Archival photos of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Santa Barbara
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, circa 1926 (left), and in 2000. Photos courtesy of Mary Robles.

Library collaboration showcases Santa Barbara community history

Nostalgia tends to run deep for simpler times, when life unfolded much slower than the leaps and bounds of our current tech-fueled pace. At the same time, today’s technology makes it much easier to store and share our records of the past, from birthdays and ball games to graduations and weddings.

Bringing together that past and present, UC Santa Barbara Library Special Research Collections is returning to the city’s Eastside to share family photographs and home videos gathered last fall during its inaugural outreach to preserve the community history of surrounding neighborhoods. The Santa Barbara Community Archives Showcase takes place from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Eastside Library (1102 East Montecito St.).

Free and open to the public, the event, produced in collaboration with Santa Barbara Public Library, will include a screening of home movies, talks on the history of the Eastside Library and nearby Ortega Park and a reading by Melinda Palacio, the city of Santa Barbara 2023–2025 poet laureate. UCSB’s Santa Barbara Community Archives Project (SBCAP) is supported by California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

At a community event last November, SBCAP provided free scanning and digital copies of family photos and videos. While focused on preserving the Eastside’s predominately Latinx history, the event also welcomed families from other neighborhoods and gathered dozens of images and videos, from black-and-white family portraits and group shots at local churches to ballet recitals, soccer games and excerpts from Carpinteria High School’s annual video yearbook. By submitting their photos and videos for free scanning and copying, contributors agreed to allow UCSB to showcase the collections and make them available to the public.

“This is an ongoing project,” said Angel Diaz, UCSB Library’s curator of California Ethnic & Multicultural Archives. “Although we focused on the Eastside most recently, we are interested in working in collaboration with more groups and community organizations capturing families across the city and county of Santa Barbara.”

Portrait of the Lopez family, circa 1940.
Augustin Uribe (left) fled the Mexican Revolution and changed his name to Antonio "Tony" Lopez. Pictured with wife Sara and baby Chana, circa 1940. Photo courtesy of Mary Robles.

Carpinteria High School Video Yearbook highlight, 1996-97. Courtesy of Carpinteria High School.

Media Contact

Keith Hamm

Social Sciences, Humanities & Fine Arts Writer

Share this article