Featured UC History Publications


Patricia Pelfrey. (2004). A Brief History of the University of California. (2nd ed.)(link is external). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press

A concise book that tells the absorbing story of the development of one of the greatest public institutions in the world. Beginning with the land grant that established a university in California, the accessible narrative takes the reader through the difficulties and triumphs of the institution as it rose to the peak of scientific and scholarly stature, where it stands today.


Neil Smelser. (2014). Wanderlust in Academia(link is external). Center for Studies in Higher Education eScholarship

Smelser reflects on a life and career that followed multiple paths: teaching and research in UC Berkeley’s Department of Sociology; service to the campus and the University of California as a whole in the Academic Senate and beyond; and national service to the profession of sociology and to the world of foundations and public policy. 


John Aubrey Douglass. (2007). The California Idea and American Higher Education(link is external). Stanford University Press. 2nd Edition.

The author traces the social, political, and economic forces that built and funded an innovative, uniquely tiered, and geographically dispersed network of public campuses in California. This influential model for higher education, "The California Idea," created an organizational structure that combined the promise of broad access to public higher education with a desire to develop institutions of high academic quality.