The Department of Special Collections collects, maintains, preserves, and makes accessible the UCSB Libraries’ most valuable, rare, and unique materials. Included are printed materials such as books and serials, as well as manuscripts, and audio-visual materials. The department’s materials are non-circulating, but are available for research in the reading room during posted hours.
Among Special Collections holdings are approximately 250,000 volumes, 16,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 100,000 photographs and more than 200,000 early sound recordings. These items are contained in five major areas: Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Named Collections; the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA); the Performing Arts Collections; the UCSB Oral History Program; and the University Archives. Some of the most notable materials are described below – separate detailed guides and lists are available for many.
We also have many subject guides to our collections.
Primary sources documenting the experience of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicano/Latino, and Native Americans in California, including personal and organizational collections relating to social and cultural history, literature, and the visual and performing arts.
- African Americans. Includes collections relating to William Downey (newspaper columnist and novelist), Charles C. Irby (cultural anthropologist and ethnic studies pioneer), Anita J. Mackey (civic leader), Horace J. McMillan (physician and civil rights advocate), Lowell Steward (former Tuskegee Airman), and Samuel Williams (attorney, former Deputy Attorney General, State of California).
- Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. Includes collections relating to the Asian American Theatre Company (with production and script files), Robert Billigmeier (WWII Japanese evacuation and relocation study; Tule Lake Relocation Center), Iris Chang (Chinese American author), Frank Chin (Chinese American playwright), Michio Ito (Japanese American dancer and choreographer), Kearney Street Workshop, Genny Lim (Chinese American playwright, poet, performance artist), Ester Soriano-Hewitt (Filipina American civil rights activist), and Nellie Wong.
- Chicanos/Latinos. Includes collections relating to Oscar Zeta Acosta (activist, attorney, and novelist), Alurista (poet and artist), Aztlan, Francisco Camplîs (artist, filmmaker, photographer, and filmmaker), Ana Castillo (poet and novelist), Bert Corona (labor leader), Richard Duardo (graphic artist), Galería de la Raza (Chicano/Latino cultural arts), Galería Las Américas (Chicano/Latino Los Angeles art gallery), Adelina Garcia (romantic bolero singer), Lalo Guerrero, Yolanda Lopez (artist), Jose Montoya (artist, writer, and activist), Ralph Maradiaga (Chicano artist and administrator), National Hispanic Women’s Network, Sheila Ortiz-Taylor (novelist), Ernesto Palomino (artist and community activist), REFORMA, Patricia Rodríguez (artist and muralist) Royal Chicano Air Force, Self-Help Graphics (Chicano/Latino cultural arts), Gil Sanchez (architect), El Teatro Campesino (Chicano theater), Rini Templeton (political activist and artist), Mario Torero (Latino artist) Salvador Roberto Torres, and Luís Valdez (playwright and filmmaker).
- Native Americans. Related materials, primarily in Wyles and CDCC collections. Includes printed and manuscript sources on art, Chumash, history, literature, missions, public policy, and organizations such as the American Association on Indian Affairs Files, American Indian Historical Society, American Indian League, California Indian Rights Association, Inc., California League for American Indians, Candelaria American Indian Council, Indian Defense Association of Santa Barbara, and the Inter-Tribal Council of California Inc.
- Historical Sound Recordings. Primarily older formats and rare recordings, such as cylinders and 78 rpm sound recordings (more than 200,000 items), with an emphasis on classical and ethnic music.
- Music. Papers of composers, performers, and musicologists such as:
- Hall Clovis (singer; including manuscripts of commissioned works by Milhaud, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and others)
- Mildred Couper (composer)
- Emma Lou Diemer (composer and UCSB faculty member), Maurice Faulkner (UCSB professor of trumpet)
- Peter Fricker (British born composer and UCSB faculty member)
- Leon A. Goldshlak (Gilbert and Sullivan collection)
- Bernard Herrmann (film composer noted for his scores to Hitchcock and Orson Welles films)
- Lotte Lehmann (Austrian born soprano noted for her interpretations of German Lieder and her roles in Strauss’ operas; spent her later years in Santa Barbara)
- Sound Recordings Catalogs (extensive collection of manufacturers’ catalogs, primarily from the 78 rpm era)
- Film and Television
Includes the Film Press Kit Collection, Law & Order Production Scripts, Marjorie Kellogg Papers, Cal Naylor Production Files, Screen Guild Players Recordings, and Robert Sinclair Collection.
- Theatre and Dance
Includes Dame Judith Anderson, Douglas Harmer, and Lobero Theatre.
- Circus and Magic Collections
Includes materials such as the Toole-Stott Circus Collection (books and manuscripts).
Primarily interviews conducted by Special Collections staff, along with supporting documentation. Also some oral histories done by others and donated to Special Collections. Many of the oral histories augment materials in other areas of Special Collections.
- Architecture/Urban Planning.
- Arts and Entertainment.
- Cultural Diversity.
- Humanistic Psychology.
- Santa Barbara Area History.
- World War II.
- Writers, Printers, and Publishers.
- Oral histories supporting UCSB printed or manuscript collections.
Official university records of permanent value and other materials documenting the development of the institution, including papers of faculty and administrators.
- Early Records of Predecessor Institutions. Materials relating to the pre-Goleta campus years of UCSB, including Anna Blake Manual Training School, Santa Barbara State College, and Santa Barbara College of the University of California.
- Faculty, Administrators, and Staff Papers. Includes papers of Herbert P. Broida (physics), George I. Brown (confluent education), Vernon Cheadle (UCSB Chancellor), Preston Cloud (geology, ecosystems, and natural resources), Donald C. Davidson (University Librarian), Katherine Esau (biology), Richard Exner (German literature), Robert Freeman (musicology), Garrett Hardin (biology, population, and ecology), Alan J. Heeger (Nobel Prize winner, Chemistry, 2000),Wilbur R. Jacobs (frontier and western history), Robert Kelley (history, public policy), Walter Kohn (Nobel Prize winner, Chemistry, 1998), Kenneth Pai (Chinese literature), Philip W. Powell (15th and 16th century Spanish and Mexican history), and Lawrence Willson (English, Thoreau scholar).
- Official Records of the University. Records of permanent historical value from administrative offices, departments, centers, and programs across the campus. Includes Academic Senate files, the Public Information Office’s Biographical Files (primarily information for earlier faculty and administrators), and both the Public Information Office’s and Associated Students’ Subject Files.
- Theses and Dissertations. Original copies accepted by the University in fulfillment of advanced degree requirements.
- University Publications. Holdings include titles such as 93106, Campus Directory, Coastlines, Daily Nexus (and predecessor student newspapers such as El Gaucho), Faculty Notes, General Catalog, In Memorium, La Cumbre (yearbook), Schedule of Classes, Soundings, Spectrum, UCSB Alumni Directory, UCSB Financial Report.