Department Blog

Special Collections

50 Features of Special Collections: The Gary Snyder Papers

March 3rd, 2017 by Jenny Hodge



Professor Gary S. Snyder (1930-   ) renowned poet, essayist, translator, Zen Buddhist, environmentalist continues to make an indelible mark on late-twentieth and twenty-first century thought. He is considered one of the most significant environmental writers and a central figure in environmental activism.

The Gary Snyder Papers, (D-050) document the personal and professional activities of Gary Snyder.  He has written more than twenty books of poetry and prose including his forty-year work, Mountains and Rivers Without End and Turtle Island for which he won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The collection spans the years 1910-2009 (1945-2002 bulk) and continues to grow. Drafts as well as final versions of poems and prose pieces are found in the collection along with correspondence, recordings of poetry readings and interviews, subject files, manuscripts and publications by other authors, serials, ephemera, and memorabilia.  The collection draws the most national and international visitors to Special Collections.  It has led to hundreds of queries for information, research and publication use.  Faculty, students, and other researchers find an extensive collection of over 274.8 linear feet to explore in Gary Snyder’s personal journals, writings, correspondence, essays, and publications, and ephemera.

Penciled note on the back by Gary Snyder reads, “My last of the original ‘Smokey the Bear’ run. 18.III.95, better protect it!”

The Gary Snyder Papers was cataloged and a  finding aid created with the support from a  2002/03  U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant administered by the California State Librarian.

Further information about the collection may be found on the Online Archive of California, including a detailed inventory of the collection.

Gary Snyder became a faculty member in the Department of English at the University of California, Davis in 1986. He was instrumental in founding the “Nature and Culture” program (1993), an undergraduate academic major for students of society and the environment. He was also active in establishing “The Art of the Wild” (1992), an annual conference on wilderness and creative writing. The Academic Senate selected Snyder as the 2000 Faculty Research Lecturer, the University of California, Davis’ highest faculty peer honor. He retired in 2002. Recognition of Snyder’s achievements includes the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book Turtle Island, his appointment to the California Arts Council (1975-1979), and his induction into both the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1987) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993). After his long poem cycle and forty-year work, Mountains and Rivers Without End, was published, he was presented with the 1997 Bollingen Prize for Poetry.

PS 3569. N88 M62

PS 3569. N88

In conferring the award, the judges observed,

Gary Snyder through a long and distinguished career has been doing what he refers to in one poem as ‘the real work.’ ‘The real work’ refers to writing poetry, an unprecedented kind of poetry, in which the most adventurous technique is put at the service of the great themes of nature and love. He has brought together the physical life and the inward life of the spirit to write poetry as solid and yet as constantly changing as the mountains and rivers of his American — and — universal landscape.

Snyder received the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Grant in 1998. Also in 1998, he was honored with the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (Society for the Propagation of Buddhism) award for his outstanding contributions in linking Zen thought and respect for the natural world across a lifelong body of poetry and prose. In 2001, he was awarded the California State Library Gold Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Science.

A detailed biography of Gary Snyder can be found on the Online Archive of California.

A research project written by John Sherlock entitled Gary Snyder; a bibliography of works by and about Gary Snyder may be found at:

For further information on the collection contact Special Collections.

Gerome highlights the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records

August 27th, 2015 by Sara Gunasekara

This week Gerome has chosen to highlight one of our manuscript collections, the San Francisco Mime Troupe 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.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe Records consist of unique items relating to the history of the Troupe. The collection contains original and adapted scripts, financial papers, photographs, audio visual items, promotional material, correspondence, clippings, and office files. A finding aid for the collection is available on the Online Archive of California here.

The Mime Troupe, which celebrated its 50th year in 2009, continues to create and perform today. They will be performing their new show, Freedomland, this weekend in Sacramento on August 29 and in Davis on August 30. You can find out more information about the performances on their website.

Gerome hopes that you are able to enjoy a performance of Freedomland!

