Photographs and renderings from a Work Projects Administration (WPA) Art Project of California historical material, both decorative
and utilitarian objects (particularly from various California missions), including furniture, architecture, metal and leatherwork,
paintings and costume.
The WPA Art Project of Southern California was located at 1845 So. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif. The following information
is cited from the National Gallery of Art website (http://www.nga.gov/collection/iad/index.shtm): The Index of American Design
is a compilation of nearly 18,000 watercolor renderings that depict traditional American arts and crafts made before about
1890. The renderings were created under the auspices of the Index of American Design project, one of several Fine Arts Divisions
in the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which operated from 1935 to 1942. The renderings,
now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, were intended to create a pictorial survey of the rise and development
of American design. They provide an unparalleled record of the material culture of the United States and the effort to document
a unique national style.
The first steps leading to the creation of the Index of American Design were taken in 1935 when Romana Javitz, head of the
New York Public Library Picture Collection, and her colleague, New York artist Ruth Reeves, a textile designer and painter,
developed the concept for a project to create a comprehensive visual resource of traditional American design. In August 1935,
Reeves presented this idea to the national staff of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project in Washington,
D.C. A pilot Index of American Design project was begun in New York City after this initial discussion. The Index was organized
as a nationwide project in December 1935.