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Finding Aid of the Mai Kitazawa Arbegast Collection, 1933-2003, (bulk 1980-2000)
2006-11  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Mai Kitazawa Arbegast Collection documents Arbegast's projects and professional activities through drawings, manuscripts, photographs, and slides. The collection is arranged in four series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Office Records, and Project Records. Personal Papers include biographical information, personal correspondence, and photographs of herself, family, friends, and her college years at Oberlin. Professional Papers contain correspondence related to her professional activities and potential commissions, her activities in professional organizations and committees, consultations, course materials from her teachings at U.C. Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture, and the manuscript for an unfinished book project done in collaboration with Santa.Barbara based photographer Bob Werlitz. Office Records consists of extensive correspondence with clients, contractors, architects, and plant brokers. Project Records document projects designed by Arbegast from 1966 to 2003 and contain drawings, slides, photographs, and manuscripts. The collection includes documentation of her work for the U.C. Davis Arboretum (1975-1977), Trefethen Vineyard (1976, 1990), California Palace of the Legion of Honor renovation (1991-1995), Shanel Estate (1992-1995), The Embarcadero Center (1992, 1996), and the Rudd Estate (1996-1999). The collection also includes her designs for many private gardens, vineyards, and some public/civic projects in collaboration with other landscape architects and architects.
Background
Mai Arbegast was born in San Jose, CA in 1922. Her father Gijiu Kitazawa and his brother Buemon started the Kitazawa Seed Company and nursery in 1916. When they split the business a year later, Arbegast's father moved the seed brokerage to a downtown San Jose storefront and sold seeds wholesale and retail, adding his own line of Asian vegetables. This became the main seed source for the growing population of Japanese tenant farmers in California and Oregon. In an interview Mai recalled, "I spent much of my early life in boots stomping on particular tomatoes and collecting the seed for further crosses."
Extent
4 boxes, 5 cartons, 1 FF drawer and 15 tubes.
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.
Availability
Collection open for research.