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Finding Aid for the League of Allied Arts records, 1940-2011
1856  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: League of Allied Arts records
    Date (inclusive): 1940-2011
    Collection number: 1856
    Creator: League of Allied Arts
    Extent: 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 English.
    Repository: 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.

    Administrative 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 organization:
    Haroldine Brewington, Kathryn Carr, Jean Davis Clements, Mary Ann Greene, Carol Hall Holliday, Bertha Hurd, Beverly Ryder, Patricia Ryder, Shirley Starke-Wallace, Dorothy Thornhill.

    Processing Note

    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 Arcadia  .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], League of Allied Arts records (Collection 1856). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6947095 

    Biography/History

    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 his play, 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 League.
    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 their experience.
    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:
    1. Administrative Records, 1981-2011
    2. Financial, 1969-2011
    3. Public Relations, 1940-2010
    4. Correspondence, 1980-2010
    5. Historical Information, 1943-2007
    6. Photographs and Media, 1967-2008
    Series are arranged chronologically by year.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. To access digital materials you must notify the reference desk in advance of your visit.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    League of Allied Arts --Archives.
    Nonprofit organizations --California --Los Angeles --Archival resources.
    Arts --Scholarships, fellowships, etc. --California --Los Angeles.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    photographs.

    Related Material

    Miriam Matthews papers (Collection 1804)  . UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.