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Historical Society of Southern California Collection of Photographs by Subject
photCL 400 volume 1  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Index Terms
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • List of Photographers and Publishers

  • Overview of the Collection

    Repository: The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, CA
    Phone: 626-405-2180
    Email: jwatts@huntington.org
    Title: Historical Society of Southern California Collection of Photographs by Subject
    Dates: circa 1850-1982
    Dates: (bulk 1880s-1930s)
    Quantity: 24 boxes, 22.42 linear feet
    Abstract: The collection consists of 3511 photographs, negatives, and ephemeral items in various formats circa 1850s-1982. Compiled from the gifts of various donors to the Historical Society of Southern California, the collection covers a wide breadth of subject matter. The images provide comprehensive information about many activities and events important to Southern California in the late 19th and early 20th century.
    Identification: photCL 400 volume 1
    Language of Material: English

    Historical Note

    Volume 1 comprises one portion of the Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC) Collection, which was donated to the Huntington Library in 1992. The HSSC Collection as a whole contains approximately 15,000 photographs and negatives covering the period circa 1870 to circa 1980, and almost exclusively depicts Southern California. As such, it is an important visual record of the growth and history of the region.
    The Historical Society created the collection from photographs contributed by many donors. Many of the photographs have an identifying note regarding the donation (e.g. "Groff Gift").

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 3511 photographs, negatives and ephemeral items in various formats circa 1850s-1982. Compiled from the gifts of various donors to the Historical Society of Southern California, the collection covers a wide breadth of subject matter. The images provide comprehensive information about many activities and events important to Southern California in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    The photographs mainly depict Southern California, with the largest number representing the city of Los Angeles. The collection includes images of Los Angeles streets and city views; neighborhoods (including Olvera Street, the Plaza, and Chinatown); Los Angeles office buildings and blocks, municipal buildings and facilities (including city halls, court houses, federal buildings, and postal facilities); Los Angeles County communities (including Culver City; Beverly Hills; Watts; Compton; the Hollywood/Cahuenga area; Mt. Washington; Redondo Beach; Hermosa Beach; Venice Beach; Santa Monica; San Pedro; Wilmington; Long Beach; Burbank; Glendale and the San Fernando Valley; Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley; Avalon and Santa Catalina Island); the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains; San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Francisco Counties; Los Angeles County homes, residential buildings, and gardens; Los Angeles parks; Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside County schools, colleges and universities; Los Angeles County churches and synagogues; Los Angeles area country clubs; hotels and theaters in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino Counties, and the city of San Francisco; and Los Angeles County department stores, newspaper buildings, storefronts, and restaurants. General subjects represented in the collection include industry and manufacturing (including iron and steelworks; brick and terracotta; clothing manufacture; and the motion picture industry); agriculture; mining and other extractive industries; infrastructure (including images depicting dams, roads, and photographs taken for Caltrans documenting the construction of the Pasadena Freeway, also known as the Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway); water and power (including photographs depicting the irrigation of the San Fernando Valley in the 1910s); transportation; sports and leisure activities (including images depicting the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles); fairs and expositions (including trade and industrial fairs; the Panama Pacific Exposition; the California Pacific International Exposition; the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition; and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition); fiestas and parades (including the Fiesta de Los Angeles, the Fiesta de las Flores, and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses), circuses and circus wagons; missions in California, the Southwest United States, and Mexico; and California adobes and ranchos. Miscellaneous images include national and state parks; the California Gold Rush and mining towns; the armed forces in California; native and indigenous culture; local flora, including trees; unidentified people; unidentified scenery; documents; maps; and a small group of ephemera pertaining to the Wilshire Boulevard Miracle Mile.
    The collection includes photographs produced by 140 identified photographic studios, photographers, and publishers including Blanchard; Cromwell and Westervelt; Frasher's Studio; Garden City Foto; Harold W. Grieve, T.E. Hecht; William Henry Hill; Keystone Photo Service; Luckhaus Studio; Charles F. Lummis; F.H. Maude; Harold Parker; Putnam Studios; F.H. Rogers; Julius Shulman; Spence Airplane Photos; Stagg; A. Sturtevant; Carleton E. Watkins; and "Dick" Whittington Studio. A complete list of known photographers can be found at the end of the Finding Aid. There are also photographs made by or for the companies they depict. These include American Trona Corporation; Douglas Aircraft; Estelle Mines Corporation; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Paramount Pictures; Selznick International Pictures; Studebaker Corporation; Union Pacific Railroad; and United Artists.
    Images produced and compiled by the Federal Writers' Project Southern and Northern California branches are represented in the collection and are indexed at the end of the Container List. These include photographs by Viroque Baker, Horace Bristol, Burton Burt, Fred William Carter, Fred R. Dapprich, Luckhaus Studio, Julius Shulman, Art Streib, and others. Some of these photographs also bear the stamps of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Board of Education.
    Some photographs exist in multiples. Many have identifying information on the verso such as a description, date, provenance or photographer information, a caption for an article or other type of publication, or information regarding use of the image in the Southern California Quarterly.


