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Guide to the Frank R. LaPena papers, 1930s-2013
MSS 2001/31  
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Collection Details
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  • Scope and Contents note
  • Processing Information note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Accruals note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • Arrangement note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Additional collection guides

  • Title: Frank R. LaPena papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 2001/31
    Contributing Institution: California State University, Sacramento Special Collections & University Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 78.75 Linear feet (57 record cartons and 5 oversize flat boxes)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1970-2000
    Date (inclusive): 1930s-2013
    Abstract: The Frank R. LaPena Papers (1900-2013) include subject files on topics concerning Native Americans, in particular, California Indians. Topics include institutions, people, programs, laws, and events. In addition, files relating to his time teaching and participating in campus programs at Sacramento State University since the late 1960s are part of the collection. The collection is rich with records documenting Frank LaPena’s involvement with various public and community projects, organizations, and activities, among them the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, American Indian Historical Society, Atlatl, California Arts Council, California Commemorative Seals Advisory Committee, California Indian Education Association, California State Capitol Commission, California State Indian Museum, and Native American Heritage Commission. A significant portion of the collection deals with LaPena’s artistic work and philosophy, his participation in museum and art gallery exhibitions, both national and international, and his scholarly contributions to the art world and art criticism, especially as it concerns contemporary Native American art.
    Language of Materials note: Collection is in English and Maidu.
    creator: LaPena, Frank R.

    Scope and Contents note

    The Frank R. LaPena Papers measure 78.75 linear feet (57 record cartons and 5 oversize flat boxes) plus materials in oversize folders, and are dated 1940s-2013 (bulk 1968-2005). The papers consist of correspondence, printed material, writings, publications, teaching material, notes, research materials, sound recordings, artwork, and photographs. They document LaPena’s career as an activist, artist, educator, traditionalist, writer and curator of exhibitions in the field of contemporary art. A small number of records concerning his personal life are included in the Biographical and Personal files (Series 1).
    Found within the collection are Reference Files (Series 4) that are subject/correspondence files for artists/other individuals, museums/galleries/organizations, and subjects. General correspondence to and from LaPena are found in Letters (Series 3). Also found in the collection are Project Files (Subseries 4.2) that include manuscripts, notes, related correspondence, and reference and research material for publications in which LaPena’s writing and/or art were included. Exhibition Files (Series 5) include manuscripts, notes, related correspondence, research material, and printed material. Teaching Files (Series 2) consist of notes, reference and research materials, and administrative correspondence.
    Documents relating to LaPena’s public activities—including art related activities, poetry readings, lectures, community projects, ceremonial and traditional performances, and consultant work—are included Series 6. Among the Printed Material (Series 7) is a wide variety of items collected by Frank LaPena, much of which overlaps with similar material in the Subject Files (Subseries 4.1). Photographs are of works of art, with some of exhibition installations, people, and miscellaneous subjects. The artwork found in the collection includes lithographs, illustrations, drawings, and textiles. Book covers, newspaper layouts, and posters are included in the Oversize files (Series 9). The collection also includes artifacts such as a Native American pipe, a scrapbook, an exhibit model, and visual and audio recordings (Series 8).

    Processing Information note

    The papers were processed to a minimal level by Frank La Pena and SCUA staff in spring 2003.

    Preferred Citation note

    [Identification of item including date], [Folder Title], MSS 2001/31, Frank R. LaPena papers, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Frank LaPena was born on October 5, 1937 in San Francisco, California to parents of the Wintu-Nomtipom tribe of Native Americans. He was sent away to live at a federal American Indian boarding school when he was 5 years old and he stayed there until after he graduated from high school in 1956. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Chico State University in 1965 and did graduate work at San Francisco State University as well as California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), where he received his Master of Arts in Anthropology in 1978.
    LaPena started teaching professionally in 1969. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico, a teaching credential at San Francisco State, and a Master of Arts degree in anthropology at Sacramento State. He is a Professor Emeritus of Art and Ethnic Studies and was Director of Native American Studies at Sacramento State for almost 30 years. He currently resides in Sacramento. LaPena identifies as a Wintu-Nomtipom American Indian. He has been and continues to be a tireless educator of Native American culture, a writer and poet, and an activist of Native American and human rights. He is a founding member and Dance Captain of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists, a cultural dance group dedicated to the revival and preservation of the ceremonial traditions of his own and other Northern California Indian communities.
    As an accomplished artist, LaPena has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe, as well as Canada, Mexico, Cuba, South America, and New Zealand. He is a painter, printer, sculptor, illustrator, and photographer. His art has been exhibited at the Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian), the Linden Museum (Stuttgart, Germany), the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the C. N. Gorman Museum (Davis, CA), American Indian Community House (New York and San Francisco), the Santa Fe Festival of the Arts, the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (Santa Fe, NM), to name a few.

    Accruals note

    No further additions are expected.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. Requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce from collections must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Permission for publication is given on the behalf of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Library, California State University, Sacramento as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    Donated by Frank LaPena in multiple deposits since August 2001.

    Arrangement note

    Series 1: Biographical and Personal, 1970s-2000s Series 2: Teaching Files, 1970s-2000s Series 3: Letters, 1960s-2000s Series 4: Reference Files, 1960s-2010s Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1960s-2010s Series 6: Public Activities, 1960s-2010s Series 7: Printed Material, 1970s-2000s Series 8: Artifacts, 1990s-2000s Series 9: Oversize, 1960s-2000s

    Conditions Governing Access note

    A container listing is currently available for this collection. Contact the Department for further information on access.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    LaPena, Frank R.
    LaPena, Frank R.
    Native American arts
    Native Americans

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