Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Packing celery after the harvest at the Ishibashi’s Ranch.

On May 1, 2015, Rachel Mandell will complete the first rotation at CSU Dominguez Hills as the LA as Subject Resident Archivist.  Following the first three months at her home institution, The Autry National Center, Rachel has been working with Greg Williams and Tom Philo in the Archives and Special Collections since February. She will be moving on to the LA Police Museum in Highland Park for the next rotation of her residency.  

During her time at CSUDH, Rachel created digital records for the Ishibashi family collection. This collection contains photographs, documents, and artifacts that span nearly 100 years that the Ishibashis farmed and lived on the Rancho Palos Verdes peninsula. These materials document the everyday activities of the family including, life on the farm and farming practices, family trips, Sunday school and also information pertaining to their incarceration during World War II in Poston, Arizona.  Kumekichi Ishibashi moved to the Portuguese Bend in Palos Verdes from Wakayama, Japan in 1906 and began a vegetable farm.  In 1911 he married Take Hanaoka and the two had five children. Masaichi, the eldest son, eventually took over his father’s business and remained a farmer in Palos Verdes until his died in 2004.  The Ishibashi’s farm and renowned farm stand remained open until 2012.  

The Ishibashi family enjoying themselves at the Palos Verdes Beach.

An older Masaichi Ishibashi selling vegetables at the family stand located near the Torrance Airport.

This Ishibashi collection makes up about 1.5 linear feet of the 300 linear feet of material housed at CSUDH’s archives that relate to Japanese American life in the 20th century.  These collections, along with those  housed at five other CSU campuses will be the focus of a new collaboration called The Japanese American Digitization Planning project. This National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded project, written by Greg Williams, aims to create a shared digital archive that will bring together disparate collections and provide access through a single online portal.
 Towards this end, Rachel utilized the help of Matthew ___(last name)___, a student worker, to assist in the digitization of nearly 800 items from the Ishibashi collection using the Epson Expression scanner.  A record was then created for each individual photograph or document.  A record includes descriptive information about the item as well as a digital surrogate of the original material, such that researchers can theoretically use the digital records instead of the original material.  This is advantageous if it is inconvenient for a researcher to travel to the physical location where the archive is held and can also reduce the amount of demand on original, fragile archival material.

As a way of wrapping up her project at CSUDH , Rachel will be giving a presentation about the work she has done. The presentation will be held on Friday, May 1 at 10 am in the reading room of the CSUDH Archives and Special Collections.

Posted by Greg Williams at Wednesday, April 22, 2015 2 comments  


Friday, December 6, 2013

The Archives and Special Collections Department in the Library at CSU Dominguez Hills has received a generous donation of a collection relating to author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). One of the most prolific authors of the 20th century, Sinclair saw “The Jungle”, his muckraking novel exposing the meat packing industry, lead directly to food and drug reforms following its sensational reception in 1906. The Jungle is still taught in classes all over the world.

John Ahouse, a Sinclair bibliographer, scholar, collector and enthusiast has donated at least 320 books (consisting of multiple editions of nearly every Sinclair title), about 100 pamphlets, over 80 flyers, original magazine articles, tapes, manuscripts by Sinclair as well as by various biographers, newspaper clippings and entire issues of periodicals with Sinclair’s work and 14 boxes of research material. Included in the research materials are newspapers from Sinclair’s EPIC or End Poverty in California campaign for governor in 1934.

John Ahouse with his collection at the CSUDH Archives

The collection also consists of first editions, rare editions, hardcover, paperbacks, serialized novels, magazine copies and later popular and academic editions of most of the nearly 100 titles Sinclair published in his lifetime. In addition there are books with introductions by Sinclair, books by his wife, biographies and foreign language editions.

“This is wonderful and generous gift for CSU Dominguez Hills,” said CSUDH Library Dean, Sandra Parham. “The potential for scholarship both for faculty and students is enormous. There are many opportunities public programming as well as for CSUDH students to do research.”

Ahouse, a former archivist at CSU Long Beach and librarian at USC brought the collection to CSUDH because of its state of the art archival facilities as well as the interest expressed by faculty and staff. Ahouse’s book, Upton Sinclair, A Descriptive, Annotated Bibliography, Mercer & Aitchison, 1994 is used by librarians and booksellers throughout the world.

“Learning about the modern library facilities at CSUDH, and making the acquaintance of your very knowledgeable archivist, the thought began to grow of placing the collection where I know it will be used,” Ahouse said.

