The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    The Californian delves into Silicon Valley, Bay Area history

    At the western end of De Anza College’s Sunken Garden stands the gorgeous pseudo-baroque building resembling French cottages of the nineteenth century. Built by renowned Bay Area architect William Polk as a residence for Charles Baldwin, the first owner of the land De Anza rests on today, the building houses the California History Center and Foundation. The Center has its own library and archives and publishes a magazine, the Californian, chronicling the history of the Bay Area with a focus on Silicon Valley.

    “We use the CHCF collection … to help people with their projects and questions,” said Lisa Christiansen, the center’s librarian.

    The magazine is issued two or three times a year and highlights the Silicon Valley and its immediate surroundings, said Christiansen.

    Issues, preserved in the library, contain articles and reviews of newly published books profiling Scandinavian, Yugoslavian, Jewish, Russian and other ethnic communities’ histories within the Silicon Valley.

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    The last issue, published in May, reviews a recently published book about the Assyrian settlement in Turlock written by De Anza professor Arianne Ishaya. Besides ethnic communities, the Californian devotes its pages to the history of different local industries and companies like Levi Strauss, NASA and Lockheed Martin.

    Issues are being planned a year ahead; the topical plan considers upcoming events, anniversaries  or planned courses, Tom Izu, CHC executive director said..  

    Local history often poses a challenge to writers because most of them strive to write like a tour guide to landmarks or to depict their communities’ success stories, Christiansen said. Still, “there are historians who see the drama in the local history and write accurately.”   

    The next issue will have to change its format, Izu said. Because of budget cuts, the CHCF staff has shrunk from five employees to two.

    “I’m thinking of publishing once a year, in winter quarter, a magazine version, more extended than current. In addition, in spring and fall, a newsletter would be published that would contain brief information on upcoming events, business matters, CHC accomplishments and a thank you list of donors,” Izu said.

    “For the extended magazine, I would like to solicit more articles from students. Their projects could be published too.”

    The CHCF also offers De Anza history courses, organizes educational tours for students and arranges special programs for those interested in local history through their historical society.

    “The California History Center and Foundation was founded in 1980 as a private nonprofit organization which collaborates closely with De Anza,” Izu said. “I work for the college and am paid from its budget and the librarian is paid by the CHC Foundation.”

    The CHC was founded by a group of local historians with Dr. Walter G. Warren II, a former political science instructor at De Anza. He was a pioneer at De Anza in 1967, helping to establish the student body government and create its constitution.

    “It was from his close relationship with De Anza’s first students that the idea and support for establishing a history center was born,” Warren’s obituary stated.

    He helped organize the local community of historians, authorities and interested people to struggle and win the preservation of the current building, which was deteriorating at the time. The Californian is Warren’s offspring.

    It is still unclear whether the CHC budget will be sufficient to continue publishing the Californian. “I have yet to work out the funding both with the college and the foundation,” Izu said.


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