From the Director, Bill Deverell

bd headshotThe Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW) is an innovative collaboration between the Huntington Library and the University of Southern California.  Founded in 2004, ICW exists to further the study of the history and culture of California and the American West and to bring the fruits of that study to the widest possible audience.

 The 2012-13 year was an ambitious one for ICW programming.

 The Getty Foundation awarded the Institute a grant in conjunction with the Getty Research Institute’s Los Angeles Architecture, 1940-1990 set of initiatives.   Launched online, Form and Landscape is an ICW project featuring an online exhibit drawn from The Huntington Library’s Southern California Edison photographic archive, a remarkable visual source of over 50,000 images depicting landscape and built environment change across the Los Angeles basin from the late 19th century forward.  The exhibit features approximately 600 photographs, curated by 20 curators, each focused on a particular theme resonant in the collection (downtown, work, streetscape, etc.).  In addition, ICW sponsored two public panel discussions at which the exhibit and its findings are addressed: "Better Living Through Electricity:" Los Angeles, 1940-1990 and Inexplicable Los Angeles: Ghosts and Traces, 1940-1990

The Institute also sponsored three programs related to the centennial of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.  These programs explore such issues as the collapse of the St. Francis Dam in 1928; the role of the film Chinatown in educating Angelenos about the water history of the city; and the cultural and environmental hold that lawns and grass still exert in our region.

ICW completed its fifth year and second program as content provider for the federally-funded, Teaching American History grant for K-12 teachers from the Pasadena and El Rancho Unified School Districts. Lectures delivered by scholars on a wide range of historic periods in American history are enriched by field trips to locations such as the Japanese American National Museum and the Nixon Library and Museum.

ICW exists as testament to the collaboration between USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and The Huntington Library.  We are also the beneficiary of financial and other support from an array of philanthropic individuals and organizations.  We welcome your support, and please direct any questions you have either to me at or to Taryn Haydostian, Administrative Director, at

William Deverell
626 405 2108 ex 3.

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