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SJSU Special Collections & Archives

Historical Research Topics and Collections

Personal Papers

SJSU has a variety of personal papers that document the specific experiences of individuals and/or their families. These type of collections include correspondence, journals, research files, newsclippings, photographs, and ephemera.  Some of the highlights include a collection of materials related to the poet and favored SJSU alum Edwin Markham, and the research files of SJSU historians Benjamin Gilbert and James Walsh.

Margaret Elizabeth McIntosh Black Collection

M. E. McIntosh Black

Photograph of Actress Minnie Palmer

The Margaret Elizabeth McIntosh Black Collection consists of photographs, tintypes, correspondence, and artifacts. McIntosh Black graduated from the California State Normal School in December of 1884. The collection features several photographs and tintypes, including one of Minnie Palmer, the famous stage actress. The collection also contains correspondence related to the class of 1884's 50th reunion in 1934. The collection has been organized into a single series: Photographs and Ephemera, 1880s-1934 [bulk 1880-1884].


Benjamin F. Gilbert Research Papers

The Benjamin F. Gilbert Research Papers (1953-1979 [bulk 1957-1970]) consist of the manuscripts and research notes of Dr. Gilbert, author of Pioneers for One Hundred Years: San Jose State College 1857-1957, and co-author of Washington Square 1857-1979: The History of San Jose State University. The papers also contain correspondence from SJSU interim President Hobert W. Burns and faculty members regarding suggestions or revisions to Gilbert's various manuscript drafts. The collection is arranged into two series: Series I. Pioneers for One Hundred Years: San Jose State College, 1857-1957: Research Papers; and Series II. Washington Square, 1857-1979: The History of San Jose State University: Research Notes.


Fred Hirsch Ephemera Collection

Fred Hirsch

Flier of Protest Rally & March

The Fred Hirsch Ephemera Collection documents local civil rights activist organizations in San Jose and Santa Clara County. This collection documents the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the National Farmworkers Association, and Santa Clara County Friends of SNCC, the Mexican American Political Association, and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The collection includes correspondence, petitions, flyers and miscellaneous ephemera.


Thomas M. King Papers

Thomas King

Brochure Walking Tour of Historic San Jose

The Thomas (Tom) M. King Papers document King's commitment to historic preservation in San Jose, California. The bulk of the collection documents King's work with the San Jose Survey of Historic & Archaeological Sites from 1973 to 1974, which resulted in the first complete inventory of historic buildings in San Jose, and included detailed records of buildings and homes by planning district. The collection also highlights King's work with several other historic preservation projects in San Jose.


David J. Langum Sr. Legal Papers

The David J. Langum, Sr. Legal Papers, 1968-1978 document Langum's ten-year tenure in San José, California as a practicing attorney and resident. The papers consist of complete legal files and a sampling of other legal cases. Langum is a lawyer, legal historian, law professor and prolific writer. He is also the founder of the Langum Charitable Trust, which awards travel grants to researchers and gives out annual awards for historical fiction and legal histories.


Edwin Markham Family Papers

Edwin Markham

Photograph of Edwin Markham

The Edwin Markham Collection (1898-1994) includes a variety of documents and photographs chronicling the life of Edwin Markham, noted poet and San Jose Normal School graduate. This artificial collection includes newspaper clippings, printed poems and pamphlets, photographs, and limited correspondence. The bulk of the material dates from 1910-1940.


David K. Treadwell Genealogical Collection

The David K. Treadwell Genealogical Collection (1955-1973) documents the genealogy of the Treadwell family. The collection includes requests for information from the Genealogical Society of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, Inc. Treadwell traced his family history to the 15th century. Notable materials in the collection include a family tree album with a family crest document, and catalogs from the Genealogical Book Company. Treadwell died on March 1, 1992, in San José, CA.

James P Walsh Papers

James P. Walsh

Negative sheet of SJSU Student Organization

The James P. Walsh papers document the professional work of San Jose State University Emeritus Professor of History. The collection consists of chapter drafts, subject files, photographs and draft copies of his books; San Jose State University: An Interpretive History 1950-2000 and One and the Same: The History of Continuing Education at San Jose State University 1857-2007, which document the history of SJSU.


Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection

Kate Douglas Wiggin

Example of Sample Craft

Kate Douglas Wiggin was one of the founders of the California Kindergarten Training School in San Francisco and an author of several children’s books including the well-known Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903). The Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection consists of sample books of crafts for children that illustrate educational theory and method as taught by Ms. Wiggin and in the San Jose Normal School kindergarten teacher training program. The collection also includes a photograph of Ms. Wiggin that she presented to the San Jose Normal School kindergarten training class of 1915.