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Orange County Regional: Collection Strengths

Major topics

Of the many topics represented in the Orange County book and pamphlet collection, these are some of the most prominent. All materials are cataloged on Library Search.

  • Agriculture
  • Art and architecture
  • Beaches
  • Biography
  • Business and industry
  • Cities and towns
  • City of Irvine
  • Disneyland
  • Environmental issues
  • Irvine Company
  • Irvine Ranch
  • Land and real estate development
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community
  • Helena Modjeska
  • Politics
  • San Juan Capistrano Mission
  • Surfing and surf culture
  • Transportation
  • Upper Newport Bay
  • Water

County Histories

  • History of Orange County, California by Samuel Armor.  Los Angeles.  1921.
  • The Golden Promise: An Illustrated History of Orange County by Pamela Hallan-Gibson.  Northridge, Calif.: Windsor, 1986.
  • A Hundred Years of Yesterdays: A Centennial History of the People of Orange County and Their Communities. Phil Brigandi et al., editors.  Santa Ana, CA: Orange County Historical Commission, 2004.
  • History of Orange County, California by Mrs. J.E. Pleasants.  Los Angeles: Finnell, 1931.
  • Historical volume and reference works: Orange County.  Don Meadows et al., editors.  Los Angeles: Historical Publishers, 1963.
  • History of Los Angeles County, California by John A. Wilson. Oakland: Thompson & West, 1880.

Selected Archival and Manuscript Collections

General History

  • Meadows (Don) papers
    Thousands of pieces of geographically organized printed ephemera (brochures, flyers, etc.), as well as photographs, maps, and Meadows’ extensive correspondence.  Overall, the collection documents a wide range of cultural, social, political, and economic aspects of County history and is a key source for many types of research.
  • Works Progress Administration collection on Orange County, California
    The reports of the WPA historical and anthropological projects done in 1935-1939.

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Business & Industry

  • Disneyland employee and promotional materials collection
    Employee training and policy guides, promotional material and brochures, and popular publications of the Disney corporation and its entertainment subsidiaries.
  • Irvine Valencia Growers Packing House records
    Includes both historic records of the packing house and materials created during a historic documentation project done prior to its demolition. 
  • Raymond L. Watson papers
    The extant files of the former President and CEO of the Irvine Company.  Watson was the Company’s chief planner when UCI was being built.  Includes his speeches, correspondence, unpublished writings, and professional files on urban planning, and new towns.  

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Cities & Towns

  • Dana Point Syndicate records of S.H. Woodruff
    Business records collected by the real estate developer in his capacity as head of the Dana Point Syndicate, a group of wealthy Los Angeles investors formed to finance the development of Dana Point in the late 1920s.
  • French (C. E.) Letter Books
    Bound copies of outgoing letters written by C. E. French, an entrepreneur who contributed significantly to the growth of Santa Ana, California during the mid to late 19th century.
  • Kuchel family papers
    Anaheim-related printed ephemera, photographs, and clippings printed or collected by the Kuchels, owners and publishers of the Anaheim Gazette, the first major newspaper in the County.
  • Leidal (George) collection on the City of Irvine
    Agendas and minutes from the first years of the Irvine City Council and the Irvine Planning Commission collected by this local newspaper reporter.

