Exhibits & Events
Building Occidental College: The Road to Eagle Rock, 1887-1914
Book Arts / Letterpress Printing
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing (through May 25, 2013)
At the end of the nineteenth century, creative artisans 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.
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing (through April 30, 2013)
Occidental is regarded today as an urban liberal arts college closely connected with its Eagle Rock location and the greater Los Angeles. It was not always so. One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Los Angeles was a rough and ready place with a population of barely 50,000. In 1887, the City was expanding and real estate was selling at premium prices. In this exhibit specially designed for OXY125, the history of Oxy's early years is told in seven panels, illustrated with amazing photographs from the College Archives.
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
Robinson Jeffers (class of 1905) is one of the most celebrated of Occidental College's alumni. In the fall of 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. You can become a fan of the Big Read Facebook Page to see photos of the program of events presented by Occidental and its partners from throughout the Northeast Los Angeles community. Occidental College's Special Collections boasts one of the largest collections of Jeffers works and memorabilia, some of which are on exhibit. Click here to see photos of this exhibit on Flickr.
Hall, Third Floor, Old Wing
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 College 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.
Bill Henry Room and Hall, Third Floor, Old Wing
This collection preserves the personal professional library 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 was an L.A. civic leader, was instrumental in bringing the 1932 games to Los Angeles, travelled with Eisenhower in WWII, covered the air war in the Pacific and was also a national radio commentator.
Main Floor, New Wing,
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.
Main Floor, New Wing, Study Area
Permanent exhibit of eight original prints by David Siqueiros.
This exhibit is a collaboration between Special Collections, and Professor Warren Montag (ECLS) and his CSP54 class. Most of the work on display are from The Ned Guymon Mystery and Detective Fiction Collection. This collection was donated to Oxy by E.T. Guymon Jr., '22.
Exhibit description coming soon
Gallery, Main Floor, Old Wing
Work from students in the Art History and Visual Arts 327 class, Fall 2012. 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.
New Wing, Third Floor
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.
Banned Books: Shakespeare Censored!
The Young Years
Glee Club History
Obama and Popular Culture
The Ortelius Maps
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 ten 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 Dr. 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 1903-1906. 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.