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University Archives: Researching Cal Poly

Researching Cal Poly in the University Archives and beyond

Secondary Sources on Cal Poly History

The following secondary source materials contain information about Cal Poly history. 

Many of the secondary sources listed below are the products of research using Cal Poly University Archives collections. As you read these secondary sources, take careful note of their footnotes and citations; they will point you to University Archives collections that may be helpful to your own research.

Cal Poly History Timeline

A  timeline of Cal Poly's history:

Selected Bibliography of Books about Cal Poly History

General History

Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years. San Luis Obispo: Robert E. Kennedy Library, 2001.

Print copies: LD729.6.S5 C344 2001

​Kennedy, Robert E. Learn by Doing: Memoirs of a University President: A Personal Journey with the Seventh President of California Polytechnic State University. San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic State University, 2001.

Print Copy in library: LD729.6.S5 K42 2001

Internet access full text

Marx, Steven. Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide. San Luis Obispo: Cal Poly Foundation, 2002.

Print copy in library: LD729.6.S5 C3543 2002  

Internet access full text download:

Smith, Morris Eugene. A History of California State Polytechnic College: The First Fifty Years, 1901-1951. Dissertation. 1958.

Print copy: LD729.C99 S6 1958 

Internet access:

Early History

Angel, Myron. History of the California Polytechnic School at San Luis Obispo, California. San Luis Obispo: Tribune Print, 1907.

Print copy: LD729.C99 A5 1908

Internet access: 

Land and Ag History

Stechman, John. An Illustrated History of Land Acquisition and Development for Agricultural Education: California Polytechnic State University. San Luis Obispo: Cal Poly Foundation, 1985.

Print copy in library: LD729.6.S5 S7 1985

College and Department Histories

  • College of Architecture and Environmental Design: Fillip, Janice. The vision : founding the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2001. Print Copy.
  • Computer Science Department: Keller, Elmo A. History of Cal Poly Computer Science Department. 
  • Dairy Science Department: Starkey, Gene. Rich Heritage of the Cal Poly Dairy Science Department. San Luis Obispo: Dairy Science Department, 1991. Print copies in library: LD729.6.S5 S68 1991
  • Environmental Engineering: Cota, Harold. Environmental Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo: A Legacy of Learn by Doing. 2018.
  • Ethnic Studies: Grace Yeh and Catherine Trujillo. Here for a Reason: 1969 to 2019 - Fifty Years of Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly. 2020. Online Access.
  • Graphic Communication: Graphic Communication Department 60th Anniversary, 1946-2006.
  • Ornamental Horticulture: Brown, Howard C. Memories of the Ornamental Horticulture Department: 1939 to 1976. 2004.
  • Poultry: Pautz, Roland K. Poultry Instruction at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo: The first 100 years. 2009.

Student Research Papers on Cal Poly History

Cal Poly students can submit their research to the library. These materials can be accessed at the following locations:

Searching Cal Poly's library catalog

Search the library catalog for books about Cal Poly

You can search across all Kennedy Library holdings (published books, articles, senior projects, and masters theses) at this link: 

Here are some places to begin your search: