Tag Archives: digital collections

New Historic Pepperdine Films digital collection

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.

“Christmas in America”: Today’s featured digital object

Detail of poster advertising the First Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

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.

Christmas in America, 1980

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!

New digital collection: Anti-Communism Films of the Early 1960s

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.

Thanksgiving dish ideas from 1924: Today’s featured digital object

Art Nouveau style cover of Secrets of Charm magazine, 1924

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.

Illustration from Secrets of Charm magazine

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.

Rose of Sharon: Today’s featured digital object

Rose of Sharon (zoom view)

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.”

Page from Pepperdine scrapbook, 1928

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 Library releases new George Pepperdine digital collection

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.

Herschensohn’s Eulogy to 5:02: Today’s featured digital object

Pepperdine students today may know Bruce Herschensohn for his memorable appearances as a senior fellow with the School of Public Policy. Others may recall his political commentary in the media, his roles in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, or his California Senate campaigns of 1986 and 1992. However, few may know that he got his start as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Artwork for film "Eulogy to 5:02"

Herschensohn made numerous films for the United States Information Agency (USIA), becoming that agency’s Director of Motion Pictures and Television in 1968. Production materials related to many of these films, including scripts, storyboards, notes, correspondence, and artwork—and many of the films themselves—await discovery in our Bruce Herschensohn Collection. This online collection is an ever-growing digital surrogate for the complete Bruce Herschensohn Papers, which are among the holdings of our Special Collections and University Archives department.

In 1965, Herschensohn had the unique idea to make a film about twenty simultaneous stories going on all over the world during the course of a single minute (5:02 PM Greenwich) on an unspecified day. Each segment from locations such as London, Copenhagen, Karachi, New Delhi, Hong Kong, San Juan, Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Lagos, lasts one minute. The theme, according to Herschensohn, was to demonstrate that “we all have in common the fact that we’re alive NOW and share this common time in the world’s history.” Produced, as it was, by the USIA, the film was also designed to show how US policies were positively impacting the lives of ordinary people around the world.

Click here to browse the Herschensohn material related to Eulogy to 5:02.

Western Day: Today’s featured digital object

Student traditions at Pepperdine University have varied over the years, often reflecting the social trends of society at large. Given its relatively small size, Pepperdine has always cultivated a tight student community enthusiastic about social activities, trends, and traditions. The history of student life at Pepperdine is, therefore, also a study of U.S. popular culture and the milieu from which it arose.

Student dressed for Western Day in 1968

During its heyday on its southwestern Los Angeles campus, Pepperdine College enjoyed several annual all-school events organized by the student-run Social Committee, including the All-School Picnic, Homecoming, the Christmas Party, and the Luau. Between 1950 and 1969, one of the most anticipated all-school events was Western Day, for which students, faculty, and alumni would come to school dressed like frontiersmen, homesteaders, cowboys, and (yes) Indians. Classes would end early and the campus lawn would be transformed into the Wild West. In this photo, student Zak Johnson shows off his prize-winning Native American attire during the 1968 Western Day.

Activities centered on eating, entertainment, and sport, including barbeque, cowboy singing, and donkey races. Students that showed up in “eastern” dress (say, a jacket and tie) risked ending up in a makeshift “Wave City Jail.” Celebrity appearances included Chuck Connors from TV’s The Rifleman. The fun of Western Day was indeed inspired by the popular Westerns of cinema and television, and, like that genre, declined in the late 1960s, not surviving Pepperdine’s move to Malibu. Click here to see more photos from Western Day at Pepperdine College.

Picturesque Malibu Campus: Today’s featured digital object

Phillips Theme Tower

Recent visitors to Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus may have noticed a flurry of beautification activity, including a lot of fresh paint. As I write, our iconic Phillips Theme Tower is cocooned in tarp and scaffolding, preparing to emerge afresh for Pepperdine’s upcoming 75th anniversary. Few students, staff, or faculty would deny that the unique beauty of the Malibu campus—situated in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean—adds a special depth to their relationship with Pepperdine. Indeed, for the visionaries that brought the university to Malibu, it was this idyllic setting that inspired a “spirit of place” that opens students’ minds through a dynamic education and a sense of higher purpose.

It is in this spirit that we’ve compiled a selection of images from the University Archives Photograph Collection that offer a historical perspective on the special beauty that endows Pepperdine University in Malibu. Taken over the course of its nearly 40-year history, these photos range from scenic vistas to quiet moments in unexpected corners of campus.

As a bonus feature to Today’s Featured Digital Object, I encourage you to view this excellent student-produced documentary on the men and women who work tirelessly each day to keep the Malibu campus looking beautiful. Click here to view Behind the Beauty: A Pepperdine Worker Documentary produced by the Latino Student Association, which is available in our iTunes U podcast channel.

Pepperdine’s Spirit of Service: Today’s featured digital object

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks this Sunday, now officially a National Day of Service and Remembrance, it seems appropriate to revisit the history of volunteerism at Pepperdine University. As a Christian university, service is the central pillar in Pepperdine’s mission to prepare students for lives of “purpose, service, and leadership.” This spirit of service is epitomized this weekend with Step Forward Day, Pepperdine’s annual day of service now in its 23rd year.

Student volunteers on the Malibu Pier, 1984

In this photo, we see Pepperdine students preparing to paint the Malibu pier, a community service project organized in 1984. We’ve compiled a selection of photos like this one from our University Archives Photograph Collection that demonstrate Pepperdine’s history of volunteerism, going all the way back to the early days of George Pepperdine College in southwestern Los Angeles. Click here to browse this compilation.

The photos in this compilation capture Pepperdine students serving their country at war, both as soldiers and as home front supporters; serving their local communities through beautification projects and disaster response; and serving children through outreach initiatives. There are also a few group photos of Pepperdine service organizations through the years (can you spot the ‘80s hairstyles?) and images from Pepperdine sponsored community service projects, such as the Foster Grandparents program. Enjoy.