Special Collections and Archives blog

August 21, 2014
by special collections & archives

Looking To Acutely Focus Your Research without having to step foot in the Archive?




What is Arizona Archives Online (AAO)?

Arizona Archives Online brings together detailed descriptions of archival material about the history of Arizona and other subjects. The archival collections described in AAO are held at institutions across the state including academic libraries, historical institutions, special collections libraries, museums and other libraries and archives in Arizona.

There are currently 12 institutions throughout the state of Arizona that contribute content to Arizona Archives Online:

  • Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Special Collections
  • Northern Arizona University, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives
  • University of Arizona Library Special Collections
  • University of Arizona Libraries. Center for Creative Photography.
  • Arizona State MuseumMuseum of Northern Arizona
  • The Arizona Historical Society: Northern Division
  • Sharlot Hall Museum
  • Arizona State Library, History and Archives Division
  • Lowell Observatory Library and Archives
  • Heard Museum Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives
  • Peggy J. Slusser Memorial Philatelic Library


What is Archival Description?

Archival description is the practice of describing and sometimes indexing the content of archival documents or archival collections. Products of archival description include library catalog records, repository guides, collection guides (often known as finding aids), websites and specialized databases. Arizona Archives Online is a website that contains searchable finding aids.

What is in a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of a collection of archival materials. It describes who created the materials, and when, as well as the type of materials, the topics of the collection, how it is organized and why it is significant. The depth of description of an archival collection contained within a finding aid will vary based on local institutional policies and the discretion of the archivist processing the collection.

Why are the collections in Arizona Archives Online not digitized?

Digitization of content on AAO is left to the discretion of the contributing members to the AAO website. Due to funding, digitization resources, copyright restrictions, and staff time many archival holdings described on AAO are not digitized. Some of the collections described on AAO do have links to digitized content. These digital items can be found either linked to local servers or to other digital instances on the internet. Arizona Archives Online was designed to provide digitized content as it becomes available at the discretion of the contributing members. Contact AAO at todd.welch@nau.edu to inquire as to any future efforts by participating members to digitize specific content.


Other local and national web sites for electronic archival description include:

Arizona Memory Project: http://azmemory.lib.az.us/
Arizona Cultural Inventory Project: http://cip.azlibrary.gov/
Online Archives of California: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/
Northwest Digital Archives: http://nwda.wsulibs.wsu.edu/
Rocky Mountain Online Archive: http://rmoa.unm.edu/
Mountain West Digital Library: http://mwdl.org/
Texas Archival Resources Online: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/
Ohio Link Finding Aid Repository: http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/
North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online: http://www.ncecho.org/
Archives Florida: http://palmm2.fcla.edu/afl/



August 8, 2014
by special collections & archives

Tad Nichols, Images of a Lost World, Glen Canyon

cathedral_in_the_desert  nichols_blog_portrait

NAU.PH.                                                 NAU.PH.

Glen Canyon was a favorite of photographer Tad Nichols, where he shot over four thousand images. From these many images, a book was published by the Museum of New Mexico Press in August of 2000, entitled, “Glen Canyon: Images of a Lost World, Photographs and Recollections,”

Tad was born in Springfield, Ohio, on July 8, 1911. He grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 1930, when due to his asthma, he was sent to Mesa Ranch School in Arizona. In addition to academics, his school experiences there included camping, hiking, and horseback riding. These activities helped Nichols develop a great love of the outdoors.

From fall of 1932 until spring of 1937, he attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. He graduated with a double degree in geology and anthropology. He met Mary Jane Hayden in an astronomy class. They were married in 1937.

