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University of California, Santa Barbara Libraries

Library Overview

The Department of Special Collections at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) was established in 1959 and during its relatively short history has amassed more than 250,000 printed volumes, 16,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 150,000 photographs, and nearly 200,000 sound recordings. These materials are contained in five major areas: Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Named Collections; the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archive; the Performing Arts Collection; the UCSB Oral History Program; and the UCSB University Archives. Holdings are predominantly 19th and 20th century. Major strengths include the Stuart L. Bernath Collection, focusing on American diplomatic history and international relations; the Humanistic Psychology Archive, with nearly 200 collections relating to leaders such as Rollo May, Carl R. Rogers, and Virginia Satir; the Lawrence B. Romaine Trade Catalog Collection, with more than 50,000 items, primarily 19th- and early 20th-century American trade and advertising literature; and the William Wyles Collection, the first UCSB "special collection" and still one of the largest, with more than 35,000 volumes and several hundred manuscript collections pertaining to Abraham Lincoln, slavery, abolition, the Civil War, American expansion, travel in America, and the American West. Another rapidly emerging area, the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archive documents the experience of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans in California, with major holdings of artists, authors, organizations, and groups such as the Asian American Theater Company and El Teatro Campesino collections. The Performing Arts Collection likewise is a major strength, with manuscript collections relating to music, theater, circus and magic, film and television, and one of the largest historical sound recording collections in the country, with more than 170,000 78 rpm records and 8,000 wax cylinders of classical, popular, jazz, and ethnic music from the United States and other parts of the world.

University of California, Santa Barbara Libraries
Department of Special Collections
Davidson Library
University of California
Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
(805) 893-3062 (t)
(805) 893-5749 (f)