Czech version of "The Jungle."

“It's exciting to have a unique collection of Upton Sinclair publications, newspapers, flyers, letters, posters and other ephemera come to the Special Collections at the CSUDH University Library. Visitors to the collection will find it fascinating to see the broad spectrum of Sinclair's interests--from the oil and meatpacking industries to marriage and mental telepathy, and of course his political campaign to end poverty,” said Dr. Vivian Price, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies PACE and coordinator of Labor Studies. “So much of these materials are revealing for their content as well as what they represent as primary sources or historical artifacts,”

Asked about his interest in Sinclair, Ahouse recalled: “Although it would be difficult not to have heard of Upton Sinclair in high school or college, thanks to the evergreen status of “The Jungle”, I arrived in 1978 in Los Angeles because of a career move from New York with no awareness that “Uppie” had ever become a Californian, had even run for Governor of the state, or had launched a broadly-scoped series of historical novels, the “Lanny Budds”, from a reclusive residence in nearby Monrovia. What’s more, Sinclair had lived for a time in Long Beach, where I made my home for the next thirty-five years. I needed to know more about this congenial ‘democratic socialist’, and the Sinclair collection was the result.”

Ahouse notes in the introduction to his bibliography that “Sinclair the publicist and reformer had written uninterruptedly through three generations of social turmoil in America; few were the years between 1901 and 1962 without a new book—often two—from Upton Sinclair. Larger works were interspersed with minor publishing, from chiding letters-to-the-editor to the crusading pamphlets and book-length essays that made him a fixture of the political Left and the irrepressible gadfly among American writers in the first half of this century.”

Sinclair’s manuscripts, correspondence and archival collection are located at Indiana University. A handful of academic libraries such as Occidental in Los Angeles and the John Rylands Library in Manchester England have important Sinclair book collections. The Claremont Colleges have a smaller manuscript collection.

“The collection increases the depth of our early 20th century literature holdings in our Rare Book collection,” said Greg Williams, Director of Archives and Special Collections. “It is complementary to our California history collections, early 20th century bestseller collection as well as the collection of books published by one of Sinclair’s publishers, Boni & Liveright. Students focused on the Humanities, History, English, Political Science, Labor Studies and many other disciplines will be able to take advantage of this research collection.”

The Ahouse/Sinclair collection is fascinating in its depth, potential for scholarship and its revelations about 20th century literature, politics and social activism. Sinclair’s scope of work is not only national and international but also brings a good deal of material about California and the Los Angeles area including Long Beach, Signal Hill, Pasadena and Monrovia. His novel, Oil!, is the basis for the film There Will Be Blood. His only children’s book resulted in the Disney film, The Gnome Mobile.

“The Jungle passed the century mark in 2006, and a colleague of mine at CSU Northridge, Prof. Anthony Arthur, was under contract from Random House to write an up-to-date biography of the famous writer, “ Ahouse said. “We teamed up on the research end, and when the book duly appeared for the anniversary, I couldn’t help feeling that my collection had fulfilled much of its purpose.”

Titles include: The Jungle (1906 meatpacking industry); The Moneychangers (1908, high finance); Good Health and How We Won It (1909, healthy diet); Prince Hagen, A Drama in Four Acts (1909, finance); Love’s Pilgrimage (1911 marriage); King Coal (1917, Ludlow Massacre of 1914); The Profits of Religion (1918 organized religion); The Brass Check (1920, newspaper business); Money Writes! 1927, publishing); Oil! (1927, oil industry); Boston (1928, Sacco and Vanzetti novelization); Mental Radio (1930, telepathy); Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox (1933, film industry), I, Governor Of California And How I Ended Poverty (1934 End Poverty in California campaign for Governor); I, Candidate for Governor and How I Got Licked (1935 losing the Governor’s race); The Gnomobile (1936 his only children’s book); Wally For Queen! (1936 British Monarchy); No Pasaran! (1937 Spanish Civil War); The Flivver King (Henry Ford/auto industry); Little Steel (1938 Steel labor issues); 11 World’s End novels (1940-1948) with hero Lanny Budd.

