Well-Known Historian to Speak on Christmases Past, California Style

Dr. Larry Burgess Will Bring California History to Life with Vignettes of Holiday Celebrations

Redlands, California—December 3, 2009—Noted local historian Dr. Larry Burgess will kick off the holiday season with a presentation on California’s historically diverse styles of celebrating Christmas. The talk, open to the public, will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, at ESRI, 350 New York Street, in Redlands, California. The event is part of an ongoing educational and cultural series of speeches, performances, and programs that ESRI and the University of Redlands Town & Gown organization are cosponsoring.

Burgess, director of the A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands since 1986, has written and collaborated on numerous books about the history of Southern California and the West. His presentation will bring the cultural history of California to life with vignettes of holiday gatherings from as far back as the Spanish era. Humorous and poignant accounts gleaned from diaries, reminiscences, and even sunny-California-style Christmas cards will illustrate family traditions from the Spanish and Mexican periods through the 1849 California gold rush and Inland Empire citrus era to the present.

"People are surprised at the variations of traditions shaped by California’s cultural and historical diversity over the past 150 years," said Burgess. One humorous incident he plans to relate is about Frank Brown, cofounder of the city of Redlands in 1888, and his horse.

Burgess is also curator for the Lincoln Memorial Shrine, the library’s sister institution dedicated to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, and an adjunct professor of history at the University of Redlands and University of California, Riverside. In addition to books on local Redlands and California history, he has published accounts of Lincoln and the Civil War. His work includes Alfred, Albert, and Daniel Smiley: A Biography; Mohonk: Its People and Spirit; The Hunt for Willie Boy; Willie Boy in Two Worlds: An Episode in Indian-White Relations; A Day with Mr. Lincoln; and Images of America: Redlands.

The presentation will be followed by a short reception for the speaker and attendees. To register, visit www.esri.com/culturalseries on the Internet or call 909-748-8011.

About University of Redlands Town & Gown
The Town & Gown organization strives to promote a positive relationship between the university ("gown") and the Inland Empire area ("town"), provides scholarships to qualified area students, and showcases the cultural and entertainment activities on campus. Town & Gown membership, which costs $30 annually per household, provides access to specific events as well as a variety of other arts and cultural events on campus. To join, contact the university’s Alumni Relations office at 909-748-8011.

About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com/news.