    The HSSC organized the collection into subject categories, and these were retained where practicable. Within some larger subject areas photographs have been arranged geographically or into sub-categories (e.g. "Transportation" includes the subject categories "Railroads" and "Automobiles and motorcycles").

    Index Terms

    This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


    Baker, Viroque.
    Blanchard, J. B. (James B.), 1821-1916.
    Bristol, Horace.
    Burt, Burton.
    Carter, Frederick William.
    Dapprich, Fred R.
    Grieve, Harold W.
    Hecht, T.E.
    Hill, William Henry, 1845-1925.
    Parker, Harold A., 1878-1930.
    Shulman, Julius.
    Streib, Art.
    Sturtevant, A.
    Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916.


    Cromwell and Westervelt.
    "Dick" Whittington Studio.
    F.H. Rogers and Company.
    Frashers Inc.
    Garden City Foto Company.
    Keystone Photo Service.
    Luckhaus Studio.
    Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928.
    Maude, F. H. (Frederic Hamer).
    Putnam Studios.
    Spence Air Photos (Firm).
    Stagg Photography.
    American Trona Corporation.
    Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway (Calif.)--Photographs.
    California. Dept. of Transportation.
    Douglas Aircraft Company.
    Estelle Mines Corporation.
    Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration of Northern California.
    Federal Writers' Project of Southern California (Los Angeles, Calif.).
    Paramount Pictures.
    Selznick International Pictures.
    Studebaker Corporation.
    Union Pacific Railroad Company.
    United Artists Corporation.
    Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909 : Seattle, Wash.)--Photographs.
    California Pacific International Exposition (1935-1936 : San Diego, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Fiesta de las Flores, Los Angeles, Calif.--Photographs.
    La Fiesta de Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905 : Portland, Or.)--Photographs.
    Olympic Games (10th : 1932 : Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, Calif.--Photographs.


    Avalon (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Beverly Hills (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Burbank (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Chinatown (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    California--Gold discoveries--Photographs.
    Compton (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Culver City (Calif.)--Photographs.
    El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Glendale (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Hermosa Beach (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Long Beach (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Mount Washington (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Olvera Street (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Orange County (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Pasadena (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Redondo Beach (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Riverside County (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Bernardino County (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Bernardino Mountains (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Diego County (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Fernando Valley (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Gabriel Mountains (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Gabriel River Valley (Calif.)--Photographs.
    San Pedro (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Santa Catalina Island (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Santa Monica (Calif.)--Photographs.
    Venice (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Watts (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Wilmington (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Wilshire Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Ephemera.
    Wilshire Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.


    Adobe houses--California--Photographs.
    Apartment houses--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Brick trade--California--Photographs.
    Churches--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Circus wagons--Photographs.
    City halls--California--Photographs.
    Cityscapes--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Clothing trade--California--Photographs.
    Country clubs--California--Hollywood--Photographs.
    Country clubs--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Courthouses--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Department stores--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Dwellings--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Gardens--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Hotels--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Hotels--California--Riverside County--Photographs.
    Hotels--California--San Diego--Photographs.
    Hotels--California--San Francisco--Photographs.
    Indians of North America‡xPhotographs.
    Industries--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Iron industry and trade--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Irrigation--California--San Fernando Valley--Photographs.
    Manufacturing industries--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Mineral industries--Photographs.
    Motion picture industry--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Municipal buildings--California--Photographs.
    National parks and reserves--California--Photographs.
    Neighborhoods--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Newspaper buildings--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Office buildings--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Parades--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Parks--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Post offices--California--Photographs.
    Public buildings--California--Photographs.
    Restaurants--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Roads--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Schools--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Schools--California--Orange County--Photographs.
    Sports--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Steel industry and trade--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Synagogues--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Terra-cotta industry--California--Photographs.
    Trade shows--California--Photographs.
    United States--Armed Forces--Photographs.
    Universities and colleges--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Universities and colleges--California--Riverside County--Photographs.

    Document Types:


    Restrictions on Access

    Access is granted to qualified researchers and by appointment.

    Restrictions on Use

    All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington 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.

