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Guide to the Alfred W. Robertson Papers
Mss 106  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Alfred W. Robertson Papers
    Dates: ca. 1906-1979
    Bulk Dates: 1934-1959
    Collection Number: Mss 106
    Creator: Robertson, Alfred W.
    Extent: 1.3 linear feet (1 document box, 3 oversize boxes, and 3 sound recordings)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Abstract: Biographical files, correspondence, documents, clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, and sound recordings of a leading California State Assembly member from Santa Barbara, responsible for introducing and leading support of a bill to authorize transfer of Santa Barbara State College to the University of California system. Robertson Gym is named after him. He also authored a bill limiting development of coastal oil drilling, and led a movement to reform the California state constitution.
    Physical Location: Box 1 (Del Sur); Boxes 2-4 (Del Sur Oversize); Sound Recordings (Annex 2).
    Language: English.

    Access Restrictions

    None.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Alfred W. Robertson Papers. Mss 106. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. Alfred W. Robertson, ca, 1972-1980, and Willie M. Wilton, 1975.

    Biography

    Alfred Worcester Robertson was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire on June 29, 1889. His father, Samuel W. Robertson (1850-1938), was an elementary school teacher who became a much-loved figure at the Santa Barbara High School after moving his family to California in 1908. At that time, Alfred, who was throughout his life known as either "Bobby" or "Robbie," had completed his freshman year at Dartmouth and transferred to Occidental College in Los Angeles so he could join his family on their move west. He was very active in collegiate sports, participating in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He also appeared in several school plays, and entered a number of oratorical contests. He went on to attend Stanford University, received his Juris Doctor degree, and was admitted to the California bar in 1913. He established a law practice in Santa Barbara, where he would live for the rest of his life. He also married his "college sweetheart," Edith Ireland, and their son Richard was born in 1918.
    Alfred W. Robertson was first elected to the California State Assembly in 1934, and from the beginning of his political career, he sought to see the college in Santa Barbara become part of the University of California system. He took the first step toward this goal in 1935, when he succeeded in passing an act that changed the school from a Teachers' College to a State College. He continued to work toward this aim for many years, facing resistance from the UC Regents, who were opposed to adding schools from the state college system into their network. However, Robertson quickly increased his power and influence, rising to be the State Chairman of the Democratic Party during World War II. He enjoyed bipartisan popularity and was elected to six additional terms to the state legislature, sometimes running without Republican opposition. Finally, in October 1943, the UC Regents accepted his proposal, and the school became known as UCSBC - the University of California Santa Barbara College.
    Also in 1943, Robertson met Marilyn Cooper (1903-1990), a journalist and professional singer. They were married in 1948, following Robertson's divorce from his first wife. Sadly, Robertson suffered a massive heart attack in 1950, and would be in poor health until his death on January 19, 1958. Marilyn Robertson championed her husband's memory and lobbied for a fitting memorial on the campus that he helped create. On September 18, 1959, the Alfred W. Robertson Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated at UCSB.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of Alfred W. Robertson, a leading member of the California State Assembly from Santa Barbara, who served from 1934-1948. Robertson was responsible for introducing and leading support of a bill to authorize transfer of Santa Barbara State College to the University of California system. He also authored a bill limiting development of coastal oil drilling, and led a movement to reform the California state constitution. The collection contains biographical files, correspondence, documents, clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, and sound recordings, mainly relating to Robertson's legislative career and the posthumous naming of UCSB's Robertson Gym in honor of his efforts on behalf of the university.
    Abbreviations: AWR = Alfred W. Robertson

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Education, Higher.
    Education -- California -- History.
    California -- Politics and government.
    Santa Barbara (Calif.) -- History, Local.
    Robertson, Alfred W.
    University of California, Santa Barbara.