In the Archives
From its 1907 charter to the architectural plans for the Administration Building, some of the most important items in the University’s history are stored in the archives.
Located inside the Armacost Library, students, staff and the public are welcome to visit from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Archivist Dr. Nathan Gonzales and assistant Bernadette Magallanes ’12 are available in person or by phone to answer questions related to the archival items, which are mostly donated by alums or their families, Redlands residents and friends of the University.
“Our purpose is to make sure we serve as stewards of University history, which entails acquiring stuff and getting it together in a way that it is accessible to researchers,” Gonzales said.
The archives office, which opened in 2001, is filled with photographs, recordings, yearbooks and newspapers, documents, paintings, uniforms, and more. In one corner is a top hat worn by President Jasper Newton Field, while hanging inside of Gonzales’ office is the robe used by President Douglas Moore during his inauguration in the late 1970s. One recent donation came from Sig Snelson ’53, a La Letra photographer who captured countless moments on campus during his time as a student.
“We now have six boxes of negatives, which are thousands of photos of a period that was not as well documented,” Gonzales said.
Every donation with ties to the University is kept.
“We don’t get rid of anything, the rationale being that we don’t always know what researchers in the future will be looking for,” Gonzales said.
While most think of archives being filled with pieces from the early days of the University, recent alums also donate, and Gonzales does his best to collect items as they are produced.
“If admissions puts out a new brochure, I try to get one,” he said.
There is no typical day in the office for Gonzales and Magallanes; while they do work on specific, ongoing projects, “you never know who is going to walk through the door, send an email or call,” Gonzales said.
“We get different requests,” Magallanes said. “We have family members call with questions, or alumni asking how to donate.”
The office also offers support for various campus departments; for example, facilities might need to see the plans of a building, or marketing might need a vintage photo to go along with a campaign.
“We had the chair of the history department once call looking for historical information on the department,” Gonzales said. “The staff did the research for them, and this is available for everyone. Anyone can ask for help.”
For Magallanes, connecting alums with pieces of their past is a highlight of the job.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “You get a lot of different questions, and often people will see things in here that jog their memory and they have a very emotional response. That we can help is very special.”
To donate to the archives, call 909-748-8449.
Posted: May 31, 2013
Written by: Catherine Garcia