America’s Newest Cities: Housing and “Red Lining” in California’s Central Valley * CSU Bakersfield Auxiliary for Sponsored Programs Administration, Bakersfield

Project Director: Chris Livingston

September 26, 2023 – The story of Housing in the California’s Central Valley has been one of exclusion, isolation, and destruction. America’s Newest Cities is a public humanities project that examines the history and development of “red-lining” and housing discrimination in California’s Southern Central Valley, more specifically in Bakersfield and Kern County. This project will involve youth voices (high school and college students) who will participate in the planning, research, interpretation, design, and installation of the project. Programming will begin September 2023. Read the full press release here.




Etxepare Agreement Signing Ceremony December 5, 2022









Sandra Bozarth Appointed Interim Dean of the Walter W. Stiern Library

January 1, 2021-Please join us in congratulating Sandra Bozarth as our new Interim Dean.

Faculty Hall of Fame 2019 Induction Ceremony

February 25, 2019-Save the date! The 2019 CSUB Faculty Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Tuesday March 26 at 12:00pm in the Dezember Reading Room of the Walter W. Stiern Library.

For information about past inductees, see the Faculty Hall of Fame Webpage.

New Exhibit, In the Trenches: The War to End All Wars, 1914-1918, A Centennial Commemoration of the end of World War I, Opens

September 14, 2018-They crouched in the trenches, wondering if they could ever go home again and what they were dying for. They comforted the dying in field hospitals. They watched with horror as their comrades, old friends and new, died in agony from poison gas attacks or were mowed down by gunfire. Some were sure their cause was just while others found out through experience that it was not. They were soldiers, staff members, nurses, civilians, survivors.

Kern County was not untouched by the war. Some came home, some did not. Some fought for the American army; some fought for Commonwealth armies. A local priest served as a chaplain. An Irish-born bookkeeper died in the trenches in France. A pair of Native American brothers  survived their service. African-American soldiers promised to return home with honor. A Bakersfield-born Latino medic was stationed at the Presidio.

The exhibit runs from September 14, 2018 to June 15, 2019. Exhibit hours are Monday through Thursday 8am to 8pm and Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Immigration and Naturalization Exhibit, The Long Journey, Opens

September 15, 2017-They came from Mexico, Ireland, the Basque Country and many other countries throughout the world. Many left their home to escape poverty or political persecution. Others were looking for economic opportunities int eh “land of the free.” Once here, they settles in places like New York, Chicago, and even in Kern County. Immigration and Naturalization in the United States has a varied history. Not long after the establishment of the United States in 1789, many Americans began to examine the impact immigrants were having on the country. Beginning in 1790 with the Naturalization Act, over the years, the United States enacted, repealed, and modified a large number of laws in order to control the effects immigration had on the country. This exhibit tells that story and some of the stories of immigrants who helped to build Kern County. The exhibit runs from September 15, 2017 to June 15, 2018. Exhibit hours are Monday through Thursday 8am to 8pm and Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Pedersen Collection Receives Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for 2016

The project– Interpreting the Drawings and Career of Architect John P. Pedersen— was described by the state office of Historic Preservation as “an exceptional example of historic preservation efforts on behalf of California’s cultural heritage.”

Historian John Edward Powell, research assistant Bram Livingston, and project donor Konstine Shaw undertook the complex initiative last year, which involved the discovery, inventory, description, and preservation of the Pedersen papers. Through extensive research, they established provenance of the items and pieced together the rich and varied history of Pedersen’s career.

Powell is a historic preservationist who taught in the CSUB Fine Arts Program during the mid- 1970s, after which he had a long career as a Stanford-trained architectural historian in Fresno and Seattle.

“John’s work has really opened the community’s eyes to the contributions of an important 20th century architect,” said Curt Asher, Dean of the CSUB Library, who nominated the three for the award.

