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Assembling the Fragments of L.A. History

Matilde Moisant, the second woman to receive a pilot’s license in the United States, circa 1911

Photo/USC Libraries Special Collections

The first annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar will introduce researchers to collections of Los Angeles-themed cultural, political and historical materials at the Huntington Library Nov. 4.

Experts from more than 30 organizations will welcome scholars, media researchers and others studying subjects related to Los Angeles. Among those representing USC will be university archivist and manuscript librarian Claude Zachary, professor of history Phil Ethington, special collections librarian Dace Taube and USC Libraries director of programming Tyson Gaskill.

The bazaar will present a sampling of the larger group of institutions and individuals that participate in the L.A. as Subject Archives Forum, an organization dedicated to preserving and improving access to archives and collections that document the history of Los Angeles’ diverse peoples, languages, cultures and geography.

L.A. as Subject is headquartered at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library, where it supports interdisciplinary researchers on campus, in the greater Los Angeles community and beyond. Under the stewardship of USC Libraries, L.A. as Subject has grown to include more than 200 regional archives.

“I’m proud that USC Libraries hosts the L.A. as Subject Archives Forum,” said Ethington, a specialist in interdisciplinary urban history. “We’ve defined USC’s leadership role in regional scholarship as one of networking these community-based archives together. They benefit from increased visibility, and the wider researching community enjoys a greater scope of resources.”

The centerpiece of L.A. as Subject is its online directory that connects researchers with materials as varied as Nikita Khrushchev’s dining car menu from a 1959 train trip between Los Angeles and San Francisco; the personal papers of Elizabeth L. McQueen, founder of the Women’s International Association of Aeronautics; and political posters relating to the women’s movement, apartheid, AIDS and gay and lesbian rights.

The Los Angeles Archives Bazaar will provide researchers with access to large, institutional archives and the more specialized collections at a single event. Attending organizations include the USC Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections, the Wally G. Shidler Collection of Southern California Ephemera, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics and the L.A. as Subject Online Directory.

“We thought it was time to organize a real-world gathering of representatives from institutions that make up the L.A. as Subject Archives Forum,” said Zachary, who is also a member of the Forum’s Executive Committee and chair of the Services to Archives Standing Committee. “This informal bazaar will put the collections in the public eye and in front of the people who will tell the stories of our region.”

USC’s participation in both the bazaar and L.A. as Subject also demonstrates to a large audience the university’s dedication to the study of the area it calls home.

“We help preserve the archival record,” Ethington said. “We cultivate a shared historical past across the many boundaries of our fragmented metropolis, and we advance cutting-edge scholarship, all at the same time.”

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, under the leadership of Bill Deverell, is a natural networking partner for L.A. as Subject, Zachary added. “He and his group have been instrumental in making the First Annual Bazaar a reality,” he said.

The Los Angeles Archives Bazaar is co-sponsored by the L.A. as Subject Archives Forum, the Huntington-USC ICW and the Los Angeles History Research Group.

The bazaar will take place at the Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, in San Marino on Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking and admission to the event are free, and registration is not required.

Assembling the Fragments of L.A. History

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