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University Archives: Researching Cal Poly

Researching Cal Poly in the University Archives and beyond

Finding Digitized Photos

You can find selected digitized photographs and other visual materials in the library's Online Archive. By using the filters on the left-hand side under "Narrow your search" you can limit your results to specific formats of materials.

Online Archive

This is just a selection of materials from the archives. Contact us at if you don't find what you are looking for online, there may be items in the archives that we haven't digitized yet.

Refining your online search - tips and tricks

You can limit your search to "Still Image" to search images (versus text or audiovisual). However, there are additional images that may be included in "Text"-classified documents, such as the El Rodeo yearbooks. It's always easier to start with a broad search and then narrow down your results as needed.

Selected photo-rich collections:

Audiovisual materials

Some audiovisual materials are digitized in the archives as well. This includes oral histories, VHS tapes of campus events, KCPR student radio, and Music Department LPs.


Aston Postcard Collection

Collage of photos from the Aston Postcard Collection

When the fledgling California Polytechnic School was founded on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo in 1901, school administrators emphasized two courses of study: agriculture and mechanics. After nearly six years of operation, local photographer Frank Aston was hired to photograph students at work and play. There are more 200 photographic images of Cal Poly and its environs, including ranches, buildings, views of the campus, livestock, special events, and athletics from those early days included in this collection, offering a rich visual record of life at this rural vocational school.

Links to the Land Sponsors

The Aston Postcard Collection is part of our Links to the Land: San Luis Obispo County Environmental Archives. The development of the Links to the Land archive has been made possible through the generous gifts from the James and Norma Sinton family.