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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Alternative Forms of Material
  • Processing History
  • Processing Note
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Bibliography

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Title: Hugh R. McMillan photographs
    Creator: McMillan, Hugh R.
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.035
    Physical Description: 1.6 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1940-1974
    Date (bulk): 1948-1955
    Abstract: This collection consists of approximately 3000 black and white photographic negatives of Newport Beach and surrounding areas of Orange County, California in the mid-20th century taken by local historian Hugh R. McMillan.
    Language of Material: English .


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
    Digital material is provided for private study, scholarship, or research. Transmission or reproduction of any material protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. The authors or their heirs retain their copyrights to the material. For further information, or if you believe you are the copyright owner of any materials contained within this collection, please contact the University of California, Irvine Libraries, Special Collections and Archives at spcoll@uci.edu.

    Preferred Citation

    Hugh R. McMillan photographs. MS-R035. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Hugh R. McMillan, 1997.

    Alternative Forms of Material

    The digital files in this collection can be searched and accessed through Calisphere .

    Processing History

    Processed by Alix Norton, 2012.

    Processing Note

    The digital files in this collection were produced in two separate digitization projects. In the first project, negatives were selected from the collection and scanned. These scans were numbered based on the negative's physical location in the original film boxes, followed by a unique identifying number. These unique identifying numbers were assigned sequentially. In the second project, additional negatives from the collection were selected for digitization and the scans were numbered accordingly.


    Hugh R. McMillan (1916-2000) was a historian, journalist, dispatcher, and photographer in Newport Beach, California. He was also an avid fisherman and self-proclaimed "beach rat" who lived his entire life near the ocean. His photographs and writings about Newport Beach provide a unique perspective on the growing beach town in the 20th century.
    Hugh McMillan was born in 1916 in Newport Beach, California. His grandfather built the second house on the Newport peninsula. His father owned a local fishing tackle shop where Hugh spent time as a boy, listening to the stories and adventures of anglers in the area. He developed a passion for fishing at a young age which lasted throughout his life. In the 1920s, he explored every part of the small town of Newport Beach and the back bay with his friends. Hugh was part of Newport Harbor High School's first graduating class in the 1930s.
    After serving in the Army in World War II, McMillan started his career as a journalist and photographer. In 1953, he was hired by Arvo Haapa as a reporter and photographer for the Ensign newspaper. He later became a dispatcher for the Newport Beach Fire Department, a position that made use of his knowledge of each road in the growing city.
    In the 1970s he retired to pursue his love of photography and writing. Beach Rat Days, published by the Newport Harbor Ensign in 1973, details what it was like to grow up in Newport Beach and see its growth from a small town to a bustling beach city. Soon after writing this memoir, he compiled many photographs from his personal collection and published Beach Rat Pix. It includes photos of grunion hunting, deep sea fishing, and local events around Newport Bay from the early 1900s to the 1970s. Hugh McMillan passed away in 2000, having lived his entire life in Newport Beach and leaving a legacy as one of the city's most prominent and beloved historians.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection consists of about 3000 black and white photographic negatives taken by Hugh McMillan in the late 1940s and 1950s. Most of the photos were taken in and around Newport Beach while McMillan worked as a journalist and photographer for the local Ensign newspaper. This collection, along with McMillan's two memoirs Beach Rat Days and Beach Rat Pix, capture a unique perspective of the early days of Orange County's beach town and its evolution into a thriving city and tourist destination.
    McMillan's passion for sport fishing is reflected in the hundreds of photos of anglers in Newport Beach and their catches of albacore, yellowtail, marlin, barracuda, and sea bass. The collection also includes numerous photos of boats, mostly fishing vessels, in Newport Bay and out at sea. Important Newport Beach establishments are featured, such as Balboa Fun Zone, Hoag Memorial Hospital, Newport Pier, Downtown Balboa, and the Cannery, as well as well-known events like the Flight of the Snowbirds race in Newport Bay, Pirate Days celebrations, midnight grunion hunting, and the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree in Irvine Ranch. The scenes of the beach and harbor show what everyday Newport Beach life was like in the 1950s, and the aerial photographs show the growing beach town from a bird's eye view.
    Digital images are available for research at Calisphere .

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection consists of three components:
    • Original negatives selected for digitization
    • Original negatives not selected for digitization
    • Digital images
    As a result of a digitization project, the negatives selected for digitization are housed in a separate box than the negatives that were not selected.


    For more information about Hugh R. McMillan and his photographs, see:
    McMillan, Hugh R. Beach Rat Pix of Hugh R. McMillan. Newport Beach, Calif: s.n, 1975.
    McMillan, Hugh R. Beach Rat Days of Hugh R. McMillan. Newport Beach, CA: Newport Harbor Ensign, 1973.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Fishing -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Coasts -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Bathing beaches -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Beaches -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Newport Bay (Calif.) -- Photographs
    Balboa Island (Newport Beach, Calif.) -- Photographs
    Boats and boating -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Boy Scouts -- California -- Orange County -- Photographs
    Sailboats -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Newport Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs
    Harbors -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Women fishers -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs
    Fishers -- California -- Newport Beach -- Photographs