| Access | History
The University Archives were
begun in the fall of 1938 by librarian Myrtle G. Hart in a caged
area of the Doheny Memorial Library stacks as an initiative by
the Library's reference department. The first University Archivist
was Jack Beahan, who was appointed in 1973 and served until his untimely death in 1976. Paul Christopher supervised
the move of the Archives to the East Library Building in 1988. Mr.
Christopher retired in 1996. Claude Zachary has been University
Archivist since 1998.
This is an article from the Southern California Alumni Review, October 1948, describing the early years and development of the University
Trojan Strong Box
Margaret Morris '36
poetry was considered too shocking to be placed on the university's
library shelves. Students were expected to attend chapel each day and
be in their rooms by 10 o'clock each night.
taboo, so the women's literary society "tendered" a "topic party" for
members of the men's literary society. Program cards were circulated
and signed, and couples paired off for "talking sessions" in which they
"discussed" a given topic as they "walked" around the room.
in for a good deal of concern, and such themes as: "Resolved that Morality
Increases with the Advance of Civilization" or "Does the Progress of
Science Directly Improve the Morals of the People?" were argued freely
and debated formally.
It was circa
And thus the
little university, born only a few years previously out in the mustard
fields near Los Angeles, began to record its autobiography. Later chapters
were added on the gridiron and on the fields of Olympic games, in laboratory
experiments in science and psychology, in the spheres of world affairs,
government, and the judiciary.
books have been written about the fledgling's growth. Dr. Rockwell D.
Hunt assembled Troy's biographical data in his History of the University.
Other material was collected in book form in 1939 when the General Alumni
Association published the Cardinal and Gold. A more intimate history,
however, is preserved in a single room on the campus, the archives of
the Doheny library.
of opinion exist among scholars regarding the terms archives and historical
manuscripts. Popular definitions would include "a collection of old
things," and the adjectives "dusty," musty," and "faded" undoubtedly
would be applied. Any collection of old material does not, however,
constitute archival material. An archive is the record of the activity
of an organization. It is a shadow of the organization itself. Archival
material is chiefly manuscript material. It relates primarily to the
business affairs of the individual institution which keeps the record
for its own use. The quality which distinguishes an archive from a library
is its uniqueness. Where but at Troy would you find such items as these
carefully preserved so that generations unconceived might look at or
A copy of the
university charter. A draft of the night letter President Bovard sent
the Reverend John Dickinson asking him to take a position at the school.
(On the back of the message are other preliminary drafts. Obviously
somebody was trying to get in the word "please" without having to pay
additional money!) Pictures and stories of the sophomore hats. The constitution
of the class of 1921. The story of the petrified tree section on the
campus. The history and meaning of the fountain on the library lawn,
before it became a dunking ground for Bruins and pledges. A Theta Sigma
Phi Matrix Table menu on which some hungry, forgotten Theta Sig had
checked off each item of food as it was brought in from the kitchen.
have an established place in the college library today, but it is unfortunate
that the collection and preservation of archival material have not always
been a matter of concern and interest.
at Troy has noticeable and dismaying gaps. Although comparatively young
among American universities, S.C. already has a legend behind it, and
while there is in the archives a rich representation for some periods,
historical material on other years is lacking.
is being made to correct the mistake before any more of this valuable
material is lost. In the fall of 1938 Miss Myrtle G. Hart began organizing
the archival material already on hand. Since then the collection has
grown in size and importance, and less than a year ago it was moved
to accessible headquarters in the library.
and administration of materials preserved in the room and the building
up of current material pertaining to the development of Troy occupy
the time of the mistress of the archives. Alumni, however, can help,
and Miss Hart has asked for assistance from all former students:
the efforts of the library staff and the assistance of others on the
campus is necessary to achieve the goal of the archives division. Interesting
items come to light in unexpected places. Alumni, and relatives, and
friends of many who were connected with the university in early and
more recent days must have a great amount of material, any piece of
which may be the very item needed to fill in a gap.
"Gifts of pictures,
letters, programs, student publications, any item contributing to the
history of the university, will be greatly appreciated and carefully
in the archives are many of the school's official records, publications
of the institution, faculty records, club records (although many are
missing), programs of social and athletic events, and photographs.
Of chief interest
to the ordinary visitor would be some of the more gossipy memorabilia.
