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Paul Christopher

Last updated 10/11/2021

Though modest quarters and supervision of an informal University Archives was established in 1938, it was not until 1984 that Professor Paul Christopher of the USC Library faculty was appointed as USC’s first full-time University Archivist, after serving as part-time archivist since 1977, when his predecessor in that role, Jack Beahan, passed away. Thereafter, Paul Christopher also accepted responsibility until his retirement at the end of 1996 for mounting an active exhibit program in Doheny Memorial Library that largely drew upon increasing resources in the archives. Throughout his over twenty years of tenure on the Library faculty, however, he drew upon his service as a reference librarian at USC since 1975 and his previous college teaching career to inform his advocacy of the Archives among several publics on and off campus, committee assignments, published research, donor contacts and consulting.

As University Archivist, Professor Christopher made successive contributions, in particular, to publications and exhibits marking USC’s Centennial in 1980, Doheny Memorial Library’s Semi-Centennial in 1982, the Los Angeles Olympiad in 1984, as well as his personal design for the enlarged archival facility housed in the East Library after 1986 that henceforth was honored with deposits of inactive, permanent records from the President’s Office.

Professor Christopher received a $10,000 grant in 1987 from the USC Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Fund toward research and plates for future publication of a book entitled, ” Krainukov’s China: Western Visual Perceptions of Republican China and the Capacious Camera Eye of George T. Krainukov, 1925-1940.”

The Paul Christopher collection of Carl W. Knight’s studio photographs consists mainly of photographs, negatives, and slides of portraits and scenic views of Missouri and Southern California. In addition to the images, there are a few textual items that include financial documents, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous ticket stubs and pamphlets that Knight amassed before his employment in the former Photographic Department at USC. The date span of the collection ranges from 1919 to 1970. The collection is housed in the Special Collections Department of Doheny Library.

Joyce H. Christopher, Paul’s wife for over fifty-six years, passed away April 26, 2015 after a lengthy illness, following a long earlier career as one of the leading doll sculptors in America. Trained in sculpture at Scripps College (’55), she later honed her talents in the studios of her mentor Albert Stewart as well as Marshall Fredericks before a lengthy association with Mattel, Hasbro and several other doll and toy retailers. Her devastated husband was never encouraged to archive her varied oeuvre but hopes to honor her equally joyous and generous spirit toward children of all ages by seeking a home for some of her creations, starting with Barbie, at the Smithsonian.