    Preferred Citation

    Preferred citation: photCL 400 volume 1, Historical Society of Southern California Collection of Photographs by Subject, circa 1850s-1982 (bulk 1860s-1930s).

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Huntington by the Historical Society of Southern California, 1992. The collection is composed of donations made to the Historical Society. The names of some donors whose contributions are particularly well represented in the collection include Barbara Paul, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence J. Dixon, Groff, Lawry, Piazza, Gregg Layne, Flora Houston, Otto J. Zahn, the Sabichi Family, J.M. Guinn, location scouting shots for Selznick International Pictures from J.B. Doan; photographs depicting San Fernando Valley irrigation donated by Emmet Hayes; the Derkum Family, Tom LaBelle, Veda Kemper; the Los Angeles Historical Society; and items from the Society of California Pioneer's Charles P. Turrill Collection.

    Processing Information

    The collection was partly organized by Huntington volunteers in the mid 1990s. In May to September 2006, Jessica Gambling reorganized, numbered, and rehoused the collection and created and encoded this finding aid.
    A.S. Addis, Chihuahua
    Acme Photo
    Ad Photo Service
    Anderson, Richard O.
    Anson, Jerry A.
    Asher's Photo Studio
    Avery, Sid
    Baker, Viroque
    Bernard, Robert J.
    Bertrand and Company
    Black-D Photo Service
    Blair Photo Service
    Blanchard, J.B.
    Boehner, Bruce
    Broschetto Studios
    Bowser Studio
    Boxell, A.G., Avalon Studio
    Bristol, Horace
    Burt, Burton
    Butterfield, S.H.
    C.C. Pierce Co.
    California Photography and Engraving Company
    Carroll Photo Service
    Carter, Fred William
    Clifton, George F.
    Coulter, W.A.
    Craig, Schuyler
    Crandall, Pasadena
    Cromwell and Westervelt
    Cross Aerial Photo
    Dapprich, Fred R.
    Daugherty Photo
    Dean, Elmer
    Death Valley Hotel Co., Ltd.
    Deniston, Harian
    Detroit Photo Company
    "Dick" Whittington Studio
    Dickinson, W.C.
    Dunlap, Marshall S.
    E.S. Frost and Son
    Ellis and Son
    Ellis, Lemuel S.
    Fauldings Photography
    Fernekers, Frank A.
    Field Studios
    Fletcher, W.H.
    Frasher's, Pomona
    Friend, Herve
    Gallagher, William
    Garden City Foto
    Gardiner, R.H.
    George D. Haight Architectural Photographers
    Godfrey, William H.
    Graham Photo Company
    Graham, J.P.
    Grieve, Harold W.
    Hanson, Al
    Hardy, J., Pomona
    Hecht, T.E.
    Hestand, J.G.
    Hill, Andrew Putnam
    Hill, Pasadena
    Hiller's Studio
    Hoover, Thelner
    Hromatka, A.R.
    Humphries, Wilfred R.
    J.M. Hawthorne Studio
    Jackson of Denver
    Jarvis, Pasadena
    Kahle, Andrew
    Keystone Photo Service
    Knepper, Fred
    Kopec, Albert J.
    Lark, Tommy
    Lindley Eddy Studios
    Livingston Company
    Luckhaus Studio
    Lummis, Charles F.
    Maude, F.H.
    Mayer, Fred
    Mercury Photo Service
    Monroe, Walter
    Morrison, Lorrin L.
    N.H. Reed, Santa Barbara
    Newdick, A.P.
    Norton and Rollins
    O'Brien Photos
    Outland, Charles F.
    Overholt, Alma
    Padilla Studios
    Parker and Knight
    Parker, Harold A.
    Putnamn Studios
    Putnam, F.B.
    Quiller Photo
    R.L. Hurt and Company
    Rest and Company Photos
    Reyes Photo
    Reynolds, Merick Jr.
    Richardson, B.K.
    Roberts and Roberts
    Rogers, F.H.
    Rose Photo, Pasadena
    Russel Aero Photos
    Sawyer Scenic Photos
    Schilling, Frank
    Shulman, Julius
    Schumacher, Leo
    Shaw, Warren W.
    Smith, Loran F.
    Spence Airplane Photos
    Stanton, F.E.
    Streib, Art
    Sturtevant, A.
    Taber Photo, San Francisco
    Thompson and West
    Tressler Studio, Las Angeles
    Vegas Studio, Las Vegas
    Waite Photo
    Watkins, Carleton E.
    Watts, Dan P.
    Weaver, Miles Franklin
    Wesner, Michael A.
    West, H.H.
    Western Photo Company
    Williams, R.J.
    Zalenka, Felix and Nikki