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Ward (Joseph A.) Family Photographs
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Title: Joseph A. Ward Family Photographs of Crags Country Club
    Identifier/Call Number: 0162
    Physical Description: 185.6 Megabytes (79 digital images)
    Date (bulk): 1941-1946
    Abstract: From 1941 to 1946, the Ward family served as caretakers of the Crags Country Club, a private club for wealthy Angelenos located in the Santa Monica Mountains. This digital collection features photography of the Ward family living and working on the Crags ranch, as well as images of Hunt House and Las Virgenes School, and behind-the-scenes images of several movies, which were frequently filmed on location at the ranch.
    Physical Location: These digitized photographs are located on the Pepperdine Special Collections Digital Archive Drive.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This is a digital collection of photographs. The original photographs are still held by the donors. Access copies of digital images are available as .JPG files. Please contact Pepperdine Special Collections for access.


    This digital collection is arranged in the following four series: 1. Crags Ranch and Ward Family Home, 2. Hunt House, 3. Las Virgenes School, 4. Movie Sets.

    Biographical / Historical

    The Ward family were caretakers of Crags Country Club from 1941 to 1946. The Club was founded by wealthy Los Angeles businessmen in 1900 on 2,000 acres of what is today Malibu Creek State Park. Joseph A. Ward was hired by John G. Mott, a prominent Crags Country Club member, to care for the Crags farm, grounds, and various buildings, such as the clubhouse and members' private homes. Joseph A. Ward lived in the ranch house on the floodplain with his wife Elvira (née Rowland, called "Vida") and son Joseph W. Ward (Joe Ward Jr.). During the early 1940s, the Crags Country Club fell into decline, with membership rapidly shrinking due to pressure from the Great Depression and World War II. During this time, the Club grounds were primarily used as shooting locations for Hollywood movies. Many movie studios used the property, and 20th Century-Fox Film Corp even hired Joseph A. Ward as a caretaker to watch over the movie sets. At this time, property still belonged to Crags Land Co (Crags Country Club), with the movie studios leasing the land from the club for filming purposes. When the remaining shareholders of Crags Country Club sold out to 20th Century-Fox Film Corp in 1946, the Ward family left. Fox brought in their own caretakers, the Torpin family, to take over the job as caretakers and perform routine maintenance at the new "Century Ranch." The Ward family lived at Crags Country Club for only five years, but they bonded with the property in that time. Joe Ward Jr. attended the one-room Las Virgenes schoolhouse during his time there. Young Joe Ward Jr. remembered those years with fondness throughout the remainder of his life.
    Adapted from information provided by Gary Liss.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Joseph A. Ward Family Photographs of Crags Country Club, Collection no. 0162, Malibu Historical Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

    Processing Information

    This collection was a donation from Linda Ward-Skipworth, daughter of Joe Ward Jr. Gary Liss assisted with the donation, digitized the images, and compiled Ward's notes for an index of images. The information from this index has been transcribed in the corresponding photograph's Scope and Content note. Liss's original file names have been changed to comply with the institution's file naming conventions.
    This collection was arranged and described by Reilly Saint Amand, January 2019.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 79 digitized photographs of the Ward family, taken during their time as caretakers of the Crags Country Club and ranch in the 1940s. Also included are photographs of Hunt House (now the Visitors' Center of Malibu Creek State Park), the original Las Virgenes schoolhouse, and 20th Century Fox movie sets.

    Conditions Governing Use

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

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Black-and-white photography
    Family archives
    Feature films -- United States
    Malibu Creek State Park (Calif.)
    Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.)