University of Arizona

Special Collections is available by appointment. Read our update.


The Films of Andrew Ellicott Douglass: Astronomer, Archaeologist, and Father of Tree-Ring Dating (virtual panel discussion)

Sep 24, 2021

Dendrochronologist and founder of the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Andrew Ellicott Douglass, was an early adopter of amateur moviemaking technology. 

From the 1920s through the 1950s, Douglass used 16mm and 35mm film to document significant breakthroughs in scientific practices and research as they happened. Recording his academic undertakings in astronomy, climate science, and especially the tree-ring record, he illuminated the chronology of human settlement in the southwestern United States. 

Welcome back! Supporting students, faculty, staff & research this fall

Aug 23, 2021

This fall, Special Collections will remain closed until further notice except by appointment. Appointments are available to students, faculty, staff, and the public, Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Appointment requests must be made at least one week in advance.

Masks are required inside the Special Collections Reading Room.


An ongoing oral history of COVID-19 in Tucson

May 11, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is easily the most global story of the 21st century, yet it is also an intensely local story with striking differences across cities and regions. 

Winter closure hours

Dec 16, 2020

Special Collections will be closed from Monday, December 21, 2020 through Friday, January 8, 2021.

During this time, we will not be available to accommodate reference queries or requests for duplications, digitization or permissions. We will do our best to respond to questions and requests received through December 18. If we need to delay work on any requests, our staff will let you know as soon as we can. Please contact us if you have questions. 

Preserving films from the 1930s takes time

Sep 25, 2020

This past spring, the University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections was awarded a prestigious Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)

Assistant librarian and archivist Trent Purdy and archival assistant Amanda Howard, the principal investigators for the $39,175 grant project, are digitizing and preserving 90 motion picture films from the collection of dendrochronologist Andrew Ellicott Douglass.

Reflecting back on Tucson's protests of the 1970s

Jul 10, 2020

Current activism in response to police brutality reminds us of previous calls for justice in Tucson.

Tucson has had its share of protests echoing larger national movements, but perhaps its most iconic local protest was the occupation of the El Rio Golf Course. It was the summer of 1970, and the protest marked an intensification of efforts by the Manzo Area Council and residents of Tucson's west side to secure the creation of a neighborhood park.