History of the Preservation Department

The University Library of the University of California at Davis dedicated its preservation department on September 13, 1990, in commemoration of a longtime library supporter, Margaret B. Harrison.

Margaret B. Harrison became interested in bookbinding in the 1930s, soon after her marriage to Michael Harrison, apprenticing for a time with master bookbinder Hazel Dreis. Although she had originally planned to teach bookbinding, World War II intervened, and Mrs. Harrison spent the war years as an adjutant and then commanding officer in the Sacramento Women's Ambulance and Transportation Corps. She did not pursue teaching. For more than four decades, however, her bookbinding skills enabled her to bind and preserve a number of volumes within the Western Americana collection that she and Michael were acquiring.

After Mrs. Harrison's death in 1980, her binding equipment and supplies were bequeathed to the University Library to support the Library's binding efforts. Mrs. Harrison's half interest in the Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center was also bequeathed to the Library. In memory of his wife, Michael Harrison has provided an endowment, the income from which will be used to augment the Library's ongoing preservation programs.

The first head of the department was Roberta Stevenson who served from 1981 until her retirement in 1988. In addition to his duties as head of the Catalog and Serials Departments, Bob Alan served as head of the Preservation Department from 1993 to August of 2000. Nancy Kushigian came to the Preservation Department in May of 2001 as Digital Initiatives and Preservation Librarian.