Monday, October 26, 2020

American Archives Month


When the University of Redlands Archives was established in 2001, its mission statement emphasized that the goal of the Archives was, first and foremost, to contribute to the “sense of place” for those connected to the University, “by emphasizing the importance of history and that each individual has a place within that history.”

What better reason is there for observing American Archives Month than to celebrate that each of us deserves to be seen -- by acknowledging our “place within that history.” Your Archives is open to all to donate the artifacts that will commemorate your time here, as well as being open for you to learn more about others associated with the University. It’s a celebration of the continuity of our “place” within this institution and our shared story. The Archives are here to preserve materials which have been handed down from those who came before us, from people like you who make up the U of R today, and from those who will follow.

We who care for the items in the University Archives organize and catalog them so that we can easily access them for your use. Archives of any type provide an opportunity for you to use original research called primary sources, or firsthand facts, data, and evidence, from letters, reports, notes, memos, photographs, audio and video recordings, and more.

The University Archives contains more than 1,000 linear feet of collections which currently includes more than 20,000 photographs, an almost complete run of the student newspaper and other student publications, documentation about student life, clubs and organizations, and Greek life, yearbooks, faculty committees, and a collection of architectural drawings for every building on campus including the working drawings for the Administration Building (1909) and Memorial Chapel (1927).

One of these items is a very early pamphlet entitled, “Opening Exercises of the University of Redlands,” dated “Wednesday, September 29, 1909.” The document outlines a modest opening to the great undertaking of establishing a university. The lyrics to “The University of Redlands” song are printed within it. Sung by a male quartet, the story of our Redlands ancestors and their hope for their endeavor, was sung on that day in September,


Then shout for the vict’ry before us,

Our colors are orange and white,

For we are a band of co-workers

All striving to do what is right.

Skipping ahead 111 years to 2020, the original story continues (though our official campus colors did change!); we’re still striving. This year, in particular, we’re striving to overcome an extraordinary amount of obstacles. The Archives continues to add to the documentation of our story, for example with this image taken in August of a closure sign on the Quad.

Yes, archives are the stewards of the dusty and yellowing stuff which seem to come from another world, but we must also be stewards of the history being made today. We want our authentic story, our “sense of place,” to continue for our descendants to discover, to learn from, to be inspired by, and to enjoy.

For those whose research goes beyond the scope of the University of Redlands Archives, the City of Redlands offers the archives known as the Heritage Room at A.K. Smiley Public Library Special Collections. Here is also a list of samples of online databases and archives that may also be of use:

v  ArchiveGrid

ArchiveGrid allows you to search by topic and receive results from over 1000 archival repositories.

v  National Archives Catalog

Online Catalog of National Archives holdings.

v  New York Public Library Archives Finder

Provides information and detailed indexing to manuscript collections from over 5,000 U.S. repositories.

v  Online Archive of California

Public access to detailed descriptions of primary source collections from more than 200 contributing institutions in California.


Teresa Letizia, University Archives