Finding Aid for the Mary Bowling photographs, 1917-1995 0000113

Finding aid prepared by Jillian O'Connor, Chris Marino
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Arts Building Room 1434
University of California
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-7130

Title: Mary Bowling photographs
Identifier/Call Number: 0000113
Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 2.0 Linear feet (2 record storage boxes)
Date (inclusive): circa 1950-circa 1970
creator: Bowling, Mary, 1917-1995


Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

Custodial History note

Gift of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1994.

Preferred Citation note

Mary Bowling photographs, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

Biographical/Historical note

Mary Bowling was born March 14, 1917 in Santa Barbara and raised in El Paso, Texas. She earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California in 1936 and completed graduate work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena before moving to New York to pursue a career in industrial design. While in New York, Bowling worked for the noted designer Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) and studied painting with the artist Cameron Booth (1892-1980) at the Art Students’ League. She returned to Los Angeles where she taught industrial design at the Chouinard Art Institute, known today as the California Institute of the Arts. In 1957, Mary Bowling received the Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year Award. As an artist she worked in a variety of media including but not limited to photography, stained glass, and painting. Her photographs are striking for their critical and candid assessment of the dramatic architectural transformation of Bunker Hill and downtown Los Angeles. Bowling’s images trace the changes in the decaying downtown community from its adobe roots to the high-density urban core it has become. She died on January 20, 1995.

Scope and Content note

The Mary Bowling photograph collection spans 2 linear feet and dates from circa 1950 to circa 1970. The collection is composed of matted color and black-and-white prints that range in size from 4 x 5 in. to 8 x 10 in., unmated black-and-white prints, and black-and-white negatives. The majority of the matted prints have didactic labels that detail the location of the image. Mary Bowling’s photographs document life and landmarks in Los Angeles during the 1950s and 1960s. Some famous landmarks include, the La Brea Tar Pits, Olvera Street and the Avila Adobe, Griffith Observatory, and Angels Flight.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Bowling, Mary, 1917-1995
Architecture -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th Century
Photographic prints