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Guide to the Whitney T. Genns Photograph Collection
Mss 39  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Materials

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Whitney T. Genns Photograph Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1941-1978
    Collection Number: Mss 39
    Creator: Genns, Whitney T.
    Extent: .2 linear feet (1 half-size document box)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Del Sur
    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

    Whitney T. Genns Photograph Collection. Mss 39. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information



    Whitney T. Genns, long considered the dean of Santa Barbara's antiquarian book dealers, was born on April 13, 1900 in New Orleans. The family soon moved to the small town of Closter, New Jersey when his father took a job in New York City. When the United States entered World War I, Whitney Genns joined the venerable New York 7th Regiment and fought in France. Returning to New York after the war, he entered the newspaper trade, where he would earn a good living for many years. In the 1930s, after working in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., he settled in California with his wife Edna. He opened his first bookshop in San Diego in 1938.
    Whitney Genns moved to Santa Barbara in the latter 1950s and established a small antiquarian bookshop in the downtown area, first at 20 El Paseo and later at 116 De La Guerra Street. He was a founding member of the Southern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, and also a member of the American Society of Appraisers. His skill in both fields made him a popular figure among local bibliophiles, and he worked closely with UCSB's librarians for many years. He also donated numerous materials to the UCSB Library's Wyles Collection. He finally closed his bookshop just weeks before his death, from cancer, on May 6, 1979.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Photographs, mainly b/w, of the Genns family and bookstore in Santa Barbara. Most of the photos are undated but the bulk seem to be latter 1950s to 1978.

    Related Materials

    Oral history with Whitney Genns, conducted by Gibbs M. Smith, Feb. 1971 (OH 41).

    Whitney Genns also donated a number of items to the William Wyles Collection, including the New York National Guard, 7th Regiment Collection (Wyles Mss 40).