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Roundup: September 13, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Robert “Roy” Ritchie
Subject: Warmer Weather in the Southwest?  Nothing New Except a Matter of Degree?

In recent years historians and archaeologists have been creating a new history of Early America, built upon what is known as the Medieval Warming Era, a major European climate phenomenon, long studied in Europe, where it had a significant impact. Only recently have these European studies been applied to  North America, now allowing scholars to reinterpret certain societies such as the Hohokam, Chaco Canyon and Cahokia, all of which played a major role in the American West and beyond. This talk is an introduction to these societies and their contributions to the history of Native Peoples.  

Roy Ritchie is best known to many of us as the recently  retired W. M. Keck Foundation Director of Research at the Huntington Library, etc., a position he held for 19 years (1992-2011). A native of Scotland, he and his family moved continually westward, finally reaching California. After receiving his A. B. from Occidental College and his Ph.D (History) from UCLA, Roy has specialized in Early American history, especially the 17th century. Prior to the Huntington he was in the History Department at UCSD, advancing to Professor, as well as Associate Chancellor.

Factoid:  Why are scientists counting rings in dead trees under water at the periphery of Mono Lake?

Roundup: August 9, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Paul Spitzzeri
Subject: Get Square with the Rebs: The Civil War Diary of Charles M. Jenkins

This presentation covers the remarkable discovery among the holdings of the Historical Society of Southern California in late 2015 of the diary of Charles M. Jenkins, the only Los Angeles resident to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War. Jenkins was part of a group of California volunteers assigned to a Massachusetts cavalry unit that served in Virginia. In 1863, he was captured by the Confederates and sent to several prison camps,including the notorious Andersonville, from which he remarkably survived. His remaining, post parole, service will be detailed, as well as his long and tortuous route home. Oh, to be a soldier in the field at the end of the “War Between the States”!

Paul Spitzzeri is a past Sheriff of our Corral and is museum director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, where he has worked since 1988. A graduate of California State University, Fullerton,where he obtained a B. A. and M. A. in history, Paul has published extensively on local and state history, including an award-winning 2008 biography of the Workman and Temple families.

Factoid: Where was Andersonville?

Roundup: July 12, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Hadley W. Jensen, Los Angeles Westerners Fellow at the Autry Museum of the American West
Subject: Shaped by the Camera: Navajo Weavers and the Photography of Making in the American Southwest, 1880-1945

Anthropologists’ photographic records since the late 19th century both reflected and shaped visualizations of Native life in the Southwest. Drawing upon the extensive archival collections at the Autry Museum, our speaker will focus upon weaving as a common visual trope, extending into tourism promotion, ethnography, and anthropological surveys, especially through the lenses of the lesser known George H. Pepper (1866-1923) and Gladys A. Reichard (1893-1955).

Hadley Jensen is a Ph.D candidate at Bard College in the field of Material Culture, specializing in Native North American Art. She is the current recipient of the Los Angeles Westerners/Autry Fellowship in support of her doctoral dissertation project and is looking forward to making use of the Autry’s unparalleled photography archives and holdings of Native American woven materials.

Factoid: What was Vroman’s Bookstore’s original primary stock of trade?

Roundup: May 10, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Alan Pollack, M.D.
Subject: The Saint Francis Dam Disaster – History and Personal

Angelinos with a sense of history have mostly heard the story before. Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the dam collapsed. Water for Los Angeles-the seamier, and structurally questionable, side. The rise and fall of William Mulholland, whose reputation washed away with the flood waters. Dr. Pollack and his collaborator, Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, will enrich this epic drama with personal accounts left by victims and survivors. Will they tell us something we haven’t heard before? I leave that up to you-the audience. Here is an opportunity for discussion.

Alan Pollack is a fellow member of our Corral, a long-term internal medicine practitioner with Kaiser Permanente, and President of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society (SCVHS). He has published extensively about Santa Clarita Valley local history, as well as carried the banner for same on local and regional media.

