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Peek in the Stacks: urban archives

Natural Disasters

 Natural disasters, as most of us know, are inevitable and can sometimes cause a lot of damage. In Los Angeles, we often experience earthquakes, fires, and occasionally, floods. In recent years, we have had tsunami scares, tornados touching down, and major fires in the area. Special Collections and Archives holds several collections that document various disasters...

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Happy 100th Birthday, Los Angeles Aqueduct!

November 5th, 2013 marks the one hundred-year anniversary of the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.  Special Collections and Archives celebrates this achievement with the release of the digital collection, Water Works: Documenting Water History in Los Angeles, and the opening of the Catherine Mulholland...

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Richard Bruland Bebop Records Art Posters Collection

Los Angeles is known for its music scene, with legendary clubs like the Troubadour and the Roxy hosting and even launching some of the biggest acts in the history of popular music. While many people think of Hollywood as the hub for rock music in LA, in the 1980s some of the best acts actually came....

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Felipe and Blandina (Guerrero) Rodriguez Family Collection

Immigration has always been an important part of growth and development in the United States. People from all corners of the world have come to the United States for various reasons. With the flooding of people into the United States, especially during the early 20th century, individual stories ....

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Mothers in the Archives

Most countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. This year, Mother’s Day is on May 12th. There are many ways to celebrate our mothers. In the United States, many of us buy flowers, candy, jewelry, or create something to show appreciation. However, throughout history, there have been political and cultural events that have shaped this tradition...

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Environmental Collections

The first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970, was the product of local grassroots action to increase environmental awareness. Activities that day were not created by organizers in Washington, but by individuals and communities who worked to focus the nation’s political agenda on environmental issues. Special Collections and Archives holds several collections that document the history of environmental ...

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Gilbert G. Benjamin Subversive Activities Collection

Gilbert G. Benjamin, Jr. began working for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1946, and was posted in both Virginia and Washington D.C. before being transferred to Los Angeles in 1957. The Gilbert G. Benjamin Jr. Subversive Activities Collection documents his work in Los Angeles, and includes documentation of communist and other subversive activities across Southern California ...

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Bud and Louise

On March 14, 1947, a yacht in Newport Harbor exploded with two people aboard, Walter Overell, a wealthy businessman, and his wife, Beulah. Both were seemingly killed by the blast, and the yacht sank to the ocean floor. While the initial report suggested the explosion might have been caused by an engine malfunction and leaking gasoline, it was soon discovered that the blast was actually caused by dynamite....

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School Desegregation and Busing in Los Angeles

In 1961, Mary Ellen Crawford, an African-American teen, attempted to enroll at South Gate High School, the closest high school to her home. The Los Angeles Unified School District refused her request, and directed her to enroll at the more-distant Jordan High School. Jordan’s student body was 99% African-American, while South Gate High's was 98% caucasian. Crawford's parents filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the Los Angeles Unified School District exercised discriminatory attendance boundary practices....

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