The Autry Files

May 13, 2021

Spam Fried Rice for the Soul

Community / DIY
By Christina Lehua Hummel-Colla, Library Collections Assistant

The years of our coronavirus, 2020 and 2021, have been hard on us all—including Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, targeted as scapegoats for the COVID-19 crisis from the start. Given the co-morbidity of disease and racial violence, from anti-Jewish pogroms during the Black Death to 19th century anti-Asian racism during the 1817 Cholera Pandemic , I am hardly surprised, yet nevertheless deeply disappointed... Read more

April 20, 2021

Women in the Archives: Part 1

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives
By Christina Lehua Hummel-Colla, Library Collections Assistant

There is always a need to revisit archives and one of the great things about archives is that it is the raw materials that can be reinterpreted over and over again across time to create another story that relates to the now. And that’s one of the reasons why research is called research is because you’re searching over and over again. So, archives are not dusty, static elements for you to just observe, archives are really there for you to engage with and they’re dynamic and they also have a pulse... Read more

April 5, 2021

The Zoom Classroom: Online Learning During a Pandemic

Community / The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative
By Marina Nye, Curatorial Research Assistant and PhD Student, UCLA History Department

Students and teachers across the United States have had to adjust to a new online learning environment due to COVID-19. From kindergarteners to college students, this new Zoom platform has created unprecedented challenges. The submissions to the Collecting Community History Initiative (CCHI) shed light on student’s day-to-day online schooling.

Students are doing their best to conduct business as usual in a home setting. Elementary school student Jimmy explains “my mom is the ‘principal’ and my dad... Read more

April 5, 2021

What’s Cooking in Quarantine?: The Importance of Culinary Arts During the Stay-at-Home Order

Community / The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative
By Marina Nye, Curatorial Research Assistant and PhD Student, UCLA History Department

Not even a year ago, a baking craze swept over the nation as Americans were confined to their homes. Everyone sought new hobbies to occupy their time during the stay-at-home order such as cooking and baking. Sourdough starter kits flew off the shelves and bakers exchanged family recipes in online forums. The submissions to the Collecting Community History Initiative elucidate how important baking was during unprecedented times.

Americans gravitated towards culinary arts because baking is often... Read more

March 17, 2021

Piecing Together the Story of Lottie L. Tillotson

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives
By Alejandra Gaeta, Associate Archivist/Librarian

“Little is known about Lottie Tillotson.”

It was that first sentence that caught my attention and that ultimately led me down the rabbit hole of research. It is such an unusual statement to have written in a finding aid, a document that is meant to provide a summary of succinct facts that is useful for researchers. (A finding aid is a document that provides information about archival collections, including biographical information of the people it involves, descriptions of the types of materials it contains and how the collection is... Read more

March 8, 2021

Ingenuity in Scarcity: Sustainable Solutions to Material Shortages during the Pandemic (The Autry’s Collecting Community History Initiative)

The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative / Collections / Community / DIY

Nicole Mitchell: “I custom-designed, and dyed antibacterial hemp face covers, Made-in-LA. I chose hemp because of its natural antibacterial properties, UV, and mold resistance. Hemp fabric gets softer and more durable with every wash cycle. Our first production runs, I decided to keep a minimalistic design with no logo or prints because our top priority was to produce quality protection for the people a quick as possible. Urbane face covers represent a movement of unity not only to protect our global health but to consume items where the product lifecycle will benefit... Read more

March 8, 2021

What’s Her Story: Roll Call

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives
By Liza Posas, Head of Research Services and Archives

Meet the philanthropists, solo sojourners, political activists, artists, pioneering anthropologist, and local community members who make up the What’s Her Story: Women in the Archives exhibition at the Autry Museum. This exhibit showcases the 20th- and 21st-century women who documented their activities and created archives as a way to preserve a legacy in their own voice as well as archives found in the Autry’s holdings of institutional papers, government documents, and rare documents.

Assistance League of Los... Read more

March 8, 2021

Words on Walls: Messages of Resistance in Public Spaces (The Autry’s Collecting Community History Initiative)

The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative / Collections / Community / DIY

Banner image by Jonathan Moller

By: Marina Nye, Curatorial Research Assistant and PhD Student, UCLA History dept.

Contributors to the Collecting Community History Initiative (CCHI) captured powerful images of the Black Lives Matter protests. Some of the photographs captured messages of resistance that were inscribed across public spaces such as buildings, storefronts, sidewalks, vehicles, and statues. Whether these messages were written hastily with spray paint or took hours of careful precision, they all express the importance and... Read more

March 8, 2021

Celebration in Isolation: Socialization and Community in a Pandemic world (The Autry’s Collecting Community History Initiative)

The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative / Collections / Community

Añalisa Siemsen-McQuaide: “These were special fancy dress masks for a social distancing version of The Met Gala we did with the neighbors (socially distancing). It was for our daughters to have something to work on to take their minds off of being 'stuck in the house' and have a reason to dress up and feel fancy. My daughter loves fashion, so she was disappointed not see the outfits at the Met Gala, so we decided to do our own home version.“

By: Marina Nye, Curatorial Research Assistant and PhD Student, UCLA History dept. ... Read more

February 22, 2021

Theo Westenberger: A Brief Introduction

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives
By Caleb Allen, Cataloging Assistant

Commercial photographers are an odd sort of cultural worker: responsible for showcasing the products that one ought to want, glimpses of vacations one ought to strive for, providing a keyhole into the lives of the celebrities one loves, and generally helping to visualize a zeitgeist. It’s rare that one ever bothers to learn who a commercial photographer is—for every Annie Leibovitz or Steven Meisel, there are innumerable other photographers who are more or less unknown to the wider public. Now, it would be unfair to count Theo Westenberger among the... Read more