The Huntington is among the nation’s most important centers for the study of the American West with an unsurpassed collection of materials that spans the full range of American western settlement, including the overland pioneer experience, the Gold Rush, and the development of Southern California. Diverse in scope and range, the collection attracts scholars of the early California missions as well as the aerospace industry. The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West brings together historians and other scholars, students, writers, journalists, and policymakers to investigate and debate the rich history of California and the American West.
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|1||CleanThe Landscape Designs of Ralph Cornell||Among the first generation of landscape architects in Southern California, Ralph Cornell (1890–1972) is considered the most influential. His wide scope of projects included college campuses, city parks, and significant residential commissions. Noted architect Brian Tichenor discusses Cornell’s life and milieu while examining three of his highly significant landscape designs. The lecture is presented in collaboration with the California Garden and Landscape History Society. Recorded Nov. 12, 2017.||11/17/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|2||CleanThe Art of Farming: How a Farmer Sees the Future||David Mas Masumoto, organic farmer and acclaimed author of Epitaph for a Peach and Harvest Son, is joined by his wife, Marcy Masumoto, for a lively talk about life on their Central California farm. Through stories that offer a personal perspective on growing organic crops, the Masumotos share their reflections on the vision required of artisan farmers in today’s food world. This talk is part of the Brody Lecture series at The Huntington. Recorded May 7, 2017.||5/7/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|3||CleanThe Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics||Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia University, discusses the role of Chinese miners in the 19th-century gold rushes of California, Australia, and South Africa, and the rise of anti-Chinese politics in the West. This talk is part of the Cheng Foundation Lecture series at The Huntington. Recorded Mar. 15, 2017.||5/15/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|4||CleanThe St. Francis Dam Collapse of 1928||Considered the worst civil engineering failure in the history of California and the state’s second-worst disaster in terms of lives lost, the collapse of the St. Francis Dam ended the storied career of William Mulholland, the man who earlier had masterminded construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. To contextualize Mulholland’s responsibility for the dam’s failure, historians Norris Hundley, Jr. and Donald C. Jackson relied extensively on items in The Huntington’s collections for their book titled "Heavy Ground: William Mulholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster." In addition, roughly a third of the book’s illustrations are drawn from The Huntington’s collection.||5/20/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|5||CleanRuth Patricia Shellhorn: Mid-Century Landscape Architecture & the Southern California Look||Landscape architect Kelly Comras, author of the biography Ruth Shellhorn, examines Shellhorn’s legacy in a lecture and short film screening.||4/20/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|6||CleanIn Conversation with Liz Goldwyn||Author and filmmaker Liz Goldwyn discusses her book "Sporting Guide", a series of interlinked stories that evoke a lost world on the margins of Los Angeles society in the 1890s.||10/14/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
|7||CleanMotoring West||Peter Blodgett,discusses his book, Motoring West: Automobile Pioneers, 1900–1909. Travel back in time to the the turn of the 20th century when Americans were hitting the road to explore the West by automobile. Blodgett is the H. Russell Smith Foundation Curator of Western Historical Manuscripts at The Huntington.||8/8/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
|8||CleanGame Day at the Coliseum||Frank Guridy, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin and the Ray A. Billington Visiting Professor at Occidental College, discusses the rituals of labor and leisure that have played out at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum over the past century. This is part of the Haynes Lecture series.||1/28/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
|9||CleanBeyond the Wild West: Violence and Death in the Pacific Ocean (Billington Lecture)||David Igler, author of “The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold Rush,” reflects on the causes of widespread violence during the age of exploration and maritime commerce. Igler is professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. His talk was the 2013–14 Billington Lecture.||4/17/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
|10||CleanGreen Screen: How Trees Made California Modern (Haynes Foundation Lecture)||Jared Farmer’s new book, “Trees in Paradise: A California History” (Norton, 2013), explores California’s first hundred years as a state through four trees: redwoods, eucalypts, citrus, and palms. During this time, horticulturists planted innumerable trees, importing ornamental and commercial species to create moneymaking orchards and tree-lined boulevards. In this lecture he describes the impact of this era on Southern California. Farmer is associate professor of history at Stony Brook University.||11/18/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
