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Finding Aid for the Robert C. Cleveland papers, 1918-1990 LSC.1808
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID

  • Title: Robert C. Cleveland papers
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1808
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 47.0 shoeboxes
    Date (inclusive): 1918-1990
    Abstract: Robert C. Cleveland, noted architectural, interior design, and commercial photographer based in Pacific Palisades, California. The collection contains items spanning his military and professional career including photographic prints, negatives, books, book manuscripts, and publications featuring his work.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    General Physical Description note: 38 document and journal boxes (19 linear feet)
    Creator: Cleveland, Robert C.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift Patricia Bloomfield and Russell R. Cleveland, 2008.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Julian Yoko Prentice and Nina Scholtz in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2009 and 2010.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert C. Cleveland papers (Collection Number 1808). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    Robert Charles Cleveland was born on April 4, 1918 in Rochelle, Illinois to Orva Myrtle Cleveland and Ralph Charles Cleveland. He attended Beloit College and was enlisted to the First Motion Picture Unit during World War II. As photographer for the 97th Bombardment (heavy) group, he photographed a tour through Italy and the Middle East.
    From his home studio in Pacific Palisades, Cleveland began a career as an architectural and commercial photographer. He wrote one of the first books about architectural photography entitled Architectural photography of house: how to take good pictures of exteriors and interiors in 1953. He photographed architecture in and around Los Angeles for homeowners, architects, the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine, Architectural Digest, and Perfect Home among other publications. His extensive commercial work included clients such as the Portland Cement Association, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Monsanto, and Fansteel.
    Cleveland died on December 12, 1991.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains Cleveland's personal papers, including World War II negatives and prints, elementary school documents, correspondence during World War II, and personal photographs. Photographic prints and negatives from his military career are also included in the collection with a series of photographs of the Middle East and Europe from 1944-1945.
    While the collection is comprised mostly of Cleveland's architectural and interior design photography in Southern California, he also has several series of photographs taken in Canada, Hawaii, and the South. Clients included architect A. Quincy Jones and actors James Cagney and Groucho Marx. Private homes, public buildings, and military sites are some of the most common subjects of his photography. Commercial clients included Fansteel, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Hollowform, and the Portland Cement Association. Some of his works involve the use of female models, many of which are portrayed provocatively. One publication in particular, The Chemical Peddler, graphically shows popular attitudes towards women in the 1960s.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into seven series:
    • I: Personal Papers
    • II: Photographic Prints
    • III: Negatives, Transparencies, and Slides
    • IV: Magazines and Brochures
    • V: Research for Travel Work
    • VI: Writings
    • VII: Books
    For both the photographic prints and negatives, the numbering system follows the original system developed by Cleveland to keep track of projects and clients. Not all of his projects are included and there are gaps in both the photographic print and negative series.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6362272 

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Robert C. Cleveland---Archives.
    Architecture photographers--California--Los Angeles--Archives.
    Magazines and Brochures
    Negatives (photographs).
    Photographic prints.
    United States. Army--Photographers--Archives.