Courtesy of UCR Today
Courtesy of UCR Today

The UCR library has recently been chosen to receive a $22,730 grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation to survey archival materials pertaining to the cultural history of the Inland Empire and to make them publicly available.

A proposal was compiled by University Archivist Bergis Jules and selected by the Haynes Foundation, which awards grants and scholarships to institutions working toward the betterment of society and facilitating the improvement of social problems in Los Angeles and nearby areas.

“Not only are we positioning the campus as a good steward of history, but also as a good partner in the community,” said Sara Fitzgerald, communication and stewardship director of the library. “We will be able to share the resources we discover with students and faculty who are researching related topics, as well as scholars worldwide.”

Throughout the course of a year, the funds will be used for the development and implementation of a survey seeking to discover and amass information important to cultures that have played a significant role in the sculpting of Inland Empire history.

A specific emphasis will be placed on locating information pertaining to cultures that have been historically underrepresented, such as Native Americans, Mexican-Americans and African-Americans who have influenced the region. UC Riverside currently has collections such as the Rupert Costo Library, which contains documents, books and photographs pertaining to Native American culture and history.

“I definitely think preserving the history and making information readily available for those who are interested is a great way to connect the community with the Inland Empire’s past because in today’s society it is easy to overlook and forget,” commented Ericka Johnson, a fourth-year chemical engineering major.

Collected data for this project will be formed into an archival database consisting of information from institutions such as historical and cultural organizations, libraries and museums. Through digitization, findings can be made available to broader audiences.

This new project is part of a larger, ongoing project that possesses a similar goal, known as Inland Empire (IE) Memories, a 2013 initiative which has garnered support from University Librarian Steven Mandeville-Gamble. The purpose of this initiative is to gather historical documents, records and files from those whose work has influenced the cultural makeup of the Inland Empire region.

Collaborative partnerships have been established with California State University, San Bernardino, the Sam and Alfreeda Maloof Foundation and the Sherman Indian Museum.

“We will build relationships with information seekers, research communities and regional stakeholders that facilitate a community of sharing. We will be the catalyst in making it easier for individuals to discover the history and culture of the IE,” said Fitzgerald.