Gerome with posters from the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records, D-061

Gerome with posters from the San Francisco Mime Troupe Records, D-061


Finding Aid Friday: Anderson Valley Advertiser Records

February 14th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s installment of the Finding Aid Friday series features the Anderson Valley Advertiser Records. The Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA) was established in 1956 by Elizabeth and Steven Malgrem as a small community newspaper in Boonville, California, in Mendocino County. Bruce Anderson bought the newspaper in 1983 in an effort to establish a publication that featured not only local news but national political news as well.

The collection contains correspondence, secondary research, ephemera, photographs, and other materials related to Bruce Anderson, editor of the AVA. The collection spans the years 1944-2011 with the bulk of the collection comprising the years 1984-1991. The collection features materials related to Earth First!, environmental activist Judi Bari, the Mendocino County School Board, the Wanda Tinasky controversy, and the New Boonville Hotel. The collection also features newspaper clippings from various Bay Area newspapers and magazines, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, and includes back issues of the AVA from 1978-2011.


Finding Aid Friday: Louis Grivetti Papers

February 7th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s installment of the Finding Aid Friday series features the Louis Grivetti Papers. Louis Grivetti served as Professor of Geography and Nutrition at the University of California, Davis from 1976-2007. The collection contains his correspondence, teaching, service, and advising materials, as well as research materials. Also included are materials related to Grivetti’s research on the history of chocolate and the book, Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage (2009) that he edited with Howard Shapiro.


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

Finding Aid Friday: Student Development Office Records

January 24th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the collection of Student Development Office Records. The Student Development Office provided centralized coordination among related student service programs including the following units: Advising Services, Counseling Center, Housing Office, Learning Assistance Center, Student Special Services and Women’s Resources and Research Center. The collection, which spans the years 1971-1981, contains annual reports, meeting minutes, and a department training manual.


Finding Aid Friday: Memorial Union Art Gallery Records

January 17th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the collection of Memorial Union Art Gallery Records.

The Memorial Union Art Gallery began as “The Painting of the Month” in the 1950s featuring the work of the Art Department faculty and students. An enclosed gallery was established on the fourth floor of the expanded Memorial Union Tower in 1966. In 2008, the Art Gallery was transformed into the Art Lounge.

The collection contains exhibit files which include artist information, press releases, correspondence between artists and the Gallery Manager, installation notes, publicity materials, exhibit catalogs, and slides.

Finding Aid Friday: Records of the Davis Chapter of the California Club

January 3rd, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

The Records of the Davis Chapter of the California Club of the University of California are this week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series. The California Club of the University of California was founded in 1934 by Robert Gordon Sproul, President of the University. According to its constitution, the purpose of the California Club: “shall be to maintain harmonious relations and unity among the student groups of the several campuses of the University of California through the development and maintenance of the highest possible standards of sportsmanship, friendship, and cooperation.”

This small collection, which spans the years 1950-1969, contains materials from the Davis chapter of the club including the club’s constitution, correspondence, conference materials, and song books.

Finding Aid Friday: Women’s Athletic Association Records

December 27th, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the collection of Women’s Athletic Association Records. The Women’s Athletic Association, which sponsored intramural and extramural activities, served to “promote interest in athletics, to create a spirit of good sportsmanship and fellowship, and to cooperate in promoting and maintaining the highest standards of University life.” This small collection, which spans the years 1948-1960, contains the Sports Manager’s record book and the Treasurer’s account book.


Finding Aid Friday: Golden Hoof Records

December 13th, 2013 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s feature in our Finding Aid Friday series is the collection of Golden Hoof Records. This small collection contains the club’s by-laws, correspondence, transcripts of two speeches, and newspaper clippings.

The Golden Hoof Club was organized in April 1920 by students who were interested in livestock industries. According to the 1921 El Rodeo Yearbook, the club’s purpose was to “awaken a more general interest among the students of livestock and stockmen for the promotion and development of the animal industries; to cooperate with all agencies that tend to encourage the raising of more and better livestock to do its best to elevate the standards of American agriculture through better farming, breeding, and livestock management; to help bring about a student’s annual livestock judging contest; the purpose of the contest being to encourage the students of the College of Agriculture and the University Farm to learn how to judge livestock, with a direct aim towards the formation of a judging team to meet other universities.”