The collection also includes a great deal of books associated with Sinclair. These include biographies, forwards, introductions, and titles authored or edited by people who were associated with Sinclair. These include a set of small books by Altadena heiress, millionaire and “parlor provocateur” Mrs. Kate Crane-Gartz. The books, edited by Sinclair’s wife, Mary Craig Sinclair, often consisted of letters written to prominent people such as President Warren G. Harding and Eugene Debs. Another set of books variously titled Out of the Frying Pan, Ham and Eggs for Californians, and Highway to Prosperity focus on the needs for old-age pensions during the 1930s. There are also books by poet and Sinclair friend, George Sterling; books by poet and lover of Sinclair’s first wife, Harry Kemp; a couple of books owned by Mary Craig Sinclair; a copy of The Packers, The Private Car Lines, and the People ghost written for J. Ogden Armour, the owner of the meatpacking company Sinclair exposed in The Jungle; and a copy of I Was Hitler’s Doctor by Dr. Kurt Krueger

Also included in the collection are copies of original magazines such as Argosy, the American Mercury, The Bookman, Labor Defender, Literary Digest, Time (cover story on Sinclair), Helios, Liberty Magazine, and Haldeman-Julius Quarterly, in which Sinclair’s work appeared; other periodicals with views of Sinclair or his work; Upton Sinclair’s magazine; news clipping about Sinclair’s work or his social activism; sheet music from Sinclair’s campaign for Governor in 1934; various manuscripts or excerpts from theses or other studies on Sinclair; issues of The Epic News (1939-1941); a Sinclair manuscript entitled, “Zillions of Dollars: A Truth Story,” 1953; another manuscript entitled “Doctor Fist,” 1955; articles on Sinclair by CSUDH Emeriti History Professor Dr. Judson Grenier (the Archives has an interview between Grenier and Sinclair from the early 1960s); manuscripts of plays about Sinclair, book catalogs, and audio and video tapes

Subject files include materials on Sinclair as well as researchers interests. Included are files on the ACLU, biographer Lauren Coodley, Robert Hahn, filmmaker Julian “Bud” Lesser, author Greg Mitchell, David and Jean Sinclair, Irving Stone, the End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign, homes of Sinclair, copies of and original letters, Liberty Hill, Long Beach, movies, obituaries, the Upton Sinclair Quarterly, Signal Hill, Oil, Theater, Upton Sinclair newsletters, World’s End and manuscript drafts of Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair, the 2006 biography of Sinclair (dedicated to John Ahouse), by Anthony Arthur.

A collection finding aid will be created in the next year. Each book will be cataloged and included in the CSUDH library catalog. Students and faculty are invited to view or use open parts of the collection as well as tour the Archives and Special Collections Department. Classes are invited to the Archives for instruction on use of rare and primary materials.

A portion of the Ahouse/Sinclair Collection


Friday, August 30, 2013

A new multi-dimensional exhibition “JOLT! -- RESPONDING TO ENVIROMENTAL DISASTERS—LARGE AND SMALL IN SOUTHERN LOS ANGELES opens September 3, 2013 in the Archives and Special Collections Department on the Fifth Floor of the University at California State University Dominguez Hills.
In response to continued student interest in the devastation caused on March 10, 1933 by an earthquake in Compton and Long Beach as well as the hazards to the environment presented by oil refineries or derrick explosions throughout the early to mid-20th century, this exhibition presents extensive documentation from the Archives collections on the disasters large and small…from earthquakes and floods to kitchen fires and car accidents.  Most of these disasters took place within 15 minutes of the CSUDH campus.  
The exhibition features 200 images and other archival materials from the Long Beach Firemen’s Historical Museum Photograph Collection, the Compton History Collection, the Lynch Family Collection, the Rancho San Pedro Collection and other materials. The Long Beach Fire photographs have been digitized and are currently being cataloged and should be available in the Archives’ Digital Collection by the end of 2013 at

The donation of 9000 Long Beach fire-related  materials in 2010 brought a great deal of documentation not only on mid-century firefighting, but also on enormous oil derrick and gas refinery explosion in Long Beach and Signal Hill. Also featured are images of flooding that devastated Rancho San Pedro lands in the century prior to the paving of the LA River.  

 The exhibition features sets of photographs on topics that mirror what the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection consists of but also features many collections that have been in the Archives for many years. The section relating to automobiles features several wrecks involving Long Beach Fire Department vehicles. The aviation section deals with a good number of airplane crashes in Long Beach in the 1940s and 1950s. Other sections deal with the infamous Hancock Oil Refinery mega-explosion in 1958 in Signal Hill as well as early Long Beach oil derrick files during the 1920s and 1930s. Other sections include images on Long Beach commercial fires, Long Beach Fire Department fire prevention efforts and striking images from the 1940s and 1950s relating to fire inspection.  Inspections often reveal extensive fire hazards or at least a good deal of hoarding.   

