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Special Collections

The Special Collections hold the UC Merced Library’s rare books, manuscripts and other digital collections. These collections are focused largely on the varied histories of the San Joaquin Valley and on the research and scholarly interests and productions of the UC Merced academic community.

Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture (digital)

The UC Merced Library received a National Leadership Grant for Museum and Library Collaboration in 2002 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize works from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture (formerly known as the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art) in Hanford, CA. The collection includes Japanese screen and scroll paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, textiles, metalwork and woven bamboo art, with works dating from the tenth century to the present day. Areas of particular emphasis within the representative collection include Buddhist sculpture and painting, screens and scrolls of the Edo Period (1615-1868), literati-style (Nanga) painting and calligraphy, modern kimono and woodblock prints, bamboo flower baskets and sculpture, and the ceramics of the contemporary Sueharu Fukami. In 2013, the Clark Center collection was transferred to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

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Rights/Terms of Use

Property rights belong to Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Regents of the University of California have the rights to a non-transferable, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to the digital files. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. For additional information about the Clark collection, please contact Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404, (888) MIA ARTS (642-2787).

View the Finding Aid to the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture collection


Costume Designs by Dunya Ramicova (physical and digital)

UC Merced faculty member Dunya Ramicova has designed costumes for hundreds of productions of theater, opera, film, and television both in the United States and abroad. This collection of drawings spans the entirety of her oeuvre, and stands as one of the few complete collections of costume designs by a single designer held by an academic institution.

View this collection online at Calisphere.


Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel Papers (physical)

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel was born in 1918 in Stroud, Oklahoma, and moved with her family to the Central Valley of California in 1936 as part of the Dust Bowl migration.  She lived in the Central Valley, primarily in Tulare, for the remainder of her life.  Known as an “Okie Folk poet,” she is the author of more than 15 collections of poetry and prose, most dealing with aspects of life in the Central Valley. She was the subject of a film documentary by Chris Simon, “Down an Old Road: the Poetic Life of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel.”  She died April 13, 2007.

This collection includes personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, photographs, newspaper clippings and audio-visual materials documenting the life and career of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel. Also included are publications containing poetry by Wilma McDaniel and select publications from her personal library.  The audio-visual materials include interviews and scenes of Wilma McDaniel reading her poetry. 

View the Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel Collection Finding Aid at the Online Archive of California.


Chinese Seals

Jung Ying Tsao, a collector of Asian art, has given the Library a 14-volume set of imprints of ancient Chinese seals. On each page is a carefully executed impression of a seal and drawing of the seal stone. No further information on the origin or significance of these seals is available.


McLean Collection (physical and digital)

In 1849, Hosea Dudley, ancestor of Walter Doyle McLean, sailed around Cape Hope in his journey from Boston to San Francisco. He later settled in the Coulterville area near what is now Yosemite National Park. Dudley Ranch became a stagecoach stop for travelers visiting the Yosemite Valley and surrounding region. The family collection includes a register of guests with the signatures of John Muir and Thomas Edison; journals; Miwok Indian baskets; mining nuggets; and other Gold Rush era artifacts.

View this collection online at Calisphere.


Angels Camp Museum (digital)

In 2010, UC Merced undergraduate student Kyle Shipley undertook a project to digitize and curate a small collection of items from the Angels Camp Museum for his "History 190: Applied Research" internship under Professor Gregg Herken.

This collection contains multiple personal correspondences and other materials for the Inks family of Calaveras County between the years 1869 and 1889.  Letters contain personal sentiment and hopes for the family, most notably James Inks and his close family.

View this collection online at Calisphere.


Merced Mugbook (digital)

This is a partial book of mugshots, physical descriptions and sentencing history for inmates of California state prisons. Included are a handwritten list of the sheriffs of Merced County, California from 1855 to 1957 and an obituary for Sheriff Samuel Counts Cornell of Merced County, California.

View this item online at Calisphere.


World War II Japanese-American Temporary Detention Center Newsletters (digital)

While Executive Order 9066 called for the forced internment of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States, there was no existing infrastructure in place for these Japanese-Americans. The eventual detention centers were not yet completed or were not yet in a condition to house the vast numbers of internees who needed shelter. Given this, the United States military established temporary detention centers across California, Arizona and Oregon to act as stop-over locations until the larger detention centers were habitable. There were six such temporary detention centers (otherwise known as “assembly centers”) constructed in the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno, Merced, Pinedale, Stockton, Tulare and Turlock.

This collection features the internee-produced newsletters for the temporary detention centers of Merced, Pinedale, Stockton, Tulare and Turlock.

View this collection online at Calisphere.


Merced Army Flying School (digital)

The Merced Army Flying School is one of the former names of the Castle Air Force Base, now the site of the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center in Atwater, CA. This book, originally published during World War II, gives a glimpse into the daily life of this former Air Force training center.

View this item online at Calisphere.


Henry O. Nightingale Diaries (digital)

These are the diaries of British immigrant, abolitionist and Civil War veteran Henry Oliver Nightingale. Of particular note is the firsthand account of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

View this collection online at Calisphere.

View the Henry O. Nightingale Diaries Finding Aid at the Online Archive of California.