Monthly Archives: December 2017

As we look forward to 2018, we are grateful to all those who contributed to, and participated in, our 2017 events, including the In Conversation Series, our Under LA conference, and the monthly seminars/field trips with the students of the Los Angeles Service Academy (LASA).  Below is a compilation of highlights for 2017. Thank you to the ICW team for all the hard work in organizing each of these events. And thank you to the many wonderful ICW colleagues who contributed their ideas across a variety of formats.  We are especially grateful to ICW’s funders who helped support all these initiatives that allowed us to dig deeper into the history and meaning of California and the West. We look forward to more collaboration, work, and insight in 2018!

00dd4066-7921-4810-808b-f49fe8559a27Rosina Lozano, Professor of History at Princeton University, spoke at USC about her upcoming book An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States. Later in the month, author Deanne Stillman discussed her new book Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill with director Bill Deverell.

At USC’s Doheny Library, ICW hosted a day-long conference “Under LA: Subterranean Stories.” Video and the bibliography provided by our speakers from this popular conference is available on our website.

ICW partnered with Future of Cities to produce the report “Space to Lead: A Century of Civic Leadership in LA,” which was featured in a panel discussion at La Plaza de Artes y Cultura. Panelists shared lessons learned from LA’s civic past to help inform those currently working to increase civic engagement in Los Angeles. Download the full report on the Future of Cities website.

USC historians Alice Echols and Steve Ross came out to the Huntington to discuss their new books with ICW and friends. You can both listen to the audio and watch new Look What I Found episodes to find out what Shortfall and Hitler in Los Angeles are all about.
Tyler Green, critic, historian and producer/host of The Modern Art Notes Podcast had a lively conversation with Huntington Curator of American Art Chad Alligood about the challenges museum curatorial departments face when collecting and showing American art.
ICW’s Los Angeles Service Academy (LASA) welcomed its 2017-2018 class in mid-August at the Huntington Library. LASA is year-long program for high school juniors learning about Los Angeles. During this Summer Institute, LASA students learned about the underlying natural environment of Los Angeles, toured Metabolic Studio, discussed local politics, and kayaked the LA River.
This summer, ICW Director Bill Deverell took a summer road trip with his son to Wyoming. As he drove across the American West. he sent back fascinating travelogues that recounted visits to historic sites, discussions with the locals and reflections of the past on the present. His series Bill and John’s Excellent Adventure shows that even on vacation, historians can’t help themselves. They view the present-day landscape through the lens of the past.
Over the summer, former LASA student Dean Gordon solved a decades-old mystery: who painted the mural on the Coliseum archway?
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In June, ICW reached out to Christopher Hawthorne, the architecture critic at the Los Angeles Times, for some thoughts to mark Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday.
In April, ICW’s Doheny Postdoctoral Scholar Monica Steinberg told us about California-based artist Lowell Darling’s fascinating five-year tax project, initiated when the IRS classified Darling a hobbyist rather than an artist engaging in a trade for profit, thus disallowing his proposed income tax deductions for art material expenses.
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In February, historian Louise Pubols discussed her work on Peggy Stewart, a mysterious 19th-century woman whose age, name and even nationality prove difficult to discern from existing historical record for particularly interesting reasons. Listen to the full In Conversation audio or watch the shorter video from our Look What I Found series. ICW is honored to have hosted Louise, who left us far, far too soon, and to share her work as our history community continues to celebrate her life.
On January 14, 2017, California lost its most important historian ever: the great Kevin Starr. Starr was mentor and friend to Bill Deverell, who wrote and participated in a number of tributes to the legendary author. In addition to this tribute in the Los Angeles Times, Deverell also led a panel in April at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and delivered the September keynote at the San Francisco Museum and Historical’s Society event.

Northrop Aircraft 1947US responses to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor remade the Southern California landscape — from the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese American families living on Terminal Island to the rapid expansion of defense efforts by local aerospace companies. The photo above features a Northrop jet bomber prototype aircraft (available on the Huntington Digital Library). The company was already in operation in Southern California prior to Pearl Harbor but sped up production after the attack.

ICW’s offering for this Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is an invitation to the archives of local memory to better understand parts of the US domestic response. Interviews of aerospace workers from ICW’s Aerospace History Project that include their memories of Pearl Harbor Day are available on the Huntington Digital Library.

One riveter-turned-engineer, Jerry Huben, joined Northrop only three weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An excerpt from his oral history:


Frank Bullock was a long-time control systems engineer at Lockheed and recounted this memory in his oral history:

Frank_Bullock_Oral_History_on_Pearl_HarborPearl Harbor Day calls for a solemn remembrance of those who lost their lives as well as a reckoning of the domestic responses and their present-day ramifications.