Three muscle builders pose at Muscle Beach on the Santa Monica Beach in California, 1949

Gay Panic on Muscle Beach

The skin and strength on display at Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach aggravated American fears of gender transgressions and homosexuality.

The Changing Face of Southern California

An expansive collection of postcards captures the evolving cultural landscape of Southern California—particularly greater Los Angeles—in the twentieth century.
Peoples Park in Berkeley on April 1 2021

Intentional Unhoused Communities in Berkeley

Intentional communities provide opportunities for unhoused residents, but they also draw institutional criticism.
Film still from a 1960s drag cocktail party, picnic, and pool party, c. 1968-1969

The Battle over Drag in 1960s San Francisco

The organized struggle for rights has been shaped by debates over the relationship between gender presentation and sexuality.
A bunch of flowering sweet peas

Boosters Used the Sweet Pea to Define California

In the late 19th century, Californians were eager to part with their reputation for wildness, so they adopted an "English" flower as their symbol.
Two people walking towards Los Angeles, 1937

How the LAPD Guarded California’s Borders in the 1930s

Working well outside their jurisdiction, the officers patrolled their state's borders against white migrants.
An African-American miner poses with a shovel in Auburn Ravine during the Gold Rush, California, 1852.

Slavery in a Free State: The Case of California

California came into the Union as a free state in 1850, but proslavery politicians held considerable sway there.
Members of the Oneida Community

The Oneida Community Moves to the OC

The Oneida Community's Christian form of collectivism was transported to California in the 1880s, when the original Oneida Community fell apart.
Los Angeles concrete

The Lost Paradise of Los Angeles

Los Angeles's bountiful agricultural land was devoured by runaway suburbanization, a process which began long before the post-war era.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Holds Daily Press Briefing At White House

What Is MS-13, Anyway?

The feared gang MS-13 was born out of conditions resulting from U.S. policies in El Salvador in the early 1980s.