Bench Dedicated to Honor Anthropologist Meyerhoff

Friends of the late anthropologist and film-maker Barbara Meyerhoff dedicated a bench in her honor last weekend on the boardwalk opposite the Israel Levin Senior Center.

The two-sided bench, which faces both the ocean and the busy thoroughfare, is one of 32 to be installed along the waterfront this month by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

It carries a plaque with Meyerhoff’s name and a composite phrase drawn from the Bible, “Teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” According to Jim Cole of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, the benches, along with 10 installed in 1983, were built by prisoners at the county’s Pitchess Honor Rancho.

Made with concrete ends and wood slats, they will replace originals that have been battered for decades by wind, sand and vandalism. Cole said anyone willing to foot the $200 bill could sponsor an oceanfront bench by contacting his department.


Meyerhoff, a USC professor who died in January, 1985, at age 48, was best known for “Number Our Days,” a 1976 television documentary which later became a book.

It documented the lives of impoverished elderly Jews in the beachfront community, where much of their time was spent on the boardwalk benches.

She was working on a second film about the Fairfax District when she died.