Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Title: League of Allied Arts records
Date (inclusive): 1940-2011
Collection number: 1856
League of Allied Arts
16 document boxes (8.0 linear ft.)
2 flat boxes
Abstract: This collection documents the history and administration of the League of Allied Arts, one of the oldest existing Black women's
non-profit arts organizations in Los Angeles. Founded in 1939 by Dorothy Vena Johnson and Juanita Miller, the League was established
to promote and support the arts in Los Angeles by providing cultural enrichment programs for the community, honoring the creative
accomplishments of Black artists, and awarding scholarships to talented students from Los Angeles pursuing scholarly studies
in the arts. The collection consists of administrative documents such as meeting minutes and agendas, financial reports, ephemera
from various arts programs and events, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and media.
Language: Finding aid is written in
University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections
for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library
Special Collections for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Copyright of this collection has been assigned to UCLA Library Special Collections. The library can grant permission to publish
for materials to which it holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or quote must be submitted in writing
to UCLA Library Special Collections. Credit shall be given as follows: © 2012 The Regents of the University of California
on behalf of UCLA Library Special Collections.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of the League of Allied Arts, 2012.
The following League of Allied Arts members retained documents, photographs, ephemera, and other materials on behalf of the
Haroldine Brewington, Kathryn Carr, Jean Davis Clements, Mary Ann Greene, Carol Hall Holliday, Bertha Hurd, Beverly Ryder,
Patricia Ryder, Shirley Starke-Wallace, Dorothy Thornhill.
Processed by Tiffany Dawn Jones in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar;
August 14, 2012.
The processing of this collection was generously supported by
[Identification of item], League of Allied Arts records (Collection 1856). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young
Research Library, UCLA.
The League of Allied Arts is one of the oldest existing Black women’s non-profit arts organizations in Los Angeles. Founded
in 1939 by Dorothy Vena Johnson, a poet and creative writing teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Juanita
Miller, a social worker for the County of Los Angeles and wife of distinguished civil rights attorney Loren Miller, the League
of Allied Arts was established to support and promote the arts in Los Angeles. Langston Hughes was one of the League’s first
beneficiaries. When the young Harlem Renaissance poet and playwright came to Los Angeles to visit friends, he wanted to present
a play. However, due to racism, no theater would allow Hughes to present his work. The industrious and civic-minded Juanita
Miller and Dorothy Vena Johnson thereby pooled their resources together to help support Langston Hughes successfully present
Don’t You Want to Be Free? at his recently established New Negro Theater. From this experience, Johnson and Miller went on to officially establish the
League of Allied Arts whose mission is to promote and support the arts in Los Angeles. The League provides cultural enrichment
programs for the community, honors the creative accomplishments of Black artists, and awards scholarships to talented students
from Los Angeles pursuing scholarly studies in the arts. The League estimates that since its inception it has given away over
$500,000 in scholarships and charitable donations to students and various organizations in Los Angeles and nationwide.
The League of Allied Arts is a volunteer organization with a long history of distinguished membership and leadership. In addition
to Juanita Miller and co-founder Dorothy Vena Johnson, who served as the League’s president for over 25 years, another notable
and early member of the League of Allied Arts was Miriam Matthews, the first credentialed Black librarian in the state of
California and a librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library.
The League of Allied Arts has provided numerous cultural enrichment programs for the Los Angeles community since its founding.
The League of Allied Arts awarded its first scholarships in the early 1940s. In the same decade, the League was part of a
consortium of community organizations that promoted Jacob Lawrence’s
The Migration Series, a sequence of paintings depicting the mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between
World War I and World War II. The paintings were lent by the Museum of Modern Art and presented at the Music Town Gallery
in Los Angeles. The League also sponsored
The Art of Aaron Douglas exhibit at the Chabot Art Gallery on Robertson Boulevard.
In the 1950s, the League presented a poetry reading by Langston Hughes with accompaniment by the Buddy Collette Quintet. In
addition, the League donated funds to the Lester Horton Dance School, Our Author’s Study Club, and the Legal Defense Fund
of the NAACP.
During the 1960s, the League honored William Grant Still on his seventieth birthday at the Los Angeles Music Center, donated
funds to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and purchased a seat in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
The League joined the Ahmanson Foundation, Charles Drew Medical Society Auxiliary, and the Los Angeles chapter of the Links
in providing funds for the presentation of a Richard Hunt sculpture at LACMA in the 1970s.
In the 1980s, the League sponsored the musical
Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood and honored artists Richmond Barthe, Melonee Blocker, Elizabeth Catlett, Alonzo Davis,
Maren Massinger, Varnette Honeywood, William Pajaud, Betye Saar, Ruth Waddy, and Yvonne Meo, who was also a member of the
In 2000, the membership of the League of Allied Arts traveled to Paris, and in 2009 it celebrated its 70th anniversary by
hosting a reception in honor of actor Laurence Fishburne for his performance in the play
Thurgood which was presented at the Geffen Playhouse. The League made tickets available for 100 students to see the play and discuss
The League of Allied Arts remains a pillar in the Los Angeles community by continuing to support and promote the arts.
Scope and Content
The League of Allied Arts records consist of administrative documents such as meeting minutes and agendas, financial reports,
ephemera from various arts programs and events, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and media.
Highlights of the collection include meeting minutes, which record the major activities of the League; correspondence from
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy; and scrapbooks which detail the League's early activities.
The collection covers the years 1940 to 2011, with the bulk of administrative records ranging from 1981 to 2011.
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged in the following series:
- Administrative Records, 1981-2011
- Financial, 1969-2011
- Public Relations, 1940-2010
- Correspondence, 1980-2010
- Historical Information, 1943-2007
- Photographs and Media, 1967-2008
Series are arranged chronologically by year.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
League of Allied Arts --Archives.
Nonprofit organizations --California --Los Angeles --Archival resources.
Arts --Scholarships, fellowships, etc. --California --Los Angeles.
Genres and Forms of Material