At California Lutheran University, 356 storage boxes, in view behind glass walls, are filled with the archived papers of Ventura County’s longest-serving congressman, Elton W. Gallegly, a member of the House of Representatives from 1987 to 2013. The Gallegly Center Archive and Collection, housed within Cal Lutheran’s Pearson Library, is now open.
The extensive collection includes correspondence, reports, bills, testimonies, voting records, invoices, photographs, newspaper clippings, constituent requests and more from Gallegly’s long career in public service as congressman for three different congressional districts that cover Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and the San Fernando Valley.
Highlights of the archive, donated in 2017, include records related to his work on immigration, European Union expansion, the 9/11 Commission, the Good Friday Agreement, the Clinton impeachment hearings, the U.S. Patriot Act and the fight against cruelty to animals. Of local interest are materials that address his efforts associated with Ventura County child welfare, agriculture, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) at Naval Base Ventura County, development of the Port of Hueneme, California redistricting, and cleanup at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.
“The Pearson Library staff is very passionate about research and access to information,” said Rachel Smiley, the library’s director. “We are excited to facilitate archival research for the Cal Lutheran community, our Southern California community, as well as scholars and researchers interested in our local history. The ability to interact with and handle primary sources is so special. These are unique, firsthand accounts documenting the congressman’s professional life and work. There is no ‘second copy’ or ‘backup’ of this material.”
The collection is also “a monumental moment for Pearson Library because it is the first formal archive we are supporting,” said Meghan Kwast, the library’s head of collection management services. “This is our first opportunity to showcase something truly unique for long-term preservation.”
The collection is generally divided by Gallegly’s three congressional districts, with subcategories for administrative, legislative, constituent, media and voting record files. Access is available by appointment.
To request an appointment, or to explore the archive’s finding aid, visit www.callutheran.edu/centers/gallegly/archive.html. Appointment requests are also available by sending an email to CLUlibrary@callutheran.edu. Note that the Pearson Library will be closed due to renovations through the summer; access to the archives will begin in the fall.