Bill Deverell has spent his academic career exploring the history and culture of California. With research interests including the American West after the Civil War and the environmental history of Los Angeles, and as the director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW), it’s clear his mind is focused on the Golden State. However, there is a special place in his heart for the city of Pasadena.
For his contributions to the culture of Pasadena both in the classroom and in the community, Deverell has been honored with a 2011 Gold Crown Award by the Pasadena Arts Council. Deverell, professor of history in USC Dornsife, and three other Pasadena community members will receive this year’s award.
The council is an advocate for Pasadena’s arts and cultural community and provides resources, programs and services to the city’s artists, arts and cultural groups, young people and visitors.
“The Gold Crown Award is given each year to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Pasadena, and Bill Deverell embodies the spirit of this award in its truest form,” said Terry LeMoncheck, executive director of the Pasadena Arts Council. “Bill has been a great friend to many constituencies in Pasadena, and has given unselfishly of his time and his deep knowledge of the history of Los Angeles.”
“I am deeply honored by this award,” Deverell said. “I have great respect for the organization, and being recognized in this way, and alongside these community members, is immensely gratifying."
Deverell came to USC in 2004 and founded the ICW that same year. The institute connects USC Dornsife with The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, which are located just south of Pasadena. Deverell forged the partnership to study and promote the history and culture of California and the American West. His current projects at the institute include building a Southern California aerospace history archive of original documents, photographs and local oral histories to document the impact of the industry on the community and the world.
He has written and edited numerous publications on the history and culture of California and the West, including To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds: The American West After the Civil War (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming), A Companion to Los Angeles (Blackwell, 2010), Land of Sunshine: An Environmental History of Metropolitan Los Angeles (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), and Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past (University of California Press, 2004).
LeMoncheck noted that in addition to being recognized as a scholar and academic, Deverell is also a well-known and treasured member of the Pasadena community, having written and presented for the council’s biennial art and science festival and having worked with the Pasadena Museum of History, among other activities.
“We are so very fortunate to have Bill here in Pasadena,” LeMoncheck said.
Deverell’s fellow 2011 Gold Crown Award recipients are Dianne M. Magee, the longest-serving current trustee and past board chair of the Pasadena Arts Council; Sid Tyler, former Pasadena city council member and chairman of the board of the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena; and his wife Betsey Tyler, trustee of Southwest Chamber Music and Pasadena Beautiful. The honorees received their awards at a June 10 ceremony.