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"The Women Who Made Early Disneyland": Publication Celebration and Book Talk

"The Women Who Made Early Disneyland": Publication Celebration and Book Talk

Tuesday, July 23, 2024
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Special Collections
McHenry Library
Book Event   Presentation   Special Collections & Archives  

This event has been rescheduled to Tuesday, July 23rd.

Special Collections and Archives at UCSC invites you to celebrate the publication of The Women Who Made Early Disneyland with coauthors Kelsey Knox (UCSC University Archivist) and Cindy Mediavilla.

Although historians have begun to recognize the accomplishments of Disney Studio’s female animators, the women who contributed to the early success of Disneyland remain, for the most part, unacknowledged. Indeed, in celebrating the park’s ten-year anniversary in 1965, Walt Disney thanked “all the boys . . . who’ve been a part of this thing,” even though hundreds of women had also been instrumental in designing, building and operating Disneyland since before its grand opening in July 1955.

Seeking to reclaim women’s place in the early history of Disneyland, The Women Who Made Early Disneyland highlights the female Disney employees and contract workers who helped make the park one of the most popular U.S. destinations during its first ten years. Some, like artist Mary Blair, Imagineers Harriet Burns and Alice Davis, “Slue Foot Sue” Betty Taylor, and Disneyland’s first “ambassador,” Julie Reihm, eventually became Disney “legends.” Others remain less well known, including landscape architect Ruth Shellhorn, parade choreographer Miriam Nelson, Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen hostess Alyene Lewis, and Tiny Kline, who at age seventy-one became the first Tinker Bell to fly over Disneyland. This one-of-a-kind book examines the lives and achievements of the women who made early Disneyland.

Please join us for a celebration of this new work on Tuesday, July 23rd, from 5:00 until 6:30pm in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room at McHenry Library. Coauthors Kelsey Knox and Cindy Mediavilla will read excerpts and demonstrate women workers' critical role in the development of the Disneyland project.