Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Title: Harriett Weaver Collection about Residential Development and Fire, Flood, and Landslide Management in the Santa Monica Mountains,
Date (inclusive): 1960-1986
Collection number: 1447
Extent: 47 boxes (23.5 linear ft.)
1 oversize box
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.
Dept. of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Abstract: Harriett Sherwood Weaver (1913-1988) contributed book reviews and feature articles to the
Kansas City star (1936). She married and moved to Los Angeles (ca. 1940). After the 1961 Bel-Air fire, Weaver crusaded for effective management
of native brush in the Santa Monica Mountains and brush clearance legislation. She later served on the Los Angeles Countywide
Citizens Planning Council (1972-79). The collection consists of writings, clippings, reports, brochures, pamphlets, awards
and related materials dealing with residential development in the Santa Monica Mountains and the management of fires, floods,
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department
of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including
copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds
the copyright and pursue the
copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of Harriett S. Weaver, 1986.
[Identification of item], Harriett Weaver Collection about Residential Development and Fire, Flood, and Landslide Management
in the Santa Monica Mountains (Collection 1447). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University
of California, Los Angeles.
Harriett Sherwood Weaver was born in Haigler, Nebraska, October 29, 1913; graduated Phi Beta Kappa, University of Kansas (1934);
contributed book reviews and feature articles to the
Kansas City star (1936); married John Downing Weaver (1937); moved to Los Angeles ca. 1940; the 1961 Bel-Air fire prompted her crusade for
both effective management of native brush in the Santa Monica Mountains and brush clearance legislation; headed the fire committee
of the Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations; served on Los Angeles Countywide Citizens' Planning Council (1972-79);
died November 23, 1988.
Harriett Sherwood Weaver was born in Haigler, Nebraska, October 29,1913 and reared by her widowed mother in Kansas City, Missouri,
where her Central High School classmates included the screenwriter, John Paxton (Cf. Collection No. 2082). At the University
of Kansas she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa in the class of 1934. Two years later, when she began contributing book reviews
and feature articles to the
Kansas City Star, she caught the eye of a young reporter, John D. Weaver (Cf. Collection No. 1206).
“Liberal Virginian, swell person - drinks & talk & books all evening, “she noted in her diary June 18, 1936, the night a K.
U. classmate introduced her to John. They repaired to the roof of his Kansas City apartment building to enjoy the cool evening
air and the lights of the Plaza. “Someday,” she said, “I want to live on a mountaintop and look out at the lights of a great
They were married the following year and, as John pointed out in dedicating
Los Angeles: The Enormous Village to Harriett, they “crossed the plains in a covered Chevrolet to homestead in the Hollywood Hills” (circa 1940). As the decade
ended Harriett was refurbishing a mountaintop house above the Sunset Strip commanding a ISO-degree view of the city.
The devastating Bel-Air fire of 1961 triggered her 25-year crusade for more effective management of native brush in the Santa
Monica Mountains. On March 16, 1989, four months after her death, Harriett's friends and fellow-workers in the Federation
of Hillside & Cañon Associations joined Fire Department officials and members of the local firefighters' union for the unveiling
of a memorial plaque at Station 99 on Mulholland Drive, overlooking the great city she had come to cherish and to serve so
“There is an old adage that goes: 'You can't beat City Hall,'” recalled Jerry Fields, a former president of the Board of Fire
Commissioners. “That saying is very popular because very few of us can fight City Hall and win. But Harriett Weaver did fight
City Hall, and did win, and in doing it she taught us a better and safer way to protect the hillsides of our city. She did
it without rancor or bitterness, but with warmth and understanding, as she pleaded and argued with great persistence, until
she won her victory on hillside safety and protection.
“As she relentlessly fought on one front, she battled a treacherous and fatal disease on another front. She never retreated.
She never gave up. And she never complained. One major battle is usually more than enough for most of us, but this very special
woman had an inordinate amount of courage, fortitude and just plain guts.”
“Her long ordeal ended gently,” John wrote friends back east when Harriett died November 23,1988. “She was asleep in a Burbank
hospital room, where her heart was being monitored, and I was sitting beside her, reading a book. Suddenly a dozen nurses
descended on us. She had finally been granted her wish to go to sleep and not wake up. I dismissed the nurses and kissed her
good-bye. In her last conscious moment, when I bathed her forehead and held a glass of water to her lips, there was no indication
of pain or fear in her eyes, only an unspeakable weariness. It was the eve of Thanksgiving.”
