Department Blog

Special Collections

Then & Now

February 3rd, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s installment of Then & Now is a place near and dear to us. Any ideas where this spot is located? If you guessed the Shields Library courtyard, you would be correct!

The historic image of the courtyard is undated. However, a few clues in the photo can help us narrow down the date to between 1964-1967. The Library’s East Wing, pictured, was added in 1964. The Library’s South Wing, not seen here, was completed in 1967.

Both the historic and present day views capture the turkey oak in the courtyard.

Here’s a fun fact about the courtyard. Did you know that the first commencement held on the Davis campus took place in the Sunken Garden, the present day site of the courtyard?


Finding Aid Friday: University Archives Photographs

January 31st, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Are you interested in historic images of the UC Davis campus? If so, you’ll want to know about this week’s Finding Aid Friday feature, the University Archives Photographs Collection. This collection offers a visual record of the history of UC Davis. The collection, which spans the years 1907-1987, contains photographic prints and negatives, and depicts buildings and grounds, faculty and staff, annual events such as Picnic Day, campus events, classes and classrooms, student clubs and activities, departments, and sporting events.

We’ve been working on a project to provide these photographs online. We’re excited to announce that this week we completed the last stage of the project. Now 3377 images in all eleven series in the collection are available online. You can view the online images via the finding aid which is available here.

We’d be interested to hear if the images bring back any campus memories for you. Also, we’d appreciate knowing if you can provide further identification for any of these images.

Aerial view of campus, circa 1941

Aerial view of campus, circa 1941

Then & Now

January 22nd, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

After a short hiatus, our Then & Now series is back. Do you recognize this campus building? Here is a hint: It is the oldest building on campus. This “Stick and Shingle” style building, built in 1907 on what is now the southeast corner of Shields Avenue and East Quad, was first used as the livestock judging barn and an all purpose meeting place.

In the 1930s it was moved to the corner of California Avenue and Hutchison Drive (the present day site of Rock Hall). In 1963, it was moved to Old Davis Road and remodeled and converted into an Elizabethan Theatre. William Shakespeare’s King Richard II was the inaugural performance in the new theatre in December 1963. The building, then renamed the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, was dedicated to Fred S. Wyatt (1890-1974) whose monetary donation made the movement of the building and its renovation possible. From 1961-1974, Wyatt served as assistant to the Chancellor of UC Davis as a volunteer gifts and endowments officer.

Today, the theatre, which is still located on Old Davis Road, seats 200 people in a three quarter round fashion. It is used by the Music and Theatre and Dance Departments for performances.


Finding Aid Friday: UC Davis Web Archives

November 22nd, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s installment in our Finding Aid Friday series is a bit different from the collections that we’ve featured previously. This finding aid isn’t for a physical collection but rather for an entirely digital web archive.

The UC Davis Web Archives, created using the California Digital Library’s Web Archiving Service (WAS), preserves websites in the entire “” domain to document the history of the University’s activities and accomplishments. Special Collections, as the repository for the University Archives, collects records of historical value for the University. Previously, many of these records have been in print form, now much of that information can be found on campus websites. This ongoing project, started in 2011, captures the websites of the University’s administration, schools and colleges, academic departments, administrative units, organized research units, intercollegiate athletics, and student organizations. The finding aid for the UC Davis Web Archives is available here.


Finding Aid Friday: Boxing Team Reports

November 15th, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the collection of Boxing Team Reports. Did you know that UC Davis once had a Boxing Team? Boxing was one of the most popular sports on campus up through the 1930s. By the late 1950s, interest waned and the campus no longer fielded a team.  This small collection, which spans the years 1929-1956, contains match reports and student manager’s reports.



Finding Aid Friday: Western Signal Corps School Collection

November 8th, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the Western Signal Corps School Collection. From 1943-1944, in the midst of World War II, the UC College of Agriculture at Davis (now the University of California, Davis) was closed and converted to a training facility for the Western Signal Corps School (WSCS). The WSCS 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 WSCS collection contains the school newsletters, a student guide, commemorative album, farewell menu, as well as several photographs including the one below.

Be sure to check out the Yolo at War series in the  Davis Enterprise this week. The series, which focuses on how World War II affected the Davis community and the region, features two of the photographs from this collection.

 At the end of the WSCS activities, the Army returned the keys of the campus to Controller Ira Smith (right), chief acting university officer, 1944 October 31

At the end of the WSCS activities, the Army returned the keys of the campus to Controller Ira Smith (right), chief acting university officer, 1944 October 31


Finding Aid Friday: Campus Songs and Song Books Collection

November 1st, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s installment of our Finding Aid Friday series is the Campus Songs and Song Books Collection. This small collection contains sheet music and song books for Davis campus songs and University of California songs including: Aggie Fight Song, Big C, California Aggies Hail, Hail to California, and Sons of California. While processing this collection we discovered the campus song, We’re California Aggies.

Can you name the first song written expressly for the Davis campus? If not, the article from 1965 that is found below will give you the answer.


Finding Aid Friday: Office of Ceremonies & Special Events Collection

October 25th, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the Office of Ceremonies and Special Events Collection. This collection contains materials related to UC Davis campus ceremonies, dedications, lectures, programs, and receptions. The materials, which span the years 1922 to 2013, include programs, invitations, flyers, brochures, correspondence, and meeting minutes.

The collection contains materials for annual events such as Charter Day, the President’s Reception, Distinguished Teacher’s Symposium, and the Faculty Research Lecture, as well as events such as Prince Charles visit to campus.

Below is an image of the program for the November 12, 1928 dedication of the Agricultural Engineering (now Walker Hall) and Animal Science (now Hart Hall) Buildings.



Pajamarino is Here!

October 11th, 2013 by Jenny Hodge

Hope you plan on kicking off your Homecoming weekend by enjoying Pajamarino tonight. Get your pajamas on and get ready to party along with alumni and friends. Our Mr. Spud is dressed and ready to go! You can find more information on the festivities here.


We’re California Aggies

October 11th, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

In celebration of Pajamarino and Homecoming, we thought that we’d share a song that we recently discovered while processing the Campus Songs and Song Books Collection. We’re California Aggies was a new song that was introduced at the University Meeting on Monday, September 30, 1957. The song’s words were by Burt King, Manager of the Memorial Union, with music by Charles Higgins, Professor of Geology. Do you remember singing this song at a campus event?

We’re California Aggies

Because we’re California Aggies
Because we love the Gold and Blue
We’ll give a cheer for all of the world to hear
And face the foe without any fear
And we’ll all go marching through

Because we’re loyal Aggie Mustangs
Because we hail the Gold and Blue
We’ll shout our cry, the symbol of victory
And raise our banner for all to see
And we’ll all be strong and true

We’ll fight for glory
Fight will all our might for victory
The score will tell the story
How we played and won for U.C.D

And when our college days are over
And yet we praise the Gold and Blue
The Davis days and memories dear to all
Our hearts with happiness will recall
And this we will know, too —-
That we’re Aggies through and through.