Exhibit in University Archives Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s Death
The Department of Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills will present “Jimi Hendrix: I’ll Meet You in the Next World. Don’t Be Late” from Aug. 24 to Dec. 17 in its exhibit space on the fifth floor of the new Library South. The exhibit is based on a collection loaned by South Bay historian James Osborne, a regular donor to the department, as well as a number of materials owned by the university. Vintage singles and albums, posters, magazines, newspapers, and other ephemera illustrate Hendrix’s international rise to stardom until his death at age 27 in London on Sept. 18, 1970.
Archives director Greg Williams says that he hopes the exhibit will build a consciousness of what the university’s library and archives have to offer.
“Part of the reason for having an exhibit like this is to get the students up to the Archives and Special Collections so that we could give them an explanation of what it is and how they could use them as a source for primary materials,” he says.
Williams says that one of the key points of Osborne’s collection is its depiction of Hendrix in his time as a pop star, not the iconic guitar genius that he is memorialized as today. He also underscores Hendrix’s rise to stardom in England and Europe after remaining undiscovered for years in the United States.
“Blues players were popular in England and Europe in some ways before they were popular in the United States,” says Williams. “Hendrix brought that [over], but he also brought this wild, untamed electric guitar... and his genius exploded onto the scene.”
Williams also attributes Hendrix’s popularity to the artist’s penchant for challenging the social mores and prejudices of his time.
“Hendrix was also popular because he was breaking down some boundaries,” says Williams. “He would do risqué photo shoots. He was kicked off The Monkees tour because he was too radical. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hendrix and two British [musicians], Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. He had one of the earliest integrated rock and roll bands.”
Williams says that he also hopes that the exhibit will encourage local collectors and historians to realize the importance of loaning or donating their materials to the archives.
“It’s important that we get the word out that we are the repository for the history of the South Bay,” says Williams.
The Department of Archives and Special Collections at CSU Dominguez Hills is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Admission is free. Osborne is scheduled to present talks on his collection on Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact Williams at (310) 243-3013 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joanie Harmon
Above: Ephemera such as a 40-year-old issue of the Long Beach Press Telegram with a headline of Jimi Hendrix's death in London give a local perspective to world events.