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Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Existence and Location of Copies
  • Other Finding Aids

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive
    Creator: Los Angeles Times (Firm)
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1429
    Physical Description: 1528.4 Linear Feet (3446 boxes and 750 shoeboxes)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1918-1990
    Abstract: The Los Angeles Times was founded in 1881 and was incorporated as the Times-Mirror Company in 1884. The collection consists of photonegatives as well as photographic prints documenting events and people in Southern California, the U. S., and the world. The material originates from the Los Angeles Times newspaper and includes glass negatives (circa 1918-1932), nitrate negatives (circa 1925-45), and safety negatives (circa 1935-present). Also includes prints and negatives from the Los Angeles Times Orange County and San Diego bureaus.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research, with the following exceptions: Boxes 3701-3702 are closed until Library Preservation completes treatment of materials.
    Nitrate negatives are restricted from use.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    PORTIONS OF THIS COLLECTION HAVE BEEN DIGITIZED. See the Existence and Location of Copies note for the link to the digitized materials.

    Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

    Copyright to portions of this collection has been assigned to the UCLA Library Special Collections. The library can grant permission to publish for materials to which it holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish must be submitted in writing to Library Special Collections. Credit shall be given as follows: The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the UCLA Library Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive (Collection 1429). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of the Times Mirror Company, 1983-1995.

    Processing Information

    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    Prints processed by Manuscripts Division staff. Review and cleanup of negative indexes by Courtney Dean, 2014-2016.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233338 


    The Los Angeles Times was founded as the Los Angeles Daily Times on December 4, 1881 by Nathan Cole Jr. and Thomas Gardiner. The following year Cole and Gardiner relinquished ownership of the newspaper to its printer, the Mirror Printing Office and Book Bindery. Harrison Gray Otis was hired as editor in 1882 and the paper quickly became a financial success.
    In 1884 Otis and his partner H. H. Boyce purchased the Times and Mirror properties and incorporated them as the Times-Mirror Company. Otis bought out his partner two years later. In October 1886, "Daily" was dropped from the name, and the paper became known as the Los Angeles Times. On October 1, 1910 the Times building was bombed by union leaders, resulting in the death of twenty-one people.
    The Times continued to be owned and published by Harrison Grey Otis' descendants, including son-in-law Harry Chandler (publisher, 1917-1944); grandson Norman Chandler (1944-1960); and great-grandson Otis Chandler (1960-1980). Despite fierce competition amongst local newspapers, the Los Angeles Times became the city's leading newspaper in the mid-1940s. In the 1960s, the paper won four Pulitzer Prizes.
    In 1948 the Times launched the afternoon tabloid the Los Angeles Mirror, which absorbed the Los Angeles Daily News in 1954 and ceased publication in 1962. The Times-Mirror Company was also an original owner of Los Angeles television station KTTV which debuted in January 1949.
    The Chandler family continued to own the Times until June 2000, when the Tribune Company acquired Times Mirror, and the Los Angeles Times became a Tribune Publishing Newspaper. In 2016, it is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the United States.

    Scope and Content

    The collection dates from circa 1918 to 1990 and provides a record of major world events, what the Times considered as significant news in the moment. The scope of its contents is near-comprehensive as a document of events, personalities, movements, and institutions in the news. The collection contains images of scandals and crimes from the Fatty Arbuckle trial (1921) to the Munich Massacre (1972); coverage of wars from WWII through Vietnam and the wars in the Gulf region; disasters and tragedies from the Hindenburg explosion (1937) to the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster and Chernobyl (1986). Advances in science are recorded, from the first open-heart surgery (1952) to the first moon landing (1969) and the first test-tube baby (1978), as well as images from reporting on global social justice movements such as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, democracy movements in Eastern Europe, anti-militarist struggles in Latin America, and the U.S. civil rights movement, among others.
    Unique among its content is the amount of photographic evidence concerning the Los Angeles region during this time. The range of documentary material reflecting L.A. politics, the built environment, arts and culture, race relations, industry, growth and development is perhaps unrivaled. The photographic records resulting from the Times' diligent and constant coverage of the Hollywood entertainment industry are a particularly important cache.
    Materials include glass negatives (circa 1918-1932), nitrate negatives (1930-circa 1948), safety negatives (circa 1935-1990), and working prints and wire service photos (circa 1920-1990). The collection also includes prints and negatives from the Los Angeles Times Orange County and San Diego bureaus. Negatives are not limited to published images and include a significant amount of images which never appeared in the paper. A small number of assorted historic negatives are still in the procession of the LA Times.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Prints
    2. Glass negatives
    3. Nitrate negatives
    4. Safety negatives

    Existence and Location of Copies

    Digitized images from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive available through the UCLA Digital Library. 

    Other Finding Aids

    Negatives are searchable through paper indexes housed at the Library Special Collections reference desk on the A level of the Charles E. Young Research Library.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Negatives (photographs).
    American newspapers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archives.
    Los Angeles Times (Firm) -- Archives