CSUB Archival Collection, John P. Pedersen Papers, Earns Governor’s Award for History Preservation

A project nominated by the Walter W. Stiern Library at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) was selected by Governor Jerry Brown to receive the 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.

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