animal tales Animal Tales (Some a little fishy) by Claudine Burnett Southern California has long been a home to animals of all kinds — giant ground sloths, wooly mammoths, and present-day creatures such as dogs and cats. Stories of extinct animals are interesting, but what of those creatures living today? There are countless tales waiting to be told, including those found in this book. Read More New Slide 1 African Americans in Long Beach and Southern California: A History by Claudine Burnett Racial discrimination and unrest are intertwined with the history of Long Beach and Southern California. Personal stories, legislation, Southland history and possible solutions to decades old problems are presented, making for an interesting and informative read. It is a unique, seminal work, sure to open the eyes of many. Read More Slide

The Red Scare, UFOs & Elvis:
Long Beach Enters the Atomic Age

by Claudine Burnett
“The “baby boomer” generation (1946-1964) grew up in a time of dramatic social change.
Their experiences in the Cold War were very different from those of their parents.
While adults perceived Communism as a threat to the American way of life – to their health
and well-being and those of their families – their children learned to fear the
loss of a future they could grow into and inhabit. ”
Read More

Died in Long Beach
Cemetery Tales

by Claudine Burnett
“Is the Municipal Cemetery and adjacent Sunnyside haunted? Perhaps. That well may have been the
reason a black team of horses belonging to the City Livery Inn ran away the morning of May 21, 1907,
during the return trip from Signal Hill Cemetery after the funeral services of Mrs. Mary Boyd...”
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Fighting Fear

by Claudine Burnett
“The war in Europe had resounding effects worldwide, but the clouds darkened over Long Beach much
earlier than the war clouds appeared over Europe. When Prohibition ended in 1933 it was hoped that the city
could return to what it once was---a decent, law abiding, town. But that was not to be...”
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Slide Surfing Newport Beach by Claudine & Paul Burnett
“Today Newport Beach is considered the uncrowned jewel of the fabulous Orange County Gold Coast, the glamour and glitz center of the West Coast. But the Newport Beach you’re going to find in this book is quite different...”
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Slide Prohibition Madness by Claudine Burnett
"Throughout America cocktail parties sparkled defiantly through the dreaded first minutes of January 20, 1920. With morning would come the official start of Prohibition. It was easy, however, to keep the party going in Long Beach, California..."
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Slide Soaring Skyward by Claudine Burnett
“Flying was a perilous adventure with death only a small breath away. Many lost their lives in pursuit of their dream and have remained relatively forgotten, until now. Soaring Skyward is the result of twenty years of extensive research... ”
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Slide Haunted Long Beach 2 by Claudine Burnett
“At last, a revised and updated version of the long out of print Haunted Long Beach. New stories and updates on the original tales can be found in this riveting adventure through the eerie side of not only Long Beach, but other Southern California cities as well...”
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Slide Murderous Intent by Claudine Burnett
“This book is sure to be savored by those interested in Southern California history. Concentrating on a span of years covering the 1880’s to 1920, Ms. Burnett has uncovered fascinating true stories of death and murder...”
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Slide Strange Sea Tales by Claudine Burnett
“True stories uncovered from local newspaper archives reveal a California that has remained buried for decades. Do sea monsters exist off the Southern California coast?”
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Welcome to the official site of Claudine Burnett Books

Welcome to my website, where I hope you will find much about Southern California history.

My latest endeavor (July 9, 2023), the Pacific Squab and Poultry Farm,  is one I promised my friend Polly Johnson Harnett I would work on with her. Unfortunately, Polly passed away in 2020, but I felt Polly would want me to finish what she and her Aunt Ivy (1891-1983) had started so long ago. I had read some of the stories Ivy wrote and knew it had a much larger audience than just the family. It was a chronicle of the city, as well as the Harnett family. It took me awhile to go through the five boxes of notes, including those from other Harnett family members.  I updated the language and checked historic details. Since so much of what Ivy had written was missing, I added more information about what Long Beach was like during the early part of the 20th century and what the family must have experienced.  

