Brown Derby Restaurants photographs

Special Collections
Margaret Herrick Library © 2013

Descriptive Summary

Title: Brown Derby Restaurants photographs
Date (inclusive): 1926-1960
Collection number: 1111
Creator: Brown Derby Restaurant
Extent: 1 linear feet of photographs.
Repository: Margaret Herrick Library. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Languages: English

Important Information for Users of the Collection


Available by appointment only.

Publication rights

Property rights to the physical object belong to the Margaret Herrick Library. Researchers are responsible for obtaining all necessary rights, licenses, or permissions from the appropriate companies or individuals before quoting from or publishing materials obtained from the library.

Preferred Citation

Brown Derby Restaurants photographs, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


The Brown Derby Restaurants were a Los Angeles-area chain of four restaurants owned by Bob Cobb. The restaurants were founded by producer Herbert Somborn, screenwriter Wilson Mizner, and theater impresario Sid Grauman. The first Brown Derby restaurant, and the only one actually built in the shape of a hat, opened in 1926 on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, across from the Ambassador Hotel. Restaurateur Robert Cobb managed this Brown Derby at the request of his friend Somborn, and after Somborn died in 1934, Cobb took over the remaining Derby restaurants, located in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Los Feliz. In their heyday during the 1930s and 1940s, the Brown Derby restaurants were a mainstay of Hollywood social life. Due to waning patronage, the restaurants gradually closed between 1975 and 1985.

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The Brown Derby Restaurants photographs span the years 1926-1960 and encompass one linear foot. The collection consists of approximately 400 items, including copy negatives, contact prints, and modern archival prints all generated by the library from the Cobb family's vintage prints and original negatives loaned by Peggy Cobb Walsh, daughter of Sally Cobb and stepdaughter of Robert Cobb. The photographs depict film stars, studio executives, and other industry personnel dining at the restaurants and are interior and exterior views of the four restaurants.


Arranged in the following series: 1. Biography photographs; 2. Subject photographs

Indexing Terms

Brown Derby Restaurant