An album of 83 cyanotype photographs by American journalist,
author, and ethnologist Charles F. Lummis given as a gift from Lummis to Susanita
Del Valle in 1888. (Susanita was a nickname for Susana Carmen Del Valle
(1871-1907)). The majority of photographs depict Rancho Camulos in Ventura County,
California, as well as members of the Del Valle family, who owned the rancho. Lummis
included several self-portraits as well as scenes that invoke a romantic view of
19th century California ranch life. In addition, there are two original poems
inscribed by Lummis to Susanita Del Valle.
In 1884, Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1928) walked from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Los
Angeles, California, in a public relations gambit to announce his new job as city
editor of the Los Angeles Times. The provocative New Englander went
on to become an outspoken and influential promoter of California and the American
Southwest. Lummis wore many hats during his illustrious forty-year career:
incendiary journalist; editor of Out West magazine; Los Angeles city
librarian; presidential advisor; patron of artists and writers; and cultural
preservationist. In addition, Lummis was a talented photographer, producing
thousands of photographs between 1885 and 1920. Lummis started making photographs in
1885, soon after his arrival in Los Angeles. He favored the cyanotype process which
was popular among amateur photographers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The cyanotype, notable for its blue tone, is made by bringing sensitized paper into
contact with a negative in direct sunlight. The print is then washed in a solution
of distilled water.
83 cyanotype photographs in 1 album; album 13 x 21.5 cm. (5.25 x 8.5
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Due to the fragility of the album, access to the original item is granted only by
advance permission of the Curator of Photographs. Open to qualified researchers by
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