Historic collection strengths include the Irvine Ranch, City of Irvine, Irvine Company, San Juan Capistrano Mission, city histories, ranchos, the 19th-century actress Helena Modjeska, environmental issues, politics, Disneyland, LGBT issues, and surfing. Materials have included photographs, family papers, letters, oral history interviews, maps, postcards, newspapers, government documents, and an enormous collection of local ephemera (such as flyers and brochures).
The library and archive of the prominent local historian, educator, and bibliophile Don Meadows (1924-1994) formed the foundation of the Orange County collection when UCI purchased it in 1972. Meadows’ collecting focused on Orange County, but he also collected California and Baja California. In addition to a personal library of several thousand volumes, he accumulated a large ephemera collection (brochures, pamphlets, handbills, broadsides and posters), maps, and photographs. Many of these items are found in the Don Meadows Papers. Thousands of volumes and many archival collections have been added to our Orange County history collections in the ensuing years.
- UCI's 1972 General Catalogue is illustrated with items selected from the Meadows collection.