Tag Archives: archives

1971—Construction commences in Malibu: Today’s featured digital object

Continuing our series on the historical events that shaped Pepperdine University in Malibu—in honor of the Malibu campus’ 40th anniversary—we arrive at April 13, 1971. On this overcast, unusually chilly day, approximately 500 Pepperdine supporters gathered on the freshly leveled dirt building pads of the new Malibu campus to observe ceremonies initiating construction of the campus buildings. Billed as the “Ceremony to Commence Construction of Academic Complex on Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus,” the event saw the dedication of three core buildings: Payson Library, the Pendleton Learning Center, and the Huntsinger Academic Center.

The namesakes of these buildings were on hand to make remarks, and President William S. Banowsky spoke about Pepperdine’s educational philosophy, but the real attraction of the day was the keynote address by Wernher von Braun, Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA. Von Braun, a German rocket engineer brought into the fold of the US government following World War II, was one of the leading scientists behind the Apollo moon mission. His prominence following the first moon landing in 1969 contributed to the phrase “it’s not rocket science” to describe a simple task.

His appearance at the Commencement of Construction ceremony—less than two years after the moon landing—provided Pepperdine University with the perfect symbol of education, innovation, and achievement. It was an auspicious start to the buildings that now form the heart of Pepperdine University’s Seaver College in Malibu.

In our Pepperdine Digital Collections, you can listen to a recording of the speeches made that day, including the address by von Braun (he appears on Part 2 of the recording). You can also view a few of the archival photographs of the event. Enjoy.

Pepperdine Bible Lectures Finding Aid Online and Ready for Research

Another finding aid from Special Collections and University Archives is available on the Online Archive of California! The Pepperdine Bible Lectures collection (processed as part of the NHPRC project) is briefly described below.

The Pepperdine University Bible Lectures, coordinated by the Office of Church Relations, began in January 1943 and is an annual (sometimes semiannual) series of talks held at Pepperdine on religious and scriptural issues.  The Pepperdine University Bible Lectures collection includes paper materials (including programs, correspondence, and other items) and audio recordings taken during Pepperdine Bible Lectures held in Los Angeles (beginning in 1943) and Malibu (beginning in 1973).  Click here to view the finding aid.

If you are interested in seeing a program from any of the Bible Lectures, or listening to audio from lectures starting in 1972, consider making an appointment to see the collection! (Some years also have correspondence and other papers, but the bulk of the collection is programs and audio.) For more information about the collection, or to set up an appointment, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.

Unfamiliar with this annual event?  Bible Lectures at Pepperdine is a long tradition — spring lectures have been held every year since 1943 (except for 1957) and additional summer lectures were also held for a few decades.  People from all over the United States and around the world travel to Pepperdine for a week to listen to a great number of speakers — sessions are packed in all day, including lectures during meals and large evening talks.  Entire families arrive to stay on campus, either living in the dorms or setting up mobile homes in campus parking lots.  Pie and coffee is served nightly to benefit student scholarships.  The Bible Lectures site is part of Pepperdine’s website, and includes information about the upcoming lectures, frequently asked questions, and a brief history of Bible Lectures.

1962 was celebrated at Bible Lectures as the centennial of the Restoration Movement; that year was also the last time George Pepperdine attended the lectures in March.  Mr. Pepperdine later died at the end of July, 1962.  Mr. Pepperdine can just barely be seen at the right side of a picture of the closing lecture (10,000 people attended!) on the Bible Lectures history page.

(The following images are from the Pepperdine Bible Lectures collection.  Click the pictures to view them larger.)


The cover and inside first two pages of the 1962 Bible Lectures program.


A large flyer (outside back and outside front, and inside left and right, respectively) advertises a charter flight from Nashville, Memphis and Dallas directly to Los Angeles to attend the Bible Lectures.  Another attractive prospect was the option to add excursions to Disneyland, Hollywood, and Knott’s Berry Farm!

Papers of Pepperdine Professors Open for Research

The collections of three Pepperdine professors have been processed by Special Collections and University Archives, with finding aids now available on the Online Archive of California for research!  The Ronald W. Batchelder papers, Joel S. Fetzer papers, and John F. Wilson paper, all processed as a part of the NHPRC project, are briefly described below.

