Past Events

Strong Hearts and Healing Hands: Southern California Indians and Field Nurses, 1920–1950

Monday, June 21, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

In 1924, the United States began a bold program in public health. The Indian Service of the United States hired its first nurses to work among Indians living on reservations. This corps of white women were dedicated to improving Indian health. In 1928, the first field nurses arrived in the Mission Indian Agency of Southern California. These nurses visited homes and schools, providing public health and sanitation information regarding disease causation and prevention.

Over time, field nurses and Native people formed a positive working relationship that resulted in the decline of mortality from infectious diseases. Many Native Americans accepted and used Western medicine to fight pathogens, while also continuing Indigenous medicine ways. Nurses helped control tuberculosis, measles, influenza, pneumonia, and a host of gastrointestinal sicknesses. In partnership with the community, nurses quarantined people with contagious diseases, tested for infections, and tracked patients and contacts. Indians turned to nurses and learned about disease prevention. With strong hearts, Indians eagerly participated in the tuberculosis campaign of 1939–40 to x-ray tribal members living on twenty-nine reservations. Through their cooperative efforts, Indians and health-care providers decreased deaths, cases, and misery among the tribes of Southern California.

Author Clifford E. Trafzer will talk about this incredible period in California history, one captured in his book Strong Hearts and Healing Hands: Southern California Indians and Field Nurses, 1920–1950.

A live online presentation by Clifford E. Trafzer, author and Distinguished Professor of History and Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at the University of California, Riverside

Yesterday’s Specials: A Selection of Rare Restaurant Menus & Cocktail Lists, 1940-­1990

Monday, June 14, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

In this talk Liz Pollock will discuss many of the historic changes in menu design.

Originally it was just one of several decisions the restaurateur would make: How would the menu reflect the heart of the brand? Old-world or exotic – perhaps a Tiki atmosphere? Classy or flashy? The choice of artwork and graphics promoted the ambience and special personality of the establishment. All of the lunch and dinner selections, the prices, the wine list, and the specialties of the house – were carefully planned to prepare the employees for when the customers and tourists arrived.

Pollock will share the many problems and predicaments faced by restaurant owners during World War II; when during a self-imposed paper shortage, and due to financial restrictions, restaurant menus went through radical design changes.

The Art Deco menu designs of the 1920s and 1930s with their fancy highlights of gold and glitter were now a thing of the past. Menus designed for use in the war years were now printed on an inexpensive quality of paper, often using a single page. Paper mills were currently doing war work assignments and former mill workers and shop printers may have already been drafted.

Pollock will share examples of menus from famous restaurants including Bimbo’s 365, Trader Vic’s, Bergez-­Frank’s Old Poodle Dog, the Ambassador Hotel, The Brown Derby, the Waldorf-­Astoria, the Four Seasons and The Russian Tea Room.

A live online presentation by Liz Pollock, author, collector, and bookseller

Artist’s Books and the Anthropocene

Monday, May 24, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder’s artist’s books explore the ways that humans utilize and impact the environment. Her work combines traditional and contemporary printing and bookbinding techniques with found objects to construct narrative. In this talk, Schroeder discusses her recent bookworks focusing on species extinction in the 20th century. Her current project about the extinct Floridian dusky seaside sparrow involves tracking down the last specimen to perish, and interviewing ornithologists who worked on the duskies’ preservation efforts.

A live online presentation by Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder, book artist and proprietor of Coyote Bones Press

100 questions worth asking: a Letterpress Exploration in Quarantine

Monday, May 17, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

During the extraordinarily singular year of 2020, book artist e bond decided to re-ignite an old writing project about the creative process. As a way back into the project, she participated in an online exercise where she shared a question for 100 days. The questions began as creative prompts about process but soon evolved into questions about life. What came next was a month long visual exploration of those questions into letterpress & mixed-media prints. This talk explores how e bond got from there to here and the work that was made during the past year.

