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INVENTORY OF THE LEONARD NADEL PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER MATERIAL RELATING TO HOUSING AND URBAN REDEVELOPMENT IN LOS ANGELES, 1947-1998, BULK 1947-1957
2002.M.42  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles
    Date (inclusive): 1947-1998 (bulk 1947-1957)
    Number: 2002.M.42
    Creator/Collector: Nadel, Leonard, 1916-1990
    Physical Description: 8.75 linear feet (14 boxes)
    Repository:
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Consisting primarily of photographic material by Leonard Nadel from 1947 to 1957, the collection records early efforts by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to promote integrated public housing for the city's growing multi-ethnic population, and also documents several areas of the city that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) had targeted for commercial revitalization. Nadel's black-and-white negatives, contact prints and two unpublished photographic books form the bulk of the collection, supplemented by handwritten notes and related documents.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    The American photojournalist Leonard Nadel was born in Harlem, New York in 1916 to Austrian-Hungarian parents and grew up in the Bronx tenements. After graduating from City College of New York, Nadel trained at the Army Signal Corps Photographic Center and served as a lab technician and combat photographer during World War II in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippine Islands. Upon leaving the army, he returned to New York and received a master's degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He taught briefly before moving to Los Angeles to study photography at the Art Center College of Design, during which time he began photographing public housing sites.
    In 1947 and 1948 Nadel documented the Pueblo del Rio housing development in South Central Los Angeles, originally built in 1940 for African-American defense industry workers. Nadel showed his material to Frank Wilkinson of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), who suggested that he also document Aliso Village, another of the agency's housing projects. Nadel assembled two books from his documentation of Pueblo del Rio and Aliso Village, but they were never published.
    In 1949 Wilkinson hired Nadel as a photographer for HACLA to make a photographic record of living conditions in both the slums and the new housing projects that were built in Los Angeles during and immediately after World War II. Several of these projects were championed by or carried out under the auspices of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Nadel was employed by HACLA until 1953, when Frank Wilkinson was blacklisted by the Committee on Un-American Activities and forced to resign from the agency. Nadel left HACLA under protest.
    From 1953 through the 1980s, Nadel worked as a freelance photographer, producing documentary work for various agencies and magazines such as National Geographic, Look, Forbes, Life, and Paris Match. For over two decades he was the primary west coast photographer for Business Week. Of particular note is his 1956 documentation the Bracero program for the Ford Foundation's Fund for the Republic.
    Nadel married Brazilian-born Evelyn De Wolfe, a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times in 1961. Over the next eighteen years they collaborated on numerous freelance projects for domestic and international publications, ranging from documenting the life of a Japanese geisha to living with a stone age tribe in New Guinea. Nadel also continued to document the city of Los Angeles, particularly focusing on street mural art during the 1960s and 1970s. Leonard Nadel died in 1990.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers, except the videocassette tape which is unavailable until reformatted.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, 1947-1998, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2002.M.42.

    Acquisition information

    Acquired in 2002.

    Processing Information note

    The collection was processed by Soohyun Yang in the spring of 2011, and by Beth Ann Guynn and Linda Kleiger in the fall and winter of 2011. The collection was digitized from 2011 to 2013 with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and the images are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2002m42. 

    Digital Collection

    The collection was digitized from 2011 to 2013 with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and the images are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2002m42. 

    Related Archival Materials

    The collections of the Los Angeles Public Library and the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research each contain photographic images made by Leonard Nadel during the time he worked for The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). The Photo Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library contains approximately 290 copy negatives and corresponding black-and-white copy prints made from original materials held by HACLA. The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Photograph Collection, held at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, contains 225 black-and-white photographs produced by HACLA, forty-two of which were taken by Nadel. The National Museum of American History holds a collection of Nadel's Bracero photographs.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Consisting primarily of photographic material by Leonard Nadel from 1947 to 1957, the collection records early efforts by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to promote integrated public housing for the city's growing multi-ethnic population, and also documents several areas of the city that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) targeted for commercial revitalization. Nadel's black-and-white negatives and contact prints form the bulk of the collection, supplemented by handwritten notes and related documents. Also included are two unpublished books produced by Nadel.
    Series I contains most of Nadel's documentation of HACLA and CRA projects in the 1940s and 1950s. His work as a documentary photographer for HACLA records living conditions in the slum areas of Los Angeles and, to some extent, the new housing projects that replaced them, including Avalon Gardens, Rose Hill Courts, Ramona Gardens, and the unrealized Elysian Park Heights project. From aerial and panoramic views to close-range shots, Nadel documented not only the physical environment and buildings, but also their inhabitants. A good portion of the material focuses on individual families or tenants, affording a very personal portrait of slum and project life. Also included are photographs of the planning meetings of city officials and architects (including Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, and Lloyd Wright).
    Nadel also documented several areas of the city that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) targeted for commercial revitalization in the 1940s and 1950s. He made meticulous photographic surveys, sometimes block by block, of the slums and historic areas targeted for demolition and redevelopment, including Bunker Hill, the Temple Street area, Ann Street, and the Alameda Street area. Documentation of the Bunker Hill Renewal Project is particularly extensive.
    Series II contains Nadel's unpublished books and related material on Pueblo del Rio and Aliso Village, the two HACLA projects that Nadel documented most extensively. Through photographs and text, two large leather-bound volumes tell in detail the stories of the two housing projects, focusing not just on the architecture and layout of the complexes, but also recording the family lives and project-supported social networks of the tenants.
    The collection was digitized from 2011 to 2013 with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and the images are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2002m42. 

    Arrangement

    Arranged in two series: Series I. Projects related to housing and urban redevelopment, 1947-1998, undated; Series II. Unpublished books, 1947-1994, undated.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Neutra, Richard Joseph, 1892-1970
    Wilkinson, Frank, 1914-2006
    Wright, Lloyd, 1890-1978

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, California.

    Subjects - Topics

    Public housing--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Urban renewal--California--Los Angeles--20th century

    Subjects - Places

    Aliso Village (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
    Boyle Heights (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
    Bunker Hill (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
    Chávez Ravine (Los Angeles, Calif.)---Description and travel
    Chávez Ravine (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
    Los Angeles (Calif.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    Los Angeles (Calif.)--Description and travel
    Los Angeles Region (Calif.)--Social conditions--20th century
    Ramona Gardens (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Description and travel
    Slums--California--Los Angeles
    Slums--New York (State)--New York

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Aerial photographs--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Black-and-white negatives--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Gelatin silver prints--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Panoramas--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Photographs, Original
    Videocassettes--California--Los Angeles--20th century

    Contributors

    Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, California.
    Wilkinson, Frank, 1914-2006