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Finding Aid for the Charlotte Crabtree papers, 1960-2004
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charlotte Crabtree papers
    Date (inclusive): 1960-2004
    Collection number: 1785
    Creator: Crabtree, Charlotte
    Extent: 19 document boxes (9.25 linear ft.) 2 shoe boxes
    Abstract: Records about the development of California and National History Standards for K-12 education from 1986-1990s, evidence of intense conservative political reaction to the standards, book drafts for History on Trial, and academic work done during Charlotte Crabtree's career as a Professor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles are contained in the Charlotte Crabtree papers. In addition to her academic work, Charlotte Crabtree was at the forefront of two major efforts to produce world and United States history standards incorporating multicultural perspectives and recent scholarship. Collection material includes conference records, meeting records, hearing records, field report feedback, community feedback, clippings of political responses in the media, textbooks, and academic publications.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    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 Laurie Lindop, 2006.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Julia Morton in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2010.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia   funds.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Charlotte Crabtree papers (Collection 1785). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6527987 


    Charlotte Crabtree (1927-2006) was a Professor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles heavily involved in producing history standards for kindergarten - 12th grade education from 1986-1996, after which she coauthored a book about the intense political response from Lynne V. Cheney and others to the newly multicultural history standards. Her academic interests encompassed children's geographical learning, pedagogical engagement, and curricular content in primary and secondary education.
    The National Center for History in the Schools was established at UC Los Angeles through Charlotte Crabtree's winning grant proposal. Under her direction in collaboration with UCLA Professor of History Gary Nash, the Center led the creation of the 1995 National Standards for World History and the National Standards for United States History.
    These history standards were developed in conjunction with multiple rounds of feedback from teachers, historians, cultural and special interest communities, and other groups. They were designed to include the fruit of recent historical scholarship and promote the teaching of historical thinking skills, and were fairly well received in schools after their publication.
    Nevertheless, they attracted a great deal of political attention. Beginning in 1994, the standards served as a lightning rod for debates of what have been called the American culture wars. Conservative politicians such as Lynne V. Cheney protested that the standards' multicultural inclusiveness smacked of historical revisionism, lacked proper patriotism, and excessively scrutinized shameful moments in American history.
    So fiercely did attention focus on the standards that congressional hearings were held to investigate the manner in which they had been funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. As the significance and magnitude of the history standards' political effect became increasingly clear, Charlotte Crabtree co-authored the 1997 book History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past with Gary Nash and Ross Dunn.
    The 1995 history standards were Charlotte Crabtree's second major role leading efforts to update curricula. In 1986, Charlotte Crabtree became principal co-writer for California History - Social Science Framework, which she hoped would incorporate multicultural values and an examination of the interaction of history, economics, cultural traditions, and geography into curricular guidelines. Some controversy over the treatment of Arab and Muslim communities in the Framework occurred while it was being put together.
    Charlotte Crabtree was raised in South Dakota, Missouri, and Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in History, and then taught elementary school. After earning a master's degree in Education from UC Los Angeles in 1958 and a doctorate from Stanford University in 1962, she was a Professor of Education at UC Los Angeles from 1961 until her retirement in 1993-1994. In addition to her involvement in mandatory education, she was lauded for her organizational and administrative ability as an academic.

    Scope and Content

    Materials about the development of history content guidelines for K-12 education, political backlash to these guidelines, drafts and correspondence for the book History on Trial and academic work are contained in this collection. The bulk of the collection spans the late 1980s to the mid-1990s and includes papers, press materials, 12 videocassettes, 36 audio cassettes, and copies of the 1995 National Standards for World History, the 1995 National Standards for United States History and the 1988 Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide.
    Charlotte Crabtree's academic work includes correspondence, elementary school textbooks written under her direction, and publications from 1960 to circa 1990 on structuring learning, schema theory in social studies, and elementary school children's geographic education.
    Curricular material on human rights and genocide includes feedback from cultural communities (Jewish, Arab, Right to Life, Gay and Lesbian, Baltic states, Armenian, Chinese, Turkish, American Indian, Ukrainian, Polish, and religious groups), from academics, primary and secondary school teachers within and outside of California, and publishers. Concern is evident about the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, and anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment. Evidence is contained about processes for evaluating historical claims. Content relating to the production of the California History – Social Science Framework also includes meetings of National Forum on History Textbooks, a Board of Education Hearing, audio recordings of radio interviews, educational videocassettes, and television programs relating to K-12 education.
    The process of creating the National History Standards is documented by text and audio materials from meetings of 1992-1994, correspondence, and a large amount of feedback from teachers, communities, academics, and focus groups. Documents displaying support for and criticism of the National History Standards include the comments of political figures, news media, and the Department of Education. In particular, materials by and about Lynne V. Cheney's involvement in education policy and reform are present.
    Political debate is contained regarding the mandate for national standards creation and public thinking about national testing. Materials from the National Educational Goals Panel and records for relevant Congressional Hearings and the proposed Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 are also included.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. National History Standards Project
    2. History on Trial (Book)
    3. California History – Social Science Framework
    4. Academic Work.
    Original order was maintained for series 1 and 2. Where possible, file titles were also preserved. For series 3 and 4, an attempt was made to recreate what appeared to have been the intended order. Throughout, order is based on a combination of chronological and topical grouping.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Crabtree, Charlotte

    Related Material

    Related administrative files for the National Center for History in the Schools may be found in University Archives Rec Ser 667.
    Material relating to Charlotte Crabtree's academic career, including her CV, correspondence, and student evaluations, may be found in the University Archives faculty file on Charlotte Crabtree.