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San José State University concluded a one-year detailed processing grant supported by the NHPRC. This project award of $99,709 enabled SJSU to process the John C. Gordon Photographic Negatives Collection and the Ted Sahl Social Justice and Black Americana collections. These rich visual resources document the history of Santa Clara County from 1900 to the present.

The project staff arranged and described approximately 15,000 glass plate, acetate and nitrate negatives in the John C. Gordon Photographic Negatives Collection. The negatives include a variety of subjects that illustrate everyday life in the Santa Clara County region, and document the changes in area business ventures such as agriculture, banking, aeronautics, and railroads. Specific subjects and images in the collection include canneries and fruit drying yards, storefronts, community events, educational institutions, and religious and fraternal organizations. Local businesses include the Bisceglia Brothers Canning Company, the Bean Spray Pump Company, the Leonard Coates Nursery, the California Packing Corporation, and the Montgomery Hotel. The project work included preservation and digitization of 525 panoramic nitrate negatives that are now available on our digital library at:

In addition, we arranged and described in detail the Ted Sahl Social Justice and Black Americana Collections, which also included digitization of 135 photographs documenting the LGBT community in San José. These descriptive finding aids will allow for future digitization of the social justice materials, which depict political activism and demonstrations, local farm worker strikes, the homeless, and other disenfranchised groups in the San José area. Specific images in the collection include protests at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and United States Naval bases, anti-nuclear and anti-war demonstration prayer vigils, and Watsonville cannery and farm workers strikes. The materials in the Black Americana collection are comprised of photographs, printed materials, textiles, and three-dimensional objects, including historic postcards, news clippings, sheet music, textiles, and figurines reflecting aspects of the African American experience. The photographic materials include images of celebrities, political rallies, and social events in San José, and will be digitized in the future.

The finding aids are available through OCLC, the Online Archives of California website, and through our library catalog and digital library website. We are pleased to be able to increase access to these historic treasures, and offer new discovery tools for scholars, students, and local researchers.

Danelle Moon
Director/Full Librarian
Daniel Jarvis and Erin M. Louthen, Project Archivists
SJSU Special Collections & Archives

NHPRC Grant Update

News from SJSU Special Collections & Archives

San Jose State University is wrapping up a two-year basic cataloging grant from the NHPRC to process over 80 collections related to the history of the university and personal and organizational records. This grant project has resulted in new access to our archival holdings through OCLC and through the Online Archives of California. This was truly a group effort between Special Collections Staff and our Technical Services Department. We will surpass the 80 collection goal, and expect to have over 90 catalog records and finding aids on the OAC.

We applied for a second NHPRC grant (detailed processing grant), which was awarded this past month. The grant award of $99,709 will enable SJSU to fully process the John C. Gordon Photographic Collection and the Ted Sahl Photographic Collection. The grant will provide the funding needed to improve access to the collection, and will result in the preservation and digitization of 500 nitrate panorama negatives that depict the agricultural history of Santa Clara County, California. Erin Louthen will return in August to work on this project, and so will Daniel Jarvis--both will be hired as part-time archivists!

Erika Kavanaugh has been working in Special Collections since 2005, providing important support transcribing and editing oral history interviews, and other related projects. This last spring she was honored by the San Jose Junior League and State Legislature for her volunteer work.

The first phase of this grant project (Months 1-6) we developed the workflow documentation necessary to implement training of staff and to manage the project activities. With the workflow and training in place we have successfully sampled and produced 410 box inventories for the Records of the State Normal School Principles and the Presidents of the SJSU (1862-Present) using MPLP. The bulk of this work took place between October 1 and December 1, which represents tremendous output given the initial slow start of the grant implementation.

Additionally, we deselected approximately 54 linear feet of records that do not fit our collection development policies or mission. We also identified specific materials within the discrete record units that will require higher-level description, including records that document athletic and civil rights protest during the Civil Rights Era, and photographs and records documenting World War I and II.

As of July 7, 2009, we have sampled the entire collection of university archives, representing approximately 1,350 file boxes, 1,576 linear feet. Since January of 2009, we have made tremendous progress in the sampling the collections, processing the collections, cataloging and encoding the finding aids for publication on the Online Archives California (OAC).

List of collections processed, encoded, and published on the OAC (20):

The Benjamin F. Gilbert Research Papers

Byrne (John) Collection, 1886-1987

California and San José State University Master Plan for Higher Education Records

California State University Board of Trustees Records

Favela (Ricardo) Royal Chicano Air Force Poster Collection

Freimark, Robert Collection

San José State College Academic Deans' Council Records

San Jose State University Academic Senate Records

San José State University Continuing Education Program Records

San José State University Home Economics Department Records

San José State University Library Records

San José State University Public Relations and Publications Records

San Jose State College Presidential Office Administrative Records

San Jose State Normal School Principals and Early Presidents Records

San Jose State Normal School Teaching Tools Collection

San Jose State University Commencement & Honors Convocations Records

San Jose State University Dean of Academic Planning Records

San Jose State University Student Organization Records

San Jose State University Summer Session Records

Treadwell, David K. Genealogical Collection

NHPRC Project Update

SJSU Special Collections staff have been working hard to create basic finding aids for our collections. Since January of 2009, we have produced 16 new inventories, which you can view on the OAC. This production rate represents the the work of several student assistants, the work of the project archivist, Erin Louthen, and staff assistance from Mike Condon.

You can visit the OAC to see the full collection list, but here are the latest additions:

Benjamin F. Gilbert Research Papers

John Byrne Collection

California State University Master Plan for Higher Education Records

California State University Board of Trustee Records

David K. Treadwell Genealogical Collection

Ricardo Favela Royal Chicano Air Force Poster Collection

SJSU Continuing Education Program Records

SJSU University Library Records

SJSU Public Relations and Publication Records

SJSU College Presidential Office Administration Records

SJSU State Normal School Principals and Early Presidents Records

SJSU Commencement & Honors Convocation Records

SJSU Dean of Academic Planning Records

SJSU Student Organization Records

SJSU Summer Session Records

We have just added a new RSS feed for new updates on new books and archival collections. Here is the link to the feed and for the best display you should open in firefox.

Send your comments and suggestions to Danelle Moon at or by phone at 408/808-2061

Department Update

Since the summer the SJSU Special Collections staff has been very busy working on the NHPRC grant. Erin Louthen is working as our new project archivist, and she has been doing a great job! We have appraised over 300 file boxes of materials documenting the Office of the President, which span over 50 years. We anticipate on having at least 10 new catalog records and finding aids up on the OAC by the end of January. Erin is working closely with Mike Condon (part-time staff member) and six SLIS grad students to complete this work.

We have two important programs for the Spring First Wednesday. The first program on March 4, 2009, will celebrate Women's History Month with a panel discussion and exhibit on the history Women and Social Movements in San Jose. Patricia Hill SJSU Professor of History and a Women's History scholar will be one of our keynote speakers for this event. The second event scheduled for April 1, 2009 will feature CSU Stanislaus History Professor Nancy Taniguchi and CSU Stanislaus graduate student Teri Lunt. Their panel "Manipulating the Unwanted: Labor, War, and Public Policy," will explore " the "push-pull" factors that caused individuals to choose to migrate. In the cases discussed here, there are also push-pull factors, but of a completely different nature. Rather than describing individual choice, the factors here are controlled by the visible hand of American interests. The U.S. government is involved in both; in the first, unsuccessfully; in the second, with lasting ramifications."

Stay tuned for new updates on our RSS Feed for new books and finding aids.

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