A live online presentation by e bond, book artist and owner, roughdrAftbooks

How Simon Blattner became a Curator of Handmade Books and Lost a Lot of Money

Monday, May 10, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Join us for an amusing and constructive conversation with Simon Blattner about print, handmade books, and curating. Blattner will discuss how he put together an exhibition of Handmade Books from Mexico. Before going to Mexico, Blattner did not know any of the artists that were featured in the exhibition. His hectic travels around Mexico will make you laugh and hopefully inspire you to make your own artistic leap of faith. Prior to curating exhibitions, Simon learned paper making at Magnolia Editions and owned a print studio, Eastside Editions. His lessons are a primer for how to lose your mind and money, make some great intaglio prints and books, and craft beautiful pieces of art.

Blattner has made a vow to never leave the world of handmade books and print. He wrote of his adventures in Mexico and the resulting exciting exhibition in his book “Libros de Artista” published last year.

A live online presentation by Simon Blattner, owner and publisher, Eastside Editions

Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940: Paul R. Williams

Monday, April 26, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Exploring the Work of Architect Paul Williams

Join us as author Stephen Gee discusses the work and innovation of celebrated Los Angeles architect Paul Revere Williams. During his presentation, the author of Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940: Paul R. Williams (Tailwater Press/Angel City Press, 2021) will focus on the improbable career of the pioneering architect, the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects and the organization’s first African-American Fellow and Gold Medalist. In his six-decade career, Williams worked on more than 3,000 projects ranging from modest affordable housing to mansions for Hollywood celebrities.

The Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940 series showcases the work of architects from Southern California’s Golden Age of design, as featured in early issues of The Architectural Digest. Williams is the fourth architect in the series, which includes Gordon B. Kaufmann, Roland E. Coate, and Wallace Neff.

Stephen Gee is a writer and television producer based in Los Angeles. He is the author of Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles (2013), and co-author, with Arnold Schwartzman, of Los Angeles Central Library: A History of its Art and Architecture (2016). Most recently Stephen authored Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon (2018).

A live online presentation by Stephen Gee, author

A Small Moment of Great Illumination: Searching for Valentine Greatrakes, The Master Healer

Monday, April 19, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Renowned for his healing powers, Valentine Greatrakes stood at the center of one of the great controversies of his age involving scientists, theologians, physicians, and philosophers. Many proclaimed his cures a miracle. Others denounced him as a quack.

Recent court battles over intelligent design affirm that the conflict between science and religion still rages, but what was the debate like in its earliest flowering? A Small Moment of Great Illumination visits England at the height of the Scientific Revolution to find the answer embodied in Greatrakes.

Claiming he could heal others simply by touching them, Greatrakes became the target for a rising contest between the clergy and laymen who would champion the emerging scientific theories of the day.

This biography traces his ascendance in the high societies of England and Ireland and his relationships with poet Andrew Marvell, philosopher Henry More, and scientist Robert Boyle.

Pitt interlaces the biography with his own adventures, Pitt’s pursuit of the Irish healer turned up many magical discoveries. Including eye–witness accounts of Greatrakes’s healing and correspondence from Greatrakes on how he discovered his powers, this book pieces together the life and times of an enigmatic forgotten figure.

A live online presentation by Leonard Pitt, author, archivist, and historian

Documenting and Preserving Humanity’s Cultural Legacy
Monday, April 12, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

This talk will present examples of existing and cutting-edge uses of photography-based imaging including Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) showing fine surface details, and photogrammetry for producing 3D models. The use of these tools in a range of Cultural Heritage contexts will be shown, including fine art conservation and research of museum and library collections. Examples will include illuminated manuscripts, book bindings, locked letters, and prints.

