The Performing Arts Collection contains over 400,000 historical sound recordings and over 250 archival collections containing manuscripts, letters, photographs, scrapbooks, artwork and other primary source documents that document and support research in the performing arts, including music, theater, dance, radio, and the circus. Thousands of items have been digitized for online access. The collections are located in the Special Research Collections Department in the UCSB Library on the 3rd Floor, Mountain Side.
Significant manuscript holdings include the papers of film composers Bernard Herrmann and Peter Racine Fricker; singers Lotte Lehmann, Charles Kullman, and Licia Albanese; actress Judith Anderson; and in the American Radio Archives the papers of writer Norman Corwin and broadcaster Rudy Vallée. The Toole-Stott Circus Collection contains primary source material and monographs on the circus, and the Lobero Theatre Records and Music Academy of the West Records are the organizational records of the most important performing arts organizations in Southern California. The recorded sound archives consist of several large collections comprising approximately 400,000 sound recordings, including cylinders, 78 rpm discs and radio transcriptions. The Special Research Collections department has listening and viewing facilities as well as the Henri Temianka Audio Preservation Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility for playback and preservation copying of audio. Additional performing arts research materials are in the collections of California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) and the Film and Media Studies Collection.
To read more about how to obtain reproductions of Performing Arts materials, please see our page on Policies, Fees and Forms.
Special Research Collections is actively seeking both monetary contributions and donations of collections that enhance the curriculum of the university and complement the Library’s current holdings in the performing arts. Areas of general interest include historic sound recordings and manuscript collections relating to music, theater, dance, and radio. Of particular interest are foreign and "ethnic" 78rpm recordings; European recordings of vocal music; cylinders; materials relating to California and Santa Barbara performing arts; film music; and sound recording catalogs from all eras. We also seek to cooperate with other institutions that may be more appropriate homes for a particular collection. We cannot purchase or appraise collections.
Contact the archivist if you know of materials that might fit into the scope of our collections:
Curator, Performing Arts Collection