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Finding Aid for the John C. Austin Papers, ca. 1890-1963
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Processing Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John C. Austin Papers
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1890-1963
    Collection number: 904
    Creator: Austin, John C. W. (John Corneby Wilson) 1870-1963
    Extent: 7 boxes (3.5 linear feet) 8 oversize boxes
    Abstract: John Corneby Wilson Austin (1870-1963) was a 20th century Los Angeles architect. He designed and supervised the construction of the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, California State Building, St. Vincent's Hospital, Griffith Observatory, and St. Paul's Church. In conjunction with two other firms, Austin helped design and supervise the building of Los Angeles City Hall. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and printed material.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

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

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library 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 of Mrs. J.C. Austin, 1964.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John C. Austin Papers (Collection 904). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230339 


    John Corneley Wilson Austin (1870-1963) was born in Bodicote near Oxfordshire, England on February 13, 1870. He arrived in the United States in 1890 and settled in San Francisco. In 1895, Austin moved to Los Angeles where he became a renowned architect and member of the Los Angeles civic community. Austin served as a senior member of the architectural and engineering firm of Austin, Field & Fry. The collection contains photographs, ephemera, and documents relating to his work as an architect and his participation in Los Angeles civic organizations. Austin's civic and professional duties included the following:
    • Board of Directors
    • First Methodist Church; President Roosevelt's Labor Mediation Board
    • State Legislative Advisory Committee on Defense and Employment
    • Trustee of County Art Institute President of Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles
    • Organizer of Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce construction industries department
    • Jonathan Club member; joined in 1903
    • President of club (1916-17)
    • President and member of the Scribes
    • President and member of the Historical Society of Southern California
    • Member of the Lincoln Club and Town Hall
    • 32nd Degree Mason
    • Member of Al Malaikah Shrine (Shrine Auditorium)
    At the time of his death on September 3, 1963, Austin was survived by his wife, Dorothy, and seven children: sons William G. Austin of San Diego, and Harold M. Austin of Canoga Park; and daughters Mrs. Marjorie A. Fry of Pasadena, Gwendolen Austin of Los Angeles, Mrs. Violet H. Stauffer of New York City, Mrs. Angela M. Olcott of Villanova, Pennsylvania, and Mrs. Phyllis J. Keithley of Bishop. In addition, Austin had fourteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of scrapbooks and photographs chronicling Austin's career achievements and civic participation in Los Angeles, as well as business and personal correspondence. Among the collection are materials on the Shrine Auditorium, Griffith Observatory, UCLA, the Jonathan Club, and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. The collection also includes ephemera from Los Angeles and Pasadena theaters and playhouses, as well as some film ephemera.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into the following series:
    1. Correspondence, 1904-1963
    2. Photographs, ca. 1890-1963
    3. Printed material and ephemera
    4. Theater and film ephemera, 1930-1950

    Processing Note

    Collection processed by Erika Perez, with assistance from Elizabeth Sheehan, 2006.
    Material had been roughly sorted by physical type in the late-1960s, but was unfoldered. In fall 2006, the collection was arranged, described, and rehoused at the folder level in the Center for Primary Research and Training.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Austin, John C. W. (John Corneby Wilson), 1870-1963--Archives.
    Architects--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.