Exhibits & Events
In the spring of 1942, Occidental College administration, faculty and students faced the uncertainty and impact of Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of any and all people from military areas "as deemed necessary or desirable." Six Japanese American Students would be forced to leave Oxy, cutting short their studies. Another four soon-to-graduate high school students who were already set to come to Oxy likewise would be forced to leave the "military zone" of the Pacific Coast. Impact at Oxy Spring 1942 introduces the membes of the Occidental community of the time and asks "What would you do?"
Robinson Jeffers (Class of 1905) is one of the most celebrated Occidental alumni. In the fall 2009, Occidental honored his life and works with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in The Big Read: Robinson Jeffers and the Ecologies of Poetry and in 2017 Oxy hosted the Robinson Jeffers Association annual meeting with scholarly talks on contemporary poetry, Jeffers, and Northeast Los Angeles. Occidental College's Special Collections boasts one of the largest collections of Jeffers works and memorabilia, some of which are on exhibit.
Everyone knows James Bond, a.k.a. 007, but few know the real James Bond, whom author Ian Fleming admired so much that he stole his name for his fictional character, nor the importance of Jamaica to the birth of the very British Secret Intelligence Service agent. To tell this most intriguing non-fiction tale, the exhibit brings together resources from Special Collections, particularly the Guymon Mystery and Detective Fiction Collection that boasts several 007 titles, the Moore Lab of Zoology, with bird specimens from the Caribbean, and the Cosman Shell Collection from the Biology Department.
A display of books and Oxy documents that illustrate the influence Robinson Jeffers had on two notable alumni, Ward Ritchie and Lawrence Clark Powell, both '28, as well as the College's efforts to preserves Jeffers' legacy. Ward Ritchie printed several books by and about Jeffers, and Powell (who was such a force as director of UCLA's libraries that the university's main library is named after him) was one of the first to study and write scholarly about the poet.
Gloria Stuart is mostly known for her performance as "Old Rose" in the 1997 movie Titanic, but she had a rich life away from the cameras, and a strong Oxy connection: her first husband was sculptor Gordon Newell, '28, and later in life she had a romance with old friend, printer Ward Ritchie, also '28. She devoted herself to the book arts, and donated books, artworks, and personal materials to Occidental's Special Collections. This display shows sketches, tests, and printing blocks for a delightful book she made about the inscriptions on the walls of the Carmel home of poet Robinson Jeffers, Oxy class of 1905, and is one of several created for the Robinson Jeffers Association conference that happened in late February at the Library.
The Yolla Bolly Press was created by Oxy alumnus James Robertson ’57, and his wife Carolyn. They began in 1974 as printers for other publishers, like the Sierra Club. In 1983, the Robertsons switched to creating handmade fine press books, with a focus on California authors; their selection shows a sensibility towards nature, environmentalism, and issues of quality of life. As can be seen here, Robinson Jeffers was one of their favorites, and the one they printed the most. The press lasted until James Robertson’s untimely death in 2001.
A series of displays illustrating printing techniques, created by Pasadena engineer and artist, Harold L. Doolittle, between 1946-1958, and donated to Occidental in 1967.
Built in early 1945, the SS Occidental Victory was one of more than 500 vessels that were built to replenish the American merchant fleet in anticipation of increased commerce following World War II. This exhibit features items from the now-dismantled ship.
Social activist, writer and educator, Ernesto Galarza dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of agricultural workers and labor organizing. Born in 1905 in Jalcocotan, Nayarit, Mexico, Galarza graduated from Occidental in 1924. This exhibit is located in the classroom dedicated in 1987 to honor his career. See the new online exhibit dedicated to Ernesto Galarza.
A popular display shown on most Occidental campus tours, this small collection features materials from the President's time at Occidental. Perhaps most prominent is an original HOPE print donated to the school and signed by Los Angeles based artist Shepard Fairey, as well as the two poems a college aged Obama wrote for the Feast Literary magazine. The display also shows Professor Roger Boesche, who the President has noted in interviews shaped his education in political science.
This collection preserves the personal and professional materials of Los Angeles Times columnist William M. "Bill" Henry (1890-1970), class of 1914. It includes manuscripts, letters, documents, press clippings, photographs, ephemera and memorabilia, documenting Olympic games from 1932 to the present modern history, presidential campaigns, and development of aviation in Southern California, amongst other subjects. Henry was part of the international Olympics committee, and author of the Official History of the Olympics: he as an L.A. civic leader, was instrumental in bring the 1932 games to Los Angeles, travelled with Eisenhower in WWII, covering the air war in the Pacific and was also a national radio commentor.
