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Cal Poly Humboldt University Public Affairs Collection - Finding Aid

Scope and Content of the Collection
Container List


Cal Poly Humboldt University Public Affairs Collection

Contact Information

The University Library, Special Collections
Cal Poly Humboldt
One Harpst Street
Arcata CA 95521

Processed by

Joan Berman, Edith Butler, Kiri Clayton, Katie LaSala, Ashley Rubay

Date Collection Processed




Collection Creator

Cal Poly Humboldt, Offices of Public Affairs and University Relations

Dates Covered by Collection

ca 1930s - early 2000s -

Size of Collection

ca 60 cubic feet


The Cal Poly Humboldt Public Affairs Collection consists of news releases and photographs produced by the Office of Public Affairs and its successor in 1982, the Office of University Relations. Also included are newspaper clippings about the University. Primary coverage is from the 1950s through the 1990s with additional material dating back to the founding of the College in 1913 and coming into the early 2000s. Digital creation and storage of these functions began in the mid-2000s and was formalized when the office became Marketing & Communications in 2007.


The collection is open for research.


Cal Poly Humboldt holds copyright. The publications and images in this collection were created by employees at Cal Poly Humboldt. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce in any format please contact the Special Collections Librarian.

Acquisition Information

This collection was acquired from the Office of Public Affairs and its successors at Cal Poly Humboldt in several increments, beginning in the 1980s, and generally coinciding with the retirement of a key individual in that office.

Scope and Content

The collection documents the public image of Cal Poly Humboldt primarily from the 1950s through the 1990s with additional materials of both earlier and later dates. Materials include the News Releases prepared by the News and Information Service beginning in 1967 and continuing through 2003/04 when the format became entirely digital; this is complemented by “News Clips,” also beginning in 1967, as scrapbooks of clippings from newspapers and finally as printouts from news media through 2005/06.

A large component of the collection is photographs: these were taken by staff photographers to illustrate everything from the College Catalog (1914-to date) to the Yearbook (1927; 1938-1966; 1977-1978; 1982-1985) and Humboldt Stater (1982-1997), as well as other campus publications. Photographers and writers include Peter Palmquist, Michael Corcoran, Cynthia Coleman, Michael Slinker, Sean Kearns, Jim Thoms, Dar Spain, Jay Brown, and Brandi Easter. The entire collection is closely related to the University Archives Pamphlet Collection and related University publications located in the Reading Room of the Cal Poly Humboldt Library. Together these materials provide an introduction to the history of Cal Poly Humboldt as portrayed by the University itself.

Arrangement of Collection

The Public Affairs Collection consists of four series. The News Releases and the News Clips are arranged chronologically. Each binder of the News Releases contains an itemized table of contents; there is no subject index.

The photograph sections arrived in a wide variety of installments over a number of years and remained as separate unprocessed, unrelated segments until spring 2009. Processing of this component became feasible with a pictorial book project underway and the presence of a student intern. The book, by alumna Katy Tahja, was published in May 2010 in the Arcadia Publishing Campus History Series. Intern Katie LaSala worked closely with Tahja and spent a portion of the summer 2009 processing the collection under the direction of the special collections librarian and the staff archivist. Final work on the photograph series was completed in spring 2010 in conjunction with publication of the Tahja book and help from two additional student interns, Ashley Rubay and Kiri Clayton.

The Faculty Files series consists of drafts and final copy prepared for various University publications, plus occasional newspaper clippings and other miscellaneous information describing faculty accomplishments and awards. It dates primarily from the 1980s; however, it is currently being added to on a serendipitous basis, including any type of documentation about faculty members and their accomplishments.

Container List

    • Series: Humboldt State News Releases – August 1967-2003/04, 50 binders; searchable Table of Contents


    • Series: Humboldt State News Clips – August 1967-1986/87, 20 scrapbooks; from 1987 until 1993/94 clippings are included in News Releases binders; 1993/94-2005/06, 19 binders; one box of newspaper clippings covering the early 1960s, in file folders arranged broadly by Subject.


  • Series: Photographs. The series is arranged both chronologically and by format, depending on whether the bulk of the material is print or negative. A portion of the envelopes are clearly marked and dated and the collection is loosely categorized by date and subject beginning in the early 1930s and ending in the early 2000s. Each subseries is organized and stored differently, some more specific than others. This reflects changes within the Public Affairs Department over time.
    • Subseries: 1930s-1982 Historical photos, chronological (1 filing drawer)
    • Subseries: 1940s-1990s Oversized photos (1 box and 1 larger folder)
    • Subseries: 1970s-1990s Photographs (6 filing drawers)
      List of Subjects
    • Subseries: 1920s-1950s Headshots, alphabetical, negatives (3 black boxes)
    • Subseries: 1950s-1970s Negatives, some prints (9 5x8 boxes)
      List of Subjects
    • Subseries: 1953-1963 Slides, HSC personnel and guests; Library tour for English 1A (1 box)
    • Subseries: 1974-1998 Slides, negatives, proof sheets (17 binders and 4 black boxes)
      List of Binders
      List of Boxes
    • Subseries: 1990s Catalog and Humboldt Stater Prints/negatives (4 boxes; 1 large, includes miscellaneous folders, 3 small)
    • Subseries: 1990s Prints/negatives/dvds (3 black boxes and 1 box dvds)
      List of Subjects
    • Subseries: 1997-2007 Commencement, vhs, dvd (1 box) and prints/negatives (2 black boxes)
  • Series: Faculty Files - Primarily from the 1980s, alphabetical; some current material being added (3 filing drawers)

Related Works

Subject Headings

Humboldt State University - History
Humboldt State University - Faculty - History