Past Events

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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