LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

LA as Subject Blog

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Welcome aboard new LAAS Executive Committee members!

Posted by Liza Posas on Jun 30, 2015

The 2015-2017 Executive Committee members were voted in and announced to those who attended the general membership meeting last June.  The incoming Executive Committee members will start at the August 11 General Membershp meeting and include the following:

David Boulé (who is continuing on for… Read more »


LA as Subject Residency Program - now hiring

Posted by Liza Posas on Jun 3, 2015

The Autry National Center Libraries and Archives, the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Libraries, and the USC Libraries will each host and mentor a Resident Archivist for an initial three-month supervised archival project, followed by three, three-month rotations at L.A. as Subject… Read more »


Event with 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Biography

Posted by Liza Posas on May 15, 2015

Join the Allendale Branch Library as it hosts “An Afternoon with Megan Marshall” on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.  A graduate of Pasadena’s Allendale Elementary and Blair High School (1971), Marshall returns to her hometown for a discussion, reading, and book signing at the Allendale… Read more »


Institute for Baseball Studies now open to the public

Posted by Liza Posas on Feb 18, 2015

The Institute for Baseball Studies, the first humanities-based research center of its kind associated with a college or university in the United States, has announced its public hours for the 2015 spring semester at Whittier College.  Effective immediately through May 1, the Institute will be… Read more »


Before 1948, L.A.‘s Power Grid Was Incompatible With the Rest of the Nation’s

Posted by Nathan Masters on Feb 4, 2015

Courtesy of the USC Libraries – Dick Whittington Photography Collection.

Before 1948, there was something funny about the Southland's electricity. Plug in a clock from New York and it would lose 10 minutes every hour. Spin a record on a turntable from San Francisco and it would sound deep and drowsy. Some gadgets wouldn't work at all.

The problem? Southern… Read more »

Topics: Gizmodo

How Santa Monica’s Third Street Became a Promenade

Posted by Nathan Masters on Feb 4, 2015

King of the road? Since 1965, the pedestrian rather than the private automobile has reigned over a three-block stretch of downtown Santa Monica. Today, the Third Street Promenade is one of the Southland's best-known examples of a public space that prioritizes pedestrians over cars.

But while… Read more »

Topics: KCET

When Anaheim’s Flying-Saucer Arena Touched Down Near Disneyland

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 27, 2014

Had one of Tomorrowland's flying saucers gone missing? When the Anaheim Convention Center's arena opened in the summer of 1967, it looked as if a spacecraft from another world had touched down directly opposite Katella Avenue from Disneyland.

Designed by Los Angeles-based architects Adrian… Read more »

Topics: KCET

Monomania L.A.: The Obsessive Collectors of Southern California

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 27, 2014

What happens when collecting becomes more than a hobby? File cabinets conquer living rooms. Boxes scrape the ceilings of garages. A trip to a paper ephemera show becomes a grail quest. Even dumpsters offer the promise of a new acquisition.

Such collectors perform a tremendous service to… Read more »

Topics: Featured

Was Western Avenue Originally L.A.‘s Western Boundary?

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 15, 2014

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

It seems logical enough -- Western Avenue, as the oft-repeated explanation goes, is so named because it once formed Los Angeles' western boundary. But is there any truth to this just-so story?

Some streets did once mark L.A.'s western city limit. Most notably, West Boulevard's name dates to… Read more »

Topics: KCET

This Giant Searchlight Once Scanned L.A. From the Mountains Above

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 15, 2014

Courtesy of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society

As twilight faded over Pasadena on September 9, 1894, an artificial sun flickered to life for the first time. High above town in the San Gabriel Mountains stood a wonder of the new electric age: a 60-inch General Electric searchlight, by many accounts the largest in the world. This massive… Read more »

Topics: Gizmodo