A live online presentation by Carla Schroer, co-founder and director of Cultural Heritage Imaging

Anthropologist in the Archives: Writing the Life of Marie Potts
Monday, March 29, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

The Mountain Maidu activist and California Indian newspaper editor and publisher Marie Mason Potts (1895-1978), based in Sacramento, California, for the last three decades of her life, left a trail of biographical breadcrumbs that stretches from her ancestral homelands in the High Sierra to the halls of Congress. Author Terri Castaneda will discuss the process of pursuing the traces of Potts’s life over the course of more than a decade, bringing to the fore the many contexts in which Potts’ written work—from off-reservation boarding school essays, to columns in the Smoke Signal of the Federated Indians of California, to her own book, The Northern Maidu—stand as a testament to her pioneering work as a California Native activist. Along the way, she will draw connections between her research and the insights to be gained from inhabiting the archives as an ethnographic field site.

A live online presentation by Terri A. Castaneda, Ph.D., professor, Department of Anthropology, California State University, Sacramento

Fore-Edge: Louise Fili & Lorraine Wild – Virtuosos of Typography and Book Design
Monday, March 22, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

With a brief nod to American women book cover designers from the 1890s through the 1930s who created thousands of book cover designs, and were influenced by the aesthetics of Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement, Gender Neutral will focus on the work of two of the most prolific contemporary typographers and book designers, Louise Fili and Lorraine Wilde. Louise Fili was art director of Pantheon Books for eleven years, where she designed close to 2,000 book jackets. She founded Louise Fili Ltd in 1989. She is the author of Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili, Grafica della Strada, Graphique de la Rue, Gràfica de les Rambles, The Cognoscenti’s Guide to Florence, and Italianissimo. Lorraine Wild is the principal of Green Dragon Office, a design firm that is dedicated (mostly) to the design of books on art, photography, architecture, and other cultural subjects. Publications include Ai Weiwei: Bare Life [2019], Barbara Kruger [2011], and The World From Here: Treasures from the Great Libraries of Los Angeles [2001]. Recent projects include the design of books and exhibition catalogs for LACMA, the Hammer Museum, the Getty Research Institute, MOCA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A live online presentation by Gloria Kondrup, designer, educator, artist, and executive director of the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography

Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women
Monday, March 15, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

As San Francisco recovered from the 1906 earthquake and fire, dust and ash filled the city’s factories, stores, and classrooms. Dr. Philip King Brown noticed rising tuberculosis rates among the women who worked there, and he knew there were few places where they could get affordable treatment.

In 1911, with the help of society women and his wife, Helen, a protégé of philanthropist Phoebe Apperson Hearst, Brown opened the Arequipa Sanatorium in Marin County. Together, Brown and his all-female staff gave new life to hundreds of working-class women suffering from tuberculosis in early 20th-century California.

Based on sanatorium records Downey helped to preserve and interviews she conducted with former patients and others associated with Arequipa, she tells a vivid story of the sanatorium and its cure that Brown and his talented team of Progressive women made possible for hundreds of working-class patients.

A live online presentation by Lynn Downey, author, archivist, and historian

Corita Kent. Art and Soul. The Biography.
Monday, March 8, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Corita Kent. Art and Soul. The Biography. is the painstakingly researched account of one of America’s icons, the nun who made a world of difference and, to her surprise, simultaneously made a name for herself. The book brings readers the life story, the telling artwork, and the unmistakable spirituality of the woman who rose to fame as Sister Mary Corita in the tumultuous 1960s.

Eighteen-year-old Frances Kent joined the Immaculate Heart of Mary order of Catholic nuns in Hollywood in 1936. From the day she became Sister Mary Corita, IHM, her vision expanded, first as nun, teacher, artist, and finally as activist for social justice, distinguishing her from the norm of twentieth century women, and certainly of other women religious.

In post-World War II Los Angeles, Corita found an evolving, unfinished urban environment, full of raw material for her increasingly colorful and textual prints. With a unique calligraphic style and a playful spirit, Corita’s constructions or deconstructions of word and image shook up an art establishment that didn’t quite know what to do with a nun’s bold interpretation of her society.

After Vatican II, Corita and her Immaculate Heart sisters enthusiastically embraced the church’s calls for reform. But ecclesiastical authorities relentlessly thwarted their efforts, calling them “bad women” and forcing them into untenable decisions for their futures. For several years, Corita and her artworks became the focus of derision by the Los Angeles archbishop, Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, who found her prints offensive, even despicable.

