Member Highlight

You are currently browsing the archive for the Member Highlight category.

[cross-posted with permission from the Los Feliz Ledger]

Feldman and LaBonge

92-year-old Eddy Feldman was recently honored by Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge.

By Diane Kanner, Los Feliz Ledger Columnist

Glen Dawson is the quintessential Californian. The Sierra Club was brand new when he joined, the same year photographer Ansel Adams took his portrait. In his younger days, Dawson scaled bald peaks like Mount Whitney. His career as a bookseller was preordained after his father Ernest established a bookshop downtown. Later located on Larchmont Boulevard, Dawson’s was a meeting place of western states antiquarian book collectors and Dawson hung out with bibliophiles like W.W. Robinson, Ward Ritchie and Lawrence Powell.

Dawson’s centennial birthday celebration at the University Club in Pasadena on June 2nd brought together his friends. Among guests was 92-year-old Eddy Feldman, an attorney who lives in Park LaBrea. Nibbling on a Cobb salad before leaving for another engagement, Feldman recounted the story of how Dawson changed his life.

Feldman was Chair of the Board of Municipal Arts Commissioners when Mayor Sam Yorty called him to the Central Library to help create a “friends of the library” support group. Feldman had travelled to Europe where he photographed local streetlights. As a commissioner, he was called upon to evaluate proposals for streetlights, and he was developing an eye in the public works genre.

Feldman offered his photos towards the library effort but found no takers. Dawson was in the room, and he told Feldman he wanted to see the photos. The upshot was the publication of Feldman’s text, “The Art of Street Lighting in Los Angeles” in 1972 by Dawson’s Book Store. Listed for $46 on Amazon.com, copies hold photos of lights throughout the city, including one inspired by the hollyhock flower on the hillside of Barnsdall Park.

Each month, we like to highlight one of our members. This month’s member highlight is Kathy Kolnick, researcher and instructor at the University of Southern California.

 

1) Tell us about yourself.

I am a researcher in juvenile justice issues and gang joining in the Psychology Department at USC Dornsife, working to develop programs that can help youth stay out of gangs. I am also an instructor at the School of Policy, Planning and Development at USC where I have taught the history of planning and development of cities as well as introductory courses for both undergraduate and graduate students in planning and real estate development.

I received a Ph.D in planning from USC where I wrote a dissertation on the history of land use regulation in Los Angeles, primarily from 1880 to 1915. I remain very interested in this topic, as well as the bigger issue of how we create local regulations and laws. Recently, I completed a co-authored book chapter on local regulations to control immigration (to be published by the end of year).

Originally from the Chicago suburbs, I did an undergraduate degree in fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and have exhibited work at a number of Chicago galleries. Later, as my concerns with urban areas evolved, I did a masters degree in urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and worked in economic development in Chicago. I taught planning at Shenzhen University in southern China for 3 years before moving to L.A. for doctoral work 15 years ago.

 

2) Why did you join LACHS?

After working to create and develop a local neighborhood historical society, I was interested to continue with that type of volunteer effort. When the LACHS nominated me to the board of directors in 2008, I was happy to accept. Also, as much of my research in L.A. was dependent upon city council records, I have a long and deep appreciation for the City Records Center at Piper Tech and all the wonderful materials available. Given that the LACHS is the official guardian of this invaluable archive, I thought this organization the perfect place to “pay back” for having access to these valuable records.

 

3) What do you value most of about Los Angeles and its history?

So much of what we think we know about L.A. is actually based on myths and a deliberately-created history written by boosters and promoters. The reality of our heritage is infinitely more interesting. I am proud to be part of the efforts to bring this history to light.

 

4) In your own words…

I moved to L.A. for grad school, to experience a city very different in structure and development from my hometown, Chicago. I love being able to look out my office or home windows and see the Hollywood Hills and the San Gabriel Mountains. Actually experiencing mountains– still very exciting for this girl from the plains of Illinois. Combine mountain panoramas with the coastal vistas and everything in between – and no need to shovel snow in the winter – and this seems like heaven

 


Are you a LACHS member? Would you like to be featured in our member highlight? Or nominate someone else? Contact the Editor at web.admin@lacityhistory.org for more information.

Giao BakerEach month, we like to highlight one of our members. This month’s member highlight is Giao Luong Baker, Digital Imaging Manager for the Libraries at the University of Southern California.

 

1) Tell us about yourself.

I am a Los Angeles enthusiast. I love the city and the larger metropolitan region – its enclaves, its histories, its people, and most importantly – its fantastic weather.

 

2) Why did you join LACHS?

Joining LACHS provides me an opportunity to get to know others who are just as interested in LA’s history as I am. It’s a fun way to explore the City and help share and preserve its history for current and future generations.