Ronald W. Batchelder is a Professor of Economics at Seaver College, as well as an involved member of many Pepperdine faculty organizations.  Materials in the collection consist of correspondence, minutes, notes, memorandums, reports, handbooks and calendars mostly related to faculty issues and organizations at Pepperdine and Seaver College, including the University Faculty Council, Seaver Faculty Association, and the Social Sciences Division within Seaver College.  The collection spans from 1986 to 2009.  Click here to view the finding aid.

Joel S. Fetzer is a Professor of Political Science at Seaver College, as well as the author of numerous publications on comparative immigration politics and on religion and political behavior.  Materials in the collection consist of items collected by Joel Fetzer during his research trips to Germany, France, England, and Luxembourg in 2001 and 2008, including interview notes, audiocassettes and compact discs of interviews, correspondence, printed reference materials, and other printed materials used as research material for his two books,  Muslims and the State in Britain, France and Germany (2004), and Luxembourg as an Immigration Success Story: The Grand Duchy in Pan-European Perspective (2011). (The links will take you to the books’ catalog records in the library catalog.)  Click here to view the finding aid.

John F. Wilson is a Professor of Religion, Emeritus at Seaver College, as well as a field archaeologist, author, and lecturer on archaeology in the Middle East.  Materials in the collection consists of printed materials related to Wilson’s academic and professional career, including correspondence, date books, his faculty portfolio and a signed copy of the book Discovering the Bible (1986). (The link will take you to the books’ catalog records in the library catalog.) The collection dates span from 1953 to 1998. Click here to view the finding aid.

Other professors’ papers are already on the Online Archive of California, including the B. Lamar Johnson papers (Johnson was an educator known as the “father of the community college”), Earl Vivon Pullias papers (E.V. Pullias was a psychology professor and higher education scholar), and M. Norvel and Helen Young papers (Norvel was a professor and later an administrator, and Helen taught many Bible and womens’ classes).

For more information about the collections, or to set up an appointment to use the collections, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.

The pictures below are from the John F. Wilson papers.  Click the images to view them larger.


John Wilson (right) as the Captain Corcoran in his high school’s production of the musical H.M.S. Pinafore, in 1955.


The program from the HMS Pinafore performance.


An advertising brochure for a “Bible Lands Pilgrimage” tour hosted by Dr. Wilson in 1969.  The multi-country, 8 day tour (with 2 extra days for flying) included roundtrip airfare between New York City and Tel Aviv, hotels, tours, and all meals for only $599!  (With inflation, that would cost about $3,600 in 2012 dollars.  It seemed like a deal…)

Blanche Ebert and Frank R. Seaver Papers and James L. Lovell Papers Ready for Research

This post was written by our graduate student assistant, Jessica Geiser.

Two more finding aids from Special Collections and University Archives are now available for research and can be found on the Online Archive of California!  The Blanche Ebert and Frank R. Seaver papers, and the James L. Lovell papers, both processed as a part of the NHPRC project, are briefly described below.

Blanche Ebert and Frank R. Seaver were prominent philanthropists in the Los Angeles area, thanks to Frank’s successful career in the oil industry.  The Seaver family proved influential in Pepperdine’s growth as a university through their generous donations, which was reflected in the decision to name Seaver College after Frank, as well as the appointment of Blanche as a Life Regent at Pepperdine.  Materials in the collection range from 1882 to 1996 and document Blanche’s involvement with Pepperdine; Frank’s business, the Hydril Company (an early oil company in Los Angeles; materials also include many pictures of oil equipment and workers); Blanche’s former career as a composer and musician; and their personal lives.  Click here to view the finding aid.

James L. Lovell, most often known as Jimmie, was a prominent member of the Churches of Christ, prolific author and editor of religious publications, and a member of Pepperdine University’s Board of Trustees for 35 years.  Materials in the collection span from 1932 to 1999, and contain correspondence, articles, minutes, notes, reports, photographs, and slides documenting Lovell’s relationship with Pepperdine and its administrators, his involvement in the Churches of Christ and individual churches, and his personal life including his career in the construction industry.  Also included in the collection are copies of publications produced by Lovell throughout his life, most notably West Coast Christian and California ChristianClick here to view the finding aid.

