- University Archives: the History of UCLA
- Los Angeles History and Culture
- History of Medicine and the Sciences
- World Histories and Cultures
- Manuscripts, Rare Books and Print Culture: History of Printing and Publishing
- Performing Arts (Music, Film and Television, Theater, and Dance)
- Punk Music and Culture
- Visual Arts
- Center for Oral History Research
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History of Printing and Publishing
Library Special Collections' holdings support research in the history of printing, the book trade and bookmaking, and the graphic arts. Traditional strengths in our collections include Western European medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, Middle Eastern manuscripts, and early printing (1465-1600), in particular, early Italian printing (including the foremost collection in North America of the Aldine Press). Our collections of British and American children's books (many of which date back to the eighteenth century) and artists' books also exemplify the craft of bookmaking and publishing.
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Collection Development Policy and Current Priorities
See also: Collecting Areas.
UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) acquires archives, rare books, manuscripts, printed ephemera, photographs, audiovisual materials, digital files, objects, and other primary source materials of a rare or unique nature. We acquire new holdings predominately through donations and transfers and also purchase a select amount of material. We also create new scholarly documentation through conducting oral history interviews that support our current collecting priorities.
The nature of stewarding special collections holdings requires LSC to be selective in what it acquires and makes available for research. This document outlines the Rare Books and History of Printing philosophy, collecting scope, and current priorities, along with the criteria it applies in evaluating potential acquisitions
Rare Books and the History of Printing is a subsection of UCLA Library Special Collections
This collection documents the global history of printing and rare books and includes materials ranging from the earliest East Asian and European printing to contemporary pop-up books.
- Early Italian printing, including the Aldine press, 1450-1600
- Fictitious imprints, such as Pierre Marteau
- California imprints, early 19th century to present
- Historic children's books–primarily British and American--including pop-up, and toy and movable books
- Contemporary artists' books
- Photographs and related research materials from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Pacific Rim, Middle East
- Latin American history and culture
- Travel and exploration, including women travelers and the Antarctic
- East Asian print
1. Strengthening distinctive collections by diversifying their contents
The distinctive collections at UCLA are our greatest asset. We will continue to strengthen our collections by specifically targeting materials that will diversify their contents. Diversity, in this case, does not simply mean adding titles that we do not hold. Rather, it means that we seek to bring new materials representing non-hegemonic voices into our collections. We will actively seek materials that represent the considerable contributions of women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community to the history of printing.
This aspect of collection development is primarily intended to allow us to overcome the Eurocentric legacy of traditional collection development. It is desirable to build context around materials in ways that fundamentally challenge collecting practices which ‘othered’ materials within the collection. LSC must seek to honestly reflect not just the gaze of the colonizer at the other, but must intentionally seek to represent the dialectical relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed. With this in mind, the acquisition of objects that represent a hegemonic view should be paired (whenever possible) with materials that create a dialogue or relativize universalist claims.
2. Building webs of relationships within LSC
At present, many of our collection strengths have been developed in isolation. In order to enhance our distinctive holdings, future collection development will seek to build and enhance relationships with other materials in LSC. For example, while UCLA – LSC is one of the largest holders of Ethiopic manuscripts in North America, our holdings in Early Italian Ethiopic printing are weak. Actively seeking examples of Italian Ethiopic printing will allow us to both develop one of our distinctive collections and link the priorities of the history of printing to an unsurpassed manuscript collection. Relational collection development within LSC will enable us to create more coherent collections that encourage researchers in archival and manuscript materials to further avail themselves of printed materials.
3. Activist collecting
Because of the history of our collecting practices, it is a fact that many communities that should have been represented by LSC collections have been neglected and excluded. When the need presents itself, funds are to be sought out that will actively address some of the areas of neglect. Collecting in these new areas is only defensible when 1) there is a clear and present need for the collection; 2) there is widespread support from other members of LSC staff and University Faculty; 3) and the collection enhances existing collection strengths.
The following is a list of existing strengths which will be actively supplemented over the next several years of collection development in consultation with faculty and library staff.
- Early Italian Printing: Given UCLA LSC’s unsurpassed strength in this area, we will continue building out our collection in Early Italian printing. The focus of collection development in this area will include: 1) ephemeral materials; 2) Accounts of foreign places; 3) non-Italian language printing in Italy. Pursuit of selected materials will occur through consultation with research faculty affiliated with CMES.
- Latin American: While we have a strong collection of materials from 19th century Mexico, we have little from the period of Spanish colonial rule or in indigenous languages.
- Indigenous Language/Colonial Printing: Within LSC there are small pockets of texts that reveal the importance of printing in indigenous languages and in colonial contexts. We will actively seek out materials which will allow for these neglected and suppressed stories to be expressed without our collection. In particular, in collaboration with international studies, we will seek to collect materials printed in the early modern Philippines. Moreover, new areas of collection should reflect communities that are associated with Los Angeles.
- Non-European language printing: LSC has remarkable holdings in early Near Eastern and East Asian printed books. These collections have regrettably been neglected. For example, despite the remarkably robust community of Korean-American in Los Angeles, LSC does not own a single example of pre-modern Korean printing. Targeted acquisitions will make sure we both represent this community and enhance our existing strengths in East Asian Materials. New acquisitions will by pursued according to teaching and development priories discussed with the East Asian Library and faculty.
- Women/LGBTQ/History of Sex: Women have been active in the printing trade for hundreds of years, and LGBTQ voices are often neglected in the history of printing. In line with library policies to diversity our collections, we will make special efforts to include these materials.