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How Sunset Magazine Shaped California and the West

Hear the story about how the Sunset archive was nearly lost to the landfill and about the magazine’s impact on the lifestyle of the American West in the latter half of the 20th century. $20 (1.5 hr)


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Full Details

For 120 years, Sunset magazine has chronicled and shaped the lifestyle of the American West. Launched by Southern Pacific Railroad to lure travelers westward, the magazine moved in 1951 to the Menlo Park campus in the suburbs south of San Francisco. Designed by Cliff May and Thomas Church, Sunset’s seven-acre site became known as the “laboratory of Western living.” After selling the campus in 2015 and announcing that Sunset would move to Oakland, Time Inc., the magazine’s parent company, instructed the editorial team to dump the archives.   

Sunset’s staff understood that these precious first-edition books, early magazines, photographs and negatives couldn’t be lost. They devised a plan to save the archives and approached a Stanford University librarian who shared their appreciation for this vast repository and who understood its immense value for generations of scholars. With time running out and no assurance that Time Inc. would authorize the transfer, Sunset’s editors moved hundreds of boxes of materials to the university, “not quite in the dead of night, but close.”   

Sunset’s impact on the lifestyle of the American West during the latter half of the 20th century cannot be underestimated. With its articles on architecture and design emphasizing indoor-outdoor living, how-to tips on topics from gardening to deck-building, road-trip itineraries to state and national parks, and recipes emphasizing home-grown food and regional dishes, the magazine promoted a way of life that inspired millions of devoted readers.   

Come join us for this lively and informative panel discussion about how Sunset helped cultivate the uniquely modern lifestyle of the West. Michael Shapiro, author of the Stanford magazine feature, The Legend of the Almost Lost, will moderate the discussion. The panel includes Peter Fish, longtime travel writer and former editor at Sunset; Ben Stone, Stanford Libraries curator for American and British history; and Elizabeth Logan, associate director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. If you grew up with Sunset in your home, or even if you’re just curious about one of the key drivers of 20th-century modernism, this event is not to be missed.

$20

Things to Know

This event is for all ages.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.

Event Check-in Location

Plaza Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

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Photo Credits: Copyright 2019 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photo by unknown. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission. Copyright 2019 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photo by Martin Litton. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission. Copyright 2019 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photo by Ernest Braun. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission. Copyright 2019 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photo by Ernest Braun. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission. Copyright 2019 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photo by Ernest Braun. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission. Copyright 2019 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photo by Glenn Christiansen. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission.

 

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