 Not only do the images in the exhibition document the courageous work of Long Beach firefighters but also allows insight into how commercial and domestic scenes can be viewed from the standpoint of the 21st century.
Tours as well as classes are welcome to hear about the Archives and how students can use primary resources at CSU Dominguez Hills. A finding aid or catalog of the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection can be found at: Archives hours are Monday-Friday, 10-4.

Posted by Greg Williams at Friday, August 30, 2013 0 comments  

CSUDH Archival Research Guide Published

Friday, September 14, 2012

Guide to the Archival Collections of CSU Dominguez Hills and the CSU System The Archives and Special Collections Department in the University Library has published a Guide to the Archival Collections of CSU Dominguez Hills and the California State University System. Compiled by Greg Williams, Director of the Archives and Thomas Philo, cataloging archivist, the Guide represents the first comprehensive documentation of the extent and depth of the Archival Collections at Dominguez Hills. The 150 page guide has over 100 illustrations from the collection and is available online at the Archives website: http://www. The Archives has over 215 collections consisting of 2500 feet of archival material dating from the 1850s through the 2000s, 150,000 photographs and a digital collection of 6000 items. In addition there are over 5000 rare or special collection books dating back to 1555. The Guide contains shorter descriptions than the 115 CSUDH finding aids that are published on the Online Archive of California (OAC) The Guide has links to each OAC finding aid. The Guide also includes a history of the archives, information on archival collecting initiatives, materials on use of the collections, research topics by major, and a list of research areas featured in the collection. Because the Guide is on-line it will be updated when new collections are cataloged. This purpose of the Guide is to allow faculty and students to have a quick understanding of what is in our collections,” said Greg Williams. “This tremendous resource is available to all students, faculty and community members.”
The collection of history materials began at Dominguez Hills in the late 1960s with initiatives to collect Japanese American materials and Dominguez Family records by members of the History Department, and continued through the 1970s with the accumulation of a rare book collection in the library. In 1979 the University became the archive for the CSU System. The main responsibility of the Archives and Special Collections Department of the University Library at CSUDH is to serve the research needs of CSUDH students, faculty and the community. Additionally, the Archives also functions to encourage CSUDH students to use primary sources. The department serves several functions as the archives for the Dominguez Hills campus, the 23-campus California State University System and the Rancho San Pedro/Dominguez Family. In addition the Archives have various South Bay Los Angeles, Compton and Long Beach collections, an Asian Pacific Studies Collection, the congressional papers of Glenn Anderson and Juanita Millender-McDonald. The archives also has extensive material on the 1910 Los Angeles Aviation Meet at Dominguez Field, Tradeswomen, African Diaspora Sacred Music and many collections on Japanese Americans during World War II. In addition the Archives’ rare book collections include such topics as photography, Latin America, early 20th century bestsellers and the works of avant-garde publishers Boni-Liveright, Grove Press, Thomas Mosher Press and Peter Pauper Press. The Archives also has several on-line photo collections that are listed in the Guide.The Archives blog is located at The Archives is open to researchers Monday-Friday 10-4.

