NEWS: Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

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Here's the latest on upcoming events sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018

Join David Kipen and Lynell George as they discuss and read a few letters from Dear Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
4:00 - 5:00PM
The Huntington
Ahamanson Classroom, Botanical Center

The City of Angels has played a distinct role in the hearts, minds, and imaginations of millions of people, who see it as the ultimate symbol of the American Dream. David Kipen, a cultural historian and avid student of Los Angeles, has scoured libraries, archives, and private estates to assemble a kaleidoscopic view of a truly unique city. From the Spanish missionary expeditions in the early 1500s to the Golden Age of Hollywood to the strange new world of social media, the collection of letters in Dear Los Angeles is a slice of life in L.A. through the years. The pieces are arranged by date—January 1st to December 31st—featuring selections from different decades and centuries. What emerges is a vivid tapestry of insights, personal discoveries, and wry observations that together distill the essence of the city.
David Kipen is the former literature director of the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently serves as book critic for Los Angeles Magazine and critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times and teaches in the writing program at UCLA. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kipen opened the Boyle Heights bookstore and lending library Libros Schmibros in 2010. The former book editor/critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and contributor to multiple volumes of California cultural history, Kipen holds a degree in literature from Yale University.
Lynell George is a Los Angeles-based journalist and essayist. She is the author of No Crystal Stair African Americans in the City of Angels and After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame, a collection of her essays and photographs. She won a 2018 GRAMMY for liner notes for “Otis Redding Live at the Whisky A Go Go.”

Don't forget:

The Archival Future of the Iron Horse: 

California Railroad Collections at the
Sesquicentennial of the Transcontinental Railroad

Friday, April 26, 2019
4:00-5:30PM, Free
USC Doheny Memorial Library, 240


Chris Rockwell, Librarian, California State Railroad Museum
Gordon Chang, Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities/Professor of American History, Stanford University and Co-Director of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project
Clay Stalls, Curator of California and Hispanic Collections, The Huntington Library
Peter Blodgett, H. Russell Smith Foundation Curator of Western Historical Manuscript, The Huntington Library
and Theresa Salazar, Curator, Western Americana, The Bancroft Library

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the Transcontinental Railroad. With perspectives of engineering and public history as well as the dynamic dimension of social and ethnic history reflected by the Chinese Railroad Workers Project, The Archival Future of the Iron Horse considers the present and future of railroad collections. Recognizing that the overwhelming physical bulk of railroad records, especially in the case of those generated by major railroad carriers, represents continuing challenges in housing, preservation, and reference service for archival institutions large and small, this panel, comprised of archivists and historians, will consider whether we should continue to collect such records, how they are being put to use today, and what promise they hold for the future.

Presented by:

Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, USC Libraries & the USC Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative

15th Annual Clark Davis Memorial Lecture

Friday, May 3, 2019
10:30AM, The Huntington

Max Felker-Kantor, visiting assistant professor of American and African American history at Ball State University, will present a talk titled “Policing Los Angeles: Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD” based on his recently published book of the same name.

There is no pre-circulated paper for this session. A complimentary lunch is available to those who RSVP by April 30. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at this link:

If you would like to join our mailing list to receive notifications of future events, please subscribe here:

We look forward to seeing you on May 3!

HSSC Request for Proposals for Book Publication Funding

Thanks to a generous grant from the Ahmanson Foundation, the Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC) is seeking applications for funds to assist in the publication of books on the history of Southern California, California, or the American West. Authors/editors who lack other sources of publication support are especially encouraged to apply. The Society seeks projects that demonstrate originality of conception and analysis, depth of research, and clarity of expression.

The manuscript should already be at some stage of the publication process, with a publication date anticipated within two years. Grants will be awarded up to $5,000.

Costs the Society will consider covering include:
  • permissions to use images, text, or other materials
  • reproduction of images
  • creation of maps, tables or other images, or similar design work
  • cover design
  • indexing or line editing
  • marketing expenses
  • subvention fees or self-publishing expenses
  • other expenses for authors who are self-publishing

The application should include:
  • a cover letter with contact information for the applicant(s), and a list of three references with contact information for each reference
  • a 500-word description of the book
  • a table of contents
  • a statement describing how the book contributes to our understanding of the history of Southern California, California, and/or the American West
  • a description of the intended audience
  • the current state of the manuscript and timetable for publication
  • whether or not the book is under contract (and, if so, with which press), or whether the book will be self-published
  • cv(s) of author(s)/editor(s), including list of previous publications or scholarship
  • budget and/or description of expenses already incurred
  • information regarding sources and amounts of other publication support

Contact Publishing Committee Chair Ken Marcus at with any questions.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, to  The Society anticipates making awards by early June.
  • 4/26: The Archival Future of the Iron Horse on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 4:00pm at USC Doheny Library (DML) 241. RSVP
  • 5/3: LA History & Metro Studies Group: Clark Davis Memorial Lecture on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 10:30am at The Huntington. RSVP
  • 5/7: Dear Los Angeles with David Kipen on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 4:00pm at The Huntington.
  • 5/21:  The Browns of California: A Conversation with Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7:30pm at The Huntington. RSVP required. More information to come.