Occidental Special Collections and College Archives holds a range of materials representing important contributions to literature, history, and culture and documenting the College's history.

Our holdings include rare books, manuscripts, historical maps, photos, stereographs, College publications and records, and artwork. Our collection strengths include fine printing, the history of printing, artist's books, mystery and detective fiction, California and the West, Los Angeles, and the poet Robinson Jeffers.

Photographer Henk Friezer has donated the entire photo negative archive of Friezer Photography to Occidental College Special Collections. The Joe and Henk 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 Northeast Los Angeles. Starting in 1955 and later joined in 1968 by his son Henk, Joe and Henk photographed local community and family events; numerous regional and national business and organizations, including Occidental College; prominent Los Angeles and national figures; and served as the primary news photographers for the Northeast Newspapers chain as well as contributed other regional and international news publications. Spanning over 50 years, the archive comprising 100,000+ negatives represents over 15,000 photo assignments. Read more in our new research guide, a finding aid written in May 2016 by archivist Joanna Chen Cham during her LA as Subject Residency at Occidental.

And there's more: please scroll down to see all our holdings. The list is in alphabetical order by collection name.

Among the library's treasures are 143 rare works published between 1450 and 1699, such as a page from the Gutenberg Bible and several Aldine editions. Oxy History Professor Maryanne Horowitz has prepared online studies about two of Oxy's rare atlases by notable early cartographers:

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Plantin Press, 1579
John Speed, Theater of the Empire of Great Britaine, 1611

Includes many classics, and works that were important in the development of printing and typography such as books printed by John Baskerville and Giambattista Bodoni.

Over 240 examples of books designed, published, printed and illustrated by artists. This genre represents the evolution of book design as a creative endeavor.

Books, family letters, newspaper clippings, sound recordings, and mementos by and about former statesman and Scopes trial prosecutor, William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925). The official correspondence of Bryan is housed at the Library of Congress

Robert Glass Cleland, class of 1907, was an authority on Mexican and Californian history and a professor, dean, and vice president at Oxy. His collection of 1,200 books contains early bibliographies, histories, and government reports on Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay and El Salvador in English, Spanish, French, and German.

The E. L. Doheny Research Foundation funded a team of experts in several disciplines to go to Mexico and analyze the economic, political, and social climate of the country, circa 1917. Several Oxy-related historians were part of the team. There are primary materials, notes, typewritten reports, original interviews and studies.

Several 20th century operatic scores, sheet music and books on music from the personal library of actor and singer Nelson Eddy. The 47 document boxes (39 linear feet) of indexed sheet music provide a diverse representation of world music.

Over 3,000 books and several boxes of ephemera created by small private presses dedicated to the craft of fine printing and bookmaking, with an emphasis on California printers.

Single gifts and purchases assembled in one general collection. There are first editions, unique and fragile bindings, autographed works, items purchased to enhance other collecting areas, or gifts from prominent donors. It covers a range of subjects, from science to literature.

About 16,000 volumes of first editions, plus manuscripts, film scripts, periodicals and photographs pertaining to mystery and detective fiction, from 1740 to 1975. The collection is very rich in Sherlock Holmes;highlights of Gothic Fiction are also well represented.Donated by Oxy alumnus E. T. Guymon, Jr., this is one of the world's largest collections in this genre.

Materials preserved from the personal library of Los Angeles Times columnist and Olympic historian, William Mellors "Bill" Henry (1890-1970), class of 1914. Includes manuscripts, letters, press clippings, photographs, ephemera and memorabilia documenting Olympic games from 1932 to the present, 20th century Los Angeles history, presidential campaigns, and the development of aviation in Southern California. To browse a selection of materials from the Bill Henry Collection, please visit the digital collection. To learn about Bill Henry and the development of Los Angeles during the 20th century visit the online exhibit. For a full list of Oxy's Bill Henry collection visit our finding aid.

Approximately 150 books printed by the Plantin Press, the influential Los Angeles press of Saul and Lillian Marks. Collection includes boxes of ephemera and some correspondence between K. Garth Huston, M. D., and the Marks.

