Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce the release of our latest digital collection. The Historic Sound Recordings collection features streaming recordings of memorable speeches and significant events that chart the history of Pepperdine University and, more broadly, Southern California. The collection includes archival recordings ranging from political speeches and debates on morality, to musical performances and lectures on history. Prominent speakers include past Pepperdine presidents, including M. Norvel Young, William S. Banowsky, and Howard White, as well as national figures, such as Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, and singer Pat Boone. This initial launch features recordings of six different events, but the collection will grow over the coming months as we continue to digitize the aural history of Pepperdine. Check it out and enjoy.
The Digital Initiatives division of Pepperdine University Libraries recently noted another milestone: we added the 10,000th digitized photograph to the University Archives Photograph Collection. As one of our flagship digital collections, the University Archives Photograph Collection has been growing steadily over the last two years, thanks in large part to the effort of diligent, dedicated, and enthusiastic student workers.
And what snapshot of Pepperdine history does photo number 10,000 provide? It’s a rather unassuming photograph of a man at a lectern leading the Pledge of Allegiance. This patriotic ritual is as good an image as any to represent the visual history of our institution afforded by this digital collection.
The man is question is Thomas Kemp, the CEO of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, who would later serve the Board of Regents of Pepperdine University as vice-chairperson. Kemp led the Pledge of Allegiance, as seen here, at the 1983 Private Enterprise Award dinner, an annual event sponsored by Pepperdine University’s Center for American Private Enterprise. Kemp’s brother, Jack Kemp—who would later serve as Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996—gave the keynote address that evening.
Special thanks to Lindsey Gant and all past student workers for helping us achieve this milestone.
If you’re a regular to Payson Library, the image to the right may seem at once familiar and oddly out of place. This is a semi-outdoor stairway that used to lead upstairs from the Pendleton Learning Center to the first floor of the library—a skylight opened overhead and a decorative screen separated the stairs from the first floor entrance just outside. There was no stairway here to the second floor, which at the time was home to university administration offices accessed directly by a footbridge to the parking lot.
An historic capital campaign in the mid-1980s—the Wave of Excellence Campaign—gave us the Charles B. Thornton Administrative Center, allowing Payson Library to reclaim its second floor amidst massive library-wide renovations. In 1987, Payson Library emerged greatly expanded with a new, distinctive northern (mountainside) entrance and an infrastructure better designed for the computer era. This is the Payson Library we know today.
Now, nearly four decades after Pepperdine’s arrival in Malibu, we find ourselves in the midst of another ambitious capital campaign, the Campaign for Pepperdine. A portion of these funds is designated for the renovation of Payson Library based on the belief, as expressed by President Andy Benton, that “a university cannot rise higher than the quality of its libraries.” The goals for the campaign include a new Learning Commons, a Special Collections and Archive wing, and a new second floor entrance that connects the library to Mullin Town Square (above). The result will be a library reimagined as the new student union—a third space between the dorm and the classroom for students to study, collaborate, and socialize.
On the eve of this exciting transformation, we invite you to explore the Payson Library of days past. Click here to view a selection of photos from the University Archives Photograph Collection that capture Payson Library before the 1987 remodel. See if you can spot the differences.
If you’re admiring a tree during a walk around Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus, be sure to look down to avoid tripping over the small metal sign—usually affixed to a boulder—that bears the personal name of the tree or its donor. If you’ve ever wondered why so many of the trees around campus come with their own nametags etched in stone, there’s a simple answer. This land acquired by Pepperdine in 1968, although beautiful, was devoid of trees; the grassy meadow adorned with wild flowers receded into shrub-covered mountains.
To provide further shade and beauty to the newly built campus in 1972, Pepperdine launched its “Trees for Pepperdine-Malibu” campaign designed to attract arboreal transplants and sponsors for new saplings. One of the most famous donations was a large coral tree that required a decree from Governor Ronald Reagan to close down a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway for its overnight move from the Hollywood apartment complex where it resided.
On January 13, 1973, midway through the first year of classes in Malibu, Governor Reagan visited campus to donate a tree himself. In his first official visit to the Malibu campus, Governor Reagan, together with Nancy, planted a redwood sapling during a small ceremony that included guests ranging from Frank Shakespeare, the outgoing director of the United States Information Agency, to Jim Nabors, the actor best known for portraying Gomer Pyle on television. William S. Banowsky, Pepperdine’s new President, oversaw the event, which was followed by a reception in the Tyler Campus Center and a tour of Payson Library. The group also toured the Brock House, which at the time was not much more than a construction site.
Reagan’s tree was originally planted at the approximate spot now occupied by the Ahmanson Fine Arts Center courtyard. With the expansion of these facilities, the redwood was relocated to its current location, situated between Seaver Drive and the main Seaver parking lot.
You can browse a selection of highlights from Reagan’s tree dedication ceremony in the digital University Archives Photograph Collection.
“I looked and found the center of the Malibu miracle: tall rugged mountains meandering gracefully down across the verdant meadow and melting into the sea. Point Dume and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands sparkled in the distance. In the soft foreground were the 138 acres destined to be Pepperdine’s home.”
These are the words of former Pepperdine University President William S. Banowsky in his recent memoir The Malibu Miracle recalling his first impression of the virgin Malibu foothills now home to Pepperdine University. The year was 1968. By the fall of 1972, Pepperdine’s campus in Malibu opened its doors, beginning a new chapter for the university, now inextricably linked with the celebrated, but quiet coastal community.
