O.C. Social Studies Controversies and the Rise of the New Right

It feels like today’s polarizing political and cultural battles are unique, but there’s nothing new under the sun. Elaine Lewinnek will discuss a fascinating example from local history — “O.C’s Late-‘60s Social Studies Controversies and the Rise of the New Right” — at the Orange County Historical Society’s Feb 11, 2021 meeting, 7:30 p.m., online via Zoom.

To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/OCHSTextbook

Describing her program, Lewinnek writes, “During the late 1960s, liberals and conservatives clashed in passionate debates over California’s state-mandated eighth-grade U.S. history textbook, Land of the Free. Even as minority racial groups won civil rights battles and fought to integrate both the schools and the schools’ social-studies curriculum, another minority—consisting of female white conservatives—fought tenaciously for control over education and public memory, promoting a romanticized view of history.”

Elaine Lewinnek is professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, and chair of the Environmental Studies program there. She is the author of The Working Man’s Reward: Chicago’s Early Suburbs and the Roots of American Sprawl (Oxford University Press, 2014), and is co-author the forthcoming People’s Guide to Orange County (University of California Press). She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.

The Enchanted Quest of Dana & Ginger Lamb

If adventure has a name, it must be,…. Lamb? Author and researcher Julie Huffman-klinkowitz will tell the story of Orange County authors and adventurers Dana and Ginger Lamb at the Orange County Historical Society’s Jan. 14, 2020 meeting at 7:30 p.m., online via Zoom.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/OCHSLamb to register.

Almost 90 years ago, Dana and Ginger Lamb made headlines as they adventured their way through life, creating experiences and stories that thrilled and entertained their audiences. Followed by young and old alike, the Lambs presented themselves through the media of the day to an international following. Married in 1933, the Lambs became popular authors, lecturers, documentary filmmakers, entrepreneurs, amateur archaeologists, and spies for the U.S. government. Their best-selling books included Enchanted Vagabonds (1938) and Quest for the Lost City (1951). Huffman-klinkowitz will speak about the Lambs’ personal histories, their lives and work, and their impact on several generations of followers.

Julie Huffman-klinkowitz is an independent scholar whose work focuses on local history, genealogy, and popular culture. She holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and a MA in Spanish. She is Collections Manager of the Cedar Falls (Iowa) Historical Society. She is co-author of the book, The Enchanted Quest of Dana and Ginger Lamb, and is currently working on an annotated index to the Lambs’ voluminous correspondence, which is held at the Sherman Library in Corona del Mar.

Jewish Orange County: The Early Years

                         

Jews have been in Orange County since 1857, when it was still a part of Los Angeles County, and have made significant contributions ever since. Dalia Taft, archivist for the Orange County Jewish Historical Society will speak at the Orange County Historical Society’s Dec. 10, 2020 meeting at 7:30 p.m., online via Zoom. Taft’s program will show how many of Orange County’s Jewish residents were, and continue to be, actively involved in local commerce, culture and politics while still maintaining their Jewish identities. The lecture covers the period 1857-1945, and includes a montage of old photos, period newspaper announcements and vintage advertisements.

Register here to RSVP for this online presentation:

 https://tinyurl.com/OCHSJewsinOC

 As the archivist for the OCJHS, Taft is responsible for increasing the awareness of the role Jews have played in the development of Orange County from 1857, when the first Jew settled in Anaheim, to now. She maintains the Society’s archives and is constantly researching and digitizing the growing collection. She helped organize the group’s website and lectures regularly about the different significant periods in Orange County’s Jewish history. Ms. Taft also writes a monthly column in JLife, Orange County’s monthly Jewish magazine, highlighting images from the society’s archives, and she wrote and directed the documentary California Orange Jews, on the history of the Orange County Jewish community. She has also published the book, Jewish Pioneers of Orange County, (Vol. 44, #3/4 of the journal Western States Jewish History), detailing the many stories of Jewish life in Orange County from the 1860s through the 1980s. This volume is an invaluable resource and features an introduction by longtime OCHS member John Moorlach.

 Ms. Taft graduated from UCLA with a degree in art, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and her professional experience includes work as educator at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and public relations manager with the Easter Seals organization.

 This program was originally scheduled for April but was postponed due to COVID.

Cinderella Homes: Fairy Tale Tracts in Suburban O.C.

 

 

 

Once upon a time, even before Disneyland, Cinderella had her own housing tracts in Anaheim, Tustin, Costa Mesa, Placentia, and the San Fernando Valley. Author Chris Lukather will discuss his book, The Cinderella Homes of Jean Vandruff – Fairy Tale Tracts in the Suburbs, at the Orange County Historical Society’s Nov. 12, 2020 meeting at 7:30 p.m., online via Zoom.

Register here to RSVP for this online presentation:

https://tinyurl.com/OCHSHouses

In the 1950s, Southern California tract housing developments filled the need of a burgeoning population, but they often lacked innovation, imagination and quality. The plain box-style home tracts featuring little ornamentation came to define the term “cookie cutter.” It’s no wonder that designer and builder Jean Vandruff’s charming homes skyrocketed to popularity, since they exemplified a visionary translation of storybook magic into appealing new homes buyers could afford.

Eventually, over 6,000 Cinderella Homes were built throughout Southern California and the United States. Mr. Vandruff began building houses in Southern California in the early 1950s, after serving as a decorated pilot in WWII. He enrolled in the USC School of Architecture, but eventually left the program to build custom homes with his brother, Shannon.

His first Cinderella Home was a custom home built in Downey in 1953, creating a prototype for his wildly popular model home that was featured at the 1956 Los Angeles Home Show. The success and interest this model generated initiated his venture into tract home building and a subsequent franchise deal that facilitated his Cinderella Homes being built around the country. The style became an iconic mid-century design.

Today at 97 years old, Jean Vandruff still lives near Anaheim. He is proud of the legacy of his work as a designer and builder, and remains active in the community that still today celebrates his Cinderella homes.

This program was originally scheduled for March but was postponed due to COVID.