Tad’s initial interest in taking pictures was inspired by a university photography class. Later he studied with such noted photographers as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Brett Weston. He traveled with many scientific expeditions, during which he acted as official photographer. This included several trips to Mexico to document the eruptions of Paricutin Volcano, as well as other worldwide trips with geologist and naturalist Edwin McKee. Nichols was also involved in making films. He had gained experience as a cameraman during World War II, while creating training films for the Air Force. Afterwards he made films of his own about the Southwest, and also produced instructional films for the U.S. Indian Service. During the 1950s, Nichols worked for Walt Disney Productions and the Sierra Club.  Tad traveled extensively throughout the world, in such diverse locales as Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, Mexico, Central America, South America, Galapagos, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Southwestern United States. Of all these places, Glen Canyon was a favorite.

To check out more of Tad’s beautiful images of Glen Canyon, please click the link below.


Looking for more information about Glen Canyon concerning the development and impact of Glen Canyon Dam, be sure to check out our Glen Canyon Resources Page linked below.



August 4, 2014
by special collections & archives

That’s the Way He Rolled – Blast from the Past

President Walkup throws an NAU bowling ball in the newly constructed bowling alley in the University Union Field House (Photo credit: University Archives, circa 1966)

President Walkup throws an NAU bowling ball in the newly constructed bowling alley in the University Union Field House (Photo credit: University Archives, circa 1966)

President J. Lawrence Walkup was one of our most active, involved, and energetic university presidents. He served NAU for 30 years (1949-1979), 22 of them as president (1957-1979). According to Platt Cline, author of Mountain Campus- The Story of Northern Arizona University, President Walkup was known as “The Student’s President.” As seen in this photograph, he could “roll” with the best of them.

President Walkup advanced the university in numerous ways during his 22 year tenure as president. Two notable advancements include the extensive expansion of the institution’s physical plant from the historical North Campus through Central Campus and South Campus; the other being the academic evolution of the institution from Arizona State College to Northern Arizona University in 1966. NAU granted its first PhD in 1968.

President Walkup’s papers are housed in the University Archives and contain a wide breadth of issues documenting the  history of the university. The finding aid to his papers can be viewed here as well as an oral history with President Walkup conducted in 1996 with Dr. Monte Poen.

July 23, 2014
by special collections & archives

SCA Receives Two Important Grants

Writing grants can be a time-consuming process, one that isn’t for the faint of heart. Aside from adhering to a prescribed style of writing, there is research, data collection, and collaboration that all form critical parts of the grant-writing process. Then, of course, there is the unapologetic waiting period–often months go by–where a frenzy of activity results in the sound of crickets until word is received, either in the positive or negative.

Special Collections and Archives has been through this process a handful of times throughout the past number of years and has demonstrated great success when requesting funding assistance for departmental initiatives. It is encouraging when granting agencies have funds available to help SCA undertake projects it has already been planning, especially when the granting agency’s review committee agrees and funds them. We wish to share information with you about two such grants that were received and what these funds will be applied towards.

A recently received grant [early July 2014] from Arizona Humanities (formerly the Arizona Humanities Council) will enable SCA to provide and make available online transcriptions for a backlog of 20 oral histories recorded from 1999-2014 for the “Los Recuerdos del Barrio en Flagstaff” project. See an earlier blog post about the history of that project. Mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, transcription is a required component when providing access to these audio/video recordings in an online format. Once transcribed, these narratives will be keyword searchable and freely accessible by students, faculty, researchers, and the public.

National Endowment for the Humanities logo

Just this past week, SCA received word that it was successful with its December 2013 application to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the second part of a three-part project designed to plan for [and later implement] specialized cold storage for the fragile visual materials (photographs, negatives, moving images, magnetic media) that form a significant part of the rare and original archival collections housed in SCA. Funding from NEH’s Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant opportunity will bring in a team of specialized experts who will work collaboratively to plan for (a) storage environment(s) that will significantly deter the degradation of these irreplaceable items. This grant is building off SCA’s successful April 2012 application to NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grant program and subsequent consultant’s assessment report (April 2013). Successful outcomes of this upcoming two-year planning process will be a comprehensive plan and related schematics that will incorporate the collaborative team’s expertise. A subsequent third grant application to NEH would then be submitted to assist with implementation.

We look forward to sharing the results of both these projects with everybody in the coming months and years. Our continued thanks to Arizona Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing us with the opportunity to enhance our program!

