Ben Simon is a student assistant in Special Collections & Archives. This summer he is working on a project to organize the papers of Cal Poly President Julian McPhee (1933-1966). This is the first in a series of posts in which he shares his experiences processing McPhee’s papers and learning more about the university’s history.
Having lived the entire 22 years of my life within the city of San Luis Obispo, I have always been simultaneously intrigued by the rich history contained within the Central Coast and dismayed by the public’s lack of awareness of SLO’s relevance.
People walking through the UU Plaza can take a little trip into Cal Poly’s past with the University Store’s historic window displays. Smiling women strum ukuleles, cheerleaders rally the Mustang spirit, engineers labor over an airplane and Amelia Earhart smiles wanly at passersby from the University Store’s windows, all in black and white. Read more
One recent Thursday afternoon the Student Library Advisory Council (SLAC) visited Special Collections and University Archives on the fourth floor to view historic campus photos. There they found images of Kennedy Library 1980s-style along with the old library at Dexter. You can see the many styles of yesteryear in University Archives, as they have images of campus from 1901 to the late 1980s.
Yesterday and today
According to SLAC Co-advisor Jesse Vestermark the group (especially the coziness committee) had been playing with the idea of a “yesterday and today” type of photo project to help decorate the library’s walls for a couple of months.
“We were scheduled for a year-end behind-the-scenes visit to Special Collections,” Jesse said. “I mentioned the “yesterday-and-today” interest to Cate (Trujillo) and Laura (Sorvetti) and they came up with the great idea of doing a library-based dearphotograph.com-inspired activity with the library as the subject.”
The students were given reproductions of the originals to scout current locations around the library and campus to craft the “Dear Library” series.
More images through the years
You can also see Cal Poly through the years by browsing El Rodeo and The Polytechnic Journal.
Historic images courtesy University Archives: 1) Kennedy Library in 1980 (top), 2) Dexter Library in 1948, 3) Kennedy Library stacks in 1985 and 4) Kennedy Library patio in 1985 (below).
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– Karen Lauritsen