Guide to the Preston Sawyer Collection, 1899-1968

Processed by Special Collections & UCSC OAC Unit.
The University Library
Special Collections and Archives
University Library
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California, 95064
Email: specoll@library.ucsc.edu
URL: http://library.ucsc.edu/speccoll/
© 2003
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Note

History

Guide to the Preston Sawyer Collection, 1899-1968

Collection number: MS 82

Note

This online finding aid is not edited and the container list is not yet available. Please check this website for updates.
The University Library

Special Collections and Archives

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

Contact Information:

  • Special Collections and Archives
  • University Library
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Santa Cruz, California, 95064
  • Email: specoll@library.ucsc.edu
  • URL: http://library.ucsc.edu/speccoll/
Processed by:
Special Collections & UCSC OAC Unit
Date Completed:
May 2003
Encoded by:
UCSC OAC Unit
© 2003 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
This file last updated: June 27, 2003.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Preston Sawyer Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1899-1968
Collection number: MS 82
Collector: Sawyer, Preston
Extent: 55 linear ft

45 boxes
Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Abstract: This collection includes correspondence, postcard collections, postmark (opening day and final day) collections, historical photographs of Santa Cruz area and the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, photo albums and scrapbooks of the early film stars and movie industry in the Santa Cruz mountains, and miscellaneous Santa Cruz ephemera. Also included are 16mm films of Santa Cruz events, negatives and glass plate negatives.
Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is unprocessed and unavailable for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Preferred Citation

Preston Sawyer Collection. MS 82. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Ariel Sawyer.

Biography

Preston Sawyer, collector, proofreader and historical writer, was born in Santa Cruz on December 6, 1899. He was a life-long bachelor who lived with his brother Ariel, also a bachelor, who ran the Sawyer Tile Company. As a youth, Preston Sawyer worked as a movie extra in the very early movie industry located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A prolific amateur photographer, he snapped hundreds of pictures of the movie stars and the sets while waiting for work. In addition to taking his own, including, for example, a series of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, taken from a 16 year old's point of view, he also collected pictures covering early Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas.
In 1935 he was hired at the Santa Cruz Sentinel as a proofreader, a job he held for almost three decades, except for a stint in the Army during World War II. In 1948, he began a weekly feature "Santa Cruz Yesterdays" which appeared in the Sunday Sentinel. The articles were based on his extensive collection of photographs and reference materials, many culled from local second-hand shops he visited on his lunch hours. By 1955, approximately 364 historical picture-stories had been printed. Sawyer retired from the Sentinel in 1962.
Sawyer was also a stamp collector and over the years amassed a large collection of first day postal stamps and last day postal stamps with cancellations of every single post office in California. He collected postcards depicting just about anything from anywhere he went, including ones with cancellations which when put together would make a sentence. He also made sure he had postmarks from Preston, Alabama and Sawyer, Michigan.
In the late 1960s Sawyer's treasure trove of Santa Cruz and California history, collected over the course of his life, was purchased by and split between the Santa Cruz Public Library and the University Library at UCSC. The reference materials and books went to the Public Library while the University received the postal collections and correspondence, as well as photographs, glass plate and film negatives, and films.
Preston Sawyer died in October of 1968 in a rest home in Watsonville, after a five year illness.

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection includes correspondence, postcard collections, postmark (opening day and final day) collections, historical photographs of Santa Cruz area and the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, photo albums and scrapbooks of the early film stars and movie industry in the Santa Cruz mountains, and miscellaneous Santa Cruz Ephemera.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Sawyer, Preston--Archives.

Material Cataloged Separately

"What the Camera Saw in Monterey and Vicinity, Sept. 17-21, 1919", by Preston Sawyer; F869.M7 S29 1919, Special Collections and Archives.
"History of Richard Headrick, 'the little minister,' nine years old", 1927, by Hazel Headrick; BX8495.H4H4, Special Collections and Archives.