July 18, 2014
by special collections & archives

Celebrating One-hundred Years of The Pine/The Lumberjack Newspaper


The Pine/The Lumberjack Newspaper

Official publication of the Associated Students of Northern Arizona Normal School (original name of Northern Arizona University), The Pine was first published a few weeks after the beginning of fall semester 1914 with the support and encouragement of college president, Dr. Rudolph H.H. Blome. Initially published bi-weekly, the newspaper alternated between a monthly, weekly, and semi-weekly publication over the years. In 1946, by a vote of the student body, the name of the student newspaper formally changed to The Lumberjack. The design of the newspaper’s masthead has gone through several iterations.

During the course of this project, the library discovered a few missing issues of the student newspaper. If you know the location of any missing issues, please contact Special Collections and Archives (special.collections@nau.edu).

July 17, 2014
by special collections & archives

Throwback Thursday


Why is this man running?

Answer: This is Andy Payne of Oklahoma taking part in the 1928 “Bunyon Derby”- a foot race across America. Participants ran 40-70 mile per day! Payne was the eventual winner, taking the $25,000 prize (he paid off his Dad’s farm). The location of the photo remains a mystery. The data said Flagstaff, but with no exact location information.

July 10, 2014
by special collections & archives

Freaky Friday

Chickenboy, Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA.

Chickenboy, Route 66, Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA.

Chickenboy has a not-too-distant relative here in Flagstaff. Can you find an image in the Digital Archives of him? Leave us the photo number of the image of who you think it is.

Answer: This is Chickenboy of Highland Park in Los Angeles. He was produced for a fried chicken emporium in L.A. and relocated next to the Highland Theatre after the restaurant closed. Produced by International Fiberglass, Chickenboy is related to our own Lumberjacks 1 & 2 found in and outside of the Skydome on campus. A change of head and rotate 1 wrist, and voila -Chickenboy!

July 10, 2014
by special collections & archives

Special Collections Gets Its Kicks along ARC Route 66


Roy’s Café and Motel, 1926-1973 Route 66, Amboy, CA NAU.PH.2004.11.3.145

I just returned from Los Angeles. My name is Sean Evans and I am the archivist at the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives. This post will reflect on a driving trip I took with a colleague from the Arizona State Archives to attend the annual 2-day National Park Service Route 66 Archives and Research Collaboration (ARC for short) meeting, held this year in sunny downtown Burbank, CA. Aside from an opportunity to drive many miles of the vintage road between Flagstaff and Los Angeles, the meeting reminded me of the fruitful and unique relationship between the National Park Service and the libraries, archives, and museums from along Route 66 that partner to make the ARC. These institutions are actively collecting, ordering and preserving unique, primary source materials about Route 66, the road, the businesses and communities along the route, but perhaps most of all, about the people of the road. For Special Collections and Archive in the Cline Library at NAU, this relationship was probably destiny.

ARC Members with Dan Rice on the Santa Monica Pier- at his "end of the road" kiosk.

ARC Members with Dan Rice on the Santa Monica Pier- at his “end of the road” kiosk.

Route 66 and NAU grew up alongside each other here in Flagstaff. In 1926 when Route 66 was established, our little Northern Arizona Normal School changed its name to Northern Arizona State Teachers College. Like Route 66 which underwent ongoing changes across Arizona (largely in 1937 and 1947 before the I-40 bypass era of the ‘50s and ‘60s and later), so would NASTC becoming Arizona State Teachers College in 1929, Arizona State College at Flagstaff in 1945, and Northern Arizona University in 1966. Even our former library (the Gammage Library across from Ashurst Auditorium on NAU’s historic north campus) had a back door facing Route 66. It was no surprise that our Special Collections and Archives was ultimately invited to become one of the 10 founding National Park Service ARC libraries for researchers on and of the “Mother Road”, Route 66.

