June 10, 2020

The International Gay Rodeo Association Institutional Archives

Collections / LGBTQ+ Communities

By: Christina Hummel-Colla, Library Collections Assistant, and Josh Garrett-Davis, Gamble Assoc. Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms

Gay rodeo bucked out of the gates near Reno, Nevada, in October 1976. Phil Ragsdale, local “Emperor” of the LGBTQ benevolent association the Imperial Court, planned the first rodeo as a benefit event for charity. The annual rodeo grew quickly, soon reaching over 10,000 attendees. In 1983 Denver hosted a second outpost of a growing consortium of state gay rodeo associations, followed by a Texas rodeo outside Houston in 1984. In... Read more

May 29, 2020

Manuela Garcia Sings: Now Streaming

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives

By Liza Posas, Head, Research Services and Archives

“Manuela Garcia was Charles Lummis’s most important informant. She had a repertoire of songs that surpassed 200 or 300 in number and she recorded about 110 for Charles Lummis.” —Ethnomusicologist, Dr. John Koegel, in an interview by Huell Howser on a “lost episode” of the California Gold television series, 1996

“Miss Manuela C. Garcia of Los Angeles” sang over 100 Spanish language songs for Charles Fletcher Lummis between 1904 and 1905, which he recorded on to wax cylinder. These recordings became part of... Read more

May 20, 2020

Exhibitions as Data


By Julia Tcharfas, Collections Cataloger, Autry Museum of the American West

One goal of a museum is to conserve objects in perpetuity—stable and unchanged. By contrast, museum exhibitions are in constant state of flux. Temporary and traveling exhibits are regularly rotating within the gallery walls. Even the so-called permanent galleries undergo numerous transformations over the years.

Exhibitions come and go through a joint museum-wide effort. For museum curators, an exhibition is a carefully chosen group of objects and the... Read more

May 15, 2020

The Red Cross Shop of Los Angeles: Community Involvement in a Time of Crisis

Collections / Revealing Women in the Archives

By Christina Hummel-Colla, Library Collections Assistant

Post-apocalyptic visions of a world populated by marauding bandits notwithstanding, examples of human bonding and mutual aid in times of crisis abound in our shared past and present. Despite the current need for social distancing, volunteers sew masks at home, offer one another support over voice and video chat, and donate their time and resources to help fulfill needs that may otherwise go unmet by existing infrastructures. This spirit of unity and aid echoes that which animated past movements mobilized to confront crisis,... Read more

May 11, 2020

The Autry’s Collecting Community History Initiative: The West During COVID-19

The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative / Collections

By Tyree Boyd-Pates, Associate Curator

Several weeks ago, we launched our Collecting Community History Initiative: The West During COVID-19 . Within that time, we have received a slew of submissions. This week’s blog post highlights the diversity of the masks across the West.

As states have required individuals to wear face masks in public, communities of all sorts are using their creativity to design their homemade facemasks to free-up other PPE masks for medical... Read more

May 11, 2020

Sheltering in Place: Photographs from the Autry Collection


By Sarah Signorovitch (Registrar, Loans and Exhibitions) and Julia Tcharfas (Collections Cataloger)

Since mid-March the Autry Museum, like many other similar institutions, has been closed to visitors and non-essential staff as we follow California state and local directives and do our part to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Our local response in Los Angeles is called “Safer at Home” and, in addition to the extremely vital work of healthcare providers, allows for grocery stores, hardware stores and other businesses supplying essential services to stay... Read more

May 8, 2020

The Webster Women: Mother & Daughter Kept Together Through the Archives

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives

By Victoria Bernal, Women in the Archives Social Media Manager; Caroline Sheehan, 2018-2019 Autry/Occidental College intern; and Liza Posas, Head of Research Services and Archives

On this Mother’s Day, we explore the archives of Edna Robb Webster, American author, poet, and historian of Mayan culture. Her archives were lovingly preserved by her daughter Marjorie Ellen Webster before she donated them to the Autry.

Edna travelled to Mexico’s Yucatan region in the early 20 th Century making her one of the first women explorers of are—which she vividly captured in photographs... Read more

May 5, 2020

Exploring old Los Angeles with the Pico House Register, June 1870 – May 1872

Collections / Library and Archives

By Marva Felchlin, Former Director Autry Library and Archives; Cheryl Miller, Head Library Metadata and Discovery Services

Pio de Jesus Pico was born at Mission San Gabriel on May 5, 1801. The son of soldier José María Pico, Pio Pico was of mixed African, American Indian, and European heritage. He moved to San Diego in 1819, where he kept a small shop. Pico served in the Mexican government of Alta California in the 1830s and 1840s. He became governor of California in 1845, but his term ended abruptly when the United States annexed California in 1846. Pico fled to Mexico during the... Read more

April 29, 2020

Collecting Community History Initiative: The West During COVID-19

The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative / Collections
Focus: A preservation initiative to assist communities across the American West on saving and protecting objects of meaning.

By: Tyree Boyd-Pates, Associate Curator of Western History

The Autry Museum of the American West is helping communities across the West identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting April 27, the Autry is launching its Collecting Community History: A Regional Collections Initiative of Exploration and Preservation . It is the first in a series of efforts to... Read more

April 24, 2020

The Stories Found When #ArchivingWomen

Collections / Revealing Women in the Archives
By: Victoria Bernal, Women in the Archives Social Media Manager and Liza Posas, Head of Research Services and Archives In January, the Autry embarked on a year-long Revealing Women in the Archives initiative that celebrates the 2020 centennial of women winning the vote by facilitating the discovery of women’s historical contributions. Through programming, a workshop series, a social media campaign and the exhibition, What’s Her Story: Women in the Archives... Read more