“Hey, Culligan Man”

Culligan-Truck_1963Have you seen a Culligan® Water truck driving by? Maybe you have a Culligan® Water filter in your home? Or, you know the catch-phrase “Hey, Culligan Man?”                Have you wondered from where the Culligan® name comes?


Culligan Water was founded by Emmett Joseph Culligan, who was also a prominent donor of time and money to the founding of the University of San Diego. In 1979, Culligan’s family donated the personal and business records of Emmett Culligan to the archives at USD. An online guide to Culligan’s collection is now available both at Digital USD and on the Online Archive of California.

Delving into Emmett Culligan’s records provides a look at Culligan as an inventor, entrepreneur, businessman, family man, and devout Catholic. Dated during the time of World War II and the Cold War, contemporary topics of race, war, environment, Communism, Catholicism and prophecies are included throughout these records. Genealogical records, correspondence, and family photographs comprise the bulk of Culligan’s personal records. Of particular significance are the 1919 letters between Emmett and Anna Harrington (later Anna Culligan) during their early courtship, and letters between Emmett, Anna, and their son Tom through the 1940s. These dozens of letters give insight into Culligan’s life in Porter, Minnesota, into early twentieth century courtship, and into Emmett and Anna’s perceptions of world events including World War II.



Emmett Culligan patented this calendar in 1934 to assist with tracking fertility.

Culligan’s professional records document his array of entrepreneurial ventures, primarily his founding of what became Culligan, Inc. Culligan was keenly interested in many topics of water including softening water, water’s impact on health,  desalination of water, and ways of locating water. This is documented throughout the collection by way of correspondence with researchers, colleagues, and government officials, Culligan’s writing and speeches, and invention and patent information. Other interests, projects, and investments pertaining to land, elk, health, and fertility tracking are also included.

Demonstration of Culligan’s ties to both the University of San Diego and his Catholic faith are prevalent throughout these records. Correspondence between Culligan and Bishop Buddy reveals their strong friendship, and Culligan’s involvement with the fundraising campaign for USD.

Not only does this collection provide a visual look at Culligan’s life through his papers, photographs, and artifacts, we have the rare treasure of hearing Culligan speak. With thirty 78 rpm vinyl and lacquer records we can hear Culligan be interviewed about Culligan Zeolite, comment on his Catholic faith, discuss the flying saucer sightings of 1947, and hear Culligan radio jingles of the 1940s.

If you are interested in learning more about Emmett Culligan, or viewing his collection, please contact University Archives and Special Collections at spcoll@sandiego.edu.


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May Day! May Day!

How did you mark the first of May this year? May 1 is a day that has been honored for years by people all over the world, as a way of acknowledging the change of season, and later as a day to honor the fight for workers’ rights.

In Celtic religion, the festivals of Beltane marked the half year, and the change from darkness to light. In later Roman times, Beltane merged with Floralia festivals devoted to the goddess Flora. Copley has a number of books on both ancient Celtic and Roman religions:

Dictionary of Celtic religion and culture by Bernhard Maier

Celtic religion in Roman Britain by Graham Webster

Myths and legends of the Celts by James MacKillop

A companion to Roman religion edited by Jörg Rüpke

Pagan Britain by Ronald Hutton

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Have you ever joined in a May Pole celebration? Another May 1 custom, historians believe this ceremony has its root in fertility beliefs. For detailed instructions, see this article from the April 1, 1909 edition of the Journal of Education

May Pole.png


May 1 is also International Workers Day. In 1886, 300,000 workers across the United States walked out of their jobs in a fight for the eight-hour work day. Read more about it:

May day: a short history of the international workers’ holiday, 1886-1986  by Philip S. Foner


However you mark the passage of time from April to May, remember that Copley has the resources you need to read up on the history and culture of the festivities.



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Faculty Favorites for National Library Week

Last week marked the 60th anniversary of National Library week; a national observance designed to promote library use and support, celebrated by libraries across the country every April. This year Copley Library participated with a “Faculty Favorites” display. Thirteen USD faculty members from across campus told us a little bit about their favorite book. It was wonderful to read all the different responses – from literary classics to inspirational texts, adventure stories, and more. Click the images below to read each participant’s quote and get inspired for your next read!

We also encouraged visitors to tell us their favorites throughout the week in person and via social media. We received over 25 responses from USD students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Highlights from the visitor contributions include Music: An Appreciation, My Own Country, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Power of Nonviolent Action. We will feature details of all the “What’s your favorite?” contributions in an upcoming library display.

Below is a complete list of the Faculty participants and their selections. Click the links to locate and borrow the items from Copley Library or Circuit.

Thank you again to all our participating faculty and library visitors! We look forward to bringing you more Faculty Favorites next April. 

If you are interested in partnering with Copley Library on future events, please contact our Access and Outreach Services Librarian, Chris Marcum, at cmarcum@sandiego.edu.

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USD at the Mingei

Some of the most unique volumes from the University of San Diego Special Collections’ are on display in Balboa Park. The Mingei International Museum exhibition Voluminous Art: Treasures from San Diego’s University Libraries Blog1-Titlelabelhighlights collections from the libraries of UC San Diego, San Diego State University and University of San Diego. The exhibit presents books as art from medieval manuscripts, to 1960s comic books, to artists’ books of the mid-2000s. 19th century texts with intricate bindings and ornamentation, illustrated volumes of flora and fauna, miniature books, and images only seen by UV light are among the many pieces available to peruse. Not only are these books unique works of art, all are part of the vast special collections available to San Diegans and San Diego visitors in local University libraries.

