Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Robert B. Sweet Collection
Mss 156  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (79.69 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert B. Sweet Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1807-1959
    Collection Number: Mss 156
    Collector: Sweet, Robert Ballantine
    Extent: 4.5 linear feet (2 record center containers, 1 document box, and 2 oversize boxes)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Del Sur (Boxes 1-3) and Del Sur Oversize (Boxes 4-5).
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Robert B. Sweet Collection. Mss 156. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Helen Sweet Keener and Clyde Keener, 1976.


    Robert Ballantine Sweet (1876-1956) was born in Iowa, but spent most of his life in California. He was a physician (eye and ear specialist), longtime resident of Long Beach, and an avid book collector and bibliophile, with a wide diversity of interests.
    The donors of the collection were Helen E. Sweet Keener, daughter of Robert Sweet, and Clyde Keener, her husband. Helen Sweet Keener (1906-1984) was Dean of Women and Associate Professor of Biology at UCSB. Clyde Keener (1903-1995) was Professor of Industrial Arts at UCSB.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Sweet manuscript collection is a very small part of a much larger personal library, all of which was donated to UCSB. Included in the manuscript section is correspondence, a diary, photos (Robert B. Sweet and others), scrapbooks, volumes of engravings, and a set of stereo slides.
    The book collection reflects Sweet's far-ranging interests and includes anthropology, the arts, biography, the Civil War, history, humor, literature, medicine, philosophy, psychology, racism, religion, sexuality, sociology, travel, and women. The vast majority are 20th century U.S. imprints, but there are important earlier 16th-19th century works (especially early medical, religious, and historical texts), and first, signed, and other significant editions of authors such as William Blake, Theodore Dreiser, Robert Frost, Lafcadio Hearn, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elbert Hubbard, Aldous Huxley, Robinson Jeffers, D. H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, Jack London, Henry Miller, Robert Service, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, Walt Whitman, and John Greenleaf Whittier. The books have been cataloged separately and can be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB Libraries online catalog.
    At the time of the donation in 1976, this collection of more than 8,000 books was the second largest gift the UCSB Library had ever received, exceeded only by the William Wyles gift (the first 'special collection' at Santa Barbara).