For more information about the collections, or to set up an appointment to use the collections, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.

Mr. and Mrs. Seaver in Mexico in the 1950s.  (Click the image to view it larger.)

M. Norvel Young assisting Mrs. Seaver (right) in breaking ground on Pepperdine’s Malibu Campus (late 1960s).  Mrs. Pepperdine is in the blue on the left.  (Click the image to view it larger.)


Jimmie Lovell on the cover of a special issue of America’s Builders in 1966 celebrating his 70th birthday.  America’s Builders, a magazine for the construction industry published at Pepperdine, was one of the many publications founded by Lovell during his lifetime.  (Click the image to view it larger.)

Past Presidents’ Papers Open for Research

Three new finding aids for the papers of former Presidents of Pepperdine University, located in Special Collections and University Archives, are now available on the Online Archive of California!  The William S. Banowsky papers, David Davenport papers, and Howard A. White papers (all processed as part of the NHPRC project) are briefly described below.  (The papers of M. Norvel Young, another past President of Pepperdine University, were mentioned in an earlier post and are also available for research.)

The William S. Banowsky papers contain professional and personal papers of William S. Banowsky dating from 1926 to 2009. The bulk of the materials range from 1955 to 1990 and document his professional involvement with Pepperdine University, the University of Oklahoma, Gaylord Broadcasting Company, the Texas Superconducting Super Collider Authority, and National Medical Enterprises; political topics and professional services; collected printed and written material (such as poems and articles); and personal documents including speeches, personal and family history, travel, photographs, and book research for The Malibu MiracleClick here to view the finding aid.

The David Davenport papers contain materials from David Davenport’s time as president of Pepperdine University from 1985 to 2000, and includes earlier items from the president’s office beginning in 1968. The collection contains donor files and subject/correspondence files on various topics. Items include mainly correspondence, photographs, and other printed materials such as brochures and reports.  Click here to view the finding aid.

The Howard A. White papers contains professional and personal papers of Howard A. White dating from 1938 to 1991. The bulk of the materials range from 1957 to 1990 and document his professional involvement with Pepperdine University in various administrative roles, and personal documents including speeches, personal and family history, and book research for Crest of a Golden WaveClick here to view the finding aid.

For more information about the collections, or to set up an appointment to use the collections, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.


Architectural plans for an expansion of the Moore Haus in Heidelberg, Germany, where students stay during their time abroad.  The plans are dated October 23, 1979, and are from the Howard A. White collection.  This image shows the entire page of the plan.  Other drawings of individual levels and from other vantage points are also in the collection.  (Click the image to view it larger.)


This is an 11″x17″ scan of the architectural plan.  The colored parts appear to be the proposed additions.  Phrases include: “dachneigung” for “roof pitch”, “zimmer” for “room”, “untergeschoss” for “basement”, “mit 2 verschiedenen gebäudehöhen” for “with two different [options for] building heights”, “obergeschoss” for “upstairs”, and “erdgeschoss” for “ground floor”.  (Click the image to view it larger.)


This section reads: “Building Expansion, Graimbergweg 10 — Pepperdine University”.  The Moore Haus is located at Graimbergweg 10 in Heidelberg, Germany.  (Click the image to view it larger.)

The 2012 Los Angeles Archives Bazaar Is A Success!

On October 27, 2012, Special Collections and University Archives participated in the 7th annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar held at Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus. Over eighty archives were represented and hundreds of scholarly researchers, journalists, history buffs, and those simply interested in exploring the stories of Los Angeles attended the one-day event. Special Collections and University Archives shared materials from the Malibu Historical Collection, University Archives, and the Digital Collections with the public over the course of the day. Over one hundred people stopped by our table!

