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William Mason photographs of Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
7082  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The William Mason photographs of Little Tokyo, Los Angeles comprise aprroximately 500 negatives and 162 photographic prints showing the streets and people of Little Tokyo between 1963 and 1968. William M. Mason (1931-2000) was a long-time curator of Southern California history at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Mason was an expert on the multi-ethnic history of Los Angeles who did much to highlight the role of different ethnic groups in shaping the city's development in the nineteenth century and beyond. He curated several special museum exhibitions to illustrate Los Angeles' multi-ethnic character, among them "The Blacks of Los Angeles," "The Japanese of Los Angeles," and "The Chinese of Los Angeles." He also had a passion for photography and spent many happy hours wandering the streets of L.A. with his camera, talking to people, and documenting the city's ethnic enclaves. One such enclave, Little Tokyo, is now home to the largest Japanese-American population in the United States. Founded around the beginning of the twentieth century and developed in part because of discriminatory laws that limited where Japanese Americans could live and work, the neighborhood became a dynamic economic and cultural hub. The photographs in this collection include street scenes, shots from at least one Nisei Week Japanese Festival, and striking portraits of women in traditional Japanese dress. A predominant subject of these photographs is Little Tokyo's businesses and commercial activity, including images of storefronts, signage, and construction work. These photographs offer valuable documentation of the mid-1960s appearance of this ethnic enclave which -- like much of Los Angeles -- has changed tremendously over the past half-century.
Background
William M. Mason (1931-2000) was a long-time curator of Southern California history at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Mason was an expert on the multi-ethnic history of Los Angeles who did much to highlight the role of different ethnic groups in shaping the city's development in the nineteenth century and beyond. He curated several special museum exhibitions to illustrate Los Angeles' multi-ethnic character, among them "The Blacks of Los Angeles," "The Japanese of Los Angeles," and "The Chinese of Los Angeles." He also had a passion for photography and spent many happy hours wandering the streets of L.A. with his camera, talking to people, and documenting the city's ethnic enclaves.
Extent
0.21 Linear Feet 1 box
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Availability
Advance notice required for access.