Recollections from an Archaeology Fellow

Monica Corpuz fellowship presentation at the Autry National Center, 2014.  Photo courtesy of Dr. James Snead.
Monica Corpuz fellowship presentation at the Autry National Center, 2014. Photo courtesy of Dr. James Snead.
I conducted the majority of my thesis research at the Southwest Museum, located in Los Angeles and owned by the Autry National Center, from late May to late August of 2014. I sought to research the first collection owned and displayed by the Southwest Society that was obtained by Frank M. Palmer. The Southwest Society later … Continue reading Recollections from an Archaeology Fellow

“Not a Speculation, But an Investment”: The Weatherwax Gasoline Motor

Weatherwax Gasoline Motor and Auto Accessory Company Certificate of Incorporation, August 19, 1914, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center; MS.1348
Weatherwax Gasoline Motor and Auto Accessory Company Certificate of Incorporation, August 19, 1914, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center; MS.1348
These days the latest car news is often about electric, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles, but back in the 1910s the internal combustion engine was a relatively new commodity to the majority of the American public.

“Get Your Kicks” on the New Route 66 Archives and Research Website!

Blue Swallow Motel image courtesy of Ben Fitzsimmons.
Blue Swallow Motel image courtesy of Ben Fitzsimmons.
Are you looking for information about historic Route 66? Wondering where you can see advertising for motels along the road or find the story of a now closed attraction? Visit the recently launched National Route 66 Archives and Research Collaboration (Route 66 ARC) website and discover collections in your local area or across the United States. Serving as … Continue reading “Get Your Kicks” on the New Route 66 Archives and Research Website!

Musician and GRAMMY® Nominated Composer Tom Peters to Perform at the Autry

Tom Pters 2
On Thursday, March 26, musician and composer Tom Peters will perform a new soundtrack for The Iron Horse (1924) at the Autry’s Wells Fargo Theater. Trained as a solo double bassist, Peters specializes in experimental classical music and ambient electronic music. He has performed with Southwest Chamber Music since 1998 and the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra since … Continue reading Musician and GRAMMY® Nominated Composer Tom Peters to Perform at the Autry

A Television Bonanza

TV Time, volume 4, number 32, January 19-25, 1952.  Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Archives, Autry Library, Autry National Center; MSA.24, Box 48
TV Time, volume 4, number 32, January 19-25, 1952. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Archives, Autry Library, Autry National Center; MSA.24, Box 48
For those who still watch television on a traditional television screen, access to an entire TV schedule is often just a quick press of a button away today. In mid-to late-twentieth century America, planning out your TV viewing depended on the printed pages of a television guide.

Don’t go breaking my heart… you donkey

Linen postcard entitled DESERT SWEETHEARTS, no. 513, 1930-1950. Distributed by Western Publishing and Novelty Company.  Autry National Center; 94.193.4
Linen postcard entitled DESERT SWEETHEARTS, no. 513, 1930-1950. Distributed by Western Publishing and Novelty Company. Autry National Center; 94.193.4
Select items from the Autry’s museum, archive, and library collections are now being featured online. Autry staff has culled together images of love, heartache, friendship, and song in honor of St. Valentine’s Day. A postcard of donkey sweethearts, vintage photographs of blissful weddings, letters from broken hearts and more love-​related items can be perused at your leisure … Continue reading Don’t go breaking my heart… you donkey

The Undisciplined Research Project Comes to a Close

Cover (detail) of the final issue of Convergence: Autry National Center Magazine, Winter 2011. Los Angeles, California: Autry Library, Autry National Center
Cover (detail) of the final issue of Convergence: Autry National Center Magazine, Winter 2011. Los Angeles, California: Autry Library, Autry National Center
Three months ago, the Autry’s Institute for the Study of the American West initiated a new experiment in activating specific collections of the Libraries and Archives of the Autry and engaging diverse scholars and artists in the research of those collections. We called it an Undisciplined Research Project, reflecting our desire that participants find a way to step out of the comfort of their established disciplines, and pointing to the possibly unpredictable outcomes of their investigations and discourse. In introducing both the project and this blog series in my initial post on September 23, I said I would be monitoring the process as well as the outcomes to assess levels of success and areas for improvement. So, what, in fact, was learned?

Cultural Amnesia Meets Burning Historical Memory

Image from Nawadiniwe: A Native American Boarding School Story by multimedia artist Eve-Lauryn LaFountain. Courtesy of Eve-Lauryn LaFountain
Image from Nawadiniwe: A Native American Boarding School Story by multimedia artist Eve-Lauryn LaFountain. Courtesy of Eve-Lauryn LaFountain
The selective amnesia that defines the United States’ relationship with Indigenous peoples is starkly apparent when non-Indians are introduced to the topic of Indian boarding schools. Now that this history is more accessible on film, in newly digitized photographic resources, and in recorded oral histories such as the Cante Sica Boarding School Stories archive at the Autry National Center, the remaining question is, “What comes next?” Is reconciliation possible?

Sacagawea by Way of Carlisle

Kim Wiggins, Lewis & Clark Among the Mandan, 2004, oil on canvas. Donated by Mrs. Gene Autry. Autry National Center; 2005.24.1
Kim Wiggins, Lewis & Clark Among the Mandan, 2004, oil on canvas. Donated by Mrs. Gene Autry. Autry National Center; 2005.24.1
As the Autry Institute’s Chair of Western Women’s History, I have become accustomed to the Autry’s collaborative and innovative approach to conversations about the history, art, and cultures of the place we know as the American West. Autry programs and publications have a way of bringing together a wide array of people—curators, scholars, conservators, designers, executives, staff, trustees, docents, members of the public, researchers, writers, and creative artists from across the Los Angeles area and the nation. So on the evening of the recent Undisciplined Conversation about the collection of oral histories of survivors’ experiences at Indian boarding schools, it was not surprising, but still refreshing, to hear varied takes on the rich and sometimes disturbing, sometimes heart-opening set of stories in the Cante Sica Boarding School Stories archive.