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Please join us in welcoming our newest team member Owen Ellis, who started on June 2nd as the project archivist for the William Hewlett papers. This is a two year processing project based at our new Redwood City location.

Owen relocated from Virginia, where he was employed by History Associates for the past three years. He was involved in processing various collections for the National Park Services working at the Shenandoah National Park, the Saratoga National Historical Park, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park and the Keweenaw National Historical Park. Prior to that Owen was employed at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan where he received his master’s in library and information science. 

Hats of to Stanford: An Exhibit on the Junior Plug Ugly

Hats off to Stanford: An exhibit on the Junior Plug Ugly, will be on display this summer in Green Library's Bender Room.

The exhibit explores the rise and fall of one of the university's earliest lost traditions: the Junior Plug Ugly. Named after the "Plug Uglies," a ruthless gang operating along the Atlantic seaboard around the time of the American Civil War, the Plug Ugly was an annual satirical performance started in 1898 that showcased the hand-painted top hats uniformly worn by members of the Junior Class during this period. The performance devolved over the course of two decades into a bloody interclass brawl, until the Administration finally banned the event from ever again taking place on the Stanford campus.

This exhibit features reproductions of photographs and other archival materials from the University Archives, as well as a large selection of original hand-painted plug hats from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, perhaps the largest such selection ever publicly displayed at Stanford.

Game design document - Steven Meretzky Papers (M1730)

Steven Meretzky is a pioneer in the computer games industry. His decades-long career includes experience working as a quality assurance analyst, game designer, product designer, and writer. Most of his signature contributions to the industry occurred while he was employed at Infocom, Inc., which was a prolific and highly-acclaimed publisher of text adventure games back in the 1980s. His most famous collaboration was with Douglas Adams on the computer game version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a text adventure game that is notorious for its arcane and difficult puzzles. 

Text adventures are also known as interactive fiction and are played completely through simple instructions that the player types into a computer program. The computer translates these instructions (ex. “go north,” “get lamp,” etc.) and responds with prepared text, unfolding a story on screen for the player. Meretzky’s skills for creating these type of narrative games led to his inclusion as one of only two game writers in the Science Fiction Writers of America (the other being Dave Lebling, one of his colleagues at Infocom.)

Navigating the river

The University Archives is pleased to report that more than 20 photograph and slide collections have recently been digitized and are now available online via SALLIE, Flickr, Facebook and Google+. The collections include:

  • Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (SC0634)
  • Felt Lake Dam Photographs (PC0142)
  • School of Education Faculty Photographs (PC0061)
  • Leon Thomas David Collection of Stanford Photographs (PC0126)
  • Ella J. Patterson Photographs (SCM0321)
  • George Harrington Photograph Albums (SC0592)
  • Department of History, Faculty Photographs (PC0025)
  • Stanford University Construction Photographs (PC0125)
  • Stanford University Photographs (PC0069)
  • Todd T. Barrett Photographs Documenting Stanford University (PC0135)
  • Stanford University Photographs and Memorabilia (PC0130)
  • Medical Center, Construction slides (PC0043)
  • Paul G. Allen Center for Integrated Systems, Dedication Photographs (PC0132)
  • David E. Hubka Slides Documenting Stanford University (PC0115)
  • Stanford Centennial Photographs (PC0052)
  • Florence Grace Savage Photographs (PC0068)
  • Henry Eickhoff Photographs of Stanford University (PC0122)
  • Stanford University Photographs (PC0123)
  • Stanford University, Libraries, Earthquake Damage Slides (PC0071)
  • Birge M. Clark Architectural Records and Personal Papers (SC0823)
  • Stanford University and the 1906 earthquake Photograph Album (PC0074)

Of particular note are the George Harrington photographs, which document Harrington's work and travels in Bolivia and Argentina, 1921-1926. Images include villages, local people, trekking on mountain trails and by river boat, geologic formations, other geologists, oil rigs, and various camps established by the oil company.

Jim McRae

On April 24th, the University Archives was pleased to welcome back to the farm Jim McRae ('68), coordinator of the KZSU-sponsored Project South, which interviewed civil rights workers during the summer of 1965. Jim (seen here examining interview transcripts) sat down with us to talk about the project and even provided some personal photographs (below) and documents

Project South, 1965During the summer of 1965, eight students from Stanford University spent ten weeks in the southern states tape-recording information on student participation in the Civil Rights Movement. The eight interviewers -- Mary Kay Becker, Mark Dalrymple, Roger Dankert, Richard Gillam, James McRae, Penny Niland, Jon Roise, and Julie Wells -- were sponsored by KZSU, Stanford's student radio station, and their original intent was to gather material suitable for rebroadcasting in the form of radio programs. Northern college students who were working in the South for the first time were the major focus, although many other topics were also investigated. To find out why these students decided to go to the South to work for the movement, what they expected to find there, what they did find, the pressures they experienced, their reaction to these pressures, what they accomplished, and what they planned to do in the future (both near and distant), they interviewed as many students as possible. What is planned is a series of programs expressing in the volunteers' and workers' own words, their motivations and their feelings towards the many aspects of the South and of the Civil Rights Movement experienced that summer.

Alumni group photograph, undated

The Archives is pleased to announce that it is one of three campus recipients of this year's Stanford Associates Grant, awarded by the Stanford Alumni Association.

Portrait of Ann Rosener in her press by Leo Holub, 1978; M1946, Flat-box 31, folder 1

The Manuscripts Division has recently completed processing the Ann Rosener papers (M1946). The collection contains correspondence, photographs, exhibition posters and catalogues, subject files, drafts, and business records, documenting Rosener’s fascinating career as a photographer, designer, and publisher.

From May 1st to August 29th, Special Collections will open at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday instead of our usual 10 a.m. start time. Melissa Pincus has been hired to work our front desk during this test period and see how patrons respond to the earlier start time. Melissa comes to us from the University Archives where she worked on processing the Shockley Papers and she currently works part-time as a reference librarian at Menlo College.


While we are opening the room earlier in the day,  it is important to note that the page schedule from Sal2 and Sal3 remains the same (10 a.m. for Sal3 and 12 noon for Sal2).

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