The Harnetts came to America in 1889, during the Great Depression of British Agriculture. Their farm in Kent, England, was suffering financially. With Britain’s refusal to tax grain imports they could no longer support a family of eleven children. Ernest and Julia Harnett had a hard decision to make — either leave their beloved England or give up six of their youngest children. It was something they would not do. A letter from a friend who had moved to Southern California wrote of an alcohol-free, religious community, with good farmland. They made up their minds. They would move to the American Colony — created a few years earlier by a fellow Englishman, William Willmore. There they would create a new life on the Pacific Squab and Poultry Farm at Atlantic Avenue and 25th Street.

The book follows their journey across the Atlantic and explores their new home — an area called Burnett (no relation to me!), close to Signal Hill, which would eventually become part of Long Beach, California. Through the eyes of Ivy, the first of three children to be born in America,  readers get to know Jane (Bessie), a teacher, who left an indelible mark on California history; Norah and Josie who found love and marriage in faraway Alaska; Anne, the artist; Kathleen, the top student graduate at UC Berkeley; Ethel; Helen; Jack, the engineer; Tom and his milling company; Edward and Frank, Long Beach civil servants who contributed much to the growth of the city. Also discussed are the tragic deaths of Geoffrey, Caroline, and the patriarch of the family, Ernest Harnett, struck by a hit and run driver a few weeks after his daughter Jane’s death.

I published the book under Ivy’s name (Ivy Harnett), which is what Polly had planned to do. I also listed Polly as an editor as well as myself.  It’s priced at $16.99 paperback; $7.99 e-book. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble the publisher, Author House and the Historical Society of Long Beach.


My book for 2022 was Animal Tales (Some a Little Fishy!). I scoured through 130 years of humorous newspaper accounts of the past giving me fodder for the book.  And yes, my own cats  told me they had to be in it! And they are!  I was fortunate to have my sister-in-law contribute black and white illustrations. Here are a few I have colorized:


My muses - Amador & Esmay

My muses – Amador & Esmay

Animal Tales (Some a little fishy) was a fun break I turned to while writing the often disturbing history of African Americans in Long Beach and Southern California: A History. That 2021 book begins in the 1800s and continues to 1970, reaching into later years to describe what that history has led to today. Over five years was spent researching recently digitized African American newspapers which allowed me access to the black perspective on issues rarely written about in the white press or by other authors. Here is a video of me discussing the book. Also, several of the stories I’ve written after the book was published can be found on this website’s blogs under African Americans 

In 2018 I wrote The Red Scare, UFOs & Elvis: Long Beach Enters the Atomic Age. It’s the 4th and final of a series of books  which began with Murderous Intent?  covering the 1880s-1920, followed by Prohibition Madness  which dealt with the 1920s & 30s, then came Fighting Fear which  talked about World War II.

The Atomic Age, discussed in The Red Scare, UFOs & Elvis,  began with the explosion of an atomic bomb over Japan in 1945. What was it like living here in  Southern California after the end of World War II ?  Some of you may remember, others might be too young to have experienced the fear of Communism, or rushing out in the early morning to witness the testing of an atomic bomb over Nevada,  which lit up the Southland sky. It was a time when many built back yard bomb shelters, kids practiced “duck and cover” drills in school, and teens, who feared they might be the last generation on earth, turned their attention to a new style of music—Rock ‘n’ Roll. Strange, unidentified objects were seen in the sky. Were they secret aircraft the U.S. was testing, devises built by the Russians, or visitors from other planets here to witness how we were using our new found atomic energy?

 Died in Long Beach – Cemetery Tales was published in July 2016. Politicians, city founders, visitors, accident victims, Civil War veterans and those that died in the great influenza outbreak of 1918-19 are all discussed here, as well as the hospitals, doctors, undertakers and others who cared for the dead and dying.  What made Long Beach’s “Cities of the Dead” different from all other cemeteries is the question of whether the bodies said to be there still remain.  Also included is the history of Long Beach’s “cemetery wars” which erupted when oil was discovered on Signal Hill.  Are any of the cemeteries haunted? That question was explored in Haunted Long Beach 2, but new stories have been added  to Died in Long Beach.