Letters, pamphlets, newspapers, and other publications related to the forced internment of people of Japanese heritage during World War II. The core of the collection is the correspondence of Oxy President Remsen Bird as he worked to protect Oxy students of Japanese descent. A complete research guide to the collection and selected letters and papers are available in the Online Archive of the Japanese American Relocation during World War II. To navigate the collections use our Japanese American Relocation finding aid.

Jeffers graduated from Oxy in 1905. His wife Una Jeffers, collector Albert Bender, and UCLA University Librarian Lawrence Clark Powell '28 were instrumental in starting the core of this collection in the 1930s. The collection now contains several editions of his work, foreign translations, manuscripts, and portraits of Jeffers taken by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and other great photographers. The Robinson Jeffers online exhibition page celebrates this great poet. Use the Robinson Jeffers finding aid to learn more.

Extensive collection of 10,000 stereographic views, covering the Civil War, San Francisco earthquake, Los Angeles environs, California National Parks, Colorado landscape, Alaska Gold Rush, scenic pictures of Africa, Europe, South America, and Asia. The bulk of the photographs were taken during 1890-1911.

To browse a selection of stereographs described and analyzed by Oxy students in a 2008 History of Photography class, please visit the digital collection or the Callimachus collection.

Lloyd-Butler, a California rancher, had a passionate interest in American railroading. His collection covers the history and development of American railroads from 1846 to the early 1970s.

An enticing collection of 346 very small books, shelved in the reading room for better preservation, display and enjoyment of these delicate works.

Special Collections is collecting and preserving materials related to alumnus Barack Obama, who attended Oxy from 1979 to 1981. Students in "Obama and the Issues" class, Politics 265, in spring 2010 collected contemporary images of Barack Obama in global popular culture. This initial series launches a digital archive to preserve different perspectives and research related to Barack Obama, President of the United States and Alumnus of Occidental College. Selected items are organized in the digital collection.

In the Summer of 2012, the Occidental College Special Collections department and four undergraduate interns set out to document colleg e life at Occidental by capturing personal stories of alumni. Starting in the 1930s, the interviews span 70 years and represent at least four generations of the Oxy family. The OxyCrops Student/Alumni Interviews Collection comprises 58 digital video files and transcripts created by interns, students and staff for a series of oral histories conducted in the Summer of 2012.

This collection exhibit includes biographies and other interview information for each of the alums who participated in the OxyCorps project. It also includes biographies of the four interns, and current Oxy students, who conducted the interviews. For more information on OxyCorps please visit the OxyCorps page, the collection exhibit and the finding aid.

About 300 volumes about the exploration and settlement of the West, collected by Charles B. Voorhis, a Pasadena civic leader. Holdings include first-hand accounts, works by Bancroft, the magazines Land of Sunshine and Overland Weekly, and significant works related to the Mormon religion, including a very rare edition of the Book of Mormon.

Approximately 4,000 volumes, pamphlets, photographs, newspapers, scrapbooks, presidental campaign ephemera, songsheets, autographs, daguerrotypes, and other materials pertaining to Abraham Lincoln, and in a broader sense, to the Civil War and to American presidents and political campaigns. To learn more please visit the online exhibit and the finding aid.

Ritchie ’28 was a printer, a major figure in the local culural scene, and a dedicated alumnus of the College. The collection is comprised of over 800 works from his various presses, works written by him, biographical materials, and boxes of galley proofs, mock ups, and ephemera. As a commercial printer, Ritchie published many works about Los Angeles, thus providing resources for regional history research. Click here for this collection's finding aid.

About 1,000 books by and about writer and social activist Upton Sinclair, including foreign translations and early titles published by the author's imprints. There are also periodicals and newspaper clippings, and many rare materials documenting Sinclair’s run for governor of California in 1934. Major titles are in first editions and warmly inscribed from Sinclair to Elmer Belt, who was his physician. Of particular note is the very rare “Fig Leaf Edition" of OIL!

Earle V. Weller was son of Samuel Weller, first president of Occidental, and an avid collector of works by and about the English Romantic poets, with a special focus on John Keats, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley. The collection includes books, pictures, pamphlets and periodicals.

Jake Zeitlin was a prominent bookseller who helped establish a literary and artistic community in Los Angeles in the 1930s, continuing through the 1980s. Zeitlin had close personal ties to Occidental, and donated part of his collection of materials describing the history of libraries, collecting, and rare books, focused on Europe and the United States.

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