3rd Floor, Study Area, New Wing
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, several interesting characters moved from elsewhere to create new lives in the bucolic and wild Arroyo Seco area (that stretches between Highland Park, Eagle Rock, and Pasadena), with flamboyant Charles F. Lummis, writer, cultural instigator, and founder of the Southwest Museum being the most notable. Occidental College was also part of this scene. On display are works by some of the writers and printers that made up this artistic community, along with photos and other materials.
A student-led project that serves as a reminder to underrepresented students that they are not alone, and that they are capable of achieving their academic goals.
Permanent exhibit of eight original prints by Mexican artist David Siqueiros.
130 years in Los Angeles! Designed in 2012 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of Occidental College, The Road to Eagle Rock is a pictorial essay on the formative years of Occidental College presenting the three campuses of Occidental College in Northeast Los Angeles before the campus made its permanent home Eagle Rock.
Graphic novels, zines, and unique books from the personal library of Special Collections Librarian/Archivist Dale Ann Stieber.
A commemorative history of Occidental College, celebrating the tradition of excellence, the energy and evolution of Occidental in 128 pages of photographs and memories. This display highlights the publication with enlarged page reproductions along with memorabilia from the College Archives.
Banned Books: Shakespeare Censored!
The Young Years
Glee Club History
Obama and Popular Culture
The Ortelius Maps
Main Floor, Information Desk (Spring 2017)
Posters, books and memorabilia related to Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States and alumnus of Occidental College, were collected and contributed by Oxy students, alumni, staff and friends of the College from around the world during the past eight years. Displayed is a representative selection of our Obama Collection.
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
A collection of Occidental student publications throughout the years such as issues of Fang published in the 1920s and Third World Voice published in the 1980s.
Work from students in the Arts 327 & Arts 328 Book Arts/Letterpress Printing classes of Fall 2015 and Spring 2016, taught by Jocelyn Webb Pedersen. Made possible by the Lawrence Clark Powell '28 & Fay Shoemaker Powell Endowment Fund for the Book Arts, with support from Special Collections.
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing (Spring 2016-Fall 2017)
During the Spring semester the Spanish Studies department, Library Special Collections, and Center for Digital Liberal Arts celebrated the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes with a cross-campus collaboration surrounding the comprehensive projects of the Spanish department seniors. Book arts, student illustrators, the theater department, the Spanish consulate, and others joined in for in a wildly successful homage to the great writer and his most famous work, Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Friezer Photography Negatives
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing (Spring 2016-Fall 2017)
The Friezer Photography Negatives is the collected work of father and son photographers Joe and Henk Friezer, freelance photographers who lived in and built their studio in Los Angeles. The collection, the bulk of which spans from 1955 to 2002 and which focuses heavily on Northeast Los Angeles where the photographers were based, captures the changes in the Northeast Los Angeles region through photojournalism, portraits, and commercial photography for local businesses and organizations. This exhibit features items from the collection including negatives, print photos, and selected ephemera documenting the Friezers' work.
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
The Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) Newspapers Project seeks to preserve and make historic community newspapers of the Northeast region of Los Angeles available online. These newspapers document the everyday life of residents in this vibrant and culturally diverse area of Southern California. They provide a historical record of the region not covered in the larger metropolitan newspapers.
The Circus of Dr. Lao is a limited signed edition of Finney's first book, a classic of fantasy literature which was originally published in 1935.
Homeland by Maggie Puckett
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
Homeland is homage to the land and sea of Southern California created by artist Maggie Puckett. Puckett uses handmade paper to traverse the region from arid inland desert, over wooded mountain, through chaparral, grassland, and sage scrub towards the coastal shore, from shallow water kelp forest to deep-sea canyons. This unique book was acquired by Occidental College Library Special Collections in 2013 and is part of the Artists’ Books Collection.
The Strange Case of the Ned Guymon Mystery & Detective Fiction Collection
Third Floor, Study Area, New Wing
Ned Guymon '22 was generally acknowledged to be the world's leading collector of mystery and detective fiction books. In the late 1960s he donated approximately 16,000 titles to his alma mater. Samples will be showcased in different cases in a rotating display.
CSP 65 Urban Fictions: The Modern City in Literature and Other Arts
Third floor, New Wing
Taught by Professor Raul Villa, this course examines texts of fiction, poetry, essay, music, film, and graphic arts that have as their subject the problems and promise of urban life in major world cities of the 19th and 20th centuries.