Some of you can, no doubt, recall the original "Alma Mater," written
by John Oliver Wilson '08. Miss Hart recently was asked by a former
student, now several thousand miles away from Southern California, to
supply the words for him.
of a later song, is perhaps, better known. In a letter to Dr. Lucien
Cailliett in 1945, Al Wesson wrote that while he was a junior at S.C.
back in the early 1920's, "I was given the nice little job of writing
a campus musical extravaganza-book, music, and lyrics. For the concluding
song I thought we should get the entire cast on the stage for a big
finale and wrote 'All Hail.' It was never intended to be the University
alma mater, but the students seemed to like it and within a year or
two it had officially replaced the old alma mater by John Oliver Wilson,
which I believe is now called the University Hymn. Incidentally, the
opening number of this extravaganza is still played, I believe-'The
Cardinal and Gold.' "
It might be
interesting to note the reaction of the average member of this year's
rooting section were he told that some of the songs he will sing in
the stands had been plucked from the musical production of a local "Rodgers
and Hammerstein" some twenty-odd years ago.
A faded photograph
in the archives last year helped to clarify information about S.C.'s
first football squad. There had been considerable confusion about Dr.
Henry Herbert Goddard's association with the first team, since prints
of the first team did not show him. Examination of the back of the photograph
preserved in the archives showed that the picture had been taken by
Mr. Goddard, and that little mystery was dispelled, since the mancould
hardly have been in two places at once.
official and unofficial, form a group of materials which straddle the
gap between the rest of the library and the archives. Many second sets
of these periodicals are in the library reading rooms, while complete
files of campus periodicals are preserved in the archives.
from the Sybyl, first year book published in 1889, to the latest El
Rodeo. Incidentally, the first El Rodeo was published in 1899, and the
second volume did not appear until 1908. After that date, its lifeline
(April-June, 1902) was a forerunner of the campus daily and, in its
way, the forerunner of the ALUMNI REVIEW, since it ran a column of alumni
notes whereby it hoped to keep the student body informed about alumni.
This was followed
by The Advocate (October, 1903-July, 1904) a monthly publication designed
to keep the school before the public. By September of 1905, students
were reading The University Courier, and they read that until June of
the archival records, the next newspaper to make its appearance was
the Daily Southern California, (September 16, 1912 to June, 1915), slightly
mis-named since it was published only four days a week, due to financial
trouble, and consisting largely of advertisements begging for subscribers.
In the year
1915 the Trojan came, for on September of that year, the Southern California
Trojan appeared and was published until February 13, 1925, to be followed
by the Southern California Daily Trojan (February 17, 1925, to May 17,
Came the war
and went the campus daily, so the "daily" was dropped from the name,
and the Southern California Trojan brought the news to the campus from
July 6, 1943 to November 10, 1944. On November 13, 1944, the Southern
California Daily Trojan reappeared, and it is to be hoped it stays.
Otherwise, things are going to be awfully difficult for some future
campus historian when he starts to untangle the history of the campus
publications as preserved in the archives.
After The Cardinal
back in 1902 stopped printing news about alumni, they were pretty well
ignored until 1915. Credit for putting the idea of an alumni publication
in concrete form is given to the class of 1914, which issued in 1915,
and again in 1916, an annual class letter.
The idea was
followed by the class of 1915 and was to have been used by the class
of 1916. It was then decided a broader alumni magazine should supercede
class letters, so in June, 1917, the Univerisity of Southern California
Alumni Magazine appeared. In February, 1923, The Southern California
Alumni News appeared, to be followed by the Southern California Illustrated
News, in September, 1924, and the Southern California Alumni Review
in September, 1925.
The first football
program, called simply "Souvenir Program" was issued in 1921. The first
Pigskin Review, known as such, did not appear until October 14, 1922.
a shelf in the archives is a row of little red books, the old familiar
freshman bible. Some numbers are missing, however, and it has been hoped
that some starry-eyed freshmen were once impressed enough to have retained
their passports to university life, but who wouldn't mind giving them
of the bible last year was a determined individualist who threw tradition
out the window and brought out a yellow-covered book, slightly larger
than those of former years. This yellow intruder has ruined uniformity
on the freshman bible shelf and has brought the resigned statement from
the archivist that "pockets in sports jackets are larger these days."
information snags the attention of a visitor to the room: minutes from
the Women's Club before it was re-named Town and Gown, the 1935 Commencement
program when Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink sang, or clippings about
the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt received an honorary degree
institutions are establishing archival divisions within their libraries,
as yet comparatively few have put emphasis on their archival material.
The archives at Harvard are extensive and well known. The University
of Chicago established its archives department in 1944. The University
of Oklahoma has recently appointed a full time archivist to administer
its collections, and the Oklahoma archivist was a recent interested
visitor to the Trojan vault.
division of Doheny exists not simply to preserve but to serve. It insures
preservation of university records and functions as a clearing house
for other information.
to the archives for material about the school. The editor of the ALUMNI
REVIEW makes frequent use of the material. Questions concerning famous
students or others connected with the school are answered by the archival
are always indebted to private collectors. Photographs, letters, and
other saved memoranda write a better history of a school than a historian
can reconstruct. From private collections come many of the most valuable
items in an archival collection.