On November 1, 1883, a group of fifteen citizens in Los Angeles gathered to discuss the formation of a local historical society. Their first official meeting took place in the old Temple Block in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of Main and Market Streets. The group began presenting scholarly papers and collecting manuscripts, books, and artifacts on California history, and on February 13, 1891, the Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC) was officially incorporated.
Publication has been a goal of HSSC almost since its inception. The Historical Society of Southern California Annual was first published in 1884, making it the oldest, continuously-operating historical journal in California history. In 1935, the annual became a quarterly publication, which was renamed the Southern California Quarterly in 1962. That year the Society also began publishing a regular newsletter, and eventually began publishing a series of books on the political, social, cultural, and environmental history of Southern California.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of HSSC, the City of Los Angeles declared November 4, 1983, “Historical Society of Southern California Day.” Between 1965 and January 2015, the Society was headquartered at the Charles Lummis Home and Gardens, also known as “El Alisal,” which was owned and managed by the City of Los Angeles. Today, the Historical Society of Southern California continues to publish a quarterly academic journal, the Southern California Quarterly, as well as books and a newsletter, the Southern Californian. The Society further holds several annual events and recognizes the work of scholars, teachers, and community leaders through a series of eight major awards.
HSSC Presidents (1885-Present)