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.
A new finding aid for the George Pepperdine family papers is now available on the Online Archive of California! As part of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant awarded to the Pepperdine University Libraries’ department of Special Collections and University Archives, our goal is to organize and describe archival collections and ultimately have an online record for each collection. It is fitting that during the 75th anniversary celebrations, one of the first collections we highlight is that of Pepperdine’s founder, George Pepperdine.
The George Pepperdine family papers include paper materials (such as correspondence, writings, and newspaper clippings), photographs, scrapbooks, films, and memorabilia, dating from 1907 to 2002. Individuals represented in the collection include George Pepperdine, Lena Rose Pepperdine (George’s first wife), Helen Louise Pepperdine (George’s second wife), George B. Pepperdine (George’s uncle), and his five children: Florence May Pepperdine Crossley, Esther Louise Pepperdine Thurston, Marilyn Pepperdine, George Pepperdine II, and Wendell Pepperdine.
Selected pictures and films from the collection have already been digitized and highlighted on the library’s news page by Kevin Miller, Librarian for Digital Curation and Publication. These items make up the George Pepperdine Digital Collection.
The materials available online are only the beginning – many more interesting letters, scrapbooks, and other items from the Pepperdines’ lives are just waiting to be explored! These items are available to view by visiting Special Collections and University Archives in Payson Library, and anyone may browse more detailed inventories in person. For more information about the collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning more about the George Pepperdine Digital Collection? Kevin Miller and Dr. David Baird will be speaking Thursday, February 23 at 4 p.m. in Payson Library’s Kresge Reading Room about the collection and about George Pepperdine. For more information, visit the event page on the library’s events calendar.
Check out a few items from the physical collection that are not part of the digital collection! (Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images.)
A poem written by George Pepperdine, titled “I Am Just a Little Leaf” (1928).
The cover of a 1970 catalog from Western Auto Supply Company, the company George started out of his home in 1909 — with some very fashionable hair and clothing choices!
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.
The image to the right may appear at first glance otherworldly—abstract in its beauty; vibrant, yet still. It is, in actuality, a flower plucked by George Pepperdine from the banks of the Sea of Galilee in Palestine on March 26, 1928. Dried and pressed, the flower, labeled “Rose of Sherron”, appears here (digitally magnified) in a scrapbook of photos, postcards, and keepsakes assembled by Pepperdine following an around the world trip that he took by ship with his mother in spring of 1928. This scrapbook, along with numerous photographs, writings, newspaper clippings, collectables, and home movies, is now digitized and available in the new online George Pepperdine Collection.
George Pepperdine had a hobby of collecting, drying, and pressing flowers and other plants that held some beauty or special meaning. The same scrapbook contains botanical keepsakes from Cana, Jopa, Nazareth, Jericho, and the River Jordan. A simple leaf from an oleander shrub is revealed to have grown at the entrance to “Jesus’ tomb” at the foot of Mount Calvary.
Visiting the Biblical locations of Palestine clearly made a strong impression on Pepperdine, a deeply Christian man. As the ship sailed on across the Indian Ocean, he wrote to friends: “The most interesting of all is to reflect upon the birth-place of Christianity, its humble beginning among such common-place people, in such common-place surroundings. It recalls to mind the Saviour’s parable, The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which is indeed the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”
We invite you to leaf through this unique scrapbook and zoom in as close as you like to view the pressed leaves and flowers, rare postcards, and souvenir photographs. Taken as a whole, the scrapbook provides a snapshot of our world in the late 1920s. Even more, it reveals an important glimpse of George Pepperdine, the man, nearly a decade before founding the university that bears his name.
Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce the release of the George Pepperdine Collection, the latest entry among its growing Pepperdine Digital Collections. Fully digitized and searchable online, the George Pepperdine Collection features rare and unique materials—including photographs, writings, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, collectables, and home movies—from the personal and professional life of this notable Los Angeles philanthropist and founder of Pepperdine University. George Pepperdine (1886-1962), who made his fortune as the entrepreneur behind Western Auto Supply Agency, was inspired by his deep Christian faith to reinvest his wealth in charitable activities, including the university, which he founded as George Pepperdine College in 1937. Drawing from select items in the Pepperdine University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives collection George Pepperdine Family Papers, this digital collection chronicles this history through primary source materials in a variety of media. The collection also sheds light on the personal life of George Pepperdine, particularly his family life with Helen Louise Pepperdine (1903-1990) and their children. Click here to view the collection.
Designed to coincide with Pepperdine University’s 75th anniversary celebrations, it is our hope that the George Pepperdine Collection will serve to illuminate the man at the center of this history and provide a glimpse into the personal journey that led to the founding of our university. Pepperdine departments involved with anniversary publications or events are particularly encouraged to utilize this collection. And remember, the items currently highlighted in this collection represent only a fraction of the much larger George Pepperdine archival collection available in Special Collections and University Archives. Enjoy.