Regional History Project publishes 'behind-the
scenes' look at Special Collections
The Regional History Project at the University Library announces
the publication of Rita Bottoms, Polyartist Librarian, UC
Santa Cruz: 1965-2003. Project director Irene Reti conducted
14 hours of interviews with Rita Bottoms, former head of Special
Collections at UCSC, shortly before Bottoms' retirement in March
2003. This oral history provides a vivid and intimate look at
37 years "behind the scenes" in the library's Special
Illustration by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
For nearly four decades, Bottoms immersed herself in collecting
work by some of the most eminent writers and photographers of
the 20th century, including the science fiction writer Robert
Heinlein, photographer Edward Weston, composer John Cage, visual
poet Kenneth Patchen, poet and letterpress book printer William
Everson, poet and visual artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti, composer
and poet Lou Harrison, singer and photographer Graham Nash,
and philosopher Norman O. Brown.
But Bottoms' role as a curator and librarian extended far beyond
acquiring collections; she developed intense and profound intellectual
and emotional relationships with each of these individuals.
It is her detailed and deeply personal stories of these relationships
that form the heart of this volume and provide the kind of human
amplification of the library's collections that can only be
captured through oral history. Bottoms' recollections of these
individuals are an important contribution to the history of
20th-century art and literature in the United States.
Photocopies of the volume can be ordered from the Regional
History Project at (831) 459-2847 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The volume is also available for viewing at Special Collections,
McHenry Library, and at Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, or can
be checked out from the McHenry Library.
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