My book for 2014 was Fighting Fear – Long Beach in the 1940s. The underground crime, gangsters, murder, and  political corruption which I described in Prohibition Madness continued, but another factor entered the picture—World War II.   Between 1940 and 1944 the population of Long Beach jumped from 164,271 to 253,331 as thousands came here to work in the shipyards and aircraft factories springing up in and around Long Beach.  It didn’t take a visionary to see that Long Beach would be a prime target for an enemy attack.  The eastern portion of the city housed numerous shipyards and a Navy base, to the north was Douglas Aircraft Company, and the Army airbase at the Municipal Airport; to the west was the Los Alamitos Naval Air Station and the Seal Beach Weapon’s Depot.  In the middle of Long Beach were countless oil wells, fueling the ships planes and other equipment needed to fight a war.

I had two new books out in 2013. Prohibition Madness which is full of never before published material on what was going on in Southern California during those notorious days when the 18th Amendment was in effect—1920-1933.  It’s a sequel to my earlier book Murderous Intent? which talks about events (including murder) in Long Beach and Southern California from the 1880s-1920.  In late June Surfing Newport Beach: the Glory Days of Corona del Mar was published. I wrote it with my surfer husband, Paul. It’s a book on the history of surfing in Newport Beach/Corona del Mar in the days before World War II. It’s full of never-before-revealed facts about not only surfing, but the early history of Newport, Balboa, Newport Bay, and the Santa Ana River (and much about Long Beach, as well).

If you want to learn more about my books, be sure to click on the book link in my headline bar.


On this site you’ll find  in my BLOG SECTION Yearly Histories of Long Beach, stories about Women, a history of Long Beach Public Library and tales of  early Long Beach Subdivisions.   The blog on subdivisions could have been a book, but I decided to make them available FREE on this site.  You will find many tantalizing tidbits in my subdivision blogs such as Long Beach’s first lynching, the horsewhipping of real estate agents,  the scandal of the Seabright development and much more.  My blog entitled Believe it or Not It’s True traces amusing stories about Long Beach and Southern California.  I hope you will  enjoy them and learn more about Long Beach history.

Also, check out my other BLOGS at my Google blog site.  You will find more Long Beach history by following this link to Historic Long Beach Blogspot . Then there are my two BLOGS for Seal Beach, Historic Seal Beach Blogspot, which highlights artist Henry De Kruif’s drawings advertising the city in 1913 & 1914 AND a continuing history of the city which you can find at  Seal Beach History Blogspot. I didn’t forget Signal Hill. You’ll find that city’s history at Historical Signal Hill Blogspot.

OR, Just go to my Facebook page where I bring links to all the blogs together in one location.

I hope you will find my books and blogs both informative as well as fun!

Oh, yes! I’m pleased to announce I was listed as one of the top 9 Long Beach writers (with Upton Sinclair, John Fante, Richard Bach, Wendy Hornsby, John Leonard, James Hilton, and more) in the Long Beach Post newspaper!


Claudine Burnett
Claudine BurnettAuthor

Claudine Burnett has been a history buff for as long as she can remember. She is the former head of the Literature and History Department of Long Beach Public Library and a member of various
historical societies…read more

Claudine and her muse, Esmay

Latest Books

Long Beach is fortunate to have such an accomplished historian. Thank you for everything you do to keep our rich history alive.
Olivia Maiser, Long Beach Auditor's office
Long Beach librarian, researcher and author Claudine Burnett has, as is always the case, been a tremendous and reliable source of some of the facts in this book. There are some history writers in this town who use her research shamelessly (she is remarkably free with it) without giving her credit. I hope to never forget or neglect to mention the work she has done in archiving and preserving the city’s history in every aspect.
Tim Grobaty, In the preface to his book 'Location filming in Long Beach'
‘Soaring Skyward’ is another example of the good publicity and attention the city receives for its rich background in aviation.
Director Mario Rodriguez, Long Beach Airport
(Haunted Long Beach) is a wonderful history of Long Beach, as well as a good source of real ghost stories…
(Haunted Long Beach) I loved this book. I love Long Beach and Ghost stories. This book was very informative and fun! I learned some history that I did now know…


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