Special Collections Houses Historical Treasures

From Kennedy Library's 2008 Annual Publication (23MB PDF).

From their location on the fourth floor of the Kennedy Library, the staff of Special Collections and University Archives is dedicated to finding and preserving unique historical materials. Researchers from universities across the United States and seven countries have traveled to the Kennedy Library to use their archival collections of manuscripts, rare books, architectural drawings, and photographs. Special Collections materials have even been featured on the BBC, CNN, PBS, A&E, and in international print media.

Choosing what to preserve and catalog for use is a big part of the archives staff's responsibility. Collections must relate to disciplines taught at Cal Poly. Major collecting areas include:

  • Architects and architecture in California
  • Fine printing and graphic arts
  • Local, regional and California history

Holdings include the papers and drawings of noted California architects Julia Morgan, William F. Cody, and Charles Butner; the papers of Morgan biographer Sara Holmes Boutelle; collections of John Steinbeck and Robinson Jeffers first editions; the Painted Rock Pictograph Collection; papers of noted environmental activists Ian McMillan and Kathleen Goddard Jones; the California Fairs Collection; and the Manzanar Collection and the Smith Family Papers on World War II.

Copies of guides to the current collections are available for download at the Special Collections Web Site. The guides are also available at the Online Archive of California.

Stop in and learn more about your favorite collection. Special Collections is open from 9 am–4 pm, Monday through Friday. Appointments are not needed for individuals, but are encouraged for groups. Contact Ken Kenyon at (805) 756-2305.

The DigitalCommons@CalPoly contains research from a variety of disciplines including agriculture, architecture, business, education, engineering, liberal arts, mathematics and science. The DigitalCommons also serves as the digital archive for campus-hosted events including the UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference 2008 and campus journals, like Moebius (College of Liberal Arts) and Focus (Department of City and Regional Planning).

By collecting scholarship in one central online location, Cal Poly showcases faculty research to new audiences, including potential students, fellow faculty, funding agencies, and other universities. And because DigitalCommons@CalPoly is optimized for fast and accurate indexing by Google and other Internet search engines, it's easy to find and download content.