Migrant Workers

University of California, Riverside, California Museum of Photography

Images of Los Angeles and its communities are preserved in the collections of the California Museum of Photography. In the immense archive of vintage stereographic negatives and prints known as the Keystone-Mast Collection are views taken between 1885 and 1960 of places, people, landmarks, industries, agriculture, and historical events in the Los Angeles region. The University Print Collection contains work by over one thousand contemporary and historical photographers. Its Los Angeles-related holdings include negatives from Ansel Adams’s Fiat Lux project which show the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the surrounding area in the 1960s; the archive of original negatives shot by photographer Will Connell in Los Angeles between the late 1920s and the early 1960s; Robert Cleveland’s photographs from the 1940s and 1950s of buildings and architecture in Los Angeles; studio photographs of children, families, entertainers, and burlesque performers taken between 1940 and 1976 at Raoul Gradvolh’s studios in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles; Kodak Cirkut camera images (10 x 39–60 in. panoramas) taken by William Amos Hanes during the early 1900s which record events and places in Los Angeles, including residential areas, sanitariums, industrial and recreational sites, and downtown; and Louis Jarvis’s photographs of leisure in Pasadena in the 1890s. The museum also has a modest collection of rare photographic books and albums dating to the early decades of the twentieth century.

California African American Museum

The California African American Museum collects, preserves, interprets, and displays materials that honor the contributions of African Americans to world history and culture. The museum’s art collection focuses on works created by African American artists from the 1800s to the present. It also includes traditional African art and contemporary art by those of the African Diaspora. The museum’s historical collection consists of documents, photographs, artifacts, and other material culture of African Americans, with an emphasis on documenting the experiences of African Americans in California and the American West from the late 1900s to the present. In the museum’s archival collection are books, periodicals, research materials, audio recordings, videos, vintage films, and other artifacts relating to African Americans. Materials specific to Los Angeles are found in the Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection, which contains images depicting African American subjects in Los Angeles from the 1880s to the 1970s collected by California’s first African American librarian; the Vassie D. Wright Collection, which consists of African American literary and historical works donated by the founder and the members of the local Our Authors Study Club; the Walter Burrell Collection, which comprises audio recordings of Burrell’s interviews with African American celebrities, which were broadcast by a local radio station in the early 1970s; and the oral histories collected from Celes King, a member of the family that owned the Dunbar Hotel, local civil rights activist, and former Tuskegee airman, and from John Outterbridge, a visual artist who has been based in Los Angeles since the 1960s and is renowned for his assemblages and for his mentoring of younger artists.

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is the oldest section of Los Angeles. Its twenty-seven historic buildings clustered around an old plaza range in architectural style from an adobe dwelling of 1818 to a Spanish-style church of 1926. Four of the buildings have been restored as museums. A brochure describing the buildings is available at the Information Desk in the Plaza or at the El Pueblo Visitors’ Center in the Sepulveda House. El Pueblo’s docent organization, Las Angelitas del Pueblo, provides free tours to groups (Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–1 pm; call 213-628-1274). El Pueblo’s archaeological collection consists of artifacts uncovered during excavations in the El Pueblo area since 1972. Dating from the indigenous or Native American period (before 1781), the Spanish colonial era (1781–1821), the Mexican era (1821–1848), and the first century of the American era (1850s–1940s), these artifacts include numerous “trash pit” shards such as animal bones, household goods, tools, bottles, and ceramics. El Pueblo also holds a range of archival materials relating to the site and its history.

Travel Town Museum

The Travel Town Museum preserves and celebrates the railroad heritage of the western United States—its history and its artifacts. Particular emphasis is placed on the role that railroads played in the development of Southern California and the Los Angeles region. The museum’s railroad equipment collection comprises locomotives, freight cars, cabooses, passenger cars, and motorcars, most of which operated in Southern California at one time. This collection is on display year-round outdoors at 5200 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. The museum’s archives and photographic collection are located at 3900 West Chevy Chase Drive in Griffith Park. The photographic collection documents the history of the railroad equipment held by the museum as well as the history of railroading in Southern California generally. In the museum’s archives are personal collections of material culture donated by retired engineers, firemen, brakemen, stewards, and other railroad employees. Railroading crosses cultural, racial, and gender lines.