|11||CleanThe World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing (Dibner Lecture)||Peter Westwick discusses his new book, “The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing” (2013, Random House), co-authored with Peter Neushul. His Dibner Lecture covers the high-tech aspects of the history of surfing, including how surfboards and wetsuits derive from military technology and how coastlines and even waves are increasingly engineered. In 2013–14 Westwick was the Searle Visiting Professor in the History of Science at Caltech and The Huntington. He is an assistant professor of history at the University of Southern California.||10/30/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
|12||CleanPaving the Past: The Los Angeles River as Flood Control Device (Dames Lecture)||William Deverell explores the history of the Los Angeles River and investigates the ways in which large-scale environmental projects such as cementing a river can inevitably reveal much about regional culture and identity. Deverell is professor of history at USC and the director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. He delivered the 2012–13 Dames Lecture at The Huntington.||4/22/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
|13||CleanRaymond Chandler and the Simple Art of Murder (Haynes Foundation Lecture)||Judith Freeman talks about her latest book “The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved” (2007). Chandler drew on many real events and people to create his iconic Los Angeles mystery novels. Freeman discusses Chandler’s real-life sources, including a 1922 celebrity murder case that became the inspiration for much of Chandler’s work.||1/23/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
|14||CleanFire Season: Philip Connors and William Deverell in Conversation||Philip Connors discusses his book Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout with William Deverell, professor of history at USC and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. The event was part of AxS Festival 2011—Fire and Water, organized by the Pasadena Arts Council.||10/12/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|15||CleanGuest Workers: Western Origins, Global Future||Matthew Garcia introduces the Huntington conference “Guest Workers: Western Origins, Global Future,” which looked at the role of guest workers in the United States—from the U.S.–Mexican Bracero program of 1942–64 through the H2 programs today. It considered how guest workers have shaped the world we live in, both domestically and globally.||4/15/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|16||CleanAre We All Braceros Now?||Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor of Geography at Syracuse University, speaks at the Huntington conference “Guest Workers: Western Origins, Global Future,” which looked at the role of guest workers in the United States—from the U.S.–Mexican Bracero program of 1942–64 through the H2 programs today. It considered how guest workers have shaped the world we live in, both domestically and globally.||4/15/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|17||CleanNo Man’s Land: The Global History of Deportable Workers||Cindy Hahamovitch, history professor at the College of William & Mary, speaks at the Huntington conference “Guest Workers: Western Origins, Global Future,” which looked at the role of guest workers in the United States—from the U.S.–Mexican Bracero program of 1942–64 through the H2 programs today. It considered how guest workers have shaped the world we live in, both domestically and globally.||4/15/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|18||CleanFor Whom Bell Tolls: What Can Be Done about Local Governance in California?||The controversy over city salaries in Bell, Calif., has generated a wave of proposed reforms. Raphael J. Sonenshein discusses some of the best ideas for improving local government.||12/16/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|19||CleanGhosts of the White City||"Ruins and Antiquities in 19th-Century America" (March 12–13). In a fledgling nation, ruins helped reassure Americans of their own antiquity. This scholarly conference explored the “necessity for ruins” and how it helped America cope with the modern pace of change. In this talk, Sam Truett discusses ruins, lost worlds, and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.||6/17/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|20||CleanThe Fossil-Fueled West||Thomas G. Andrews discusses the history of coal in the American West. Andrews is author of “Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War,” published by Harvard University Press and the winner of the 2009 Bancroft Prize. He spoke at the conference “Ed Shannon’s West,” sponsored jointly by The Huntington and the Autry National Center.||5/21/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|21||CleanIndians and Railroads||Richard White spoke about Indians and the Railroads at the conference “Ed Shannon’s West,” sponsored jointly by The Huntington and the Autry National Center. White has since published the book “Railroaded: The Transcontinentals ad the Making of Modern America” (2011). He is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University.||5/21/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|22||CleanIndians and Yellowstone||Elliott West spoke about Indians and Yellowstone at the conference “Ed Shannon’s West,” sponsored jointly by The Huntington and the Autry National Center. He is the author, most recently, of “The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story” (2009). He is Alumni Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Arkansas.