Volumes from the University of San Diego Special Collections artists book collection are prominently displayed throughout the exhibit. These artists books can defy common conceptions of a ‘book’ as a paginated work of text with a cover. They are illuminations of the connection between art, history, culture, and literature.

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On first glance, Justin James Reed’s, 2013, appears to be blank white pages. Turning on the ultraviolet light, though, illuminates the once invisible firefly ink, revealing Reed’s art. Carol Schwartzott’s OLA MOLA: A Brief History of the Kuna Indians uses a unique style of text and art to celebrate the history of the Kuna of the San Blas Islands of Panama. Jana Sim’s Language Mobius shows her process conversation as she learned English. In Oh Give Me a Home, Alicia McKim uses vintage postcards to create three-dimensional scenes which nod to 1950s westerns in film and television.

All of these works, and many more, are on view at the Mingei International Museum through September 3rd, 2018. After September 3rd, visitors to USD can get an even closer look at these works of art by visiting the University Archives and Special Collections.

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16th Annual Kyoto Prize Symposium


On Thursday, March 22, the 16th annual Kyoto Prize Symposium will take place at the University of San Diego in the Shiley Theatre.  The Kyoto Prize Symposium is presented by The Inamori Foundation and the University of San Diego. This year’s honoree is the 2017 Arts & Philosophy Kyoto Prize Laureate Dr. Richard Taruskin, a musicologist and critic.  The Prize presentation will take place on the morning of March 22 at 10:30am. A lecture by Dr. Taruskin entitled “The Many Dangers of Music” will take place in the afternoon at 2pm.  The public can attend either event and should RSVP at  this link.


Dr. Richard Taruskin has pioneered a new dimension in Western music culture through musicology research that transcends conventional historiographical methodologies, issuing sharp critical analysis backed by exhaustive knowledge of many diverse fields. His unrivaled perspective has significantly influenced both performance and study, elevating the importance and creative value of critical discourse to the music world.  Dr. Taruskin’s critical practices and deep academic insights have changed music as we know it, pioneering a new realm of music research, which can go beyond the boundary between conventional criticism and musicology, and between historical musicology and ethnomusicology.  Read more.


To discover more about this fascinating award winner and Professor Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley, visit the Library’s exhibit featuring this revolutionary musicologist or visit the library’s subject guide here.IMG_2538

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Going-ons in the library this chilly spring!

Special Events! On Monday, February 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm the library will be hosting Duchess Harris, PhD for a discussion on the Black Women of NASA in the Mother Hill Reading Room. Join us to learn more about the black women who worked at NASA in the 1940s as human computers. The event is free to attend but seating limited. To RSVP email cespineli@sandiego.edu. To learn more about the time period and these women’s amazing feats, check out this research guide created by our University Archivist, Diane Maher here.

Black Women of NASA talk by Dr. Duchess Harris at USD on Feb 26, 2018 at 7 pm

Black Women of NASA by Dr. Duchess Harris at USD on Feb 26, 2018 at 7 pm

Workshops! Our workshop series for the semester got underway last week. The workshops’ topics range from learning about the library’s many research tools to specific citation styles such as APA, Chicago, and MLA.  To find out more about the library workshops and sign up for one click here

Spring Workshops sign

Open Education Week! Through the week of March 5, Copley Library is supporting Open Education Week by hosting events and a contest. On Monday March 5 at 12pm, Copley Library will have a table in front of the library asking students to answer two questions regarding their current textbook expenses and take a selfie with their answer. On Tuesday, March 6 Amanda Makula, Digital Initiatives Librarian, will be teaching a faculty workshop on open access. Through the week of March 5, USD faculty and students will be invited to participate in a contest at the Access Services Desk. You can learn more about Open Education Week here

Open Education Week sign

And remember we’re still open until 2 am Sunday through Thursday for you studying and research activities! For special hours check out the library’s schedule here.

The weather should be warming up soon, we promise!

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The San Diego Lowrider Archival Project

"Beyond Imagination"

“Beyond Imagination” owned by Steve “Masa” Wade (front view)

USD Ethnic Studies Prof. Alberto Pulido and Rigoberto Reyes, Director of Community Engagement at Via International and founding member and former president of Amigos Car Club, have collaborated over the years to document San Diego’s lowrider car culture, ultimately publishing their research in San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising and producing and directing the award-winning documentary Everything Comes From the Streets. A movement born in East-LA and most popular in the 1960s and 1970s, lowriders were highly customized cars with intricate paint-jobs and specialized hydraulics, with no details overlooked.  The cars won awards and certainly stopped traffic.  Car clubs were important gathering places for the San Diego neighborhoods of Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, National City, Old Town and San Ysidro, and a vital display of Chicano pride.

New Wave Car Club

New Wave Car Club: Photograph of club members with trophies

San Diego was home to 28 lowrider car clubs that were active from 1950 to 1985.  The San Diego Lowrider Archival Project, a collaborative, interdisciplinary endeavor between the University of San Diego and the local San Diego lowrider community, aims to recover and document the history of lowriding in San Diego and the surrounding borderlands by preserving and showcasing photographs, car club documents, memorabilia, dance posters, lowrider art, and more. These materials reflect important qualities of the lowrider movement: creativity, independence, cultural pride, resistance, activism, community service, collectivism, tradition and ritual, and cultural continuity. Visit the collection here.

Brown Car Club

Brown Image Car Club: A gathering at Chicano Park

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