Community Service Organizations

Loyola Marymount University, Dept. of Archives & Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library

The Department of Archives and Special Collections, of the Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University, acquires, organizes, and opens to research, primary source materials in the arts, humanities, education, and religion. Collection strengths center on rare books, ranging in date from incunabula to the present, including Los Angeles history, religion, and culture; historical manuscript collections, especially those related to the political, cultural, and religious history of Los Angeles and Southern California; postcard collections; audiovisual collections; university records, and art and artifacts. Within the over 12,000 volumes of its rare book holdings, English literature of the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries is emphasized, as well as other areas such as Jesuitica, which includes some of the earliest histories of California, and book collections of Californio families such as the del Valles. Manuscript holdings are especially strong in documenting the history of the Los Angeles’ urban development, with the Fritz Burns and Daniel Freeman papers; of important Roman Catholic families in Los Angeles, such as the Workmans and Dockweilers; and of the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, including, for example, the papers of Hollywood producers Arthur P. Jacobs and Samuel Z. Arkoff. The University Archives document the history of Los Angeles’ oldest chartered institution of learning and contain materials from the 1860s to the present. The audiovisual collections document Los Angeles politics and social and cultural history. The department’s million postcard collection provides additional sources for the study of Los Angeles as well as cultural and architectural history of locales world-wide, and of the history of the postcard itself. The holdings in art and artifacts range from Japanese woodblocks and prints to German Expressionist art to movie props to religious vestments used during the Californio era.

Santa Monica Public Library

The Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives contain historical photographs, postcards, and slides documenting the city's changing landscape and architecture as well as the commercial enterprises that shaped the development of the City of Santa Monica. The Archives include surrounding areas such as Pacific Palisades, Venice and Malibu among others. As early as 1875, Santa Monica's beaches attracted visitors from other areas, making tourism and transportation key local industries. The Archives include many images of resort hotels, bathhouses, amusement piers, the Long Wharf (intended Port of Los Angeles), Southern Pacific Railroad, and Douglas Aircraft, along with bearchgoers, shopkeepers, classes of schoolchildren, founding families, Spanish land grant holders, and other historically significant people. All of the Archives' images are available in digitized format on the web from the Library's digital collection site, Imagine Santa Monica, http://digital.smpl.org. The Library has the Santa Monica Outlook newspaper (1875- 1998) available on microfilm at the Main Library. Early years of the Outlook (1875-1920) are also available from the Imagine Santa Monica site. The Library's staff has selectively indexed and annotated articles published in the newspaper between 1950 and 1998. Since the demise of the Outlook, the Library's staff has indexed the local information published in the weekly "Our Times" section of the Los Angeles Times and is currently indexing the Santa Monica Mirror. Both are also available on microfilm. The newspaper indexes are available online from Imagine Santa Monica, http://digital.smpl.org.

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The Library has a large collection of manuscripts, printed books and periodicals, photographs, maps and ephemera relating to Los Angeles. Topical areas of particular importance, with examples of archival collections, are: (1) politics, government, and legal history of Los Angeles (papers of Fletcher Bowron, John Anson Ford, Kenneth Hahn, Edmund Edelman, John Dustin Bicknell, Henry William O'Melveny; Marie Koenig collection documenting political conservatism; Los Angeles Area Court Records, 1850-1894); (2) economic development and business (papers of Henry Edwards Huntington, Abel Stearns, Benjamin Davis Wilson, James De Barth Shorb; records of the Banning Company, Newhall Ranch and Land Company); (3) ethnic groups (papers of You Chung Hong, Harold Bruce Forsythe, Loren Miller, Joseph Rickard/First Negro Classic Ballet); (4) architecture and urban planning (photographic and other architectural collections of Maynard L. Parker, B.D. Jackson, C.C. Pierce, Harold A. Parker, "Dick" Whittington Studio, Automobile Club of Southern California, William M. Clarke; Foss Designing and Building Co., Wallace Neff, Morgan, Walls & Clements and James Dolena Collections; Southern California Edison photographs and papers); (5) tourism and recreation (photographic collection of Henry Greenwood Peabody; papers and photographs of William Henry Thrall, Warren Lee Rogers; Automobile Club of Southern California Collection, Eugene Swarzwald Pictorial California and the Pacific Collection); (6) literature, arts, and journalism (papers of Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, Paul Conrad, Jack Smith, Al Martinez, Lynden Ellsworth Behymer; Mark Taper Forum collection of scripts; Pasadena Playhouse Archive; Los Angeles Times History Center collection); (7) women's history (papers of Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, Frances Nacke Noel/Job Harriman, Clara Bradley Burdette).

