Anne Kogen and Beth Wolfson, founding Library faculty family

Anne Kogen with daugher Beth Wolfson
Anne Kogen with daugher Beth Wolfson

(Anne) I arrived — we arrived in San Fernando Valley – in Northridge, actually — in 1956. And I have to add that my heart was not in it. … I had not seen the campus until we moved up here, and it was a shock. Well, first of all, there was no campus. It was nothing. There were no buildings. There were Quonset huts . . .. Those were the buildings. And that was the start of the state college, which at the time, in 1956, was a – may I say, “stepchild”? — certainly, a subordinate unit of Los Angeles State College in Los Angeles. We didn’t have a name — we didn’t have “Northridge” in our name. And it was really kind of disheartening. We moved out here at the end of August, and it was hotter by far than today, and it wasn’t at all built up. I mean, one can say, “Well, there were orange trees and walnut trees, and horses. . .“ and make it sound beautiful, but it wasn’t – at least, in my eyes. However, I have to say, going from then to 52 years later, that there is some very special feeling watching something grow up from that stage of nothingness – from very little more than conception – to the very mature institution, successful institution that the college is today.

But I have certain personal memories of the valley, one of which — I laugh, every rainy winter. . .. I spent a lot of time dragging my husband to and from his office, which was in the library. He was the first – I don’t know if he was the only, but he was the first — Assistant Librarian of what is now this incredible building. And we had to go down Zelzah Avenue from the house we were living in in Granada Hills. It was totally unpaved – I mean, it was not just an unpaved, but a completely dirt road. And when you drove from Granada Hills to the campus, it was — When I think about it, it was like a pioneer with a covered wagon, and two and two-thirds children. So, I mean, it was really quite something. But you know — it was ok. As I look back on it, it was more ok than it was at the time.


(Beth) There’s something I think is really moving to me that I’d like to briefly talk about. In the late 80s I took some studio art classes here. I took some sculpture classes in what was then called the sculpture annex. And that year – I think it was ’88 – there was a fire. Just that building burned down. It’s where we did welding. I don’t know exactly what the cause of the fire was. There are some other studio buildings in the same place right now. And it was really devastating to everybody, and it really brought into relief what a special community we had there. It was just a really special place. People loved to go and work and see what other people were doing, and I’d only been in one other little studio community like that, where people had that kind of feeling. And it was a great loss.