For the past 5 years, Pepperdine Special Collections and University Archives has attended and exhibited at the annual Archives Baazar hosted by USC. The Archives Bazaar is a great way for anyone with an interest in the region’s history to find out what local archival repositories have on Southern California history. Pepperdine Special Collections and University Archives Intern, Emily Hansen volunteered at the Pepperdine booth for the day and reflected on her experience below.
A few weekends ago, I was extraordinarily fortunate to attend the Archives Bazaar at the University of Southern California as the Intern for Pepperdine Special Collections and University Archives. On the 25th of October, I walked into the library at USC enchanted by the architecture, but also lost. Eventually I located the Pepperdine table and we set up a display to highlight the archival collections at Pepperdine. Black and white photos of football games long since passed stood among a book on the St. John’s Bible and a coveted Malibu tile. By the end of the day, 225 people had approached our table to share stories and ask questions. To each, we were able to explain Pepperdine’s role in the history of Los Angeles, as well as the actions and events sponsored by Pepperdine Libraries to preserve and expand this history. Being only a few months into my first archives internship, I knew little about the specifics regarding Pepperdine’s history or collections, or even archives in general. However, with each question and answer, I listened to the archivists and learned more and more about what Special Collections has to offer. I was quickly enthralled by stories such as the descriptions of traveling to Malibu by mule before the construction of major roadways, as well as the early days of the Los Angeles campus, when Pepperdine had a champion football team.
As I ventured away from our table to see the full Bazaar, I was amazed by the amount of collections that were represented. Everyone from the Getty Research Center to local heritage clubs, professional organizations, and concert halls were exhibiting the highlights of their collections. People from all stages of life, whether they be amateurs, students or professionals, established a community of a single interest. Alone, each booth focused on a small and specific sliver of Los Angeles, which when put together described the vibrantly detailed and epic history of this city. Finally, at the end of the day I was able to tour the Special Collections department at USC. The size and beauty of the rooms was noteworthy apart from the astounding displays. The Bazaar, and working for Special Collections in general, is a perfect example of the opportunities available for students to gain experience and grow beyond classroom studies. Understanding the history of the school we attend and the city we live in can only enrich our experience here as students. Though we frequently turn to museums of the greater Los Angeles area, the archives and special collections of Pepperdine, or any organization, paint a picture much more relevant and meaningful to our everyday lives in establishing the tradition that surround us.
For questions about Special Collections and University Archives please contact Katie Richardson at 310-506-4323.