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No one knows costuming better than Hollywood. These dramatic still photos from the filming of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments were taken in 1923 by photographer Edward S. Curtis. In addition to his work on the set, Curtis most is famous for his documentation and photographs of North American Indians. These shots showcase the elaborate design and extreme attention to the detail of costume designer Clare West, with a mere 16 miles of cloth used for the costumes. In true Tinseltown Technicolor form these stills exhibit no lack of amusement and entertainment, often favoring visual flare over historical accuracy, perhaps part of DeMille’s recipe for success: “sex, sets and costumes.” Built on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes in Santa Barbara by 1,600 workers, the extravagant film set included four 35-foot-tall Pharaoh statues, 21 sphinxes, and gates reaching 110 feet. After filming, the sets were dynamited and buried by the sands in the dunes; subject to gale force winds, they leave an eerie trace of Egyptian-like ruins and remnants that can still be found today.
Zielinski bookplate cropped   ben_swig    	Two children standing next to a totem of giant pumpkins at the Mayo Ranch in Compton, 1903
California Past & Present(ly) Processed

Of the more than 50,000 volumes  of books and pamphlets in the
CHS Collection, many have bookplates that denote the owner or library to which the title once belonged. Not surprisingly, within the collection is a book on bookplates, with some magnificent examples of the artistry and care given to the design of these vestiges of our papered past.
  online now:
Phantom cities tour

Explore a free iPhone app in connection with the current Unbuilt San Francisco exhibition. The Museum of the Phantom City: Unbuilt San Francisco app evokes an alternate city on a mobile phone platform by mapping architectural designs and master plans that were conceived but never built—enabling all who walk the city to discover visions from the past that once competed with what exists today.
  Digitizing History: fall Cornucopia

Carve them, roast them, bake a pie with them—the ever versatile and decorative gourd runs a bounty in the Golden State this time of year. Did you know that California produces more pumpkins for the fresh market than any other state? Enjoy these nostalgic and quirky early-twentieth-century photos of pumpkins on our fertile patches of land from Monterey, to Compton, to Pomona.
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