Working with our friends and colleagues at the NPS has allowed us to better understand the whole road and its history. Additionally, the mix of libraries, archives, and museums working within the ARC has certainly made for a richness of resources, ideas, and viewpoints. We’ve worked on a variety of initiatives to promote collections and preservation activities along the road, presented at regional conferences on Route 66 and the ARC and more. Along the way we have helped researchers, authors, and film makers with a variety of Route 66-related projects. I like to think we’ve helped to create a new way of looking at America- a linear way, by looking at the road and its environs as community.

Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66 between Barstow and Victorville, CA.

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66 between Barstow and Victorville, CA.

In support of Special Collection’s collecting focus of the Colorado Plateau, and also in support of the ARC, Special Collections has digitized nearly 2000 images of Route 66 in the region from more than 10 different photo collections covering more than 80 years of 66; has acquired more than 180 monograph titles that touch on Route 66; acquired an assortment of historic and contemporary maps and; conducted 13 oral histories. The Cline Library hosted an exhibit on Route 66 (Route 66 in Arizona: Don’t Forget Winona) in 2009 that lives on today online. We’ve even put some of our Route 66 images into Historypin.com (see related story in this blog).

L.A. turned out to be a great venue for our formal ARC meeting sessions. They were held in the Autry National Center where their great Route 66 exhibit “Route 66: the Road and the Romance”  recently opened. Needless to say, if you’re down L.A. way, you need to go see the exhibit. They have fantastic material on display to illustrate Route 66. Our sessions also took us to Disney’s Imagineering Archives. All I can say about that place is wow! As an archivist it is even better than actually being at Disneyland!

We’ll keep you posted on Route 66 developments and additions to SCA’s Route 66 collections. The Route 66 International Festival is in Kingman in August, and Flagstaff has its own Route 66 Festival in September. All of these events are bound to bring up photo opportunities, preservation and other issues to explore and document for the future.

Get your kicks.

July 1, 2014
by special collections & archives

Reaching Out to our Canadian Colleagues

Hello and Happy Canada Day! My name is Jonathan Pringle and I am Curator of Visual Materials for Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives (SCA) department. I myself am Canadian, having moved here in 2008 to pursue an opportunity at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Since 2011, I’ve been a member of the SCA team and have enjoyed collaborating with all sorts of people and institutions in an effort to jointly address topics of concern to the archival community and the population we serve/represent.

Canada and USA miniature flags

One of our highest priority responsibilities in SCA is the respectful management of archival materials created by and about Native American people. In April 2006, a group of nineteen Native American and non-Native American archivists, librarians, museum curators, historians, and anthropologists gathered at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives to discuss effective methods of providing responsible preservation of—and access to—these materials in non-Native repositories. This meeting resulted in the release of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (available for download here) in 2006. Since 2006, SCA has endorsed and adopted several recommendations in the Protocols.

Stacy Tso, 1994. Courtesy of the John Running Collection, NAU.PH.2013.

I was recently given the opportunity to attend (and present at) the Association of Canadian Archivists’ (ACA) annual meeting (June 26-28) in Victoria, British Columbia. In a session titled Looking Toward the Future: Aboriginal Archives in Canada and the United States, I presented on SCA’s experiences with the Protocols and demonstrated to attendees how NAU–through this document–has shown success with bridging the gap between archival professional ethics and cultural sensitivity. Also presented on was ACA’s Aboriginal Archives Guide, a 2007 document that was published to assist in the development of autonomous community-based First Nations/Metis/Inuit archives. I was humbled to have been given the opportunity to present alongside Canadian and American colleagues–both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous–from diverse backgrounds who happen to share similar challenges. A copy of my presentation slides are available here – ACA2014. I hope that future collaboration with ACA and other professional organizations result in increased international education, awareness, and programmatic enhancement opportunities related to this important topic.

Conference hotel – The Empress

Session panelists (l-r): Session Chair Jennifer O’Neal; Sherry Lawson; Kim Lawson; Jonathan Pringle; Reagan Swanson; Patricia Kennedy

Jonathan Presenting