Searching History: Digital Newspapers

Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center - Culver City Historical SocietyOn Sunday, July 5, Society member Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center. Alex showcased resources like the University of California, Riverside digital library, from which he shared 1800’s era articles that offer insight into La Ballona School’s operation in 1875, and political meetings hosted by Jose de la Luz Machado.

Following are several links he suggested for online archives of digital newspaper images. Some are free, others have a fee to see the images. All are searchable.

Author and Cinematographer to Discuss MGM Backlots at Next Culver City Historical Society Meeting

M-G-M Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot by Stephen Sylvester - Culver City Historical SocietyStephen Sylvester, co-author of M-G-M Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot, and Academy award winning cinematographer Fred Koenekamp will share the spotlight at the next general meeting of Culver City Historical Society on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s multi-purpose room.

Sylvester will present a short film and a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the history of the soundstages and outdoor sets where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced many of the world’s most famous films. The book features candid, exclusive voices and photographs from the people who worked there, and includes hundreds of rare and unpublished photographs.  Sylvester will be selling and signing his book that night.

Koenekamp, known for his camera work on Patton, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Papillion, and The Towering Inferno, for which he won his Academy award, and many other fine films, will also share his memories of the MGM years.

There will be a brief discussion of upcoming programs and projects, as well as updates on the activities and exhibits in the Archives & Resource Center (ARC) which will be opened following the meeting.

All members of the Culver City Historical Society and the public are welcome to enjoy this free program and students are encouraged to attend.  The entrance to the multi-purpose room is through the back of the building near the parking lot, and through the Archive & Resource Center space.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Website Earns Prestigious Award

Pictures Entertainment Website - Culver City Historical SocietyGood news from our friends, and corporate sponsor, Sony Pictures Entertainment:

The Sony Pictures online museum won multiple awards in three prestigious website competitions in 2010. The museum was selected as an Official Honoree for the Movie and Film category in the 14th Annual Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

As a result of the exceptional quality of submissions this year, the Academy recognized outstanding entries as Official Honorees alongside the Nominees and Winners. The Official Honoree distinction was awarded only to the top 15% of all work entered that exhibited remarkable achievement. With nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 states and over 60 countries, SPE considered this an outstanding accomplishment for the museum.

The SPE museum garnered further attention by winning Gold and Silver awards in two visual arts competitions presented by the International Academy of Visual Arts, a group of leading professionals in various visual arts mediums. In the categories of Education and Movie/Film, the museum was awarded the two Gold Davey Awards. The museum was also honored in the W3 Awards with a Silver Award for Cultural Institutions.

The museum underwent a significant upgrade of its backend support, design and content. SPE refined the design further to keep the look and feel of the site current with the constantly evolving landscape of the Internet.

Research Demands Accuracy

Julie Lugo Cerra - Culver City Historical SocietyNotes from Your City Historian
by Julie Lugo Cerra

There are so many avenues to travel while gathering information. Accuracy is paramount, but not so easy to achieve. This is why we use multiple sources of information. In earlier times, we had publications, public records — and people. Library visits were made in person…

When Memories Differ…

One of my first jobs in the Society was to write a tour of the city. I began my research in printed material, plotted points, and then went on to interviews.

One day, I remember taking two lovely ladies — grand dames of Culver City — on a ride to “pick their brains.” Both were living in Culver City in the 1920s, so they offered a wealth of colorful information. But when we got to a particular block in downtown, their memories of a dairy were just a little “off” and I was ever so grateful one was seated in the front seat and the other in the back seat. These mild-mannered octogenarians almost came to blows! In the long run their invaluable memories pointed my search to old directories which pinpointed that dairy!

Microfilm Still Valuable! - Culver City Historical SocietyMicrofilm Still Valuable!
Our ARC Saturdays (and by appointment) provide some great fun for researchers. The bound copies of the Evening Star News, for example, promote “life and times” discussions about “the olden days.”

While researching one issue, you can almost count on finding the answer to another question. In addition, we have additional newspapers on microfilm, but our reader has been a little temperamental. As you can see in this photo, CCHS President Stu Freeman (L) made adjustments that brought viewing “into focus.” Bill Hahn recently used the catalogued microfilm to supplement his bound newspaper searches.

Many New Research Sources
Most people trusted the printed word. The Los Angeles Times used to have fact checkers, and in the past, I received calls to double-check information in an upcoming article mentioning Culver City. It appears that fact checkers were victims of budget cuts, and you can see evidence of the errors that appear as corrections — daily.

Unfortunately, most researchers will not automatically check the next edition to make sure their subject was not erroneously reported.

The internet is a valuable source of information, but one has to pause and check. Some information is accessible from libraries, but there are other sources of information, like Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which includes unsubstantiated information presented like it was researched. It has a lot of erroneous information on Culver City, including the dates movie studios were established. IMDb is the international movie database which also allows people to add to their information, and it reminds me of those ladies and the dairy location — lots of discrepancies…so be careful!