 

3) What do you value most of about Los Angeles and its history?

What I love most about Los Angeles is the multifaceted splendor of its people. Homegrown locals and waves of immigrants from across the nation and across the world combine in the mosaic of our city. This dynamism has shaped the physical, cultural, and sociological landscape of Los Angeles in unique and fascinating ways.

As a child of immigrants, I value the fact that Los Angeles has been welcoming to me and my family. There are few places in the United States that could provide as comfortable or as inclusive a community to my parents. For me and my siblings, Los Angeles is home and has given us many opportunities we might not have had otherwise. And as a soon-to-be-mother, I value that Los Angeles can offer my child a diverse and engaging environment in which to grow up.

 

4) In your own words…

What do I love about L.A.? The food! Looking for dim sum or noodles; I head out to Chinatown (or perhaps further east to the San Gabriel Valley). Little Tokyo is my spot for sushi, ramen, crepes, and the latest in trendy dining. Mexican food is all around, but my favorite is El Cholo on Western Blvd. Palermos Pizza in Los Feliz is great and I’m always ready for a burger at the Brite Spot on Sunset. Sometimes I don’t even have to travel, because the food trucks bring it to me! Kogi BBQ anyone?! That is what is nice about Los Angeles; the world is just five minutes and an appetizer away! UPDATE: Giao also wanted us to mention that her favorite restaurant is the Phoenix Inn in Chinatown.

 


Are you a LACHS member? Would you like to be featured in our member highlight? Or nominate someone else? Contact the Editor at web.admin@lacityhistory.org for more information.

Anna Sklar

Each month, we like to highlight one of our members. This month’s member highlight is author and historian Anna Sklar.


1) Tell me about yourself.

I am a professional writer and historian and am the author of Brown Acres: An Intimate History of the L.A. Sewers, 1860-2008 (Angel City Press, 2008)

 

2) Why did you join LACHS?

Because they supported my grant application to the Haynes Foundation and I wanted to “pay it forward.”

 

3) What do you value most of about Los Angeles and its history?

Now that’s a tough one.  Can’t be answered in a few sentences.  Essentially, however, I am a long-time resident of the city and have lived in many neighborhoods–from East L.A. to the San Fernando Valley to Silverlake to the Westside and points in between.  So, I value all its history–the good, the bad, the ugly, the entire mosaic of our past.

 

4) In your own words…

You’ve got to be kidding!

I was brought here by my father in 1944 as a mere babe.

I love Carey McWilliams and his take on Los Angeles best of all. I miss the old Pershing Square, old downtown, neighborhoods swept away by developers, single movie theaters, and so many lost icons of our collective past.

As a reporter in the 1970s and early 1980s I covered many, many Los Angeles stories, from the fires that have swept across the Santa Monica Mountains, to the mudslides that followed, to the notorious federal trial of Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, to the crimes of the Los Angeles Police Department, to rock-and-roll musicians, to local and national famous authors, to mostly minor television and movie actors, to a president-to-be, to contenders for the governor’s office, to a series of investigative reports on child abuse, cults, etc., and a whole host of writers of how-to books that were instantly forgettable.  The list is almost endless.  Much like the city itself, it includes wannabe celebs, victims, and literary and music and cultural royalty, as well as the apparently never-ending search by newcomers to reinvent themselves.  As with our board members as well as many of our other members I am a part of the history of Los Angeles.


Are you a LACHS member? Would you like to be featured in our member highlight? Or nominate someone else? Contact the Editor at web.admin@lacityhistory.org for more information.

Don SloperLACHS member Don Sloper is a native Californian who developed an interest in local history as a newspaper reporter in Long Beach, while an undergraduate in college. After earning an MBA degree from the University of Southern California, and a successful business career, he returned to local history a decade ago, as a researcher, lecturer and active docent.

He is author of Los Angeles’s Chester Place (2007: Arcadia Publishing), now in its second printing, which is about the oldest gated community in Los Angeles, and for 57 years home to oilman Edward L. Doheny’s family.

Sloper is Treasurer of the Los Angeles City Historical Society, a member of the Board of Directors of Las Angelitas del Pueblo, a docent group that conducts tours for more than 12,000 visitors a year at the historic Los Angeles plaza, an active docent for Los Angeles Conservancy Walking tours, a docent for  tours of Chester Place and the Doheny mansion, and a regent for Mount St. Mary’s College.

Don and his wife, Mary, have three children and four grandchildren.


Are you a LACHS member? Would you like to be featured in our member highlight? Or nominate someone else? Contact the Editor at web.admin@lacityhistory.org for more information.