William D. Estrada

Curator and Chair, History

Dr. Estrada holds a Ph.D. in History from University of California, Los Angeles and is a social and cultural historian, specializing in nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Los Angeles. Prior to coming to the Museum in 2006, he served as Curator of History at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the birthplace of the city. 

He is a native Angeleno and has taught at several colleges in the Los Angeles area, including California State University at Long Beach and Northridge, and at Occidental College where he also served as Assistant Dean of Students from 1981 to 1989. Dr. Estrada is a member of the American Historical Association, the California Historical Records Advisory Board, the Los Angeles County Historical Landmarks and Records Commission, the Archives Advisory Board of the Thomas and Dorothy Levy Center for the Study of Los Angeles based at Loyola Marymount University, LA As Subject Archives Forum, and the Los Angeles History Research Group, based at the Huntington Library. He has curated numerous public history exhibitions and has published widely on Los Angeles and California history.

His latest book, The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space, was published in 2008 by the University of Texas Press and received the California Book Award’s Gold Medal by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. His current research project explores early-twentieth-century prize fighting, ethnic identity, and the rise of Los Angeles’ Italian, Jewish, and Mexican American communities.

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