The 75th anniversary of Pepperdine University, which we celebrate this year, contains within it a second milestone: the 40th anniversary of Pepperdine in Malibu. In recognition of this occasion, we’ve reached into the archives to find images of these familiar Malibu hills as President Banowsky saw them in 1968 before construction.
Follow this link to the University Archives digital photograph collection, and see if you can recognize the rugged landscapes and vistas captured by photographers on the Malibu property in the late 1960s.
Then check out this before-and-after slideshow to see the same photographic perspectives separated by four decades.
A bit over three decades ago, Helen Pepperdine, wife of our institution’s founder, donated a small film canister to the Pepperdine University Archives. Browned with corrosion, the five-inch canister contained a short reel of 16mm black and white film. Handwritten on the white leader tape was the simple description: “Mr. Pepperdine, 1951.” Boxed away for years, the film came to light once again during our preparations for Pepperdine University’s 75th anniversary. Our interest piqued, we digitized the film for preservation purposes, unveiling the contents of the film for the first time in decades.
The film turned out to be a brief promotional film for Pepperdine College produced in 1951. The film centers on a two-minute speech by George Pepperdine that outlines his Christian vision for the students at the college, which he had founded fourteen years earlier. The film begins with a shot of Pepperdine standing on the roof of the Auditorium, surveying the Administration Building and central fountain of the Los Angeles campus. Due to the degradation of the original audio, we’ve added subtitles to help clarify the words of Pepperdine’s speech.
Audiovisual recordings of George Pepperdine speaking are very rare, so we’re pleased to share this little gem with the Pepperdine community. Most of us are familiar with Pepperdine’s dedicatory address from 1937 (available only in print). This little film is something of a sequel, distilled to the essence, and delivered in his own voice. Enjoy.
Click here to view Mr. Pepperdine.
Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce the release of the Historic Pepperdine Films digital collection, which features moving image materials produced by and about Pepperdine University throughout the history of the institution. Drawing from the University Archives audiovisual collection and the holdings of Integrated Marketing Communications, films in this collection range from home movies to professionally produced promotional films. What was student life at Pepperdine like in 1984? How about 1958? The answers lie in these fascinating archival treasures. The collection includes films of campus activities, sporting events, television shows, and community service programs. Included among the gems is a rare 1952 promotional film in which George Pepperdine himself lays out his vision for Christian education. Follow this link to visit the collection and view the films.
On December first, the Pepperdine community once again launched the holiday season with a Christmas dinner and tree lighting ceremony on Joslyn Plaza. Over the years, the tree lighting ceremony has shifted locations around Seaver College, as this annual tradition receives periodic renewal. On November 29, 1980, an event billing itself as the “First Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony” brought over 200 observers from the Malibu community. The event centered on the lighting of a 25 foot Deodar Cedar recently donated by the Adamson family in conjunction with the Malibu Optimist Club. The Adamson family, important Malibu landowners, had donated the land for Seaver College back in 1968 and remained closely tied to the university. The name of the tree was “Christmas in America.”
The lighting ceremony included speeches, the singing of Christmas carols, and Santa Claus (courtesy of the Optimist Club), who handed out candy canes to the children at the event. This tree, which, when lit at night, was visible from the Pacific Coast Highway, retained its role as Pepperdine’s Christmas tree for sometime afterward. You can see photos from this inaugural tree lighting in our University Archives Photograph collection.
Visitors to Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus can make their way to the northeast corner of the Phillips Theme Tower parking lot where “Christmas in America” still stands, although unadorned. The dedicatory plaque, still affixed to a nearby boulder, reads: “Presented to the community of Malibu in the spirit of peace and goodwill towards all, that fellowship and brotherly love be always in our hearts.”
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Pepperdine Digital Collections!
Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce its latest digital collection, Anti-Communism Films of the Early 1960s. At the height of the Cold War, Pepperdine College sponsored a four-part, Hollywood-produced film series titled Crisis for Americans. Utilizing newsreel footage and scripted narration, each film sought to expose the threat of Soviet-based communism to capitalism and free societies around the globe. In turn, the films describe how communism preys on susceptible youth (Communist Accent on Youth, 1961), spreads through violent aggression (Communist Imperialism, 1962), and cloaks itself behind the discourse of “peaceful coexistence” (Communism and Coexistence, 1963). The fourth film, The Questions and the Answers (1965), argues for the necessity of congressional investigations that root out communist activities within the United States. Straddling the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis, these films offer an excellent example of the anti-communist discourse typical of this critical moment in Cold War history. All four films can now be viewed online alongside supplementary archival materials about the films, including internal memos, correspondence, scripts, and newspaper clippings. Enjoy.
Tucked away in the George Pepperdine Collection is a gem of a magazine—a single issue of Secrets of Charm, a short-lived, Los Angeles-based women’s monthly magazine from 1924. The magazine’s tagline is “Devoted to the woman who thinks,” and features in this issue include columns on society, health, relationships, child rearing, beauty tips, and a debate on the question “Can a woman with a career make a home?” There is also a profile of Lena Rose Pepperdine, George’s first wife, who died tragically of Psittacosis (“Parrot Fever”) in 1930.
However, in the spirit of the season, we call your attention to the magazine’s center spread, which features “tempting dishes” and “varied recipes” for the Thanksgiving feast. The spread (on pages 8 and 9 of the digitized magazine) offer detailed descriptions and directions for such dishes as Roast Rabbit, Mashed Potato Stuffing, and Chestnut Dressing. There’s even an “Appetizing Menu for Vegetarians” that includes Mock Turkey, Jellied Cranberry Sauce, Creamed Turnips and Onions, and Green Tomato Mince Pie.
Click here to browse through Secrets of Charm and have a happy Thanksgiving.