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Southern California Edison Motion Picture Film: Finding Aid
mssSCE MP 001-626  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Existence and Location of Copies
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Southern California Edison Motion Picture Film.
    Dates (inclusive): Approximately 1914-1996
    Collection Number: mssSCE MP 001-626
    Creator: Southern California Edison Company.
    Extent: 626 items.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains more than 600 films primarily chronicling the history and development of Southern California Edison, including the construction of Edison plants, advertising footage, the search for alternative energy sources, and employee news videos featuring updates on Edison projects. Historical footage and advertising spots date from the 1930s forward, while the majority of the VHS and U-Matic material covers the 1970s through 1990s.
    Language: English.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.
    Some formats in the collection have not been transferred to DVD and may not be available for paging.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    Authorization for commercial uses must be obtained from Southern California Edison through the EIX (Edison International) Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications.
    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Southern California Edison Motion Picture Film, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Edison International, August 2005.

    Historical Note

    Southern California Edison (SCE) is the largest electric utility in California and one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serving more than 13 million people in 15 counties of central, coastal and southern California. Based in Rosemead, California, the utility has been providing electric service in the region for more than 120 years. SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International, which is also headquartered in Rosemead. The SCE service territory includes approximately 430 cities and communities with a total customer base of approximately 4.8 million residential and business accounts. SCE is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    SCE’s earliest predecessor was Holt and Knupps, which in 1886 installed street lights in Visalia, California. In 1894, a group including Elmer Peck and George Baker organized West Side Lighting to provide electricity in Los Angeles. The next year the company merged with Los Angeles Edison Electric, which owned the rights to the Edison name and patents in the region, and Baker became president. Edison Electric installed the first DC-power underground conduits in the Southwest. In 1899, Edison’s Santa Ana River No.1 hydroelectric plant began operation, transmitting power to Los Angeles over the world’s longest power line (83 miles). In 1907, Edison’s Kern River-Los Angeles Transmission Line began operation. At 118 miles and 75 kV, it was the world’s longest and highest voltage power line, and the first line in the nation to be entirely supported by steel towers.
    John Barnes Miller began his 31 year service as company president in 1901, the same year that the Edison Electric Company of Los Angeles recapitalized as a $10 million corporation. In 1909, after another recapitalization, the corporate name was changed to the present Southern California Edison Company (SCE). Under Miller’s leadership, the firm bought many neighboring utilities and built several power plants. In 1917, SCE doubled its assets through a merger with Henry E. Huntington’s Pacific Light and Power Corporation. The centerpiece of the merger transferred ownership of the Big Creek hydroelectric project to SCE. Big Creek eventually became one of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects.
    At the same time SCE increased its generation and transmission assets through the merger with Pacific Light and Power, it was losing a major customer in the city of Los Angeles. Beginning in 1912, the city of Los Angeles began developing its own city-owned power department and conflict with SCE ensued. In 1917, SCE and the city of Los Angeles reached a settlement under which SCE sold its combined distribution system within Los Angeles to the city for $12 million. SCE continued to operate the system under lease until 1922, since the city required that time to develop the generating capacity to serve its new system.
    During the middle years of the twentieth century, SCE faced a number of natural and economic challenges. A 1925 earthquake and the 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam severely damaged SCE’s facilities. The Great Depression and World War II had a significant effect on SCE’s continued growth and access to economic and natural resources. Human resources also proved to be an issue in these years as the war constricted SCE’s access to workers and in 1953 SCE faced a major employee strike.
    SCE survived these difficult decades and in 1964 consolidated its eastern service area by merging with the California Electric Power Company (also known as Calectric). Through this merger, SCE gained access to Calelectric’s 450,000 customers and 41,500-square-mile territory. A second significant mid-1960s event for SCE was the 1963 initiation of construction of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). SONGS Unit 1 began operation in 1968. In addition to nuclear energy, SCE has also supported the development of renewable and alternative energy resources such as wild, solar and geothermal. Today’s Southern California Edison is the product of more than a century of providing reliable electric service to central, coastal and southern California.
    Information for the Biographical Note was obtained from Iron Men and Copper Wires: A Centennial History of the Southern California Edison Company by William A. Myers (Glendale, CA: Trans-Anglo Books, 1983); and from the Southern California Edison Company website (11/10/2008, URL: http://www.sce.com).

    Scope and Content

    The collection primarily chronicles the history and development of Southern California Edison, including the construction of Edison plants, advertising footage, the search for alternative energy sources, and employee news videos featuring updates on Edison projects. Historical footage and advertising spots date from the 1930s forward, while the majority of the VHS and U-Matic material covers the 1970s through 1990s.
    The motion picture film consists of a variety of media formats, including film reels (most 16mm), VHS (videotapes/videocassettes), U-Matic (videocassettes), and audio cassette tapes. The majority of the VHS and U-Matic tapes have been transferred to DVD and are available for paging. Many of the reels, some U-Matic tapes, and materials of other formats have not been transferred to DVD and may not be available for paging.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Existence and Location of Copies

    In 2018, a selection of 56 motion pictures in this collection were digitized as part of the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP), and are being hosted by the Internet Archive. See contents list.

    Processing Information

    In October 2019, this finding aid was updated to add links to the 56 films that were digitized and made available on the Internet Archive.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht), 1906-2005.
    Burns, George, 1896-1996.
    Howser, Huell.
    Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927.
    Pacific Gas and Electric Company -- History.
    San Diego Gas and Electric Company -- History.
    Southern California Edison Company -- Employees.
    Southern California Edison Company. Environmental Affairs Division.
    Southern California Edison Company -- History.
    Olympic Games (23rd : 1984 : Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Broadcast advertising.
    Cogeneration of electric power and heat -- California.
    Electrical engineering.
    Electric industry workers.
    Electricity -- California.
    Electric lines.
    Electric power distribution.
    Electric power-plants.
    Electric properties.
    Electric substations.
    Electric transformers.
    Electric facilities.
    Focus groups.
    Geothermal power plants.
    Hydroelectric power plants.
    Motion pictures -- West (U.S.)
    Nuclear energy.
    Public utilities -- California.
    Renewable energy sources -- California.
    Solar energy.
    Television commercials.
    Big Creek (Calif.) -- History.
    California -- History -- 1850-1950.
    California -- History -- 1950-.
    California, Southern -- History.

    Forms/Genres

    Motion pictures (visual work) -- California -- 20th century.
    U-matic.
    VHS.
    Videocassettes.
    Videotapes.