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Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives, ca. 1918-1990
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives
    Collection number: 1429
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1528.4 linear feet (3446 boxes, 750 shoeboxes)
    Date (inclusive): ca. 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.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through our electronic paging system using the request button located on this page.
    Creator: Los Angeles Times (Firm).

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through our electronic paging system using the request button located on this page.
    Nitrate negatives are restricted from use.

    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 or quote must be submitted in writing to the UCLA Library Special Collections Librarian 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.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233338 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of the Times Mirror Company, 1983-1995

    Processing Information

    Prints processed by Manuscripts Division staff. Front matter updated by Courtney Dean, 2017.


    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 (ca. 1918-1932), nitrate negatives (1930-ca. 1948), safety negatives (ca. 1935-1990), and working prints and wire service photos (ca. 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. Negatives arranged numerically.
    2. Prints arranged alphabetically.
    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.

    Related Material

    Los Angeles Times Photographs Collection  available through UCLA Library Digital Collections.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

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