The Gerald L. French Photograph Collection documents the San Jose State College West Coast Nature
School held in Death Valley in 1958. The early field school took place in Big Basin in 1931. Several San Jose State College
natural science professors lead the program, which became known as the Field Studies in Natural History program. The program
focused on the study of geology, history, and the flora and fauna of the region. The Field Studies in Natural History program
remains an active and popular study program today at SJSU.
Gerald L. French, a San Jose State College student, attended the program in 1958. He documented the activities, events, and
the participants. The collection consists of 42 black and white ink jet contact prints, 4x5 negatives, and 27 color slides.
Images of note
include views of Titus Canyon, the Borax Works, Scotty's Castle, and Ubehebe crater.
The West Coast Nature School Nature Study began in 1931 and was created by two science department professors, Dr. Hazeltine,
instructor of Nature Studies and Dr. Pickwell, professor of Natural Science. The first study site took place at Big Basin
State Park in 1931, followed by program sites in Asilomar State Park, Sequoia National Park, Death Valley National Park, and
other sites throughout California. This program is currently offered at San Jose State University during the summer session
and is called the Field Studies in Natural History. Gerald L. French, a San Jose State College student (BS 1960) photographed
the 1958 field trip to Death Valley and in 2008 he donated his collection of contact prints, negative, and slides.
1.04 linear feet
Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections &
Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to
the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections
& Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital
reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
The collection is open for research.