WESTERN HISTORIES SERIES

A new series published by the Huntington Library Press and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West in partnership with the University of California Press. Western Histories will continue the tradition of publishing outstanding books on the American West by drawing on the resources of the Huntington Library and the innovative programs of the Huntington-USC Institute for California and the West. The Western Histories series will enliven and enrich our collective understanding of the significance of California and the American West.

A Squatter's Republic: Land and the Politics of Monopoly in California, 1850-1900

Tamara Venit Shelton

Who should have the right to own land, and how much of it? A Squatter's Republic follows the rise and fall of the land question in the Gilded Age—and the rise and fall of a particularly nineteenth-century vision of landed independence. More specifically, the author considers the land question through the anti-monopolist reform movements it inspired in late nineteenth-century California. The Golden State was a squatter's republic—a society of white men who claimed no more land than they could use, and who promised to uphold agrarian republican ideals and resist monopoly, the nemesis of democracy. Their opposition to land monopoly became entwined with public discourse on Mexican land rights, industrial labor relations, immigration from China, and the rise of railroad and other corporate monopolies.

Tamara Venit Shelton is Assistant Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College.

 

Where Minds and Matters Meet: Technology in California and the West

ed. Volker Janssen

The American West—where such landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge rival wild landscapes in popularity and iconic significance—has been viewed as a frontier of technological innovation. Where Minds and Matters Meet calls attention to the convergence of Western history and the history of technology, showing that the region’s politics and culture have shaped seemingly placeless, global technological practices and institutions. Drawing on political and social history as well as art history, the book’s essays take the cultural measure of the region’s great technological milestones, including San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition, the building of the Hetch Hetchy Dam in the Sierras, and traffic planning in Los Angeles. 

Contributors: Amy Bix, Louise Nelson Dyble, Patrick McCray, Linda Nash, Peter Neushul, Matthew W. Roth, Bruce Sinclair, L. Chase Smith, Carlene Stephens, Aristotle Tympas, Jason Weems, Peter Westwick, Stephanie Young

 

 

Post-Ghetto: Reimagining South Los Angeles

ed. Josh Sides

Is South Los Angeles on the mend? How is it combating the blight of crime, gang violence, high unemployment, and dire poverty? In provocative essays, the contributing authors to Post-Ghetto address these questions by pointing out robust signs of hope for the area’s residents—an increase in corporate retail investment, a decrease in homicides, a proliferation of nonprofit service providers, a paradigm shift in violence- and gang-prevention programs, and progress toward a strengthened, more racially integrated labor movement. By charting the connections between public policy and the health of a community, the authors offer innovative ideas and visionary strategies for further urban renewal and remediation.

Contributors: Jake Alimahomed-Wilson, Andrea Azuma, Edna Bonacich, Robert Gottlieb, Karen M. Hennigan, Jorge N. Leal, Jill Leovy, Cheryl Maxson, Scott Saul, David C. Sloane, Mark Vallianatos, Danny Widener, Natale Zappia.

Josh Sides is Whitsett Chair of California History and Director of the Center for Southern California Studies at California State University, Northridge.

 

Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California

ed. Peter J. Westwick

Why did Southern California become the aerospace capital of the world? What were the consequences of this development for the region, for the nation, and for aerospace itself? Featuring essays by a multidisciplinary group of leading scholars and writers, this volume investigates the intersection of aerospace and Southern California through the lenses of anthropology, history of science and technology, labor, business, ethnicity and gender, architecture, and the environment.

Best Non-Fiction Book, Los Angeles Public Library

Peter J. Westwick is an assistant professor of history at the University of Southern California and director of the Aerospace History Project, an initiative of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.

American Heathens: Religion, Race, and Reconstruction in California

Joshua Paddison

In the 19th-century debate over whether the United States should be an explicitly Christian nation, California emerged as a central battleground. Racial groups that were perceived as godless and uncivilized were excluded from suffrage, and evangelism among Indians and the Chinese was seen as a politically incendiary act. Joshua Paddison sheds light on Reconstruction’s impact on Indians and Asian Americans by illustrating how marginalized groups fought for a political voice, refuting racist assumptions with their lives, words, and faith. Reconstruction, he argues, was not merely a remaking of the South, but rather a multiracial and multiregional process of reimagining the nation.

Joshua Paddison is an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow in the American Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University.

Alta California: Peoples in Motion, Identities in Formation

ed. Stephen W. Hackel

Spanish California—with its diverse mix of Indians, soldiers, settlers, and missionaries—provides a fascinating site for the investigation of individual and collective identity in colonial America. Through innovative methodologies and extensive archival research, the nine essays in this volume reshape our understanding of how people in the northernmost Spanish Borderlands viewed themselves and remade their worlds. Essays examine Franciscan identity and missionary tactics in Alta California, Sonora, and the Sierra Gorda; Spanish and Mexican settlers’ identity as revealed in mission records, family relationships, political affiliations, and genetic origins; and Indian identity as shown in mission orchestras and choral guilds as well as in the life of Pablo Tac, a Luiseño who penned his own remembrance of the Spanish conquest of Alta California. The concluding essays examine the identity and historiography of the field of the Spanish Borderlands as it has developed over the last century in North America and Spain.

The Father of All: The de la Guerra Family, Power, and Patriarchy in Mexican California

Louise Pubols

Historian Louise Pubols presents a rich and nuanced study of a key family in California's past: the de la Guerras of Santa Barbara. Amid sweeping economic and political changes, including the U.S.Mexican War, the de la Guerra family continually adapted and reinvented themselves. This absorbing narrative is much more than the history of an elite and powerful family, however. Pubols analyzes the region's trading and provisioning economy and clarifies its volatile political rivalries. By tracing a web of business and family relationships, Pubols shows in practical terms how patriarchy functioned from generation to generation in Spanish and Mexican California. This is the first of a series of books on western history to be copublished by the Huntington Library and University of California Press.

Ray Allen Billington Prize, Organization of American Historians

William P. Clements Prize, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies

Louise Pubols is Chief Curator of the History Department of the Oakland Museum of California.
  • Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
  • Department of History
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0034