Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
San José State University Archives Photograph Collection
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Related Material
  • Further references on San José State University history:

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: San José State University Archives Photograph Collection
    creator: San José State University. Library. Special Collections & Archives
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS-2006-05-01
    Physical Description: 7 boxes (15 linear feet)
    Physical Description: 7 flat file drawers
    Date (inclusive): 1860-2000
    Date (bulk): bulk
    Abstract: This collection consists of a variety of visual materials, primarily photographic prints, depicting the buildings, people, and events of San José State University, San José, and Santa Clara County.
    Physical Description: 5 file cartons, 2 oversize flat storage boxes, 7 flat file drawers.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives 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 reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    San José State University Archives photograph collection, MSS-2006-05-01, San José State University Library Special Collections and Archives.

    Processing Information

    Processing completed by Bernard Yeh, 2006. EAD encoding by Bernard Yeh, 2006. In May 2016 changes were made to the arrangement of Series I and II. Subseries were created for Series I and II consisting of oversized photographs.

    Organizational History

    In 1857 the San Francisco Board of Education established an evening school for current and prospective teachers in the city. The school became know as the Minns' Evening Normal School, named after the principal, Washington Minns. In 1862, the California State Legislature formally established Minns' school as the first California State Normal School. The school remained in San Francisco until the California State Legislature voted to move the Normal School to San José and provided the funds to construct a new building on Washington Square in San José. The State Normal School moved into temporary quarters in San José in 1871, and moved into the new building prior to the fall term in 1872.
    In the early hours of February 10, 1880, a fire destroyed the Normal School building, which was regarded as one of the most significant wood buildings in the state, and cost approximately $285,000 to build. In the interim, classes moved to the high school building located on Santa Clara Street. Following the fire, there was a failed attempt to move the school to Los Angeles. As a compromise, the Branch State Normal School in Los Angeles was established, which eventually became the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The California State Legislature authorized $200,000 to construct a new building on the same site, which was completed in 1881, and was commonly referred to as the Second State Normal School.
    In 1887 the California State Normal School was renamed the San José State Normal School, after the California State Legislature formally established a normal school in Chico and gave the Los Angeles Branch Normal School its independence.
    The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 caused major damage throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Although the San José State Normal School building initially appeared to be only lightly damaged by the quake, further inspection showed sufficient structural damage to declare it unsafe. The building was demolished, and construction began on a quadrangle-type structure similar to the quad at Stanford University. This building, with its signature tower, was completed in 1910.
    In 1921 the various State Normal Schools were renamed State Teachers Colleges, reflecting the increased needs and curriculum requirements for the education of teachers. That same year, the San José Junior College was established, sharing the facilities and staff of the San José State Teachers College. The college began offering education-related bachelor's degrees at this time and the first degrees were conferred in 1923. In 1928 the college offered general academic bachelor's degrees, and formalized the merger of the junior college with the teachers college. The institution transformed from a vocational school to that of a full-fledged academic institution offering four year degrees. This change paved the way for a more formal curriculum and new programs, which led to another name change in 1935, when the California State Legislature renamed the San José State Teachers College to the San José State College.
    In 1972 the school was renamed California State University, San José, a change long overdue since the institution had been providing university-level curriculum and degree programs for several decades. This change met fairly broad opposition from students, alumni, and faculty, since the institution had long been known as San José State. Their persistence paid off, and in 1974, the school was renamed San José State University.
    The majority of images represented do not include information on the photographer. When available, the name of the photographer or photography studio is included. Photographers or studios identified in this collection include: J. E. Addicott, Dave Bellak, James F. Bishop, G. Burchard, Bushnell (Studio), Del Carlo, Dorothy Conway, R. L. Copeland, Dames & Dorsaz (Studio), A. G. Denninger, Bob Hall, Sharon Hall, Andrew P. Hill, Hill & Watkins, Hill & Yard, J. B. Johnson, Lange & Newth, Loryea & Macaulay, Doug Manard, Gabriel Moulin, Neva Seblord, Alfred R. Taylor, Jno. O. Tucker, Tucker (Studio), Eugene Tyler, Carlton Watkins, Hazel Wauger, J. W. Wells, Wright (Studio), and Wright's Art and Portrait Gallery.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of a variety of visual materials depicting the buildings, people, and events of San José State University, and its previous incarnations: San José State College, San José State Teachers College, and the California State Normal School in San José and San Francisco. Some of the reproductions originated from school newspapers or catalogs. There are also a few drawings represented. The majority of the collection documents the history of the university, but also covers events or places in San José or Santa Clara County.


    This collection was originally catalogued and arranged using two different schemas; one system organized some of the materials alphabetically by subject, and the other system used an alpha-numeric subject coding scheme. The arrangement of this collection follows the original schemas and consists of three series documenting 1860 to 2000: Series I, Photographs, Reprints and Newsclippings, 1860-2000, is arranged alphabetically by subject. Subseries: Oversized Photographs, 1878-1981, follows the alphabetical arrangement; Series II, Photographs, Reprints and Newsclippings, 1860-1977, is arranged by the alpha-numeric scheme. Subseries: Oversized Photographs, 1877-1977, follows the alphanumeric scheme; and Series III, Oversize Photographs and Reprints, 1875-1982, is arranged chronologically by general time period, then alphabetically by subject.

    Related Material

    J. C. Gordon Photograph Collection

    Further references on San José State University history:

    Gilbert, B. F., & Burdick, C. Washington Square, 1857-1979: The History of San José State University. (San José, Calif.: San José State University, 1980).
    Walsh, J. P. San José State University: An Interpretive History, 1950-2000. (San José, Calif.: San José State University, 2003).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San José State University -- Pictorial Works
    San José State University -- History
    Santa Clara County (Calif.) -- Pictorial Works
    Santa Clara County (Calif.) -- History
    San José State University. Library. Special Collections & Archives