||5/21/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|23||CleanBohemians West: A "Free" Love Story||Writers Charles Erskine Scott Wood and Sara Bard Field advocated, and practiced, free love as one element of their commitment to anarchistic politics. Sherry Smith, professor of history at Southern Methodist University and the Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellow for 2009-10, examines the interplay between what they preached and what they practiced in early 20th-century Oregon and California.||5/11/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|24||CleanCan We All Just Get Along? In Search of an Alternative History of the American West (Billington Lecture)||Conflict and conquest have long defined the history of the American West. But what of events shaped by concord? Stephen Aron explores episodes in which peoples put aside their differences and the lessons we might take from them.||4/6/2010||Free||View in iTunes|
|25||CleanConcrete Utopia: Roads and Freeways in Los Angeles (Dames Lecture 2009-10)||Freeways have long embodied some of L.A.’s most powerful contradictions: a city moving ahead boldly into the future and a sprawling metropolis scarred by its dependence on the automobile. Such contradictions are not merely a matter of opinion but were built into the fabric of this complex public works enterprise. Matthew Roth, Ph.D., discusses the origins, engineering, and political back story of L.A.’s “concrete utopia.” He’s the historian for the Automobile Club of Southern California.||9/30/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|26||CleanJames Mason Hutchings of Yo-Semite||Author and book collector Dennis Kruska gives a lecture based on his new book, "James Mason Hutchings of Yo-Semite: A Biography and Bibliography," published by the Book Club of California. Hutchings (1820–1902) was one of California’s most important 19th–century publishers and a tireless promoter of Yosemite, the Sierra, and the wonders of California.||9/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|27||CleanDemocratizing the Beach: From Therapy to Recreation||During the 19th century, beach culture shifted from an emphasis on the therapeutic value of sea water to a growing interest in the recreational pleasures of a trip to the shore. Dr. Ritchie takes a closer look at the changing world of the beach, including concerns over appropriate fashions.||4/29/2008||Free||View in iTunes|
|28||CleanLittle Girl Lost: The Kathy Fiscus Tragedy (Haynes Foundation Lecture)||In the spring of 1949, a three-year-old girl fell into an abandoned well shaft while playing near her home in San Marino. For more than 24 hours, local television stations KTTV and KTLA covered the unsuccessful rescue attempt, making it one of the first news events in the nation to be televised outside the station. At year’s end, The New York Times referred to the tragic death of Kathy Fiscus as the single most significant photographic event of 1949. Deverell explores the accident and aftermath, touching on the social and economic history of the region while also explaining how the tragedy revealed both the permanence and vulnerabilities of community.||3/30/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
WEBSITE AND BLOG: www.deverell.com
Bill Deverell was a journalist for seven years, graduating in law in 1963. His criminal practice involved work for both prosecution and defence, and he worked in civil rights, labour, and environmental law. He is a founding director, former president, now honourary director of the B. C. Civil Liberties Association.
His first novel, Needles, won the $50,000 Seal Prize in l979 and the Book of the Year Award in l98l. His subsequent novels include High Crimes, Mecca, The Dance of Shiva, Platinum Blues, Mindfield, Kill All the Lawyers, Street Legal, Trial of Passion, Slander, The Laughing Falcon, Mind Games, April Fool, Kill All the Judges, Snow Job, and, his latest, I'll See You in My Dreams. He is author of the true crime book A Life on Trial - the Case of Robert Frisbee, based on a celebrated murder trial which he defended. His novels have been translated into fourteen languages and sold worldwide. All but two continue in print.
Trial of Passion won the 1997 Dashiell Hammett award, for literary excellence in crime writing in North America, as well as the Arthur Ellis prize in crime writing in Canada. It featured the classically trained, self-doubting Arthur Beauchamp, a trial lawyer who became Deverell's first series protagonist, in April Fool (also an Ellis winner), Kill All the Judges (shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Prize in humour), and Snow Job, a political novel set in Ottawa, which has been similarly shortlisted. He has been referred to as a national Treasurer by the Toronto Star and received the Best Canadian Crime Writer award at the Scene of the Crime Festival in Ontario. In October, 2011, he was awarded an honourary doctor of letters from Simon Fraser University.
He wrote the screenplay Shellgame for CBC-TV drama, which served as the pilot for CBC's long-running series Street Legal, and he is the creator of that series, which has run internationally in more than 50 countries. In 1991-92, he served as Visiting Professor in the Creative Writing Department, University of Victoria. In 1994 he served as Chair of the Writers' Union of Canada, and again in 1999. He lives on Pender Island, British Columbia, and in Costa Rica. His website is www.deverell.com, with a link to his active blog.