May 19, 2022

Report: “How a Team of Editors and Librarians Saved Sunset Magazine’s Archives—and Helped Preserve the History of the American West”

From Stanford Magazine:

Four years ago, on a serene campus in Menlo Park, a group of longtime editors for Sunset Publishing Corporation, whose magazine touted such halcyon coverlines as “Can’t-Miss Pies” and “Other Things to Do in Newport Beach,” huddled together, panic-stricken.

Since 1898, Sunset—publisher of Sunset magazineand more than 800 books—had chronicled life in the West. That history had been preserved for posterity and research, meticulously catalogued in multiple rooms and dozens of file cabinets. Time Inc., Sunset’s owner since 1990, had just told the editors to empty everything into dumpsters. They were moving to Oakland.


“We had architectural photos from the 1960s, an epic story on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, [and] no one on the corporate level seemed to care,” says Peter Fish, MA ’80, a longtime travel writer and editor for Sunset. “I was told repeatedly, ‘We don’t have time to think about this.’ They just didn’t want to deal with anything.”

Fish and his colleagues huddled. The value of the collection was seemingly boundless from a historical perspective. Who could care for it and recognize its worth? Fish called Ben Stone, Stanford Libraries’ curator for American and British history and associate director of the department of special collections. Would Stanford be interested in safeguarding Sunset’s voluminous past?

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (approx. 2200 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.