William Deverell

William Deverell is Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and Professor of History at USC. He is also founding director of the USC Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative. He is an historian of the 19th and 20th century American West. His undergraduate degree in American Studies is from Stanford and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American History are from Princeton. He has published widely on the environmental, social, cultural and political history of the West.

The San Francisco health department dispatched teams to catch and kill rats by the hundreds of thousands.

Pandemic Manuals: A History

Pandemics and plagues run deep in the history of the West. Documents from these acute moments provide context and understanding to our situation today.

Alta Asks Live: Ander Monson

Author Ander Monson joins Alta Asks Live and Heather Scott Partington to discuss his new book, The Gnome Stories. 

Nurses wearing breathing masks administer to patients in the ward, believed to be the isolation ward at Pasadena's Wilson High School during the 1919 influenza epidemic.

Disease and Racism: Break the Pattern Now

Attacks on Americans of Chinese and Mexican descent during the outbreak of disease have an ugly history in California.

Mesmerizing Modern Poetry

These two young poets eschew convention with bold voices—and even bolder prose. 

Jon Wiener is the coauthor, with Mike Davis, of Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties, a long-overdue history of the City of Angels during that tumultuous time.

True Stories of L.A. in the 1960s 

Mike Davis and Jon Wiener revisit the turbulence of Los Angeles in the 1960s—and come correct.

Spring 2020 Nonfiction Picks

Complicating the ordinary, letters from home, the arrival of a meteorite, and the disappearance of a son: E.J. Koh, Dinah Lenney, Harry Dodge, and Roman Dial take us into very different, very real worlds with these nonfiction selections. 

Nonfiction Picks for Winter 2020

Intimate and intense, these nonfiction selections are must-reads for 2020. 

Shadowlands author Anthony McCann

Live Free or Die

Anthony McCann uses the Malheur occupation to tell a bigger story of the American West in Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff.

Migrant Letters

Changing immigration laws, job opportunities, and acclimation to a new culture are captured in these letters from 20th-century Chinese and Mexican immigrants to California.

The scene around the well as crews work to rescue three-year-old Kathy Fiscus.

A Little Girl, a Deep Well and a Big Story

When three-year-old Kathy Fiscus fell down a well in San Marino, the attempt to rescue her was the first-ever significant news story to be televised live.

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