The University Archives Photograph Collection documents the history of the campus, from its inception as a satellite campus to Los Angeles State College in 1954, to its establishment as San Fernando Valley State College (SFVSC) in 1958 and subsequent renaming as California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 1971, to the present day. A large portion of the collection documents student life, academic activities, and CSUN employees. The photographs span several decades and demonstrate a well-rounded view of clubs and associations, informational fairs, academic events and projects, student support services, events on campus, performances, political activity, and demonstrations. The collection is arranged into eleven major series: Academics (1956-2007), Alumni (1966-1992), Athletics (1959-2008), Campus (1886, 1950-2001), Donors (1969-1992), Events on Campus (1956-2012), Earthquakes (1971-1999), Faculty, Staff, and Administration (1956-2002), Libraries (1956-2008), Students (1956-1995), and Visitors (1960-1995). Photographic material consists of color and black and white, negatives, proof sheets, and slides. Because this is an assembled collection, there is little documentation to accompany the images.
Series I, Academics, documents classroom scenes, academic projects, programs organized by an academic department, scholarships given by departments, and donors to a specific academic department. The series contains two subseries: San Fernando Valley State College (1957-1972) and California State University, Northridge (1956-2007). The names on the folders reflect the department name that is contemporary to the photographs within. There is heavy emphasis on the sciences, engineering, and the Theatre Department. Titles of theater productions can also be found in the box list. This series also contains programs and resources provided through the Division of Academic Affairs such as, the Learning Resource Center and youth programs. The folders within the subseries are arranged alphabetically by academic department or school (i.e. English, department of or Humanities, school of).
Series II, Alumni, documents the activities of individual alumni as well as alumni events and clubs. The series is arranged alphabetically by topic.
Series III, Athletics, documents athletes, athletic teams, and sports games. All levels of athletics are represented in this series, from Division I to intramural sports. The series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the sport.
Series IV, Campus, documents campus buildings and construction through photos, negatives, and slides. As many of the buildings have changed names several times over the history of the campus, folder titles reflect the name of the building contemporary to the photo taken. The series also contains photographs of outdoor artwork, groundbreaking ceremonies, aerial photographs, and early photo albums commemorating the new SFVSC campus. There are a significant number of slides in this series which depict the communities and areas surrounding the campus, maps, and architectural plans. This series is arranged alphabetically by building or structure name.
Series V, Donors, documents donors, check presentations, and the President’s donor clubs through photos, slides, and negatives. The donor club photos include fundraising events and groups photos. This series does not include donors to specific academic departments; those photos will be found in the Academic Series. The series is arranged alphabetically by name or topic.
Series VI, Events on Campus, documents a wide range of events that occurred on campus through photographs, negatives, and slides. Events include: commemorative events, political forums, vendor fairs, performances, exhibits, conferences, and demonstrations. There are many photos depicting folk art, music festivals, and cultural events, as well as protests and political demonstrations on campus. Significant events documented in this series include rallies and protests organized in reaction to the events of November 4, 1968, and the George McGovern political rally which featured speakers, Cass Elliott and Jon Voight. This series is arranged alphabetically by topic or event title.
Series VII, Earthquakes, contains photos, negatives, and slides documenting the two major earthquakes that caused damage to the campus. Images are divided into two subseries: Sylmar Earthquake (1971-1986) and Northridge Earthquake (1994-1999). The photographs in this series depict the aftermath of the earthquakes, damage to campus buildings, emergency workers, temporary buildings, press statements, and building reconstruction. The subseries are arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by topic.
Series VIII, Faculty, Staff, and Administration, documents anyone employed by the university, contractors, board members, and faculty wives. This series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the individual, department, or group. Photographs include portraits, clubs and associations, conferences, meetings, and parties.
Series IX, Libraries, contains photographs, negatives, and slides documenting the Oviatt library, South Library, and temporary library buildings. There are also images depicting staff parties, events taking place within the library, building construction, donors to the library, and library exhibits. The series is arranged alphabetically by library name.
Series X, Students, documents individual students, student life, accomplishments, clubs, exchange students, activities and resources through photos, negatives, and slides. There is also subject matter that falls under the purview of the Division of Student Affairs. These include images of career planning and fairs, counseling centers, handicapped and disabled student centers, the National Center on Deafness (NCOD), and the University Student Union programs. This series also contains photos of commencements and incoming students at registration and orientation. Photos are arranged alphabetically by topic.
Series XI, Visitors, documents the notable visitors to campus through photographs, negatives and slides. CSUN had strong ties to foreign communities and there are many images of foreign ambassadors and visitors. There are also many photos of political figures including Lyndon Johnson, President Clinton, Robert Kennedy, and Tom Bradley, and visiting actors, musicians, authors and nobel prize winners. Some visitors of note are: Cesar Chavez, Ray Bradbury, Sally Ride, Buckminster Fuller, and Andre Segovia. The series is arranged alphabetically.