Chicano Resource Center, LA County Library

The Chicano Resource Center was established in 1976 to serve the information needs of the Chicano population of Los Angeles and to make available materials related to the history and culture of the second-largest minority group in the United States. The center’s collection comprises books, journals, on-line databases, subject notebooks, videos, audiocassettes, microforms, and original documents on subjects such as immigration, the Chicano movement, mural art, folklore, health, and Mexican history. A core multimedia collection documents many aspects of Chicano history and culture. The center provides reference assistance, subject bibliographies, referral information regarding community resources and public agencies, and workshops on collection-related topics. Its activities are entirely supported by funds from the County of Los Angeles Public Library.

American Indian Resource Center, LA County Library

The American Indian Resource Center was established in 1979 by the County of Los Angeles Public Library to address information needs for and about American Indians. With over 10,000 items, AIRC is the largest collection of its kind in an American public library. Our clientele is local, national, and international. The scope of the collection is the continental U.S. and Alaska from pre-Columbian times to the present, with emphasis on California and the Southwest, tribal studies, history, current affairs, and legal issues. Because of the large volume of specialized materials, AIRC has a unique subject classification system under such categories as California Tribes, Urban Indians, American Indians in Film, Teachers' Resources, Tribal Sovereignty, Federal Indian Law, and other specific categories under general categories of history, education, economics, culture, languages, genealogy, health, law, and current affairs. In addition to books, tribal and American Indian newsletters and newspapers, government documents (some dating from the mid-1800's), theses and dissertations, audio and audio-visual materials including audio cassettes, VHS, DVD's, CD's, and 8 and 16mm films, and a Community Information section, AIRC has copies of rare materials, primarily on microfilm, usually found in academic institutions and government archives including U.S. government documents such as Indian Census Rolls dating from the 1820's, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, California Superintendency, 1849-1880, the complete set of the Records of the Indian Claims Commission 1946-1976, and others. Microfilm holdings also include 131 tribal and American Indian organization newspapers, dissertations and theses, records of Indian organizations, oral histories, rare microfilmed books, government publications, and other materials. AIRC has files of clippings about cultural practices, historic events, historic figures, and information about American Indian community issues, community organizations, and community members accumulated from 1979 to 2000. AIRC staff participate in powwows and other American Indian community events, with local American Indian organizations, colleges and universities, and local and national government institutions, all of which are continuous sources for additional materials. Because AIRC is in a public library environment, the collection is not confined by the rules and restrictions standard in academic and government institutions, providing better and easier access to the materials.

Historical Society of Long Beach

The Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) was formed in 1962 with the mission to collect, preserve, and present the city’s history. Throughout the years the HSLB has occupied many locations around the city, settling at its current location in Bixby Knolls in 2007. Operations are sustained at the HSLB by grant funding, membership dues, and community fundraising through programs and events. Collections at the HSLB include an extensive photograph collection, City Manager’s Files ranging from 1923 through 1953, maps, blueprints, city directories, and bound volumes of local newspapers including the Press-Telegram and Independent. The HSLB hosts various programs throughout the year including a recorded oral history series, an architecture and hors d’oeuvres tour, panel discussions, and a historical cemetery tour.  The storefront gallery space in Bixby Knolls is utilized to present rotating exhibitions. Past exhibits include Long Beach Remembers Pearl Harbor, Black Gold: Oil in the Neighborhood, Coming Out in Long Beach, and the current exhibit is Chrome! Cruisin’, Clubs & Drag Strips, exploring the car culture in and around Long Beach from the 1940s to the mid-1970s.

