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Finding Aid for the Will Connell Papers, 1928-1961
893  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Will Connell Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1928-1961
    Collection number: 893
    Creator: Connell, Will, 1898-1961
    Extent: 152 boxes (76 linear ft.)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: Will Connell (1898-1961) was a self-taught photographer. He opened a studio in downtown Los Angeles in 1925 and became a member of the Camera Pictorialists. He taught at Art Center College in Pasadena from 1931 until his death. His work included movie publicity shots, magazine assignments and other commercial photography. The collection consists of photographs, negatives, experimental work, correspondence, instructional materials, and ephemera.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of 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.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Grace Connell and Will Connell, Jr., 1964-66.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Will Connell Papers (Collection 893). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4232902 

    Biography

    Connell was born in 1898 in McPherson, Kansas; came with mother to California, and attended Los Angeles High School; left in the tenth grade to enlist in the army, but World War I had ended; became a pharmacist; in the 1920s taught himself photography, and opened a studio in downtown Los Angeles in 1925; became a member of the Camera Pictorialists along with Edward Weston, Louis Fleckenstein, and others; taught at Art Center College in Pasadena from 1931 until his death; work also included movie publicity shots, magazine assignments and other commercial photography; was one of the first photojournalists, illustrating numerous articles for Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post; wrote long-running column in U.S. Camera called Counsel by Connell; produced three photography books: In Pictures (1931), The Missions of California (1941), and About Photography (1949); he died in 1961.

    Biographical Narrative

    Will Connell was born in McPherson, Kansas in 1898. His father, a cowpuncher, kept moving the family westward and ultimately left them in Portland, Oregon. Mrs. Connell, a school teacher, relocated to Los Angeles where Will, an only child, went to Los Angeles High School. In 10th grade, Will dropped out of school to join the Army, but World War I came to an end and spoiled his plans. He then had a variety of jobs from soda-jerk to pharmacist, a job for which he had to obtain a pharmacy license, which he updated with pride throughout his life.
    In the 1920s, Connell became a self-taught photographer, learning on a four-by-five camera. In 1925, he opened a studio on Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles and started to exhibit in Pictorialist exhibits with good success. He was a member of the Camera Pictorialists along with Edward Weston, Louis Fleckenstein, and others. He was also a member of a group of prominent Los Angelenos who met regularly at Jake Zeitlin's bookshop. They included Merle Armitage, Paul Jordan Smith, Phil Townsend Hanna, Lloyd Wright, Cary McWilliams, and Lawrence Tippet.
    In 1931, Connell started a thirty year teaching career at Art Center College of Design that ended with his death in 1961. He was a dedicated teacher and held weekly meetings at his home for his students which always turned into lively discussions. Connell married a student of his, Grace Allen, and she stabilized his heretofore Bohemian life by giving him a home and family: Will, Jr. (1935) and Samantha (1938). Will closed his downtown studio and worked out of a home office / studio. His work, in addition to teaching nights, now included publicity shots for the movie studios, magazine work, and various types of commercial photography such as Sunkist ads, jewelry and fashion advertising for stores like Bullock's Wilshire, and industrial views for technical brochures, such as Kaiser Steel Mills in Fontana, California. He was one of the first photojournalists, and illustrated numerous articles for Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post. Not only did Connell provide pictures for magazines, for 15 years he also turned out a monthly column for U.S. Camera entitled Counsel by Connell. It was a very popular technical question and answer column done in an informal, humorous way. In addition to all his other work, Connell produced three photography books: In Pictures (1931), The Missions of California (1941), and About Photography (1949).
    The UCLA holdings reflect all of Will Connell's work, and span his entire career.
    Kayla Landesman

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of photographs, negatives, experimental work, correspondence, instructional materials, and ephemera. Most of the photographs were taken in Los Angeles and vicinity.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Connell, Will, 1898-1961--Archives.
    Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.)--Faculty--Archival resources.
    Photographers--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
    Commercial photography--California, Southern.
    Photographs.
    Negatives.