Golden opportunity: Huell Howser donates archive to Chapman

Huell Howser's collection will be housed at Leatherby Libraries.

Huell Howser, host of the popular long-running public television series
California’s Gold
, has announced that he will donate all current, past and future episodes of the program and all his other public television shows –
Visiting…with Huell Howser
Road Trip
California’s Golden Parks
California’s Missions
and an array of others — to Chapman University so that they can be digitized, put on the web and made available free to a worldwide online audience.

The university is currently organizing the massive digitization process, and will announce later when the shows will be available online.  Howser is also donating to Chapman between 250 to 300 boxes of material  – papers, ephemera and memorabilia – directly related to the series, as well as 1,800 books about California, all of which will be housed in the university’s Leatherby Libraries.

The Leatherby Libraries will display part of the Huell Howser collection in an exhibition that will open to the public on Oct. 13 on the library’s second floor, the same day Howser will present a public talk, “In Search of California’s Gold,” at Chapman University on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.  Admission is free and open to all.  Audience members are invited to view the collection before or after the talk (the library is open until 2 a.m.).   The exhibition will remain on display through October.

“I’m so proud to have a permanent home for my life’s work at a university the caliber of Chapman, and I hope it will be used by students and the public to learn about and understand California even better,” said Howser.  “The idea of getting all the shows posted on the web so that everyone – not just students – can always access them for free is very appealing to me.”

How did he make the initial contact with Chapman University?  “President Jim Doti sent me a letter  – at one point, he’d heard I’d been in Orange and was sorry he hadn’t been available, and invited me to visit Chapman whenever I was in the area,” said Howser.  “That really impressed me – in this hectic world, to get a personal letter signed by the university president!   That’s the kind of personal contact that resonates with me.   It got me thinking about the legacy of my work and how I wanted it to become available to a wider audience.  After visiting the university several times, Chapman just felt like a very comfortable place for me and my work – there’s nothing but positivity there, and there’s a great energy about learning and lots of plans for the future.  Everyone seems excited to be there.  It just felt like exactly where this collection should go.”

Howser plans to return to Chapman often in the coming months and years.  “I’ll be coming back to speak to history and film classes, to the Town & Gown support group and others.”

More information about the Oct. 13 public event is available at 714-744-7677 or

Dawn Bonker

1 comment

  • what a great cultural enrichment for us! great for the richness of california, great for enriching chapman. who cannot but love huell howser!!