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Peek in the Stacks: urban archives

On Strikes!

The Urban Archives, part of Special Collections and Archives, collects materials that document the history of Los Angeles, and includes the records of many labor unions, guilds, and affiliated labor organizations that have operated within Los Angeles since the early 20th century. Many of these collections include records documenting labor strikes, or work stoppages ....

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Comisión Femenil San Fernando Valley Collection

In the United States, the 1968 East Los Angeles student walkouts began a rise of Chicano activism. A flash point was the Chicano Moratorium march on August 29, 1970 in East Los Angeles. On that day, the tragic deaths of four people included the celebrated Los Angeles Times journalist, Ruben Salazar. One organization to grow out of this turbulent period is Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional...

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A River Runs Through It

Members of the Portolá Expedition were the first Europeans to see the Los Angeles River, camping on its banks near what is now downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 1769. Franciscan missionary and diarist for the expedition, Fray Juan Crespi wrote, "...we entered a very spacious valley, well grown with cottonwoods and alders....

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Brad Pye, Jr., Los Angeles Sports Journalist and Community Advocate

In 1943, at the young age of 12, Brad Pye, Jr. paid a friend who transported cars to California $5.00 for a ride from his home in Plain Dealing, Louisiana to Los Angeles. Once in L.A., Pye continued his education, completing both junior high and high school while working as a gas station attendant in the evenings. During World War II, housing accommodations were tight and Pye rented space to sleep...

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S.F.V.S.C., November 4, 1968

Many are unaware that the campus unrest of the mid-1960s and early 1970s left a lasting impression on the campus of San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN). Special Collections is home to several books and archival collections that discuss this discord, including two books representing different sides of what is known on campus as...

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Van Nuys, Then and Now

Los Angeles is a key shaped city spread cross a large swath of Southern California. Encompassing almost 470 square miles, the City has almost twice the landmass of Chicago. One of the more interesting aspects of the area is its multitude of smaller districts, towns, and neighborhoods that fan out from the city proper. Van Nuys is one of these towns....

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The Short, Happy Life of the Valley Music Theatre

A little over fifty years ago, businessmen Nick Mayo, Randolph Hale, and Cy Warner brought what they considered to be the first professional performing arts center to the San Fernando Valley. Designed by the architectural firm, Hawkins and Lindsey, plans called for a theatre-in-the-round, with a revolving stage located in the center and the audience seated on three sides, which enabled actors to...

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Wartime Jewish Émigrés

Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi) gained control of the German state in 1933, after which the systematic and deliberate exclusion of Jews rapidly escalated. In 1933 Hitler called for a ban on Jewish business and the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service banned Jewish people (and some political opponents) from the...

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Coalition for Women's Economic Development Collection

The Coalition for Women's Economic Development (CWED) began emerging in the United States in the mid- to late-1980s to provide better economic options for micro-entrepreneurs. CWED was the first organization of its kind in the city of Los Angeles and one of the first in the United States. The organization borrowed strategies from Grameen Bank, a Bangladeshi community bank which provided micro-credit loans to those living in abject poverty. CWED engaged in...

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The House Un-American Activities Committee

While October 20th, 1947, seemed like an ordinary Monday for many Washington Congressional staffers, for some the day began by throwing their feet on the floor with a feeling of dread in the pit of their stomachs. On this day, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) held special hearings that were to last two to three weeks. The New York Times reported...

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