For the Naturalist
Main Floor, Gallery, Old Wing
Displayed are works from naturalists George Shaw, John Muir, James Audubon, and Oxy's own Robert T. Moore. For some, the field of natural history and the role of the naturalist has become outdated. However, it would be unwise to ignore the extensive contributions of naturalists in furthering our understanding of various fields in science.
That's how the West was won... Selections on exploration and settlement
Main floor, Information Desk, New Wing
One of our newest collections focuses on the United States West and Latin America. Here in exhibition are some books from that collection, with a particular emphasis on exploration and settlement.
Emancipation and the Hawaiian Language
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
This Centennial Edition copy of The Epic Tale of Hiiakaikapoliopele was given to Occidental College Library Special Collections by Oxy’s Hawaii Club on behalf of Dr. Nogelmeier in 2014.
The Cosman Shell Collection
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
This private collection of gastropod and bivalve shells was given to the College in 2014 to honor the collector, Dieter Cosman. The display curated by Joseph Schultz, associate professor of Biology, highlights exceptional specimens, unique bivalves, shells of the Hawaiian islands, and the venomous cone snails.
You can judge a book by its cover!
Main Floor, Information Desk, New Wing
Selections from the Rounch & Coffin Club's Western Books Exhibition, 1939-2005.
A Collection of Small Stories
Main Floor, Artist Alley, New Wing
This collection represents Brooke Sauer's fantastic and whimsical memories and stories in an edited palette of watercolors and drawn line.
Building Occidental College: The Road to Eagle Rock, 1887-1914
1914-2014: 100 Years in Eagle Rock Valley!
Founders Day, April 20, 2014, launches the celebration of our 100th year in Eagle Rock. Designed two years ago to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of Occidental College, The Road to Eagle Rock is a pictorial essay on the formative years of Occidental College.
Visions of Oxy (2014)
Scrapbooks from College Archives (2014)
These scrapbooks represent the extracurricular lives of Oxy students in the early part of the 20th century. Social events on campus were a serious matter. Without television or the Internet to distract them, students planned dances, dinners and outings to the beach with as much dedication as they paid to their academic studies.
What's Cookin' Tiger: Gastronomy & Oxy (2014)
Vo Nguyen Giap (2014)
This display houses an artist book designed by C. David Thomas in honor of the late General Vo Nguyen Giap. Presented in a lacquered box, it not only portrays the life of General Giap, but also gives us better insight into the Vietnamese culture that influenced one of the greatest military minds of the 20th century.
19th Century African-American Literature (2014)
Professor James Ford's ECLS 346: Beautiful Democracy. Class assignment: Civil War Era. Photographs, Etchings, Stereographs and Books
Papermaking - Water is to life what it is to paper: fundamental (2014)
Austin Straus: Paintings/Collages & unique Books II (2014)
"The works shown here are a small sampling of my output spanning more than 50 years. In many of my collages I try to suggest the multiplicity, ambiguities, and interplay of memories and dreams. In others, I map cities and ruins. And in Las Vegas I tried to suggest the glitter and gold of that overwhelming money machine. I started making artists’ books more than 30 years ago."
Austin Straus: Paintings/Collages & Unique Books (2014)
From the author: "The works shown here are a small sampling of my output spanning more than 50 years. I have been experimenting with burning techniques since childhood. I love the feeling of multi-layered aerial views which suggest maps, roads, veins and arteries, and the inner complexity of the brain and mind. Among my many influences are layered and weathered posters and billboards, and the work of Schwitters, Rotella, Tobey, Kandinsky, Klee, and Stuart Davis."
Linclon's Legacies (2013)
Abraham Lincoln: "Honest Abe," "the Great Emancipator," country lawyer, common man, preserver of the Union, tragic and melancholy loner. The students in the Fall 2010 History 395: Lincoln's Legacies course, taught by Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod, explored the strange and convoluted trajectory of Lincoln's identity through the last century and a half of American history. The course focused not so much on the biography and historical "truth" of the man, as on the ways so many Americans have appropriated Lincoln's memory over the decades.
Over the course of the semester the class visited Oxy's Special Collections department to select and examine representations of Abraham Lincoln in the F. Ray Risdon Lincolniana Collection, which offers an array of books, pamphlets, documents and ephemera about and related to Abraham Lincoln. Their observations, commentary, and analysis offer insight into Lincoln in American history, as well as enhance the descriptive record for each work.
CSP 65 - Urban Fictions: The Modern City in Literature and Other Arts (2013)
Special Collections illustrates the Cultural Studies Program by working with Professor Raul Villa (ECLS) and his CSP 65 Urban Fictions: The Modern City in Literature and Other Arts class.
