This collection contains papers, correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia relating to the Pitzer College class, Environmental
Studies 65: Off the Mother Road. The class was offered by Michael Woodcock in the spring of 1999.
Course description: “Students in this interdisciplinary course will investigate a variety of issues relating to highway travel
and the adjacent countryside. Topics will include road literature, roadside architecture, road etiquette, cultures, communities,
commerce, water issues, oral histories and kitch. In 1938, a person could step into an automobile on the edge of Lake Michigan
and drive on the newly paved US. Highway Route 66 all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It was the ‘great diagonal highway’ and
become a symbol for personal betterment, romance and adventure. Sixty years later, Route 66 is a wonderful metaphor for examining
such issues as the ecological impact of roads, automobile vacation culture, westward expansion and the ecology of speed. In
conjunction with Environmental Studies 66, this course will culminate in a car caravan trip from Santa Monica to Chicago on
what survives of Route 66.”
Michael Woodcock was born in Connecticut on October 25, 1951. In 1984 he earned an MFA in drawing and painting from Claremont
Graduate School. He joined Pitzer College’s faculty in 1989 and became known for the course Environmental Studies 65: Off
the Mother Road, which examined the history, art, and symbolic meaning of highway travel and Route 66. His paintings and lithographs
have been collected by the Getty Museum, Los Angeles Public Library, and Yale University. He died on March 31, 2013.