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Riverside: Libraries

Early Origins
Although the library at Riverside was officially established January 1, 1951, its roots go back to 1925, the date of the formal organization of the Citrus Experiment Station library. The original charge to the University librarian was to assemble a library of an ultimate size of 300,000 volumes to support an undergraduate teaching program for 2,500 students and faculty research.

After three years in temporary quarters in the former experiment station director's residence, the University library and the Citrus Experiment Station library moved into the new library building. The total library holdings were 33,000 volumes. The first library addition was completed in February of 1964, increasing the capacity to 300,000 volumes and 835 seats. In 1965, plans were in process for another addition to be started in 1968 which would increase the stack capacity to one million volumes and provide 2,500 seats. By June 30, 1965, the combined libraries contained 297,000 volumes and were currently receiving 4,500 periodical titles.

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Areas of Strength
Particular areas of strength of the libraries were: sub-tropical horticulture and dry-lands agriculture, entomology, culture of the avocado, and the development of the avocado industry, in the agricultural library; geography, anthropology of the South American Indians and Polynesia, history of American colonies and the western United States, Austrian and German socialism, German literature, solid state and low temperature physics, economic history, twentieth century literature, biology, musical history, and geology and paleontology.

Special Collections
The University libraries at Riverside were fortunate to receive important material as gifts and to have funds available for the purchase of collections enabling library growth to match expanding teaching and research. The Riverside and University communities were most generous in donating books and files of periodicals.

In January of 1951 the library received the first installment of the gift of former provost Gordon S. Watkins of his books on political economy and economics, which eventually amounted to 3,007 items. At one stroke the library acquired a basic collection in this field.

Congressman and Mrs. John Phillips gave the library 1,165 books and government documents in March of 1951. These included many useful U. S. government publications and books on California and the West plus a collection of autographed and first editions of the works of Christopher Morley.

In October of 1952 the Avocado Society established the William T. Home Memorial Collection on the Avocado by depositing in the Riverside campus library all of the records, scrapbooks and publications of the society. This collection is an important source of information on the avocado and the avocado industry.

The purchase of the 2,000-volume geological library of Dr. George P. BuwaIda in June of 1955 supplied many basic bulletins and general works on geology.

The purchase of a portion of the library of Professor E. W. Gifford, Berkeley, in August of 1955 enabled the Department of Anthropology to get off to a good start. The 1,200 items cover material on the Indians of North and South America, the Polynesians and works on anthropology in general. Particularly useful were long files of the publications of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum. The purchase of additional material in January of 1959 on social anthropology from Mrs. Luella Cole Lowie rounded out the basic material in this area.

The geological library of Dr. Charles E. Weaver was purchased on August 9, 1956. Among the 8,000 pieces were many publications on the geology of South America and invertebrate paleontology.

The University-wide purchase of the C. K. Ogden library in October of 1957 enabled the Riverside campus to acquire 7,000 volumes in English and American literature, English history, philosophy, psychology and German literature. Many of these were out of print and were later difficult to obtain.

In 1958 two gifts made substantial additions to the library in the fields of American history and biography. These were the gift of 2,000 volumes from Raymond Best and 700 volumes from Colonel Arnold W. Shutter.

On April 26, 1962, a second joint purchase was made when the 50,000-volume library of Isaac Foot was purchased. Out of this purchase Riverside received 14,500 volumes. Over half of these were in the field of American and English literature and criticism. Many of the works were first or inscribed editions and the collection in depth of literary criticism was especially welcome. Other items included works on British and French history and a number of examples of early printing and biography.

Through the bequest of Mrs. Isobel H. Ellis, a longtime Riverside resident, the library received (May 20, 1963) 1,900 books dealing with California and the west, Mexico, Spain and South America. Also in the collection were many books of English and American fiction, biographies and books on the political scene.

While on sabbatical leave in Vienna, Professor Marion L. Rappe located an outstanding collection on nineteenth- and twentieth-century political thought. In March of 1964 Riverside was fortunate in being able to purchase these 1,500 items which cover the history of the development of Austrian and German socialism.

In April of 1965, 46 years of weather studies were donated to the Agricultural Library by the late Floyd D. Young of Pomona, the original Fruit Frost Service broadcaster. Edwin T. Coman, Jr.

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Librarian, College of Letters and Science
Edwin T. Coman, Jr. was the first librarian of the College of Letters and Science. In 1958, that title was changed to University Librarian, with Coman still holding the title.


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