Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers
Date (inclusive): circa 1920-1990, undated
Date (bulk): 1970-1980
Collection Number: MS 170
117.0 linear feet
(160 document boxes, multiple containers)
Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
Riverside, California 92517-5900
Abstract: The Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers, housed in Special
Collections & Archives of the Tomás Rivera Library at the University of California,
Riverside is a collection consisting of printed material (correspondence, typescripts,
original manuscripts and ephemera), film and photographs collected by Jeannette and Rupert
Costo. This collection is largely dedicated to information on American Indians with an
emphasis on California Indians and contemporary issues. Water, land, hunting and fishing
rights, sovereignty, gaming, language and education are among the major subject
Languages: The collection is predominantly in English.
The Guide to the Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers is dedicated to Jeannette Costo, whose
heartfelt interest in California Indians helped to build this Archive. It is her passion to
"preserve the record" that initiated the development of this Guide.
The staff of Special Collections & Archives of the Tomás Rivera Library was
especially cooperative throughout this project. A special thanks is extended to Sidney
Berger, Ph.D., Head, Special Collections & Archives and Gladys Murphy, Library
Assistant, Special Collections & Archives for providing access to the collection. Their
patience is much appreciated. Jane Liara (Mountain Cahuilla) and Michelle Mazzanti were
University of California, Riverside students who also contributed to the organization of the
collection. We are grateful for their initial efforts.
In addition, funding for this project was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the
Costo Endowment and the Tomás Rivera Library. James Erickson, Vice Chancellor and John
Tanno, Associate University Librarian, generously gave of their time to formulate a viable
This collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries,
Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from
manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections & Archives.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California
as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
[Identification of item]. Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers, MS 170. University of
California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives, University of
The Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers were acquired as a gift in 1986.
The initial finding aid for the Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers was designed and
implemented by Sidney E. Berger (Head of Special Collections & Archives at UC Riverside)
with the assistance of interns from UCLA and California State University, Fullerton. Cheryl
Metoyer-Duran supervised Dawn Marsh in inputting the raw data into an electronic database.
Additional revisions by Eric Milenkiewicz, 2009.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
The Rupert Costo Library of the American Indian consists of about 7,000 volumes and over
9,000 documents, pamphlets, tape recordings, slides, and art work. The Library was formed by
Rupert and Jeannette Costo when they merged their private collections after their marriage
in 1954. The material was collected over a period of fifty years. In 1964 the Costo's
founded the American Indian Historical Society in San Francisco. The library is one of the
most important collections of research materials relating to the Native Americans in the
United States and the world. The Costo's generously gave their collection to the University
of California, Riverside in 1986.
The Costo Library is of great significance to scholars and researchers in American Indian
history and supports the chair in American Indian History endowed by the American Indian
Historical Society and the Costo's. The books and archival materials in the collection cover
the span of Indian history from the arrival of the first settlers, over 55,000 years ago, up
to the present day. The materials chiefly deal with Indian history and culture of the past
four centuries after the settlement of America by Europeans. Most of the materials are
scholarly books published in the last fifty years. There are reprints of older classic works
which are very scarce today. These items are shelved in the Reading Room. The rarer
items-old books, art albums, scarce booklets, issued by individual tribes and
researchers-are shelved in Special Collections & Archives.
Documents and private correspondence have been collected directly from individuals and
Indian tribal leaders and are shelved in Special Collections & Archives. Among these are
nine boxes containing documentation about Indian water rights. Framed pictures of original
artwork, historic prints and photos are part of the treasure (along with baskets and pottery
on display in the Library). These materials make the library extremely useful to the
The Rupert and Jeannette Costo papers, housed in Special Collections & Archives of the
Tomás Rivera Library at the University of California, Riverside, is a collection
consisting of printed material (correspondence, typescripts, original manuscripts and
ephemera), film and photographs collected by Jeannette and Rupert Costo. This collection is
largely dedicated to information on American Indians with an emphasis on California Indians
and contemporary issues. Water, land, hunting and fishing rights, sovereignty, gaming,
language and education are among the major subject areas.
A portion of this collection remains unprocessed. Please contact Special Collections &
Archives for additional information regarding this material.
Items are arranged numerically into 110 sections according to their assigned nine digit
identification number (items in boxes 5-7, 110 have been assigned six digit identification
numbers; see explanation below). The first three digits represent the section number, the
second three digits represent the file number, and the last three digits represent the item
number. Example, identification number 009.002.001 is equivalent to Section 009, File 002,
Items in boxes 5-7, 110 are arranged numerically according to their assigned six digit
identification number. The first three digits represent the section number and the second
three digits represent the file number. Example, identification number 005.003 is equivalent
to Section 005, File 003.
The underlined headings in Sections 001-003 (identifcation numbers 001.001.001 thru
003.041.011) represent subdivisions created by Jeannette Costo.
(Corel WordPerfect 7 was the software used to create the original guide)
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
American Indian Historical Society
Costo, Jeannette Henry.
Indians of North America.
Genres and Forms of Materials
Clippings (information artifacts).