Downey Historical Society

The Downey Historical Society is located at the Downey History Center in Apollo Park. For more than thirty years, the society's all-volunteer staff has been gathering and preserving records and artifacts from and about the southeastern part of Los Angeles County. The society's collection includes original photographs from 1870 to the present (copy negatives, duplicate prints, or 35-mm slides are available for various images of historic and current events), postcards, artifacts of Downey's past, and local realia. The books, pamphlets, and periodicals in the library focus on Downey, Los Angeles County, and California. Among the subjects addressed are Native Americans, missions, archaeology, architecture, photography, biography, ethnology, and necrology. The holdings on Governor John Gateley Downey and on the aerospace industry are particularly strong. There are also directories for Los Angeles County dating back to 1871 and, on microfilm, the federal censuses of Los Angeles County from 1850 to 1920 and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the Los Angeles region. In the society's archive are a broken run of Downey newspapers from 1888 to 1917 and a complete run from 1918 to 1969. Also available are Downey school account books; insurance registers; pioneer water company records; burial and cemetery records from Downey Cemetery; Los Angeles County court dockets for the townships of Los Nietos, Downey, and Norwalk from 1873 to 1957; and Los Angeles County District Attorney's registers of arrests from 1883 to 1919.

University of California, Los Angeles, Asian American Studies Center

The Reading Room/Library of the Asian American Studies Center houses a significant archive on Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The holdings include books, documents, printed ephemera, photographs, films, paintings, and videos that chronicle the development of Asian American communities in Los Angeles and nationwide. In collaboration with Special Collections at the university’s Young Research Library, the Asian American Studies Center has established collections that preserve and provide access to hard-to-find materials donated by members of the Asian Pacific community in Southern California. The Japanese American Research Project is the largest of these collections. It contains more than one hundred groups of personal papers, several thousand responses to surveys conducted in the 1960s, approximately four hundred audiotaped oral histories, artwork created by internees during World War II, and other rare records and publications related to Japanese Americans.

UCLA Library Special Collections

Library Special Collections is the largest of the special collections units administered by the university and encompasses the following divisions: Rare Books; Manuscripts, Prints, Photographs, and Maps; Oral History; and University Archives. It acquires, organizes, preserves, and provides access to rare and unique materials in the humanities and social sciences. The holdings include three hundred thousand rare books, forty-two thousand linear feet of manuscript and archival collections, and four million photographic negatives and prints. In addition, the department’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century collections contain a variety of artifacts, audio recordings, videos, printed ephemera, oral history transcripts, phonograph records, postcards, and posters. The department acquires principally materials relating to the arts; California; area studies; ethnic studies; the history of printing, including atlases and early Italian books; and literature, including children’s books. Some of the department’s areas of specialization are Hebraica and Judaica; the history of philosophy; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies; natural resources; photography; travel and exploration; and women. The more than twenty-four hundred collections in the Department of Special Collections are managed by the divisions of. Each division’s holdings are selected or created to complement those of the other divisions. Researchers are welcome to discuss holdings at greater length with the staff.

South Pasadena Public Library, South Pasadena Historical Archives

The City of South Pasadena Historical Archives contain primarily material pertaining to the history of the South Pasadena area, with some of the material dating to before the city’s incorporation. Included are files on city buildings listed in the National Registry of Historical Landmarks, biographies of prominent government officials, city telephone directories dating back to 1885, and an extensive collection of photographs. The business, residential, and city documents in the archives range from chamber of commerce publications to records related to the history of the city’s school system.