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Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center

Shields Library (Lobby - Archives and Special Collections)

September 9, 2006 - March 23, 2007

The University Library is featuring several exhibits on the Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center collection. Michael and Margaret Harrison collected over 21,000 volumes, Native American baskets and pottery, sculptures, western paintings, and other rare items. Collected over a period of more than eighty years it is one of the finest Western Americana collections ever built by private individuals. The collection was donated in 2006 to the Regents of the University of California for the University Library and is administered by the Department of Special Collections.

Exhibit Details

A biographical exhibit providing information about Michael and Margaret Harrison is featured in the exhibit cases in Shields Library in front of Special Collections. Prepared by Daryl Morrison, Head of Special Collections, and John Skarstad, University Archivist, the exhibit traces Michael Harrison’s life through his days as a Park Service Ranger at the Grand Canyon National Park in the 1920s to his life as a private book collector building a major Western Americana collection. Margaret Harrison, a fine hand book binder, is featured with examples of her work.

The exhibit contains photographs, correspondence, artwork and memorabilia that illustrate the activities of the Harrisons. The exhibit at the entrance of Shields Library provides an overview of the Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center collection and features books, serials, pamphlets, and government documents from the collection. The exhibit illustrates the breadth of the Harrison Trans-Mississippi West collection and includes examples from many traditional western themes such as Native Americans, cowboys and cattlemen, outlaws, western art, biography, and other topics. Michael Harrison built the collection as a research collection and his indexing of his books and serials resulting in over 700,000 catalog cards is described in the exhibit. The Special Collections Blanchard Reading Room is featuring Michael Westergard bronzes depicting western themes from Native Americans to western fauna. The Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center has the largest known collection of Westergard bronzes.

This exhibit was prepared by Dan Goldstein, History Bibliographer, and John Sherlock, Rare Book Librarian.

Learn more about the Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center Collection

For additional information, contact Special Collections, (530) 752-1621,