Library Spotlights Special Collections
Aug 21, 2012
This month’s exhibit in the first floor Display Case at the Humboldt State University Library is titled HSU Library Special Collections: Looking Back at 15 Years, a selection of recent acquisitions and digitized older photograph collections from the Humboldt Room, assembled by Librarian Joan Berman and her recently-retired colleague, Archivist Edie Butler. The exhibit was designed and installed by summer intern and HSU alumna Brittany Britton (2012).
The exhibit prefigures HSU’s 2013 Centennial Celebration, reaching back to the school’s earliest years of artifacts, photographs and memorabilia, as well as sampling subsequent developments and the Humboldt Room’s acquisitions since 1997, when Berman and Butler assumed responsibility for the Humboldt Room.
This aerial view from the newly-digitized Palmquist/Yale Collection captures Arcata circa the 1950s.
Featured collections in the exhibit highlight a unique collecting emphasis on environmental history. They include:
- The Rudi Becking papers, a collection of research documents on the redwoods, sustainable forestry, plant community ecology, marbled murrelets and many other topics compiled by the late Dr. Rudi Becking, HSU professor of forestry and natural resources from 1960 to 1983. A political activist on California forestry, Becking engaged in scholarly pursuits spanning not only the Pacific Northwest, but also the Great Smoky Mountains, Indonesia, the USSR and China.
- The Buckley Papers, which comprise published and manuscript materials connected with the Yurok Indians and northwestern California environmental issues. They take their name from Thomas (Tim) Buckley, professor of anthropology and American Studies at University of Massachusetts, Boston (1980-2000), who authored Standing Ground: Yurok Indian Spirituality, 1850-1990 (University of California Press, 2002).
- The Tim McKay Collection, a repository of materials generated by environmental activists from the 1970s to 2006, centered on North Coast regional forest land management and a host of related issues. McKay was executive director of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) in Arcata for 30 years. The collection contains a wealth of information about the Klamath/Siskiyou area, national forests, endangered species and land use policies.
New- or newly-digitized collections are:
- The Palmquist/Yale Collection of local landscape views from the 1940s, photographs of national political leaders, local businesses and industrial operations and images of Hoopa life. Through a collaboration between Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the HSU Library, 740 images from the Peter Palmquist Collection at the Beinecke were selected by HSU archivist Edie Butler, digitized at Yale and cataloged at HSU by Butler.
- The Roberts Photograph Collection documenting various aspects of regional life and named after photographer Ruth Kellet Roberts (1885-1967), who lived on the lower Klamath River from 1915 to 1933 and from 1955-1967 in Crescent City. She is perhaps best known for her work with the Del Norte County Historical Society in developing collections related to the Yurok and Tolowa Indians in northwestern California.
- The Swanlund-Baker Collection depicting a wide variety of everyday northwest California scenes and activities from the early 20th century, including city and village street scenes, schools, portraits, parks, ships, shipbuilding, shipwrecks and rivers. The primary photographer represented is Ray Jerome Baker, who lived in Humboldt County from 1904-1910. Although previously available only in print form in the Humboldt Room, this collection has been digitized and is searchable online.
HSU Library Special Collections: Looking Back at 15 Years will be on display through Aug. 31. The online version will be posted in the near future on the Humboldt Room webpage: http://library.humboldt.edu/humco.