CSP 54 - From the Undead to the Already Dead: Vampires, Zombies, and Monsters in Literature and Film (2013)
This exhibit is a collaboration between Special Collections, and Professor Warren Montag (ECLS) and his CSP 54 class. Most of the works on display are from the Ned Guymon Mystery and Detective Fiction Collection. This collection was donated to Oxy by E.T. Guymon Jr. '22.
Where Bohemians Gathered: Print Culture on the Arroyo Seco, 1895-1947 (2012)
At the end of the 19th century, creative artists were drawn to the austere beauty of the Arroyo Seco—the seasonally dry riverbed that stretches from Los Angeles to Pasadena. The exhibition draws from the rich holdings of Occidental College Library’s Special Collections, with additional material on generous loan from the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA Library Special Collections, and copies of original photographs from the Braun Research Library, Autry National Center and the Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College.
Guest curator: Jessica Holada, Southern California Chapter of the American Printing History Association
For more details see here.
Gothic Fiction (2012)
Dracula, Frankenstein, Heathcliff, Rebecca, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the haunted characters of Edgar Allan Poe…They all came out of the foggy, eerie land of Gothic Fiction, a genre of literature started in the late 1700s—a heady brew concocted to counterpoint the 18th century’s focus on rationalism and realism. From the surprising depths of The Guymon Mystery and Detective Fiction Collection, presented here are seminal works of Gothic Fiction.
Boyle Heights: Images and Essays, 1850-1900 (2011)
Occidental College was established in 1887 in the community of Boyle Heights. The Special Collections & College Archives is pleased to host a celebration of the community in which it was founded.Boyle Heights: Images and Essays, 1850-1900 is an exhibition celebrating the rich and varied history of the neighborhood of Boyle Heights through quintessential visual reflections of its people and places. Curated by an expert panel of historians and direct descendants of Boyle Heights' founders.
Oxy Honors Its Baseball Greats! (2011)
In fall 2011, Occidental College Baseball Hall of Fame Committee added ten outstanding Tigers to the Hall of Fame roster and honored two of Oxy’s most influential baseball coaches, Wilkie Clark and Bill Anderson. From 1912-1913 and 1924-1929 Clark led Oxy to five championships in eight years, including an undefeated league season in 1929. Bill Anderson won 10 championships from 1930 to 1954. Anderson’s last four teams were all champions, the only time in Oxy history that four consecutive titles were won. The display recreates the presentation from the awards ceremony designed by two of Oxy’s star alumni, Ed Harper ’51 and Murray Via ’54. Baseball Hall of Famers themselves.
Daphnis and Chloe (2011)
Daphnis and Chloe, regarded as the first known Greek pastoral novel, was probably written around C.E. 200. Its authorship has been ascribed to Longus, but there’s no evidence he indeed wrote it, or that he even existed. Daphnis and Chloe first came to print in 1559, in a French translation - just about a 100 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press - and has rarely been out of print since. Nearly all of Occidental’s collection of 41 titles of Daphnis and Chloe, with editions ranging from 1598 to 1984, come from the personal collection of Lawrence Clark Powell, class of 1928.
Arthur Rackham (2011)
Arthur Rackham was a British illustrator, one of the greatest artists of the so-called "Golden Age" of book illustration, 1870-1930s. Rackham’s influence in the fantasy universe is remarkable, and has been so for over a century. Most recently it can be seen in the landscapes of films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, or The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Special Collections houses over 40 books illustrated by Rackham, most in deluxe, autographed editions. Selected works are on display on two exhibit cases.
Celebrating Jack Kemp '57 (2011)
Jack French Kemp '57 built a game plan for life around his passions: family, football, and the future of his country. By the time he was 6, he had decided that he wanted to be a professional quarterback. Occidental not only helped Kemp realize that dream, it opened his eyes to a bigger world of ideas. His lifelong love of learning, his ability to reach out across the aisle, and his eloquence as a speaker and writer all reflect the liberal arts education he received at Oxy more than 50 years ago.This exhibit presents Jack Kemp's athletic achievements at Oxy through photos, yearbooks and newspapers from the College archives. It illustrates his lifelong connection to Occidental and highlights his career in public service through 'his own words' in books, speeches and commentaries.
Graphic Novels (2010)
Once reviled by many as trash, graphic works, such as comic books, graphic novels, and wordless books have been gaining legitimacy in publishing and in academia. Universities like Yale and Columbia now have substantial collections of graphic novels. At Occidental College, graphic works have been added slowly to the general collection as requested by faculty, students and staff for general reading, coursework and research. As a visual medium and form of book art, graphic works are also part of Special Collections Artists' Books collection. Exhibit designed and curated by Lindsey Reno.
