Library Unveils Historic Lawsuit Records

Arcata – The Humboldt State University Library has assembled an exhibit concerning documents from an historic lawsuit over land ownership on the Eureka Waterfront.

Created by the Library’s authoritative Humboldt Room staff, the exhibit is titled “Unlocking the Archives: the Eureka Tidelands Case of 1968” and on display in the Library Lobby through Aug. 14.

The new Eureka Waterfront Litigation Collection is available to researchers and the public at . It comprises upwards of 1,000 documents, maps, charts, photographs and newspaper clippings.

The records were compiled by the legal firm that represented the City of Eureka from 1968 to 1981. The case had a complex history rooted in federal swamp lands and state tideland law and cases. The collection includes historical maps, comtemporary aerial photographs and archaelogical findings. The city donated it to Humboldt State in 1984.

The website has a finding aid that serves as an “index” to the contents. It also has a slide show that extends the physical exhibit and places the collection in context. Scanned images show some of the maps and photographs.

HSU students were directly involved with the project as part of their studies. Suzanne Guerra, in the master’s program in Environment and Community, has been engaged with the issues posed by the collection for a number of years in her work as a cultural resources consultant. She conceptualized and designed the exhibit and prepared an online version for the collection website. Jacqualine Faria, who is completing her bachelor’s in English and preparing to seek a master’s degree in Library and Archives Management, cleaned and inventoried the many parts of the collection. She researched the context for a paper for her history research methods class.

HSU Library Special Collections staff Joan Berman and Edie Butler guided the many aspects of the project to its fruition.

A grant from the Tracy Memorial Trust Fund, under the Humboldt Area Foundation, supported the processing of the collection and the preparation of the exhibit.

Other HSU Library Humboldt Room resources recently introduced to the public include the Northwestern California Forest Communities project in January 2007 and An Arcata Ago, an exhibit in several venues this year as part of the celebration of Arcata’s 150th anniversary. It features photographs from HSU’s Ericson and Shuster Collections and will be presented in the Library Lobby in the fall.