Department Blog

Special Collections

Pop-up Exhibit: Spring Blooms – Botanical Watercolors by Margaret Stones

March 10th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is pleased to present this pop-up exhibit which can be viewed in our Reading Room during the hours of Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm.

 

Spring Blooms: Botanical Watercolors by Margaret Stones

Special Collections Reading Room, Shields Library

March 10 – June 16, 2017

 

Margaret Stones (1920- ), botanical artist, served for twenty-five years as the principal illustrator for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and worked under commission for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England.

 

Special Collections holds six original watercolors of Northern California plants, painted by Stones in March-April 1987, while she was visiting California. We are presenting this small exhibit on the thirtieth anniversary of that visit.

 

For further information, contact: speccoll@ucdavis.edu

Iris macrosiphon by Margaret Stones, Occidental, California, April 7, 1987.

Iris macrosiphon by Margaret Stones,
Occidental, California, April 7, 1987.

 

New exhibit: Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community

January 18th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is pleased to announce our latest exhibit, Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community. The exhibit, which is located in the display cases in front of Special Collections, can be viewed anytime that Shields Library is open.

2017 marks the centennial of the incorporation of Davis, California as a city. In this exhibition, 100 years of Davis history come to life through photographs, newspaper clippings and other archival materials from Special Collections.

You’ll learn about some of the people and stories that shaped the city of Davis, including:

Jerome C. Davis, a stock farm owner for whose family the city is named.

The disastrous fire that destroyed the downtown business district and brought attention to the need for city services.

The evolution of Davis real estate, from when you could buy a $9,250 home in Oeste Manor in 1950 to a community site map for the Cannery, which is still being built today.

The display draws from more than 15 separate collections, ranging from professional and personal photographs to the institutional archives of the Sacramento Union newspaper and UC Davis.

The collections include:

Alfred F. Smith Papers – Materials related to the 300-acre Stonegate development, designed and developed by Alfred Smith.

California Collection – Contains nearly 3,000 pamphlets, brochures, and flyers from various California cities and counties documenting events which played a role in the formation of the West.

City of Davis Collection – Records describing local politics, city administration, business activity, and more.

Davis Boy Scout Troop No. 1 Photographs – Featuring the troop during scout meetings, events, and construction of the Boy Scout cabin circa 1922-1927.

Davis Food Co-op Collection – This small collection includes brochures, fliers, and materials related to cooperatives and small farms.

Eastman’s Originals Collections – Photographs, negatives, and postcards of Northern California events such as dam construction, logging, mining, food processing, and community activities.

Harry Hazen Papers on the University Farm – Photographs and memorabilia collected by Harry Hazen, a student who studied at the University Farm (now UC Davis) from 1916-1918.

Institute of Government Affairs Collection – Clippings about Davis/Yolo County, Sacramento City/County, and the California State Government.

John Lofland Papers – Research materials on demonstrations in or near the California State Capitol building in 1977 for two of his books. Also included are materials relating to the formation of the sister city relationship between the City of Davis and the Ukrainian city of Uman.

Julie Partansky Papers – Reports, memos, clippings, and correspondence created during Partansky’s terms as Davis City Council member and Mayor.

Map Collection, Aerial photographs – Extensive collection of aerial photography for the Central Valley of California with special emphasis on the immediate area, i.e. Yolo, Solano, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Counties, California.

Norman Riley Photographs – Negatives and silver gelatin prints of scenes in the Davis and Sacramento areas.

Pierce Family Papers – George Pierce Jr. was the foremost advocate of Davis as the location for the University Farm (now UC Davis). Items include diaries, photographs, business records, travel guides, and more.

Robert Laben Papers – Materials related to the campus dairy herd and dairy operations as well as Laben’s personal photographs of the local area.

Sacramento Union Records – Archives of the Sacramento Union newspaper, which was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi until it closed its doors in 1994.

University Archives Photographs – A visual record of the history of UC Davis, including images of campus grounds, staff, annual events, classrooms, student clubs, and sporting events.

Every Tuesday through June, we will share another archival item about Davis history — using the hashtag #DavisCA100. Look for them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or use the same hashtag to share your own memories.

If you have materials related to the history of Davis that you would like to donate to Special Collections, please send an email to SpecColl@ucdavis.edu.

Exhibit visitors are welcome to take home a free souvenir postcard that depicts what downtown Davis looked like in 1945.

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

July 15th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara
2/50

2/50

 

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.

Visit Special Collections during Picnic Day Open House

April 13th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections will be participating in Picnic Day as part of the Library’s Open House which is Saturday April 16, 2016 from 10am-2pm. We’ll be featuring several of our exhibits including:

Come visit us on Picnic Day so that you can see how the past and present collide!

shieldsreadingrooma

Exhibit for April: Diamond Jubilee of the Shields Library Building: 1940-2015

March 28th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

The year 2015 marked 75 years since the building, now known as the Peter J. Shields Library, opened.

Now through April 2016, Special Collections presents an expanded version of our previous exhibit, Diamond Jubilee of the Shields Library Building: 1940-2015. The exhibit, located in the cases in front of Special Collections, features highlights of the main library building drawing on materials from several University Archives collections including the University Archives Photographs.

Do you know which Sacramento buildings were designed by the same architects as the north wing of the Library? What happened to the Library during World War II? How long was the construction of the west wing? Stop by the exhibit to find out the answers to these questions and more!

North wing of the Library, circa 1940

North wing of the Library, circa 1940

 

New online exhibit: Celebrating A Century of the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department

March 10th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

The Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department celebrated its centennial with a gala dinner held at Shields Library on October 3, 2015. As part of the celebration, Special Collections created an exhibit with highlights from the department’s first century. That exhibit is now presented online.

Agricultural Engineering class in Irrigation Machinery lab, undated.

Agricultural Engineering class in Irrigation Machinery lab, undated.

 

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.

california-in-song

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

Visit Special Collections during Picnic Day Open House

April 11th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections will be participating in Picnic Day as part of the Library’s Open House which is tomorrow, April 12, between 11-1. We’ll be featuring our exhibit, Picnic Day: A Century of Celebration, as well as other treasures from Special Collections.  Stop by and say hello!

specol_picnic-day-poster_web

New exhibit, Picnic Day: A Century of Celebration, includes historic films

March 25th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Picnic Day: A Century of Celebration
Exhibit on display during Spring and Summer Quarters in Special Collections Display Cases, Shields Library

The Special Collections Department of the University Library presents an exhibit highlighting a century of the University’s annual event, Picnic Day. This exhibit draws on materials from several University Archives collections including the Picnic Day Collection and the University Archives Photographs.

The Picnic Day tradition started on May 22, 1909 with a “Dedication Basket Picnic,” said to have been suggested by Mrs. Carolee Shields, wife of Peter J. Shields, to honor the opening of North Hall, the first dormitory on the campus of the University Farm (now the University of California, Davis). Peter J. Shields helped to write the legislation for the creation of the UC Davis campus and the main library building is named in his memory.

Picnic Day has since become the annual open house for the campus and has grown into one of the largest student-run events in the U.S.

As part of this exhibit Special Collections digitized three historic 16mm films of Picnic Day from 1939, 1947, and 1953. The 1939 film, recorded by Remi C. O’Connor, Class of 1941, contains the oldest known footage of campus. The films can be viewed here.

For more information or to share your memories of Picnic Day, please email Special Collections at speccoll@ucdavis.edu.

Join in the festivities for the 100th Picnic Day on Saturday, April 12, 2014. The Library will host an open house from 11-1.

specol_picnic-day-poster_web