Scope and Content
Title: Ernest R. Chamberlain Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1923-1972
Collection number: 2019
Chamberlain, Ernest R.
6 boxes (3 linear ft.)
91 cartons (91 linear ft.)
2 oversize boxes
University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Abstract: Ernest R. Chamberlain's was a political publicist. He worked for Clifford E. Clinton in his clean-up campaigns against Los
Angeles vice and corruption, for Fletcher Bowron's election after the recall of Mayor Frank Shaw in 1938, and worked for Bowron's
first reelection in 1941. Chamberlain also publicized many of Clinton's other projects, including Meals for Millions, various
issues in Los Angeles Politics, and Clinton's own campaign for mayor in the 1945 primary. In 1942, he collected material for
a projected Citizen's yearbook about Los Angeles. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, notes,
publications, and memorabilia relating to Oklahoma, and Los Angeles and California politics, as well as Chamberlain's personal
subject files relating to his work with Meals for Millions.
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special
Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright,
are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright
and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], Ernest R. Chamberlain Papers (Collection 2019). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young
UCLA Catalog Record ID
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of Ernest Chamberlain, 1973 & 1977.
Chamberlain's career as a political publicist began in high school, when he worked for William Howard Taft and Senator Charles
Curtis; attended Washburn College, then went to Washington, D.C., where he worked for several government bureaus; AB and LL.B
from George Washington Univ.; after World War I, he attended the University of Paris, where he earned a Certificate d'Etudes
Superieures; moved to Oklahoma, where he played the flute in movie theaters, wrote reviews, and taught dance; did publicity
work for Governor J.C. Walton of Oklahoma; moved to Los Angeles where he worked for Clifford E. Clinton, helping him in his
clean up campaigns against Los Angeles vice and corruption; worked with him for Fletcher Bowron's election after the recall
of Mayor Frank Shaw in 1938, and worked for Bowron's first reelection in 1941; he also publicized many of Clinton's other
projects, including Meals for Millions, various issues in Los Angeles politics, and Clinton's own campaign for mayor in the
1945 primary; also worked on publicity for Clinton's Cafeterias; in 1942 he collected material for a projected Citizen's yearbook
about Los Angeles.
Scope and Content
Collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, notes, publications, and memorabilia relating to Oklahoma,
and Los Angeles and California politics, as well as Chamberlain's personal subject files relating to his work with Meals for
Millions. Includes materials regarding Los Angeles social conditions, government organization, city planning, transportation,
and material by and about Mayor Fletcher Bowron.
Expanded Scope and Content Note
Ernest R. Chamberlain's career as political publicist began with his interest in politics while still in high school, when
he worked for William Howard Taft and Senator Charles Curtis. After leaving Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas, he went to
Washington to work in several governmental bureaus. There he received the degrees A.B. and LL.B. from George Washington University.
He then served nearly two years in the Army during World War I. After the war, he went to the University of Paris, earning
a “Certificate d'Etudes Superieures.” He moved to Oklahoma and for a while made a living from his musical training, by playing
the flute in movie theaters, writing reviews and teaching dance.
One of the earliest figures who benefited from Chamberlain's skill at political publicity was Governor J.C. Walton of Oklahoma.
It was in Los Angeles that he worked for Clifford E. Clinton, perhaps the person with whom he was longest associated. He helped
Clinton in his clean-up campaigns directed at Los Angeles vice and corruption, worked with him for Bowron's election after
the recall of Mayor Frank Shaw in 1938 and worked for Bowron's first reelection in 1941. He also publicized many of Clinton's
other projects and interest, including Meals for Millions, various issues in Los Angeles politics and Clinton's own campaign
for mayor in the primary of 1945. He also worked on publicity for Clifton's Cafeterias.
The Chamberlain papers consist mostly of files relating to Los Angeles politics of the late 'thirties and early 'forties.
The material about Bowron, which is the most extensive, is double-edged. Clinton and Chamberlain first worked for Bowron,
then decided that his reforms were not extensive enough and waged a campaign against him in the primary of 1945. A note on
a luncheon program for Bowron rather succinctly states Chamberlain's disenchantment: “No mention of old backers.” Next in
importance to the files kept on Bowron are the files on Los Angeles transportation. When certain franchises for public transportation
expired in the 'forties. Chamberlain became interested in the problems of Los Angeles transportation, so that there are numerous
clippings, files of correspondence, notes from seminars and statements on positions of whether or not the franchises should
be renewed. He was an early advocate of rapid transit in Los Angeles. Among the documents he collected are several printed
brochures about monorail transportation along Wilshire Boulevard.
In 1942, Chamberlain collected material for a projected Citizen's Yearbook about Los Angeles, modeled after similar yearbooks
he had worked on when in Oklahoma City. The material is still in manuscript. Many of the files were perhaps collected for
that work. Copies of the Oklahoma yearbooks are in the collection.
The organization of the collection follows, for the most part, the folder titles used by Chamberlain himself. The broad divisions
are listed in the Series Description of the collection. To get the most from this collection, also consult the register for
the papers of Clifford E. Clinton, many of whose files were actually organized and kept by chamberlain.
- Boxes 1-3: Files kept by Chamberlain, arranged alphabetically by subject.
- Box 4: Subject files (cont'd.); memorabilia; writings of Chamberlain (notes, manuscripts, printed materials)
- Box 5: Printed books collected by Chamberlain.
- Box 6: Card file of typed notes on political personages, issues, etc.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.
Chamberlain, Ernest R.--Archives.
Meals for Millions Foundation.
Political consultants--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.