(Lindsey Gant and Katie Richardson exhibit some of the materials from Special Collections and University Archives)

The Rindge and Adamson family papers, which are part of the Malibu Historical Collection, were also featured in the special session “A Very Quick Tour of Los Angeles Area Archives” where thirteen L.A. as Subject members shared one notable collection from their archives as a way of introducing their materials. Approximately 80 people attended the session.

A special thanks to Jessica Geiser, Lindsey Gant, and Kevin Miller for making the day a success!

For more information about Special Collections and University Archives please contact Katie Richardson at katie.richardson@pepperdine.edu or (310) 506-4323.


Governor Reagan and Pepperdine’s Malibu “birth”: Today’s featured digital object

Bill Banowsky and Ronald Reagan with Pereira's sketch of Malibu campus, 1970

With the 40th anniversary of Pepperdine University in Malibu upon us, this entry is the first in a series dedicated to the historic events and hardworking individuals that made the vision of Pepperdine in Malibu a reality and shaped its presence in this seaside community. We begin with a “birth.” Nearly two years before construction crews laid the 40-foot-deep, steel-reinforced concrete foundations of Seaver College in 1971, an event known in Pepperdine lore as the “birth of a college” dinner cemented the new college’s philosophical (and financial) foundations. Officially known as the Pepperdine College at Malibu Master Plan Announcement Dinner, the “birth of a college” dinner brought together educators, politicians, and donors on the rainy evening of February 9, 1970 to reveal the architectural plans and educational vision of the new campus. With over 3,400 people in attendance, the capacity crowd in the Century Plaza hotel spilled into the nearby Beverly Hilton, and the featured speakers shuttled between the two locations.

The keynote speaker for the event was Ronald Reagan, then governor of California and a longtime friend of Pepperdine College. President Nixon was represented by his aid, Jeb Stuart Magruder, a name later associated with the Watergate scandal. William Pereira, an architect who—already famous at the time—would go on to design the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, presented his renderings of the Malibu campus buildings. Bill Banowsky, soon to be president of the new multi-campus Pepperdine University, gave a farsighted speech about liberal arts education. Pat Boone provided the musical entertainment.

By the 1960s, Pepperdine College had outgrown its location in southeastern Los Angeles, and social unrest in the area spurred the hunt for a new undergraduate campus. The “birth of a college” dinner marked a pivot point in Pepperdine’s history. The undergraduate campus was reborn in Malibu and the original “urban campus” became the graduate school for education and professional studies, with students serving as teachers in the local community. Pepperdine became a university.

Governor Reagan’s twenty-minute speech at the event lauds the importance of independent colleges and warns against an overemphasis on faculty research at the expense of actual teaching. His speech also invokes the milieu of 1970, with references ranging from student activism to the LA Rams. Reagan concludes:

“Let no one carelessly dismiss our obligation to the independent colleges and universities, which are so much a part of the educational tapestry of America. Without them, I promise you that tapestry would soon become a very simple fabric of great monotony and very little color.”

The “birth of a college” dinner is well documented in our Pepperdine Digital Collections. Over one hundred photographs capture the events of the evening and those in attendance. Put faces to the names that grace the buildings of Seaver College: Charles Payson, Fritz Huntsinger, Richard Scaife, Mildred Phillips, George Elkins, and, of course, Blanche Seaver. You can view selected highlights or, if you wish, the complete collection. You can also listen to Ronald Reagan’s speech or a recording of the entire event. Enjoy.

October is American Archives Month!

In addition to celebrating the American record, archives month also raises awareness among the general public regarding the value of archives and archivists. Over the past few years, Pepperdine University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives has participated in the annual Archives Bazaar to promote such awareness. The event celebrates the diversity of Southern California’s history by bringing together archives, archivists, scholarly researchers, journalists, history buffs, and those simply interested in exploring the history of Southern California in one central location at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library on Saturday, October 27, 2012, from 9am to 5pm.  The event is FREE and open to the public.

This year, the Rindge and Adamson Family Papers from Special Collections and University Archives, will be featured in the session “A Very Quick Tour of Los Angeles Area Archives.” Here is the description of the session:

“Just as speed dating brings together lonely hearts, this quick-paced series of 5-minute presentations will help connect scholars, students, and history buffs with the archival collections they need. More than a dozen L.A. as Subject members will share one notable item from their archives as a way of introducing their collections. Bring a notepad, watch the presentations, and then head down to the exhibition hall for a second date.”

