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Please join us in welcoming Michelle Paquette who started May 18th as our new manuscripts cataloging and metadata librarian. This fills a position vacated over a year ago when the former cataloger retired. While Michelle will be joining the Special Collection team at Stanford’s Redwood City campus, she won’t be a stranger to campus because part of her responsibilities will be managing metadata for our many digitization projects in collaboration with staff from the Metadata Department and DLSS, as well as curators and subject specialists.

Michelle received her Master of Science in Library Science degree from Simmons College and her Bachelor of Arts in English, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She was a metadata resident at Amherst College’s Frost Library where, in addition to her cataloging work, she planned and oversaw data migration projects working with MODS, Dublin Core, Darwin Core, XSLT, EAD and VRA Core. As a consultant for the Frost Library over the past year, Michelle developed a data model and metadata element set for the “Timeline of LGBT Political Landmarks in the Americas.” 

San Francisco Fountain detail by Joe Thompson

As previously announced, the Ruth Asawa papers are now available. In thinking of fun and innovative ways to present certain aspects of her work, we decided to scan a small series of San Francisco architecture snapshots from her collection and upload them to the social mapping website Historypin, and also include them in their Year of the Bay local history project.  These photographs were probably used as research in creating the San Francisco Fountain in Union Square, which features many cast dough relief images of the city. Unfortunately there is no information on or about the prints in the collection. They are likely all from the 1960s, and were probably taken by Asawa (she has referred to taking pictures of the city in preparation). Architectural historian Sally Woodbridge may have also contributed. The varying qualities of the prints implies that several cameras or developers were used, and that they were probably taken over a period of time. At any rate, they collectively serve as a remarkable portrait of the city in that decade.

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.

I'm pleased to announce that Special Collections and University Archives have a new reference email address:

Our old email will sunset on May 1st.  

We are excited about this change and hope it provides our patrons better service.


ePADD, a software package being developed by Stanford University's Special Collections & University Archives that supports archival processes around the ingest, appraisal, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives, is undergoing significant changes in the ramp up to the first public release scheduled for late April.

I am pleased to announce that the Greet Kershaw papers, 1953-2003 (M1661), are now available for research. Kershaw was an anthropologist most known for her work with the Mau Mau and the Kikuyu. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was a professor of anthropology at California State University, Northridge. Kershaw advocated for applied anthropology, believing that anthropologists could do valuable work outside of academia. Her later years were spent writing articles about the Hmong diaspora in Long Beach in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

This collection was processed by our Public Services Intern, Monika Lehman, and the finding guide for the collection can be found through Searchworks: