University of Arizona

Special Collections is available by appointment. Read our update.


Destruction Swirls Out of Clouds: Recounting the Wreckage Caused by a Rare Tucson Tornado

Jul 31, 2014

It appears as though the monsoons have arrived here in the Sonoran Desert. This is a most beloved time of year for us desert rats, when, sometimes like clockwork, desert storms roll in every afternoon and dump much needed rain on the overheated city. The monsoon showers are such a relief that we often forget they bring Southern Arizona’s only real natural disasters in the form of flash flooding and violent storms. The monsoons also bring enough moisture to create a climate for the rare tornado, like the one seen in this 1964 photograph.

A History of Tucson's Street Cars

Jul 23, 2014

Sun Link Tucson Streetcar service kicks off this week connecting downtown, 4th Ave and the University of Arizona, providing another public transportation alternative. However, streetcars are not a new idea in Tucson. Since 1897, Tucson has used street cars to move people through the business and residential areas near downtown and the University of Arizona. 

Cattle Ranching in Arizona: Historical Landmarks

Jul 15, 2014

With the infamous “Cow Appreciation Day” on July 15th, the diverse history of cattle ranching in the state of Arizona is notable. Arizona’s first permanent ranch, Sierra Bonita Ranch, was founded in 1872 by Henry C. Hooker. Soon after the founding of Sierra Bonita Ranch, other cattlemen took up residence throughout the state and began profitable ranches. The Hilton Ranch operated in the early 1900s and included over 12,000 acres of land. However, Arizona’s cattle industry owes much of its success to Walter L. Vail and Empire Ranch.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at Special Collections

Jul 2, 2014

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. It is known as landmark legislation which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in schools, workplaces, and businesses serving the public. It also required literacy tests for voter registration in federal elections be equally administered to everyone. 

Celebrating Great Outdoor Month with the University of Arizona Photograph Collection

Jun 25, 2014

Beginning in the mid-1990’s, June is proclaimed each year as Great Outdoor Month in the United States. This week long commemoration was expanded to a month long celebration of outdoor recreation and the need to protect and conserve the lands and waters of the nation. All year long Tucson has many opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities such as camping on Mt. Lemmon during the summer, birding in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in spring or hiking in Sabino Canyon during the fall.

Celebrating Superman Week with the Special Collections Comic Book Collection

Jun 11, 2014

This week the town of Metropolis, IL is holding the 36th annual Superman Celebration Festival.  The festival is held between June 12-15 and features celebrity speakers, costume contests, and other events celebrating the man of steel with crowds for the event expected to reach over 30,000!  In an effort to boost tourism to the struggling town, Metropolis, IL declared itself the official home of Superman in 1972, which was later approved by Illinois House of Representatives Resolution 572.  Soon thereafter the town began to fashion itself on the fictional home of Superman by handing out free

Arizona Senior Follies: A Campus Sensation

May 30, 2014

The Senior Follies would put on remarkable productions at the University of Arizona that included musicals, dancing, comedy routines, and skits from 1920 to 1930. Their productions included both Broadway performances from New York and original productions. The Senior Follies consisted of 8-10 students from the senior class. (“A photographic History of the University of Arizona, 1885-1985”, 164).

Remembering the Bisbee Deportation of 1917

Apr 29, 2014

This week, on May 1st is May Day or International Worker’s Day in many parts of the world. In America we generally celebrate Labor Day in September, but in Europe and other parts of the world May 1st is a workers holiday that dates back to the 1880s, and was inspired by the Haymarket riots of 1886 in Chicago. The history of labor movements in America has been turbulent at best. The extraction industries that came to define the Western United States would create a high demand for human labor.

Archivist Apprenticeship

Apr 14, 2014

…an archives apprenticeship in Special Collections at the University of Arizona Libraries…

Our graduate assistants have been busy this semester with multiple projects.  Please see what they've been up to by following the UA Libraries, Special Collections Archivist Apprenticeship Blog.