The Finding Aid of the Kenneth Hahn Collection 0047

Finding aid prepared by Jessica Geiser and Jamie Henricks
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA, 90263-4786
(310) 506-4434
April 2012

Title: Kenneth Hahn collection
Identifier/Call Number: 0047
Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Physical Description: 2.05 linear feet (3 boxes)
Date: 1930s - 1990s
Abstract: Kenneth Hahn was a former Los Angeles County Supervisor and Los Angeles City Councilman who served for over 40 years, making him the longest serving elected official in California's history. The collection contains materials about Hahn's life and passing, including photographs, collected obituaries, and items from a public television program on Hahn produced after his death entitled A Salute to Kenneth Hahn.
Location note: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Language of Materials: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], Kenneth Hahn collection, Collection no. 0047, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

Biographical note

Kenneth Hahn was born on August 19, 1920 in Los Angeles, California, to Hattie and John Henry Hahn. He grew up in South Los Angeles, and attended local schools John Muir Middle School and John C. Fremont High School. Hahn then enrolled at Pepperdine College, and graduated from the Vermont Avenue campus in 1942 with a degree in public administration. Hahn immediately left for the Navy, having enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor, where he served as a lieutenant for four years. He returned for a year to Pepperdine in 1946, teaching history and government.
In 1947, Hahn began his political career, when he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. At age 26, he was the youngest person to ever achieve that position, and during his time as a Councilman, he also attended the University of Southern California, earning a Masters in Education in 1952. At age 32, Hahn broke records again when he became the youngest elected member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Hahn was elected Supervisor a record ten times, and served from 1952 until his retirement in 1992, making him also the longest serving elected official in California's history.
During his 40 years as County Supervisor, Hahn amassed a long list of achievements. These include the establishment of the Los Angeles County Paramedic Program in 1970, the installation of emergency call boxes on the freeways in 1962, the construction and naming of the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center, the payment of reparations to Japanese Americans fired during World War II due to discrimination, and bringing the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958. Hahn also oversaw the construction of the Los Angeles-to-Long Beach blue line train, as well as many parks, including the Baldwin Hills State Recreation Area, which was later renamed the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.
After experiencing various health issues, including a stroke in 1987 that left him largely confined to a wheelchair, Hahn passed away from heart failure on October 12, 1997. Hahn was survived by his wife Ramona, whom he married in 1948, as well as their two children, both of whom followed him into politics. Ramona was the daughter of missionaries (born October 5, 1924, in Tokyo, Japan) and lived in Japan until she was 11. She passed away July 11, 2011, in San Pedro, California. Their son James K. Hahn served as the City Controller of Los Angeles, Los Angeles City Attorney, and the Mayor of Los Angeles, and now serves as a Judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Their daughter Janice Hahn served on the Los Angeles City Council for 10 years and is now a Congressional Representative for California's 36th District.

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials about the life of Kenneth Hahn. Included are photographs of Hahn and family members; Hahn with multiple U.S. Presidents and Martin Luther King Jr.; the Pepperdine Vermont Avenue campus; and Hahn at various Pepperdine events, including the Foster Grandparents Day ceremony in 1975 with Betty Ford. Memorabilia and an interview with Hahn at the Kenneth Hahn Library are also included. Also included are materials collected after Hahn's death, such as memorial service programs, obituaries, and materials related to a public access television program on Kenneth Hahn produced after his passing.


The collection is organized alphabetically by folder title.

Related Archival Materials

Kenneth Hahn collection. The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

Processing Information note

The collection was arranged and described by Jessica Geiser and Jamie Henricks in April, 2012.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Hahn, James K., 1950-
Hahn, Kenneth
Pepperdine College.
Pepperdine University.
Los Angeles (Calif.)--History
Universities and colleges--California--History

Box 1, Folder 1, Box 1, Folder 1

A Salute to Kenneth Hahn: Correspondence and Interview 1997

Box 1, Folder 2-3

A Salute to Kenneth Hahn: Final Copy 1997

Box 1, Folder 4

A Salute to Kenneth Hahn: Videocassette with Pictures 1997

Box 1, Folder 5

Articles: Hahn's Retirement 1991

Box 1, Folder 6

Obituaries and Memorial Service 1997

Box 3, Box 2, Folder 1

Photographs: Hahn with U.S. Presidents and Famous Figures 1960s - 1990s

Box 2, Folder 2

Photographs: Pepperdine Events and People 1950s - 1980s

Box 2, Folder 3

Photographs: Pepperdine Foster Grandparents Ceremony 1975

Box 2, Folder 4

Photographs: Pepperdine Vermont Avenue Campus 1940s

Box 2, Folder 5

Photographs: Personal and Family 1930s - 1990s

Box 2, Folder 6

Promenade: Pepperdine Yearbook Owned by Olaf Tegner and Signed by Kenneth Hahn 1942

Box 2, Folder 7

Slides: Hahn Photo Shoot in Office circa 1980s

Box 2, Folder 8

Slides: Pepperdine Commencement 1991

Box 2

VHS Tape: Kenneth Hahn Interview at Kenneth Hahn Library 1994 September

Box 2