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Environmental Issues

  • Grindle (Shirley) papers
    Grindle is an environmental and political activist and a self-proclaimed "watchdog" for Orange County campaign ethics.  She also was an Orange County Planning Commissioner.
  • Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. records
    Documents the first 20 years of Laguna Greenbelt, a non-profit organization founded in 1968 to preserve the open space bordering Laguna Beach.
  • Moulton-Niguel Water District Board of Directors minutes
    The Board’s meeting minutes, 1974-1980. This collection has not yet been organized; please contact us for more information.
  • Orange County environmental issues, land use, and planning collection
    Correspondence, reports, court documents, minutes, photographs, and clippings from the Board of Supervisors documenting agricultural preserves, beach erosion, and redistricting.
  • Padve (Martha) papers on Crystal Cove Historic District
    Her personal papers documenting the beach community of Crystal Cove, where Padve was a long-time resident and a leader of the Crystal Cove Residents' Association.
  • Robinson (Frank and Francis) papers
    Research materials documenting the Robinsons’ lawsuits fighting the proposed land swap between Orange County and the Irvine Company that would have allowed the Company to develop the Upper Newport Bay. This collection has not yet been organized; please contact us for more information.
  • Rosener (Judy) papers
    Reports, surveys, research materials, and writings of the UCI professor, including material from her tenure on the South Coast Regional Coastal Commission, in particular the Bolsa Chica salt-water lagoon. This collection has not yet been organized; please contact us for more information.
  • Santa Margarita Water District records
    Meeting packets for board meetings, project planning analyses and reports dealing with wastewater disposal, water reclamation, water facility regulations, and water importation.
  • Serrano Irrigation District Records
    Documents the history of the Serrano Irrigation District (now known as the Serrano Water District), including records from the various historical water associations and companies that served the Villa Park region.
  • Upper Newport Bay collection
    Chiefly governmental and non-profit organization reports and handouts concerning the proposed Upper Newport Bay land swap between the County of Orange and the Irvine Company in 1965.
  • Warner (Willis H.) papers
    Thorough documentation of his 24 years on the Orange County Board of Supervisors (1930s-1960s) when much County infrastructure was being planned and constructed.  Also records of his family hardware store.

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Family History

  • Armor (Samuel and Alice L.) papers
    Samuel Armor wrote the first book-length history of Orange County.  His wife Alice was the publisher of the Orange Post.  Letters, photographs, ephemera, and writings.
  • Forster-Del Valle family correspondence
    Letters and ephemera dating from 1804-1958 of two prominent families in the San Juan Capistrano area.
  • Huntley family papers
    Documents the families and business ventures of Tustin residents Helen Gulick and William M. Huntley, including family photographs, correspondence, business records and household accounts.
  • Kuchel Family papers
    Anaheim-related printed ephemera, photographs, and clippings gathered by the Kuchel family, owners and publishers of the Anaheim Gazette.
  • Modjeska (Helena) collection
    Modjeska was a renowned 19-century Polish stage actress who had a successful career in the U.S. and owned a home, Arden, in Santiago Canyon.
  • Phelps (Edna W.) collection
    Photographs, correspondence, diaries, and family materials documenting four generations of the Phelps, Gulick, and related families, 1880-1920.
  • Pleasants Family papers
    The personal papers of J.E. Pleasants and his first two wives, Mary Refugio Carpenter Pleasants and Adelina Pleasants.  Includes diaries, correspondence, manuscripts, and photographs.
  • Rice Family papers
    Photographs and other materials documenting the prominent James S. and Cora Rice family of Tustin and their relatives, including Harvey M. Rice and Nettie Rice, who were related by marriage to James Irvine.  Includes correspondence between Mrs. Rice and Helena Modjeska.

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community

We are actively building collections in this area and more will be available in the near future. For more information about supporting these efforts, please see our brochure Documenting the LGBT Communities in Orange County

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In addition to these collections, the UCI Libraries have a full run of the Orange County Register and its predecessors online and on microfilm.  Search Library Search by title for additional local newspapers.

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  • Badham (Robert) papers
    Records of his 25 years of public service representing Newport Beach in the California State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Bergeson (Marian) papers
    Documents her years representing Newport Beach in the California State Senate.
  • California Political Publication and Ephemera Collection
    A small collection of publications and ephemera (1936-1989) documenting California and Orange County legislators and politicians such as Robert Badham, John Briggs, Dennis Carpenter, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Ronald Reagan, and John Schmitz.
  • Carpenter (Dennis E.) papers
    The legislative files of the California State Senator from North Orange County.
  • Patterson (Jerry M.) papers
    Clippings, photographs, publicity materials, reports, and other materials from his years in the U.S. House of Representatives (1975-1984).
  • Schmitz (John G.) Campaign Materials
    Clippings, correspondence, press releases and other materials from his 1972 campaign as the nominee of the American Independent Party for President of the U.S.

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Women in the Public Sphere

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