His co-worker, Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, is a champion of environmental protection and preservation and is working with Dr. Pollack to  introduce and pass the St. Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial and Monument legislation in Congress.

Roundup: April 12, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Gary Keyes
Subject: To the Right of Right: Enemy in the Foothills Next Door

Fieldmarshal von Hindenburg, Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP, and the German- American Bund. How do they all intersect in suburban Los Angeles, in the Crescenta Valley above Glendale and the I-210? The youth camp in Hindenburg Park, as well the complex at the Murphy Ranch on the other side of L. A., were focal points of pro-German activity in the period prior to the outbreak of the Second World War  in Europe until the United States’ entry into the war on both fronts in 1941. What do historians make of this nexus of geography and racism?

Gary Keyes has had a long career in the teaching of history in the Glendale/Foothill area, initially 45 years at Crescenta Valley High School  in La Crescenta and then in social science at Glendale Community College. A long-time local history buff and foothill community resident, he is intrigued by the more arcane aspects of the region’s history.

Gary will be assisted by Mike Lawler, one of his former students, a past president of the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley, and his co-author of Murder & Mayhem in the Crescenta Valley and Wicked Crescenta Valley.

Factoid: Hindenburg Park was in the news again as recently as 2016. Why?


Late-Breaking News and Crystal Ball Gazing/Upcoming Speakers

News too hot to wait until the next Roundup?  Send to your Deputy Sheriff, Steve Kanter,

The speaker roster through next March, 2018 has been locked in and can be viewed on below. Stay tuned.

5/10/17—Alan Pollack—Saint Francis Dam—It Keeps on Rolling

                           and then, ….

 6/24/17 –FANDANGO!!- The Old Mill, San Marino

Department of Recurrent Reminders

Annual Dues and Directory Update: 

Dues payments are narrowing the gap to our goal of 100 %. My good friend Tiburcio V. has upgraded his GPS and  will meet the stage en route to the bank unless we get there first. As we become increasingly “tech-savvy” it becomes most important to have current directory info. If you give us an email address, we assume you use it and it is active.

Dinner Reservations: 

Dinner reservations cost $35.00 each.  Please choose your entrée (beef, chicken, fish, or vegetarian) and make out your check to “Westerners, Los Angeles Corral,” or submit your payment by PayPal AS EARLY AS YOU CAN, but no later than one week before the roundup date.  Walk-ins can be served, but entrée choices will be limited to what is on hand: the “late price” is $40.00. Mail your check to:  Mr. James Macklin, Keeper of the Chips, 1221 Greenfield Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91006-4148.  Contact Jim at or (626) 446-6411, with late reservations or questions. You can also get information from Mr. John & Mrs. Ann Shea, Registrars, Marks & Brands, via Email: or or by telephone (562) 408-6959.

PayPal Makes it Easy!

Now you can put your money where your mouse is, and make your dinner selection and pay for it over the Internet.   Just log onto our website and go to the Member’s Only tab.   Click on the pay option, and follow the instructions. The two-step process is easy once you get used to it. Mr. Joseph “Old Joe” Cavallo (626-372-5126) will gladly help you navigate on your initial PayPal voyage.   

Roundup: March 8, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Thomas Pinney
Subject: Los Angeles: City of Vines; Winemaking in Los Angelse

Making wine in a coastal desert?? The role of the Los Angeles region in the history of viticulture and winemaking has almost been forgotten and has certainly been diminished. Los Angeles is where it all began, and where, for many years, most California wine originated. The entire California wine industry descends directly from Los Angeles.

Thomas Pinney has had a distinguished 35 year academic career at Pomona College, now emeritus professor of English, having previously held positions at Hamilton College and at Yale. He has published scholarly works on George Eliot, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Rudyard Kipling. [“I say, 'Do you like Kipling? I don't know; I've never kipled' ”.] Never having kippled, but most likely having tippled, Pinney has avocationally written about American wine history, including a two-volume History of Wine in America (University of California Press) and a forth-coming history of winemaking in the Los Angeles region, from which his talk is derived.