Before her death in 1986, Corita Kent bequeathed her collection of prints to UCLA’s Hammer Museum.

A live online presentation by April Dammann, author


A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler
Monday, February 22, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler offers a blueprint for a creative life from the perspective of award-winning science-fiction writer and “MacArthur Genius” Octavia E. Butler. It is a collection of ideas about how to look, listen, breathe—how to be in the world. This book is about the creative process, but not on the page; its canvas is much larger. Author Lynell George not only engages the world that shaped Octavia E. Butler, she also explores the very specific processes through which Butler shaped herself—her unique process of self-making. It’s about creating a life with what little you have—hand-me-down books, repurposed diaries, journals, stealing time to write in the middle of the night, making a small check stretch—bit by bit by bit. A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky draws the reader into Butler’s world, creating a sense of unmatched intimacy with the deeply private writer.

A live online conversation between Louise Steinman, writer and independent literary curator and Lynell George, journalist and essayist

The Green Book: A Black History of the American Road Trip
Monday, February 15, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Historically, “road tripping” stood as a romanticized part of the American experience though this pastime did not necessarily hold the same allure for African Americans.  To compensate, Victor Hugo Green published The Negro Motorist Green Book which guided black travelers to safe spaces of rest and relaxation nationwide. This talk will discuss the historic challenges of black travel and the spaces of leisure that emerged for black travelers between the 1930s and 1960s.

A live online talk by Dr. Kenya Davis-Hayes, historian and professor of history, California Baptist University

Black Leaders of Leisure: Their California Dream during the Jim Crow Era and the Implications of these Stories Today
Monday, February 8, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

This presentation includes an overview of the author’s book, Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era (University of Nebraska Press, 2020), which takes a fresh approach to looking at the practices of relaxation and recreation at outdoor and public spaces for all people at beaches, mountains, and other scenic locales holding a central place in the long freedom rights struggle.

Leisure was not an optional add-on to civil rights but an essential component of liberty and this talk will feature the local stories of African Americans who fought for dignity, equal access and the full range of human experience and fulfillment in exploration of California’s offerings as they contributed to the state’s development.

The speaker will share how some of the sites discussed in the book are being used today to engage young people with experiential learning activities in the explorations of the African American and Mexican American experiences, heritage conservation issues, beach wildlife appreciation and stewardship, as well as aspirations to environmental justices policies involving beach access and civic action.

A live online presentation by Alison Rose Jefferson, author, historian, and heritage conservation consultant

Pasadena Printmaker Frances Gearhart Celebrates California
Monday, January 25, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

As a Pasadena artist, Frances Gearhart (1869-1959) was embedded in the time, place and ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement. Her color block prints of the California landscape personifies a handcrafted aesthetic. She was bold in her use of color and powerful in the lines of keyblock. Seasons and times of the day captivated her. She celebrated the wintry day, the morning sun on the hills, the splendor of fall. Hence the title, “Behold the Day.”

A live online talk by Susan Futterman, author


The Practice of Collecting: The Life of Collections Past & Present
Monday, January 11, 2021, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Join Collections Advisor, Spencer W. Stuart as he discusses case studies from his professional practice as well as the past to chart the life cycle of collections and the collectors who build them.

Through these examinations he will touch on important things collectors should consider at key moments of their collecting such as motivations that move one to collect, how to maintain perspective while actively collecting and finally the legacy of a collection.

Referenced throughout are the recent structural changes that have taken place in the rare books and printed material markets, resulting in a more transparent ecosystem to participate in as a collector as well as the emergence of tendencies Spencer has observed with new collectors that he feels are redefining notions of who collects and what influences their focus.

Collecting is a journey. Executed with foresight, it can be a source of both self-exploration and understanding of the World. Through his talk, Spencer seeks to inspire new collectors and reinvigorate those with an established focus.

A live online talk by Spencer W. Stuart, collections advisor


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