While I was at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane campus for the James Hillman Tribute event, I took advantage of the opportunity to attend one of the short tours in the OPUS archives. It took every effort not to walk around jaw-dropped at the collections I was seeing! I thought I had a good grasp on Joseph Campbell, with my home bookcase that shelves at least half of his published works. But now I’ve learned that those published works are really just the beginning. The archives also host materials from Marija Gimbutas, Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Joseph Wheelwright, Marion Woodman, Christine Downing, and a few others, including, as I discussed in recent posts, James Hillman. The work done in the archives is near unfathomable to me. Every scrap, every page, every photo is or has been organized, cataloged, and digitized. The attention to detail and the work to preserve these collections utterly amazes me.
Of course, what I was most amazed by was the Joseph Campbell collection. As I have mentioned before, Campbell is the driving force behind all my academic studies. As awed as I was to see how much of his material was archived at OPUS, nothing moved me as much as the newest edition: his personal writing desk. And the best part? We were even allowed to touch it. They also have his personal encyclopedia set with the custom bookshelf he built for them. Just amazing!
If you ever find yourself in Carpinteria, CA, I encourage you to explore the campus of Pacifica and the richness of the archives.