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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Title: Malibou Lake Mountain Club Records
    Identifier/Call Number: 0158
    Physical Description: 27.5 Linear Feet (39 Legal-sized Hollingers, 1 flat box)
    Date (inclusive): 1922-1984
    Abstract: The Malibou Lake Mountain Club is a private, secluded community in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. The collection contains the Club's administrative files, which are largely member files, containing applications, background checks, and correspondence with each individual member. Also included are Club correspondence, administrative records including president's reports and by-laws, and a collection of Club bulletins. Materials date from 1922 to 2015.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advanced notice required for access. Due to the sensitive nature of the member files, access is restricted until 65 years after their creation.


    This collection is arranged in the following four series: 1. Bulletins and Newsletters, 2. Correspondence, 3. Member Files, and 4. Administrative Records.

    Biographical / Historical

    The Malibou Lake Mountain Club is a private, secluded community located in the Santa Monica Mountains, northwest of Los Angeles and west of Malibu. Founded in 1922 by businessmen George Wilson and Bertram Lackey, the club attracted upper-middle-class Angelenos looking for a rustic escape from the bustling young city. Membership included use of the Clubhouse, a grand stone and redwood lodge designed by architectural firm Russell & Alpaugh of Los Angeles which burned down in 1936 and was replaced by a smaller lodge designed by the same firm. Members were also invited to various events hosted by the club, such as holiday dinners and dances, and were given free use of the lake for boating and fishing. "Licensee" members additionally were entitled to the use of a specific lot of land on which they could build their own cabin or dock.
    Bertram and Lackey managed to sell dozens of memberships in the early years, despite a drought preventing the filling of the lake until 1926. In December of 1926, members optioned to purchase the Club and land from Bertram and Lackey, incorporating the Club as a member-owned and operated community led by an elected Board of Directors. As their website claims, "We are a corporation disguised as a community. Or perhaps we are a community disguised as a corporation."
    The community's history is well documented in their long-running bulletin, which began as a newsletter written by Bertram and Lackey to their club members and continued publication into the 21st century. The bulletin is remarkably consistent for a community-created resource, thanks in part to Frank J. "Old Man Malibou" Earls, a member who served as editor for over forty years. The bulletin informed residents of upcoming events and reported on past ones, shared newsworthy announcements like births, marriages, and deaths, and, occasionally, became an outlet for expressing controversial opinions about club management.
    Due to their proximity to Hollywood, the Malibou Lake Mountain Club has long enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the film industry. The idyllic lake has served as the location of over 100 films, and many more TV shows and commercials. Moreover, many members have worked in various aspects of the film industry, including cinematographer Arthur Edeson, actor Ray Bolger (best known as the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz), British character actor Sir Guy Standing, and writer and filmmaker Andrew Sinclair.
    Over the decades, Malibou Lake Mountain Club members have fought to preserve their sheltered community from both internal and external threats. The Club has been embroiled in lawsuits, faced financial difficulties, and weathered internal struggles over Club leadership and identity. The Club has also survived many natural disasters, from droughts and mudslides to floods and fires. On December 9, 2018, the Woolsey Fire devastated the Santa Monica Mountains and burned through the Malibou Lake Mountain Club, destroying several homes and structures, although the Clubhouse and many more homes survived.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Malibou Lake Mountain Club Records, Collection no. 0158, Malibu Historical Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

    Scope and Contents

    The Malibou Lake Mountain Club Records contains the Club's administrative files, going back to its creation in 1922. The bulk of the collection is member files, containing applications, background checks, and correspondence with individual members. Also included are Club correspondence with outside vendors and local government entities, administrative records including By-Laws, President's Reports and financial and environmental reports, and a collection of Club Bulletins.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder. Some materials were damaged in a flood at a former storage location, and are fragile and may have mold damage. Extra care should be taken when handling brittle paper.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    This collection was transferred from the front office of the Malibou Lake Mountain Club to the Calabasas facility on July 20, 2016.

    Processing Information

    This collection was arranged and described by Reilly Saint Amand, December 2018.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Malibu (Calif.) -- History
    Real estate development -- California -- Malibu
    Bylaws (administrative records)
    Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.)
    Financial records
    Real property -- California -- Malibu -- Maps