Posted by Greg Williams at Friday, September 14, 2012 1 comments  

Rival Candidates Exhibition

Announcing a new exhibition in the Archives and Special Collections Department on the fifth floor of the University Library: The Rival Candidates: Electioneering and Politicians in California. The exhibition will run from the conventions until the inauguration (August 2012-February 2013). Featuring materials from the Glenn Anderson Collection, the Juanity Millender-McDonald Collection, the Glenn Dumke Collection and other archival collections, the Rival Candidates focuses on national, state and local elections and politics mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, but also materials from the 2000s. The purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the vast material the Archives holds on elections and politics. Also included in the exhibition are newspaper headlines from major events involving presidents, political conventions during the 1940s and 1950s, the strange sage of cross-filing for primary elections in California, Juanita Millender-McDonald’s career, early minority congressional candidates, Presidential inaugurations, buttons, White House signing pens, campaign buttons and even White House Easter Egg Hunt eggs. The Archival collection of Glenn Anderson features an endless array of materials from the 1930s to the 1990s. Anderson (1913-1994) was the mayor of Hawthorne before he was thirty, a state assemblyman, co-founder of the State Democratic Council, Lt. Governor for eight years during the Pat Brown administration, and Congressman from the South Bay and Long Beach for 20 years. He helped fund the 710 freeway and the 105 freeway is named for him. Juanita Millender-McDonald (1938-2007) was a Congresswoman from the South Bay from (1996-2007), a state legislator and Carson City Council member. Dr. Glenn Dumke (1917-1989) was a history professor and dean at Occidental College, President of San Francisco State College and Chancellor of the CSU System from 1962 to 1982. Dumke’s papers are part of the CSU System Archives which are housed in the Archives at CSUDH. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to view the exhibition Monday-Friday 10-4 in the Archives on the South Side of the Library on the Fifth Floor. For more information call 310 243-3895. Faculty are welcome to bring their classes to see the exhibition or for instruction on the primary resources within the Archives. While there are many major topics and themes in the exhibition….there is also a good deal of factual information scattered throughout the exhibition.
Political junkies may know most of the following questions, but the answers are scattered throughout the exhibition. Who was Alben W. Barkley? What Roosevelt ran for Governor of California in 1950? Who was Miss Jane from the Beverly Hillbillies supporting for Lt. Governor in 1966? Which U.S. Presidents lived in Compton? Why did Congressman Richard Nixon run as a Democrat in the Democratic Primary in 1948? Who was the Congresswoman and movie star’s wife that gave Richard Nixon the nickname “Tricky Dick?” Where was John F. Kennedy nominated as the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate in 1960? What did Frank Sinatra have to do with Glenn Anderson’s campaign for Lt. Governor in 1958. What future governor was Governor Brown fishing with in 1960? What California politicians were the Republican Party candidates for Vice President in 1948, 1952 and 1956? Who were Democratic Presidential Candidate Adlai Stevenson’s running mates in 1952 and 1956? What California Governor became one of the most significant U.S. Supreme Court justice of the 20th century? What future President was accused of trying to impeach him? (Okay, the second question is not in the exhibition). Who was California’s favorite son for the 1948 and 1952 Republican conventions? Who did the Republicans like in 1952? Answers???? Come see the Exhibition….

Posted by Greg Williams at Friday, September 14, 2012 0 comments  


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A new permanent exhibition of antique maps has just opened on the second floor of the CSU Dominguez Hills University Library. Entitled "Where Are You From?" the exhibition documents the vast information that be gleaned from maps. Looking for New Granada? Since it is now the country of Columbia you probably can't readily find it on MapQuest, although it is represented on a map now on display in the library. Need to find where Russian Tartary or "Hindoostan" was? You can find them in the exhibition. With 15 maps dating from 1747 to 1946, the exhibition covers the entire world. These maps show how the world was viewed throughout the last 250 years and surprise the viewer with accuracy as well as inaccuracy and whimsy. They invite praise for their art and design, confusion when a familiar place is named something else and serve as a gateway for critical thinking.

The exhibition features one 1847 map that shows the Mexican border reaching Oregon while another 100 years earlier is unable to show Northern Canada and Alaska because the map stated that they haven't been discovered yet. Many of the maps focus on Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, while others focus on California and Los Angeles. One 1788 map shows the Philippines and Borneo. While many of the maps were used to chart courses, others were created for fun and education(Jo Mora's California, 1945) and others were published to promote California tourism (Roads to Romance) or industrial locations (Unique Map of California). Some maps published before automobiles and without any need to chart a ship, were created for an atlas to teach physical geography.

One 1796 map has the longest title: “A general chart, on Mercator's projection, to shew the track of the Lion and Hindostan from England to the Gulph of Pekin in China, and of their return to England: with the daily statement of the barometer and thermometer as observed at noon: containing also the limits of the Chinese Empire as extended by the conquests of the present Emperor Tchien-Lung.”

Another map is entitled: “A New and Accurate Map of America drawn from the most approved modern Maps and Charts and adjusted by Astronomical Observations. Exhibiting the Course of Trade Winds both in the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans,” 1747.

The maps are part of the Library's Archives and Special Collections Map Collection. Additional maps are on display in the on the fifth floor. The Library collaborated with the Promoting Excellence in Graduate Studies Program (PEGS)to put the exhibition together. The maps can viewed during regular library hours.

Don Hata Talks about Issues in "Building Evidence" Exhibition

On November 29, 2011 Dr. Donald Hata, professor emeritus of history addressed the largest group of students ever assembled in CSUDH's Archives Reading Room. Hata spoke on Japanese American incarceration during World War II and issues raised by the Archives current exhibition entitled "Building Evidence."