“She made a difference in this city,” John told Jack Jones when he was preparing Harriett's obituary for the
Los Angeles Times. “In a huge megalopolis it's hard for one person to make an impact. She did.”
The text of the bronze plaque at Station 99 reads:
“EVERY ONE WHO EVER LIVES IN THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS WILL BE SAFER IN THEIR HOMES BECAUSE OF HARRIETT'S SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT
TO BRUSH CLEARANCE LEGISLATION.”
Scope and Content
Collection consists of writings, clippings, reports, brochures, pamphlets, awards and related materials dealing with residential
development in the Santa Monica Mountains and the management of fires, floods, and landslides.
Expanded Scope and Content Note
Writings, clippings, reports, brochures, pamphlets, awards and related materials dealing with residential development in the
Santa Monica Mountains and with the management of fires, floods and landslides, 1960-1988.
Cf. Collection no.1244 (
Federation of Hillside and Cañon Associations) drawn from the files of Betty Dearing [1917-1977], which were organized by Harriett S. Weaver with the help of Nancy Pohl,
who has added some of her Briarcliff Improvement Association material to this collection.
Organization and Arrangement
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.
Flood control--Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.).
Fire prevention--Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.).
Landslides--Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.).
Anaheim Fire 
Anaheim Fire 
Architects' Study, 1963-64
Baldwin Hills Fire 
Bel Air-Beverly Crest Plan
Bel Air Fire 
Beverly Drive-Beverly Ridge
Board & Care Legislation
Big Tujunga Fire
Bodine, Albert G.
Box Canyon Fire 
Briarcliff Improvement Assn. [Pohl]
Boxes 3-4,11,19, 48
Briarcliff File, 1958-59
Brush Clearance Ordinance
Boxes 1-2, 4-8, 32
Bunker Hill Towers Fire, 1980, 1983
Caesar's Palace Fire, Las Vegas, 1981
Cedars-Sinai Fires 
Cerritos Plane Crash
Chatsworth Fire 
Conflict of Interest
County Fire Services Commission
Dorothy Mae Fire 
Federation, Hillside & Cañon
Boxes 1-3, 6, 16-28
Boxes 18, 20, 41
Boxes 23-24, 41
Boxes 18, 25
Fences, Height of
Fill, Import-Export of
Fire Department, Los Angeles
Flak [Cf, Blinderman, Barbara]
Flood Hazard, City Plan 
Forest Service, U.S.
Grading Ordinance, Revision of
Helicopter, Bell [Big Lifter]
Helicopter, Canadian [Superscooper]
Boxes 16, 41
Laguna Slides 
Landslides & Floods
Boxes 21-23, 32
Las Vegas Fires
Boxes 7, 16
Laurel Canyon Fire 
Laurel Canyon Freeway
Boxes 1, 6, 9, 11, 29
Malibu Fire 
Malibu Fire 
Malibu Fire 
Malibu Slides 
Mandeville Fire 
Mandeville Slides 
Manning, Fire Department
M-G-M Grand Hotel Fire 
Moriarty, W. Patrick
Mulholland Hotel Plan
Mulholland Scenic Corridor
New Yorker article (1979)
Ojai Fire (1985)
Palos Verdes Slides
Peshtigo Fire 
Boxes 8, 9, 20
Boxes 18, 23-24
Boxes 36, 37
Residential Planned Developments
Santa Barbara Fire 
Schools in the Mountains
Boxes 22, 26-27
Single Family Residence Laws
SOHA [Sherman Oaks Homeowers]
Stations, Old Fire
Stone Canyon Disaster
Boxes 12, 22
Studies & Reports
Boxes 3, 8-10, 12, 17
Studio City Slides [1984-85]
Studio City Plan
Sunset article (1983)
Topanga Fire 
Boxes 3, 6, 17
Boxes 8-9, 20, 37
Weaver, Harriett S.
Boxes 8, 29, 30
Boxes 1, 32, 35-41
Boxes 33, 34
Boxes 5, 11, 31, 44-48
Westlake Fire 
Boxes 20, 31-32
Boxes 6-7, 41
Boxes 2, 7, 19
Boxes 19, 28
Harriett Weaver Papers (Collection 1246). Available at Department of Special Collections, UCLA.
John Downing Weaver Collection of Los Angeles Ephemera (Collection 1393). Available at Department of Special Collections,
Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations Records (Collection 1244). Available at Department of Special Collections,