The Office of Global Affairs Programs Posters (2010)
Occidental College strives to foster global awareness and create global education opportunities for students, faculty and staff including, but not limited to, a brown bag speakers series on campus. These posters from the years 2007 to 2010 represent a sampling of speaker events hosted by The Office of Global Affairs. The Office of Global Affairs is directed by Ambassador Derek Shearer, Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College.
Oxy Goes Global (2010)
Stuart Chevalier and his wife, Elizabeth Pickett Chevalier, were Pasadena residents. Through friends and their Pasadena Presbyterian Church membership, they became acquainted with Occidental College, leading to the Chevaliers being elected to the Board of Trustees. They became ardent supporters of the College, participating in events and generously donating to its financial well-being. The Chevaliers aimed to promote the education and training of students interested in diplomatic careers. Thus, the Stuart Chevalier Program in Diplomacy and World Affairs was established.
Occidental College Book Artists (2010)
Thanks to an endowment by former UCLA Library Director Lawrence Clark Powell, Oxy class of 1928, a Book Arts Program thrived at Occidental between 1987 and 1994. On exhibit are student works from: Introduction to Letterpress Printing (Art X1), 1987-1992, under the direction of Tyrus Harmsen, fine printer and former College Librarian, and The Art of the Book (Art 26), 1993-1994, with fine printer and book artist Robin Price. See photos of this exhibit and more artists' books on Flickr.
United Nations (2010)
The United Nations Conference was held in San Francisco in April 1945. On exhibit are programs and press materials from the assembly given to Occidental’s Special Collections Department by two of its graduates who attended the conference. John Parke Young, class of 1917, then in the Division of Foreign Economic Development at the Department of State, was a technical expert of the American delegation, and Los Angeles Times journalist Bill Henry, class of 1914, attended on behalf of the paper. The photographs on display include their original captions provided to the press.
Bessie Beatty, Class of 1905, Journalist (2009)
The collection of photos, diaries, letters, and books from the life of Bessie Beatty was compiled by professor Norman Cohen as research for a biography of her life. The result of his extensive effort illustrates the life of a journalist, writer, activist, and radio host who went to Occidental College from 1903 to 1906. To learn more click here to see the online exhibit dedicated to Bessie Beatty.
Recollecting Rwanda (2010)
With very little funding, one local contact, limited cultural knowledge and a few cameras, six Occidental students set out to live and teach in Kigali, Rwanda in summer 2010. Sky Mangin (senior), Stephanie Chin (senior), Amy McDonough (senior), Anahid Yahjian (senior), Nelson Melgar '10 and Julia Bleckner '10 were selected to teach a series of film, photography, health and capacity building workshops in Rwanda's capital and largest city." (Source: Claire Diggins, Oxy Weekly)
Photos taken by class participants and leaders. This exhibition was curated by Anahid Yahjian '11.
Remsen Bird (2010)
This exhibit features art by Occidental College's eighth president, Remsen Bird, who besides having been a great president, was a master caricaturist.
Jack Kemp (2010)
After graduating from Occidental College in 1957, Jack Kemp went on to have a standout 13-year career in professional football and was named one of the NCAA’s “100 Most Influential Student-Athletes” in 2006. You can see his exhibit on the main floor of the library in a display case.
College Archives on Display (2010)
On the main floor of the library, the Special Collections Department took materials out of the college archives and put them on display. This exhibit included Oxy publications, photos, scrapbooks and more from 1930-2005.
Obama and Popular Culture (2010)
Images of Barack Obama in global popular culture identified by students in the class "Obama and the Issues, Politics 265," in Spring 2010. The memorabilia on display has been collected and contributed by Oxy students and friends of the College from around the world. This series launches a Digital Archive to preserve different perspectives and research related to Barack Obama, President of the United States and Occidental College alumnus.
Obama and the Issues (2010)
Students in the "Obama and the Issues" class created posters illustrating topics they discussed in class.
See photos of this exhibit and all the students' posters on Flickr
Islamic Caligraphy (2009)
This exhibit explores the history and aesthetics of Islamic calligraphy, exemplified by a particular prayer-book from Occidental's Special Collections. With origin and subject unknown, the book was examined and partially translated and was found to be from 1884. Also featured are reproductions of various Islamic calligraphy, a traditional reed calligraphy pen, and an explanation of the prayer-book's once mysterious details.