is. Everything we believe about our campus can fit within these principles.” Signers in this photo included clockwise from left seated: Jane Kimball, chair of the Academic Staff Organization; Charles Nash, chair of the Academic Senate; Hullar; Steven Johns, president of the Associated Students of UC Davis; Pierre duVair, chair of the Graduate Student Association; and Davis Heller, chair of the UC Davis Staff Assembly. Margaret Hayes, who represented the sixth constituency as chair of the UC Davis Medical Center Staff Assembly, was on vacation Friday but signed the document this week to complete the signatures.


Davis Enterprise article: Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

April 17th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

This article in today’s Davis Enterprise mentions the Thomas Morris posters that we hold in Special Collections as part of the Counter Culture Poster Collection. Stop by Special Collections if you’d like to see the beautiful posters in person.



On This Day: April 9, 1938

April 9th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s feature in our On This Day series takes us to the April 9, 1938 dedication of the Gymnasium and Swimming Pool. President Robert G. Sproul presided over the dedication ceremony which included a speech, Athletics and the Well Rounded Man, by Peter J. Shields.

The concrete building, designed by William C. Hays, replaced the old Recreation Hall and provided the campus with the first swimming pool. Basketball games were held here until the new Recreation Hall was built in 1977. On May 20, 1972 the building was named for Vernard B. Hickey (1900-1988). Hickey served as Football Coach from 1937-1948 and Athletic Director from 1961 until his retirement in 1967. He also coached baseball, basketball, water polo, swimming, and golf.


Gerome the gnome highlights a frosh dink for Aggie Traditions Day

April 8th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

In celebration of Aggie Traditions Day today, Gerome has decided to highlight one of the past Aggie traditions, the frosh dink.

The frosh dink tradition, which featured members of the freshman class wearing caps known as dinks, dates back to at least 1923. According to the California Aggie Freshman Handbook that year, “Freshman must wear the Frosh hat at all times and should be proud to do so.” The dinks, which were blue with a gold button and had “Cal Aggie” lettered in gold across the front, were worn by all freshmen to classes and meetings. If the freshmen won the Frosh-Soph Brawl, which occurred during the first month of classes, they could stop wearing the dinks immediately. However, if the sophomores won the brawl, the freshmen had to wear the dinks until the Pajamarino Rally, which was held during Homecoming Weekend. This campus tradition went out of fashion in the 1960s.

Gerome the gnome with a frosh dink

Gerome the gnome with a frosh dink

On This Day: April 2, 1990

April 2nd, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s feature in our On This Day series takes us to the opening of the west wing of Shields Library which occurred twenty five years ago on April 2, 1990. The 140,000 square foot addition was designed by architects Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Morris. The dedication ceremony occurred on October 19, 1990 and included a speech by Gary Snyder.

This year also marks another anniversary for the Shields Library building. It was seventy-five years ago (on March 22, 1940) that the first wing of the building opened. The north wing of the Library, which includes the Main Reading Room, cost $265,750 to build and was funded by the Public Works Administration.

Our exhibit, Diamond Jubilee of the Shields Library Building: 1940-2015, provides more information about the history of the building. Additional information can be found on the Library Centennial website.

Here is a photograph of the library staff outside the west wing shortly after it opened in 1990.

Library staff outside the west wing of Peter J. Shields Library, 1990

Library staff outside the west wing of Peter J. Shields Library, 1990

On This Day: March 4, 1972

March 4th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s feature in our On This Day series takes us back to the March 4, 1972 dedication of Roessler Hall. Edward B. Roessler (1902-1993) taught on the Davis campus from 1933 until his retirement in 1970. In addition to holding a Professorship in Mathematics, he served as Chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Physics, Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, and Acting Dean of the College of Letters and Science. He also served as Dean of University Extension.

Roessler Hall houses two lecture halls and classrooms which are predominantly used by the Physics Department.



February 20th, 2015 by Jenny Hodge


If you mustache, YES we have Aggie Pride and the University Archives! Gunrock the original school mascot has also joined in on showing his #GoAgs spirit. Today the familiar blue Aggie mascot is of Gunrock the mustang, however, the original campus mascot was a Thoroughbred named Gunrock. In the 1920’s the student body voted to make him the official mascot for the campus.  Special Collections houses the Library’s rare books, manuscript collections, University Archives, and other noncirculating research materials.


Gerome shows his Aggie Pride

February 20th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

For Aggie Pride Friday, Gerome decided to wear his Aggie Pride mustache while highlighting one of our oldest pieces of University memorabilia. This University Farm pennant, circa 1920, is from the McKinnon and Ruble Families Papers. Lewis Ruble McKinnon (1901-1956) studied agriculture at the University Farm School (now the University of California, Davis) in the early 1920s.

Go Ags!

Gerome with University Farm pennant

Gerome with University Farm pennant

Then & Now

February 4th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

Our latest Then & Now installment takes us to a place near and dear to us, the Main Reading Room of Shields Library.

The north wing of the Library, which houses the Reading Room, was completed in 1940. Prior to the completion of this building the Library was housed in the Creamery (1908-1915), the Classroom Building (1915-1938), and in temporary quarters in the recreation building behind West Hall (1938-1940).

The north wing which is comprised of 114,857 square feet, cost $265,750 to build and was financed by state appropriations. Designed by Starks & Flanders, the building anchored the south side of the Quad. Originally, the campus administration shared the building with the Library.

Several years after the completion of the building, it was used for purposes other than those of a Library. During the fall of 1942 the U.S. Army negotiated with university President Robert Sproul for the use of the Davis campus as a military training school. On January 1, 1943 the entire Davis campus was officially converted into a training facility for the Western Signal Corps School (WSCS). The WSCS, administered as a subunit of Camp Kohler by Lt. Col. E.A. Allen, took over the dormitories, the gymnasium and swimming pool, the judging pavilions and most of the academic buildings. The library became the radio school. The historic image below shows the radio school students in the Reading Room of the Library. In October 1944 the WSCS closed, having trained a total of about 1,800 men for active duty during the 22 months that the campus was under the jurisdiction of the Army.

As the Library’s collections grew, subsequent additions were made to the original building including: the East wing (1963), South wing (1967), and West wing (1990).

You can find additional information about the history of the Library here.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the north wing of the Shields Library building. Be sure to watch the Library’s Facebook page for posts highlighting this anniversary and the history of the Library.

Captions for the historical photographs below:

Radio school students in the Reading Room of the Library, circa 1943-1944

Main Reading Room, Shields Library, circa 1981



“Hi Aggie” Spirit

December 30th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

You may have seen that UC Davis was recently named among the top twenty schools on a new list of colleges with the friendliest students. Friendliness has long been a tradition on the Davis campus and it is noted as far back as 1930. According to that year’s California Aggie Freshman Handbook: “The friendly attitude that you first noticed on campus is genuine. We mean it when we say “Hello.” Get the habit early. We are all Aggies and we all know each other; the sooner you fall in with this spirit, the more California Aggies will mean to you.”

The 1956-1957 Welcome Aggies publication defined the “Hello Spirit” as “the basis for our reputation as the friendly Davis campus. It begins your first days on campus. Each time you pass someone, whether you know him or not, say ‘Hello.’ This ‘Hello Spirit’ is evident in faculty-student relations and in town-campus relations as well.” By 1961 the tradition was known as “Hi Aggie” Spirit.

Do you remember the “Hi Aggie” spirit? If so, please share your memories in the comments.