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Guide to the J. Paul Getty Collected Photographs and Postcards of Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1857-1940
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Container List


Series I.  Photographic prints

Scope and Content Note

This series comprises black-and-white photographs of early California (1857-1940s). J. Paul Getty collected these images; they reflect his interest in Los Angeles and the coastal region of Santa Monica and Malibu. The bulk of the images trace the development of Los Angeles from a small pueblo to a bustling city and show the Santa Monica coastline, canyons, and mountains prior to their development. The collection also contains several photographs of waterfront communities and resorts to the north and south of Los Angeles, a few shots of California missions, and one of the Redwoods. Within this series are also a few photographs of New York City and a photograph of an unidentified weightlifting competition.
Many of the photographs in this collection were originally collected by Charles C. Pierce (1861-1946). Several photographs in this collection are attributed to Adelbert Bartlett (1887-1966).
This series contains approximately 186 black-and-white photographic prints (plus four duplicates) ranging from 5 x 7 to 8 x 10 inches in size.
Please Note: Photographic negatives have been created from some of the prints. The negatives are housed in box 1986.AI.29-3.

Arrangement note

The photographs in this series are arranged in binders by geographic region, divided by tabs. They are arranged chronologically within each geographic region. Their original order has been retained.
Box 1986.IA.29-01

Long Beach "Bathing beauties," 1900

Physical Description: (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-02

Los Angeles, 1857-1930

Physical Description: (83 photographs, 8 x 10 inches and 2 photographs, 6 x 8 inches)

Scope and Content Note

These photographs depict street scenes from locations in the heart of Los Angeles. Most of them bear captions written by J. Paul Getty describing cross streets and vantage points. Some of the buildings and events noted are Central High School (labeled as Los Angeles High School), the residence of Able Stearns, a Main Street parade, Pico House, Fort Moore Hill, San Pedro, Washington Gardens, Opening day of cable car service (June 8, 1889), Hamburger's (People's) Store, Hotel Westminster, Mason Opera House, Hotel Angeles, Blanchard Hall, Pacific Electric building, Call Building (burning on April 18, 1906), Los Angeles Furniture Company, Hotel Alexandria, Hotel Lankershim, and Los Angeles Plaza. The oldest images are two photographs of what appear to be sketches of Los Angeles (1857 and 1864).
Box 1986.IA.29-02

Missions San Luis Rey, Santa Inéz, and San Antonio de Pádua, undated

Physical Description: (3 photographs, 5 x 7 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-02

New York City: 5th Avenue, Delmonico's, and the Vanderbilt residence, circa 1876-1920

Physical Description: (3 photographs, 8 x 10 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-01

Ocean Park: pier, beach, bath house, and La Monica Ballroom, 1890-1926

Physical Description: (7 photographs ranging from 5 x 7 to 8 x 10 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-01

Playa del Rey, 1908

Physical Description: (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-02

Redwoods of Cathedral Grove, circa 1900s

Physical Description: (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-01

Santa Monica and neighboring areas, 1875-1940 and undated

Physical Description: (67 photographs, ranging from 5 x 7 to 8 x 10 inches)

Scope and Content Note

These photographs focus on the coastlines, canyons, landscapes, and cityscapes of Santa Monica, Malibu, and Pacific Palisades. Hand-written captions include references to the Santa Monica Hotel, Hotel Arcadia, Las Flores Inn, Santa Monica Beach Club, the Lighthouse Café, bath houses, Santa Monica Pier, Southern Pacific Long Wharf, Santa Monica Bank, Ocean View Avenue, the stage road, fishermen's villages, road racers, Miramar Hotel, Miramar Estates opening, Castellemare, Castle Rock, and Arch Rock. They also include one photograph of what appears to be a photogravure depicting Santa Monica Pier and surrounding area in 1880; one photograph of a collage of the Southern Pacific Long Wharf; and one photograph of a sketch of Santa Monica Hotel.
Significant to Getty history are 1927 and 1929 photographs of Claude Parker's Ranch and the surrounding hills, the current site of the Getty Ranch House and Villa Museum in Malibu.
Box 1986.IA.29-01

Topanga Canyon and the Outside Inn, circa 1918

Physical Description: (10 photographs, 5 x 7 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-01

Venice: pier, swimmers, and aerial view of city, 1905-1918

Physical Description: (7 photographs, ranging from 6 x 8 to 8 x 10 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-02

Weightlifting competition, circa 1920s

Physical Description: (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)

Series II.  Postcards

Scope and Content Note

This series primarily consists of a set of 17 non-photographic postcards measuring 3 x 4.5 inches, printed in sepia on vanilla cardstock, collected by J. Paul Getty in a scrapbook entitled "Los Angeles and Vicinity." The postcards were published in 1885 by Wittemann Bros. of New York. The postcards portray typical images of early California, including Los Angeles area streets, beaches, harbors, native vegetation, a vineyard, and a few missions. The first card is twice the size of the others and depicts a broad view of the city of Los Angeles, including Central High School and the Court House. Also included in this series is the embossed cover of the original scrapbook in which the set of California postcards were collected and one unrelated color photogravure of the Cháteau de Pierrefonds, France.

Arrangement note

The original order of the postcards has been retained.
Box 1986.IA.29-03, Folder 1

Scrapbook cover: "Los Angeles and Vicinity," undated

Box 1986.IA.29-03, Folder 2

California postcards, 1885

Physical Description: (16 postcards, 3 x 4.5 inches and 1 postcard, 3 x 9 inches)
Box 1986.IA.29-03, Folder 3

Château de Pierrefonds postcard, undated

Physical Description: (1 color photogravure, 10.5 x 5.25 inches)