Special Collections and University Archives will also have a booth at the event so stop by and say hi to learn more about the history of the university as well as the region!

For more information about the event please visit the Archives Bazaar website or contact Katie Richardson at katie.richardson@pepperdine.edu

Click here to view the Archives Bazaar Poster


Today’s featured digital object: Pepperdine’s 1987 Rose Parade float

As Founder’s Day 2012 draws to a close Pepperdine University’s 75th anniversary celebration, we thought we’d revisit another great milestone in Pepperdine’s history, it’s 50th anniversary celebrations from 1987. One of the crowning achievements of those celebrations was Pepperdine’s entry of a float into the 98th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. The theme of the float was “The Quest for Atlantis,” a Classical theme reflecting Pepperdine’s quest for academic excellence. Pepperdine Digital Collections is pleased to announce the launch of a new digital collection that captures this moment in Pepperdine’s history: Pepperdine’s Rose Parade Photo Album.

The collection is based on a selection of photographs, both formal and candid, digitized from a photo album provided by Hung Le, one of the eight students chosen to ride on the float as representatives of Pepperdine. Each photo tells a piece of Pepperdine’s Rose Parade story, from the genesis of the idea, to the hours of float decorating, to the parade itself. Based on an oral history with Hung Le, now Associate Vice President and University Registrar at Pepperdine, it’s a story about our university coming together as a community to celebrate a milestone—much as we have this last year with the 75th anniversary. This collection also offers a fascinating look behind the scenes at the Rose Parade, an annual 2-hour event that requires months of planning and preparations.

Click the link above to browse the collection. Enjoy!

Four New Archival Collections Ready for Research

Four finding aids from Special Collections and University Archives are now available on the Online Archive of California! The Pepperdine University Archives Individual Files, the Pepperdine University Archives Individual Photograph Files,the Kenneth Hahn collection, and the Zeta Kappa collection (all processed as part of the NHPRC project) are briefly described below.

The Pepperdine University Archives Individual Files is a collection created by Special Collections and University Archives staff and consists of biographical information, article clippings, correspondence, publications, memoranda, and speeches about former faculty, staff, donors, distinguished guests, and other individuals associated with Pepperdine University. Materials are filed alphabetically by individual’s last name.  Click here to view the finding aid.

The Pepperdine University Archives Individual Photograph Files is a collection created by Special Collections and University Archives staff and consists of photographs, slides, and negatives of former faculty, staff, donors, distinguished guests, and other individuals associated with Pepperdine University. Materials are filed alphabetically by individual’s last name.  Click here to view the finding aid.

Kenneth Hahn was a former Los Angeles County Supervisor and Los Angeles City Councilman who served for over 40 years, making him the longest serving elected official in California’s history. The Kenneth Hahn collection contains materials about Hahn’s life and passing, including photographs, collected obituaries, and items from a public television program on Hahn produced after his death entitled “A Salute to Kenneth Hahn”. Click here to view the finding aid.

The Zeta Kappa collection contains materials related to Zeta Kappa, a local sorority on the Pepperdine campus in existence from 1938 to 1996. Materials in the collection include scrapbooks documenting sorority activities and members; annual member lists and accomplishments of the chapter; photographs and slides of sorority events; and memorabilia related to events and activities of the sorority. Also included are materials from the Zeta Kappa Alumnae Association, including newsletters, photographs, histories, correspondence, and event invitations.  Click here to view the finding aid.

For more information about the collections, or to set up an appointment to use the collections, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.


Harry S. Truman shakes hands with Kenneth Hahn.  This photo is one of many in the collection taken with United States presidents; most are signed and dedicated to Kenneth Hahn.  (Click the image to view it larger.)


A page from the 1951-1952 Zeta Kappa scrapbook.  (Click the image to view it larger.)


A 1994 Zeta Kappa scrapbook, complete with lacy ruffle and ribbon ties. (Click the image to view it larger.)