UCR Library Awarded Grant to Survey Inland Empire Historical Archives

University Librarian Steve Mandeville-Gamble launched Inland Empire Memories in 2013, his goal to collect the rich cultural legacies of the region

1964 photo of Ida Largo and unidentified Navajo students in language class at Sherman. COURTESY SHERMAN INDIAN MUSEUM

1904 letter in which Loma Ventewa gives permission for his son, William Nakavu, to study at Sherman for five years. COURTESY SHERMAN INDIAN MUSEUM

The Haynes Foundation has generously awarded the UCR Library a grant of $25,000 to develop and implement a one-year survey of archival materials related to the cultural heritage of the IE region. This survey and assessment will provide the foundation of an archival database of collections held at libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and cultural heritage organizations throughout the region; this database will serve as a tool to help prioritize the preservation, digitization, and access needs for regional collections, and create preliminary descriptions that assist in making the collection more widely accessible to researchers and to the general public.

Particular emphasis will be placed on materials that document the lives of peoples and groups underrepresented in the historical record. As a way to support student engagement with important primary source research materials, students from the UCR Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Public History program and the History Department will be hired to help conduct the survey of collections and populate the database.

“IE Memories satisfies a great need in the region that we hope will grow a life all of its own, even beyond UCR,” remarks Mandeville-Gamble. The local and national impact of the historical events in this region is largely unknown by residents and scholars alike, he says. “We are honored to have received this award.”

Inland Empire Memories, a consortial effort launched in 2013, continues to grow. This alliance of cultural heritage organizations seeks to expose the primary records of those whose work fundamentally shaped the lived experiences of the people in the Inland Empire. Recent partners include the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation in Alta Loma, theSherman Indian Museum in Riverside, and California State University, San Bernardino.

Sketch of chaise lounge for bedroom, April 1973 by Sam Maloof. COURTESY SAM AND ALFREDA MALOOF FOUNDATION FOR ARTS AND CRAFTS

“We are delighted to partner with UCR on the Inland Empire Memories project,” said Cesar Caballero, Dean of the Pfau Library at Cal State San Bernardino. “This important initiative, involving an array of historical preservation stakeholders, will help build greater awareness of the region’s diverse cultural heritage, by collecting, preserving, and making accessible primary source documents that provide valuable insight on the peoples and events that have defined Inland Empire history.”

IE Memories also establishes a forum for interaction where members can engage one another. Specifically, partners will discuss the major issues affecting these primary records in order to ensure that this rich history is collected and preserved for future use. UCR’s University Archivist, Bergis Jules, will serve as Project Director for the survey grant. He has extensive experience leading collaborative projects of this caliber at institutions in Chicago and Washington D.C. “We’re tremendously thankful for the support from the Haynes Foundation for this project,” he echoes. “The Inland Empire region is full of rich history and to now have the capacity to build tools for centralizing information about this history is very exciting, and a validation of the importance of the work.”