Marie Northrop Lecture Series

Panelists Bob Farrell and Wanda Moore with moderator Michael Holland at "Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" on March 12, 2017. Photo: Russell Pyle/LAPL

Panelists Bob Farrell and Wanda Moore with moderator Michael Holland at "Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" on March 12, 2017. Photo: Russell Pyle/LAPL

In 1992, the Los Angeles City Historical Society president Patricia Bowie and board member Michael Engh, reflected on how the LACHS could promote greater interest in Los Angeles history among its members and the general public. The two – both professors of history at Loyola Marymount University – decided on an annual program of three lectures to be delivered by established writers, historians, and educators.

LACHS decided to name the lecture series in memory of Marie Northrop, a longtime member of LACHS and widely respected genealogist who had specialized in tracing the lineage of early settlers of the original El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles.

Fr. Engh organized the early lectures, which were held on the Loyola Marymount campus. Jane Nowak, then manager of the Los Angeles Central Library's Department of History and Genealogy and a LACHS board member, continued the program when Fr. Engh's role at the university expanded. The lectures moved to the library's Mark Taper Auditorium at this time, where they've taken place ever since. In 1995, another LACHS board member and past-President, Irene Tresun, took the reins and has kept the Northrop Lecture Series a vital educational event.

Since its beginning, longtime LACHS board member Raymund Wood and his wife Margaret supported the lecture series through an annual donation. After Ray's death, Margaret Wood continued to honor that commitment. Since then, other members' contributions have helped to sustain this signature program.

Over the years, the Northrop series has grown to include presentations by a wide range of experts on diverse aspects of Los Angeles's past and present, including politics and government, geography and natural environment, transportation and infrastructure, architecture and preservation, and different forms of popular culture. Throughout the time, dedicated LACHS members have devoted much time and effort to planning the series. Notably, the L.A. Public Library has been an outstanding and supportive partner, continuing to provide both a wonderful venue and helpful staff to make sure all goes smoothly, year in and year out.

Michael Holland is the 2018 chair of the Marie Northrop series at the Taper Auditorium. He also serves as the city archivist for the city of Los Angeles. He can be contacted at

The Los Angeles City Historical Society wishes to thank all of the people who have made the Marie Northrop Lecture Series into a valuable community institution.

The 26th Annual Marie Northrop Lecture Series - 2018
We Are Change

This year’s theme focuses on those who have changed the city of Los Angeles through their public service to the people. Personal conversations with those who helped make history and are continuing to create a legacy today. 

This lecture series is co-sponsored by Los Angeles City Historical Society and the History Department of the Richard J. Riordan Central Library. Lectures are held in the Mark Taper Auditorium, on the first floor of the Central Library, 630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles.

Sunday, February 11, 2018, 2 – 4pm
“Robert Farrell: In His Own Words”

Bob Farrell did many things in his life before coming to the City Council in 1974 to serve the Eighth District. He brought the city’s awareness to many issues outside its traditional boundaries. He continues to do so today after his city career. Come to listen and ask questions on the Taper stage.

Video Recording:

Sunday, March 11, 2018, 2 – 4pm
“The Hahn Dynasty”
The Hahn family is known from Los Angeles City Hall to the U.S. Congress. Please join us in discussion with Supervisor Janice Hahn as she helps us understand what made her family synonymous with public service and the legacy of that service to the present day.

Video Recording:

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 2 – 4pm
“The Faces of Change in District Eleven”

Bill Rosendahl brought a lifetime of activism with him to City Hall in 2005. The Eleventh District continues to be one of the most diverse areas of Los Angeles. We will examine the past as represented by Marvin Braude and Cindy  Miscikowski, and the changes brought by Rosendahl that continue in the office of Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Video Recording:

The 25th Annual Marie Northrop Lecture Series - 2017
The Bradley Effect: A Tom Bradley Centennial

Sunday, March 12, 2017
Screening of the documentary Bridging The Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers Lyn Goldfarb & Alison Sotomayor and guests.

Video Recording:

Sunday, April 2, 2017
"State of Emergency: 1992 Riots after 25 Years"

Unrest, rebellion or riot? 25 years after the events of April 1992, we will get some perspective on what led up to the crisis, screen unseen video footage and discuss how things have or have not changed. Our panel will include James A. Bultema, retired LAPD videographer and historian, Dr. Brenda Stevenson, Professor and Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in History, UCLA and Marcia Choo, vice president of Community Development at Wells Fargo Bank.

Video Recording:

Sunday, June 4, 2017
"Los Angeles and The Olympics"

Presented by the LA84 Foundation at their West Adams location. Join us as we discuss the highlight of Tom Bradley's career as Mayor and get the latest on LA's bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Our guest speaker will be Wayne Wilson, Vice President, Education Services, LA84 Foundation. Tours of the facilities will be available. The library and archives will also be open during our visit.

See our Event page for upcoming lectures.