California State University, Northridge, Delmar T. Oviatt Library, Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives in the Oviatt Library is the home of CSUN's rare book and periodical collections, as well as its archival and manuscript collections. Archival and manuscript collections can consist of many different kinds of materials, including correspondence, diaries, maps, university records, organizational records, photographs, and audio or video recordings. The department is comprised of several areas within the Oviatt Library which were independently established between 1973 and 1996. Special Collections was established in 1973 to house the Library’s manuscripts, rare books, periodicals, maps, prints, and art. Special Collections holds over 35,000 cataloged items and 150 manuscript and archival collections which support the University's curriculum, as well as the research interests of faculty and students on campus. In addition to supporting curricular needs at California State University, Northridge, collecting is focused on several topical areas including American literature, California and the West, children's literature, the history of printing and publishing, human sexuality, music, 19th and 20th century Europe, radio and television scripts, religion, theater and motion pictures, and United States history. The Urban Archives was established in 1979 through the efforts of university faculty, concerned community organizations, and civic leaders. Its purpose is to collect historically significant records of voluntary associations, local political figures, prominent citizens, and civic leaders which have contributed to the growth of Los Angeles County, and influenced government and public thinking since the beginning of the late nineteenth century. The collections document urban development in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, education, journalism in Southern California, labor and guild history, minority and ethnic studies, politicians and political movements, social service and women in Los Angeles. The University Archives is the repository for the historical papers of California State University, Northridge's administration, Faculty Senate, schools and departments, and student activities on campus. The International Guitar Research Archives (IGRA) was founded in 1980, and now holds one of the world’s largest collections of guitar sheet music, especially works for solo guitar, ensemble pieces for multiple guitars, and ensemble pieces for guitar and other instruments. IGRA also holds accompanying resources documenting the lives and careers of numerous guitarists and professional associations, as well as other guitar-related materials. The Old China Hands Archives was established in 1996 to preserve and publicize the heritage of the many people from other countries and cultures who have resided and worked in China. The Archives holds a growing collection of materials generously donated by former Old China Hands, including correspondence, diaries, photographs, postcards, books, periodicals, newspapers, and other materials.

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.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics is an educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents, and exhibits domestic and international poster art. The Center’s domestic and international collection of more than 90,000 political posters dates from the early 20th century to the present, and includes the largest collection of post World War II political posters in the United States. The posters are produced in a variety of artistic mediums— offset, silk screen, lithography, woodblock, linocut, stencil, photocopy, and computer-generated prints. The collection is focused on international, domestic, and Los Angeles-specific human rights issues, with an emphasis on progressive movements in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Poster topics include the women’s movement, racism, peace, apartheid, labor, liberation theology, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, immigrants’ rights, children’s rights, and ecology. Between one and two thousand posters are acquired annually, primarily through donation. Approximately half of these are given by collectors in Los Angeles and reflect the diverse political interests of the donors. This has yielded a collection that, in part, documents important but often underrepresented aspects of local history and life in the Los Angeles area. The collection contains approximately three thousand human rights and protest posters produced in Los Angeles from 1965 to the present. The earliest of these came out of the Watts Uprising of 1965, while the more recent posters not only reflect prevailing concerns but commemorate older events, such as the U.S. government’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Altogether, the posters illustrate the commitment of many Los Angeles-based artists, organizations, and individuals to a variety of social and political issues over the last five decades.

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).

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Archival Center

The Archival Center that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles built at the San Fernando Mission and opened in 1980 is a measured response to the church's obligation to collect and preserve records associated with the human activities constituting California's Catholic heritage. The facility houses papers, documents, correspondence, and related materials generated since 1840 by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and its antecedent jurisdictions. The Center's archives include numerous photographic collections and various image holdings that number in the hundreds of thousands. The center's library presently comprises about fifteen thousand books primarily on California history, American Catholic history, bibliography, archives, and archivism. Eleven digests of the center's archival documents have been published, and more than ten thousand of the library's books are classified and described in The Literary High Spots of Mission Hills, California (1998). Various objects from the center's holdings are on exhibit in the center's Historical Museum. It is the "hope and prayer" of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles "that the books, documents, manuscripts, and historical memorabilia housed at the Archival Center will become the means for as-yet-unborn generations to stand taller upon the shoulders of their predecessors."

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.