Factoid: Who was Mesnager and name more than one L.A. area feature named after him.

Roundup: February 8, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Darryl Holter
His Subject: This Land is Your Land: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles, 1937-1941

Woody Guthrie was, and still is, one of the most beloved of all American singers and songwriters. Guthrie’s very productive years in Los Angeles at the end of the Great Depression forever changed his music, his politics, and greatly expanded his audience.  Guthrie performed his own songs on his popular, KFVD Los Angeles, live radio show. They made him first a local, then a national, celebrity. With his lyrics about unemployment, homelessness, and inequality, Guthrie became the voice of thousands of migrant families who had fled the Dust Bowl in search of a new life in California.  His songs also inspired political activists, intellectuals, and writers like John Steinbeck. Woody Guthrie, by common assent, was the most important precursor to the American folk music revival of the late 1940s and early 1950s.  His powerful cultural legacy continues to grow in our own, 21st, century. Our February, 2017, Los Angeles Corral roundup will be a special treat, for our guest speaker will also be a guest singer, entertaining us with a selection of Woody Guthrie songs, accompanying himself on guitar.  Don’t Miss It!  We’ll See You There!

Darryl Holter is a business leader, historian, musician, and recognized authority on Woody Guthrie.  He has a Ph.D in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has taught at the University of Wisconsin and at UCLA.  Dr. Holter has written several books, two dozen scholarly articles, and has put out his own selections of historic Woody Guthrie songs as CDs/DVDs.  Radio Songs is his fourth album.  He is also the CEO of the Shammas Group, a family-owned group of automobile dealerships and commercial property in Downtown LA with nearly a thousand employees.  He founded the Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District in 1998 and served as its Chairman for fourteen years.  But Darryl’s true passion is blending music with history, and no better nor more creative icon to focus both disciplines upon exists than Woody Guthrie.  Dr. Holter is the first historian to explore, in depth, the legendary folk singer’s time in Los Angeles.  His February, 2017, presentation will review Guthrie’s observations on the local scene from 80 years ago:  his satires on local politics, the wealthy, and the future of Los Angeles.

Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D.
Newly-Elected Sheriff

Roundup: January 11, 2017

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Brian Dervin Dillon
His Subject: California, U.S.A. and the Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution began in 1910, and lasted for more than a decade.  It was the most cataclysmic and traumatic event of modern Mexican history, and the precursor of following revolutions in China (1911), Ireland (1916) and Russia (1917).  America and Americans participated in every aspect of the Mexican Revolution, in all of its many different factions, yet this involvement, overshadowed by our participation in World War I immediately afterwards, is largely forgotten. The Revolution took place on both sides of the California border:  it was born in places as surprising, yet familiar, as the University of California, Berkeley, and Los Angeles. The California end of the long international border was where the Revolution began, yet also where, through the efforts of enlightened men in both countries, it never went spinning out of control, as was later the case farther east.

Brian Dervin Dillon is a fifth-generation Californian. An archaeologist, he is both the son and the father of historians.  A Phi Beta Kappa and Fulbright Fellow, at age 25 he was the youngest Ph.D. in his field since his UC Berkeley department’s founding. For more than forty years Brian has done archaeological, ethnographic and historical fieldwork in almost every California County, in all parts of Guatemala, and in three other Central American countries.  Dr. Dillon publishes in three genres:  archaeology, history, and firearms history. He has taught and lectured at UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCLA Extension, CSU Long Beach, The Southwest Museum and for the California State Department of Forestry. Brian is the recipient of more than two-dozen grants, fellowships and awards. He has traveled through every Mexican state for the past 50 years. Dr. Dillon’s two-part study on California and the Mexican Revolution was published in 2013, earning him one of the five consecutive Coke Wood Awards for historic writing from Westerners International he has been honored with.

Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D.
Deputy Sheriff