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.
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
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