Wednesday, September 26, 2007

City History in Two Volumes

A dedicated archivist (is there any other kind?) named Hynda L. Rudd somehow managed the production of a huge book titledThe Development of Los Angeles City Government -- An Institutional History 1850-2000.

The L.A. Times carries the story, describing how Rudd poured through the city archives, from "1769, when Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola's expedition reached the area, only to be greeted by a strong earthquake."

Three dozen historians worked on the project. The book's chapters cover Los Angeles city's "debt, taxation and revenue; the city's justice system, police and fire departments; city planning and 20 other major topics."

I'm not going to buy a copy or read it, but I am sincerely grateful that there are people in the world who will collect, sort, and publish such information for those of us who might want to look it up some day.

For those who do expend the $100 for the limited edition, the Times story hints at some fascinating tales based on archival research, with scholars like Leonard Pitt and Jennifer Koslow contributing essays, and Tom Sitton serving as senior editor. It can be ordered through Loyola Marymount University, according to the Times, though no website has been provided yet.

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