Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW) is a center for scholarly investigation of the history and culture of California and the American West. Through sponsorship of innovative scholarship and research, ICW draws on the resources of the University of Southern California and The Huntington Library to build an innovative collaboration between a research university and a research library.

Three components of the collaboration are of particular significance:

  • Doctoral education

  • K-12 outreach

  • Thematic investigations on western history

Through ICW, USC faculty teach graduate courses at the Huntington, directly weaving the library’s astonishing depth of scholarly materials into the professional training of young scholars. Doctoral and postdoctoral students in the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences become resident scholars at the Huntington and utilize its collections in their research and teaching. Our newest Mellon Foundation postdoctoral scholar is Allison Miller, who started this fall. ICW fellowships support graduate research at The Huntington and other scholarly repositories.

The Los Angeles Service Academy, or LASA, funded by the WHH Foundation, successfully began its second year. LASA is a program designed to serve high school students from across the entire Los Angeles basin, especially those interested in public or civic service.  Led by Executive Director Doug Smith, LASA teaches students how the political, social, and environmental infrastructure of metropolitan Los Angeles works, in ways that enhance each student’s scholarly, social, and civic skills and awareness.  We are also delighted to have been awarded a Rose Hills Foundation grant, allowing ICW to begin diligent work on three related projects: (a) assembly and interpretation of curriculum content in California history (both textual and visual sources) to be used in various educational settings and classrooms; (b) “Literary Los Angeles,” a literary history of the region drawing together students, writers, and the public in discussions, book groups, and the like; and (c) the building of a teacher wing on LASA so that our efforts aimed at high school students will also reach high school teachers.  Furthermore, ICW continues its collaboration with local unified school districts and the federal Department of Education, reaching out to the region's K-12 students and teachers to further content knowledge in American and western American history.  We are especially proud of our partnerships with Pasadena Unified School District and El Rancho Unified School District.

ICW is at work on a series of thematic investigations of the history of the American West. Working with significant funding from the National Science Foundation and the Northrop Grumman Corporation, we partner with The Huntington in our "Aerospace History Project."  Directed by historian of science Peter Westwick, this project is a wide-ranging archival, scholarly, and public outreach effort aimed at the preservation and interpretation of myriad materials and memories of the aerospace history of Southern California.  In addition, we are at work on discrete investigations of such themes and topics as the metropolitan history of the region and the public health history of the far West.  ICW sponsors and creates scholarly venues through which historical research is popularized, discussed, and disseminated.

If you would like to be added to the ICW mailing list, please contact Lauren Perez. ICW is also on Facebook.


  • Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
  • Department of History
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0034