Born in Norway in 1888, Pedersen owned an architectural firm in Beverly Hills focusing on residential design. He designed homes for many of the rich and famous of his era. Pedersen also designed a number of houses in the San Joaquin Valley, including the Barnett house on Elm Street in Bakersfield. During World War Two, he worked with the US Maritime Commission on the design of concrete ships.

The Pedersen papers are housed in the Walter Stiern Library and are among a number of important collections that archivist and curator Chris Livingston has obtained for the library’s

Historical Research Center.

“Understanding Pedersen is very important to understanding the architectural history of California,” Livingston said. “Obtaining his papers and getting this important collection into our archives has really been a coup for the campus and the region.”

Included in the collection are sketches and drawings, correspondence, blue prints, photos, renderings and even a plan for a subway system in Beverly Hills.

For additional information about the Pedersen Collection and other architectural collections, please contact Christopher Livingston at (661) 654-3253.


CSUB Students Celebrate Election Year Through New Exhibit 

November 8, 2016 — November is here and so is Election Day! To help encourage the power and privilege of voting, as well as inform the community on the milestones and history during some of the presidencies and elections, California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) students researched, designed and installed a new exhibit surrounding those topics. “Winner Takes All: Race to the White House,” a new exhibit in the Historical Research Center of the Walter W. Stiern Library is running now through December 15.

This exhibit will display how U.S. presidential elections have evolved over the years and have shaped campaign methods. Exhibit highlights include: political cartoons, the incorporation of music in politics, voting for women’s rights, turn of the century campaigning, technology in the campaign process, the 21st century and more.

Late professor, Dr. Charles McCall also played a big role in helping the exhibit come to fruition. McCall was a founding faculty member of the University and served as the chair of the Political Science Department. He also had the distinction of being appointed by President Gerald Ford as Director of the White House Editorial Staff Research Office. He generously donated a substantial amount of political items, which helped comprise the bulk of this exhibit.

As we near the elections, this will not only provide the CSUB community with a deeper look at the season, but the Bakersfield community as well, as the exhibit is open to everyone.

Gallery hours run Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Special collections and Rare Book Room are by appointment only. For more information, contact Chris Livingston, Archivist of the Walter W. Stiern Library at (661) 654-6127 or


The HRC Adds Important Oral History Collection

August 26, 2016- The HRC is excited to announce the acquisition of The Librado C. Gonzales Filipino Heritage Oral History Collection. The oral histories, which were conducted in 1972, document the Filipino Farm Labor experience. The interviews are with those who led and were involved in improving farm labor working conditions in the Southern San Joaquin Valley and include Philip Vera Cruz, Ramon Domingo, and many more. Originally recorded on cassette tapes, the interviews will be digitized and transcribed by the HRC Student Research Team.


The HRC Acquires Vital Real Estate Records

June 28, 2016-The HRC recently acquired the real estate records of Claude R. Blodget. Blodget, who was born in Youngsville, Pennsylvania in 1878, was a graduate of Kern County Union High School and Stanford University. He served as auditor for Western Water Company before going into the real estate business in 1918. Perhaps the most important feature of these records is that they document the development of Bakersfield’s Mayflower District. The records are currently being processed and are expected to be available for research by the end of the year.


Student Takes on Internship Challenge

July 27, 2015-The Historical Research Center is working with the California Farms Foundation at the Shafter Research Station to organize, preserve and document the history of the station. Formerly owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the station was transferred to a non-profit foundation in 2012.

Student intern Amelia Slover, a sophomore philosophy major, was interested in the challenge of the enormous project and is being mentored by archives librarian and curator of the library’s Historical Research Center Chris Livingston. Through the paid internship, Amelia will learn about collection evaluation, archival arrangement and description, the digitization f records and photos, and gain hands-on experience working with historical materials.

The project involves the archiving of records that date back to the 1920s. Much of the research that occurred at the station had to do with a variety of cotton known as Acala, which is considered the finest in the world and is only grown in the San Joaquin Valley.