Researchers wanting to know more about the history of wine in Southern California or delve deeper into the early roots of the university or the Pomona Valley will soon have easily accessible collections to peruse.
The University Library’s Special Collections and Archives was recently selected to receive a $96,328 federal grant for archival projects from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The funds will be used for a project the library has dubbed “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation: Immigration, Agriculture, Public Policy, and Pop Culture throughout the 20th Century.”
“In the archive world, getting one of these grants is a big deal,” said Katie Richardson, head of Special Collections and Archives. “It’s very competitive.”
For the project, the library has hired a project archivist and tapped a couple of student assistants to help Special Collections faculty and staff to process 600 linear feet of archival materials, or close to 600 boxes of material, and create or enhance 53 finding aids (inventories for the collections) as part of the grant.
The materials will be pulled from all four of the unit’s main collecting areas – University Archives, W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, Pomona Valley Historical Collection, and Southern California Wine and Wine Industry – as part of the grant.
“This will put us in a great place moving forward,” Richardson said. “We will know what we have. This will help us fill in the gaps in our collecting areas and better serve our patrons.”
Rob Strauss, the project archivist, was hired in October for the project, which is slated to be completed in March 2019. Before coming to Cal Poly Pomona, Strauss worked at Chapman University where he processed Civil War letters for the school’s Special Collections and Archives department. He also has volunteered for the National Archives in Riverside, which houses archival materials and documents for government agencies in the Southwest dating from 1850 to the 1990s, and worked in public radio.
“Making the collections available for researchers is very exciting,” Strauss said. “That is the whole goal. The first step in the process was to go over the collections and find out what the library has, and then we work together to arrange the materials.”
Alexis Adkins, the archivist for Special Collections and Archives, said once an inventory of the collection is done, the archivists go back and take a more in depth look at the materials and come up with an arrangement and processing plan.
Adkins, who helped with the grant application process, said receiving the funding is a big deal.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It felt like we won the grant lottery.”