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Southern California Outdoor Advertising Collection
photCL 488  
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Collection Overview
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The Southern California Outdoor Advertising Collection consists of photographs of billboards located in situ primarily in and around Los Angeles and, to a lesser extent, San Diego, from approximately 1930-1996 (bulk 1950-1989). The photographs, which are principally color slides (35mm) and film negatives (both black-and-white and color), were created by Pacific Outdoor Advertising Company (POA) and Gannett Outdoor Company for internal purposes and represent advertising for a wide variety of businesses, consumer products, and services. The bulk of the collection concerns POA client billboards, facilities, and activities ca. 1930-1979. Gannett Outdoor Co. acquired POA in 1979, and their materials cover the period ca. 1980-1996.
Helen A. Brown founded Pacific Outdoor Advertising Company in Los Angeles around 1928. Her son, Hal Brown, and later her grandson, Hal Brown Jr., served as presidents of the company. The company viewed photographic documentation of its product and operations as an "investment not an expense," according to one former employee.* To that end, POA employed a fleet of trained photographers who used specialized equipment to make negatives and prints of finished billboards (which they often gave to clients), and slides and transparencies for the company's internal use. Gannett Co. Inc. acquired Pacific Outdoor Advertising in 1979 through a merger with Combined Communications Corp., becoming Gannett Outdoor.
93 Linear Feet (97 boxes)
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