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Sue Higman Papers

Identifier: MS-18

This collection predominantly consists of papers gathered by Sue Higman in her roles as board member and officer of several local Santa Barbara organizations.


  • 1888 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist and Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.


2 Linear Feet (plus oversize items)


This collection consists of papers gathered by Sue Higman in her roles as board member and officer of several local Santa Barbara organizations, her correspondence on environmental issues, and papers related to the Early Mission Music Program.

Biographical / Historical

Susanna Baat Higman was born in 1920 and grew up and lived in Santa Barbara her entire life. She is best known for her volunteerism with civic, cultural, historical and environmental organizations and activities. Taught a love of nature by her father Arthur, who took her hiking and backpacking, she devoted much time and energy from 1954 on to the Sierra Club and the California State Parks Foundation, as well as to many local organizations such as GOO (Get Oil Out), the Community Environmental Council, Small Wilderness Area Preserves, and the Santa Barbara County Environmental Resources Panel, to name a few.

Besides the environment, Higman cared deeply about the reconstruction of El Presidio de Santa Barbara and was a member and secretary of the board of trustees for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation for many years, becoming a life honorary trustee in 2003. She was an officer of the Citizens Planning Association for many years, and worked with Pearl Chase on the Plans and Planting Committee of the Community Arts Association for many years, becoming Treasurer in the 1970s and eventually becoming its president in 1982.

Higman was also active on the Citizens Advisory Committee of La Purisima Mission State Historic Park and received an award in 1975 for her contributions. Her love of history also fostered her interest in early mission music and she helped put on a series of music programs at missions around the state, sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation.

Sue Higman had a close relationship with Pearl Chase. Chase called her my best girl and told her you are rendering a fine service for [the] community and whole area. I'm fortunate to be in the inner circle of your friends. In another letter she praised Higman's community involvement: You are helping at the crossroads of Planning--Mission Music, Community Arts and Access--quite a load! Backpackers are important; let's train some more. Being one of Pearl's Girls, Higman helped organize the annual Pearl Chase birthday luncheons and was instrumental in establishing a city memorial plaque to Pearl and Harold Chase at Chase Palm Park.

In 1997, Higman received the Pearl Chase Preservation and Conservation Award from the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Trust established the Sue Higman Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010 in her honor.


The collection is organized into 7 series:

Series 1 - Community Arts Association records

Series 2 - Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

Series 3 - Citizens Planning Association

Series 4 - Early Mission Music Program

Series 5 - Environmental Issues

Series 6 - Books and Ephemera

Series 7 - Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift from Jim Higman in 2008.

Related Materials

The papers of the Plans and Planting branch of the Community Arts Association in this collection continue those in the Community Development and Conservation Collection at UCSB (SBHC Mss 1) given to UCSB by Pearl Chase. Sue Higman served as treasurer and president of the CAA and kept the rest of the records from the 1970s and 1980s together.

For additional material about Pearl Chase, see also the Pearl Chase Papers at the Santa Barbara Trust For Historic Preservation (MS-01).

Separated Materials

Several books and pamphlets were removed from the papers and added to the library collection.

Sue Higman Papers
Chris S. Ervin CA
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Presidio Research Center Repository

215 East Canon Perdido St.
Santa Barbara CA 93101 USA