At a glance

Special Collections & University Archives

Manuscripts Division

The Manuscripts Division of the Department of Special Collections exists to arrange, describe, preserve, and make available documents and born-digital materials of enduring historic value, both as intellectual items and as historical artifacts, to support the research needs of the undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and other scholars at Stanford University and beyond. Stanford University Library subject curators actively seek out collections to enhance our holdings. Since 2009, Special Collections has been involved in developing a Born-Digital Program in collaboration with the Digital Library Systems and Services Department.

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News

Chinese door god prints; officials bringing a rise in rank and a rise in official salary circa 1900.

It is with sadness that I announce the departure of our lead processing archivist, Joe Geller, who is relocating to the east coast. He will be greatly missed by all our staff on the Redwood City campus and throughout the library.

Joe started at SUL in 2006 as a curatorial assistant for Annette Keogh, the former curator for British and American Literature. During these years, I was fortunate to work with Joe as he processed several literature collections, notably:  Irving Rosenthal papers, Rae Armantrout papers, and Edward Dahlberg papers.

Spring term will begin on March 30th and with the new term comes new hours for Special Collections and University Archives.  Our open hours for Spring term will be Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Portrait of Ruth Asawa and wire sculptures by Nat Farbman, from 1955 Guggenheim fellowship application

After more than a year of intensive organizing and arranging, we are very proud to announce that the papers of artist and educator Ruth Asawa (M1585) are now available for research. The finding aid can be accessed from the Online Archive of Calfornia, and the collection record in the Searchworks catalog. A bibliography is also available from the Stanford Digital Repository.

The collection documents her commissions and other creative work as well her involvement in shaping civic arts and educational policy. Perhaps the greatest number of files contain correspondence from a remarkably diverse community of associates: friends, neighbors, artists, teachers, students, architects, designers, patrons, politicians, and philanthropists. She was also close to such major figures as Buckminster Fuller, Imogen Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Ray Johnson, and countless others. In a sense, her papers can be considered a collection of collections. Scholars studying San Francisco history, art education pedagogy, fundraising for non-profits, public art, Japanese American Internment, or Black Mountain College will be rewarded by the collection's breadth.

Of course, there is also a great deal of information on Asawa's own art, particularly her unique wire constructions. The collection contains communication with galleries and museums, many photographs and slides, and insights on her artistic processes as included in portfolios and applications. For instance, here is some detail from an insert in her 1955 Guggenheim application. There are many of these halftone images of her crocheted wire shapes:

 detail, halftone image of Asawa wire sculptures 1955

Please stay tuned: we'll be posting a few more entries on Asawa in the weeks to come.