Tag Archives: malibu

Payson Library’s Surfboard on Display at Huntingon

The Huntington Library’s current exhibit, “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California,” includes a surprising element: a surfboard from Pepperdine’s own surfboard collection! This particular surfboard (pictured at left) represents the intersection between the development of surfboard technology and aircraft engineering in Southern California. The board was designed by Bob Simmons, a California surfer in the 1930s to 1950s who studied at the California Institute of Technology and worked as an engineer at Douglas Aircraft. Simmons experimented with both shape and materials in his surfboard design, based on his knowledge of engineering principles and newly developed aircraft materials. His innovation had significant impact on surfboard production and the surfing world.

Check out this short YouTube video for talk by the exhibit curator, Peter Westwick, which includes a glimpse of Pepperdine’s surfboard in the exhibit and more explanation about the connection between surfing and aerospace. If you haven’t seen the exhibit at the Huntington, there is still time to do so. The exhibit closes on January 9th, 2012. More information about the exhibit can be found on the Huntington Library website.

The Bob Simmons board that is on display at the Huntington is from the John Mazza Collection of Historic Surfboards, a collection that is on long-term loan to Pepperdine University Libraries and can be viewed in Payson Library (pictured at right). If you would like to see the collection, please contact Melissa Nykanen at melissa.nykanen@pepperdine.edu or at (310) 506-4434. The surfboards, including the Simmons board, have also been photographed and described and can be found in the Pepperdine Digital Collections.

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.

The Pepperdine Rock and more: Introducing Today’s Featured Digital Object

Welcome back students, faculty, and staff! Over the summer, Pepperdine University Libraries started this twice-monthly blog designed to feature an item from our digital collections, which include a wide range of digitized rare and unique materials from our archives and special collections. Each featured digital object tells a fascinating story about Pepperdine’s history, scholarship, and mission, and some additionally shed light on the cultural heritage of the Malibu.

Disco is Dead!

For example, have you ever wondered about the origin of the brightly painted Pepperdine Rock in front of the Tyler Campus Center? This yearbook photo from 1983 reveals just how much it has grown in the intervening years. Or perhaps the giant wooden American eagle that greets visitors to Payson Library caught your eye—where did that come from? You can click here to see a complete list of our featured digital object blog entries to date, and please stay tuned to the library website for new entries every two weeks.

We also invite you to visit our Pepperdine Digital Collections directly, where you can find over 6000 digitized photographs, a complete run of the Pepperdine yearbook, student scholarship, a digital surfboard collection, and much more.

Gidget’s surfboard: Today’s featured digital object

There’s a certain corner of Payson Library, somewhere near the 19th century English literature, where the astute visitor will notice a scent in the air that seems out of place. Fiberglass and surfwax? Yes, somewhere up above in its second-floor sanctuary resides the John Mazza Collection of Historic Surfboards, a secret room populated by over thirty surfboards, the earliest of which are nearly 100 years old. A part of our Special Collections and University Archives’ Malibu Historical Collection, the surfboard display represents part of the cultural legacy of that famous coastal community.

Although the “surfboard room” (as it is informally known) can only be accessed during special occasions, you can see all of these surfboards up-close and from multiple angles in our John Mazza Historic Surfboard Collection online. One of these boards—born of balsa wood in 1951, standing 9 feet, 4 inches tall—found fame when Hollywood discovered surf culture. It’s none other than Gidget’s surfboard.

Originally a novel about his daughter’s coming-of-age in the Malibu surf, Frederick Kohner’s Gidget would do as much as the Beach Boys to popularize surfing. Picked up by Columbia Pictures in 1959, Gidget became Hollywood’s first surf film and many sequels followed, including a short-lived television series on ABC starring a young Sally Field. This surfboard was originally shaped by celebrated Southern California board-maker Dale Velzy as one of his “rope logo” balsa boards. In 1964, the board found its way onto the set of the surf film Ride the Wild Surf, where it received four coats of paint, a logo reading “Surfboards by Phil,” and was ridden by a character named Eskimo. The next year, Sally Field used the board in the Gidget television series. Field’s autograph, along with that of Dale Velzy and Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman (aka, the “real” Gidget), is visible on the board’s deck. The original Velzy logo has been exposed at the very base of the tail.