1848-1899

Catalina Island Museum

The archaeological site material in the museum’s collections dates from approximately 8,000 thousand years ago to the early 1800s. This material includes artifacts from the  indigenous people known as the Tongva who were living on Catalina Island - which they called Pimu - when the Spanish arrived in 1542. Also in the collections are approximately two thousand items dating from the 1880s to the present which pertain to Catalina Island’s maritime history and local industries and to sport fishing, recreation, and tourism. Items include boat models, boat motors, fish mounts, fishing rods and reels, early paddleboards, swimsuits, postcards, and Catalina pottery and tiles. A small number of paintings and prints of historical interest are in the collections as well. The museum’s archives contain more than one hundred audiotaped oral history interviews with local residents, including many with members of the island’s Mexican American population, as well as several maps, various city and school records, a substantial ephemera collection documenting social and political activities on Catalina Island, and a very large number of photographs. Most of these holdings date to between the 1880s and the present.

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.

Autry Library and Archives

The Library and Archives of the Autry Musuem collects books, sound recordings, and printed materials related to the history, geography, fine arts, and material, popular and consumer culture of the American West. Archival materials and artifacts related to Los Angeles cover Spanish California, and Southern California history, tourism, and industry predominately from the late 1800s to mid-1900s. Archival collections document the West of the imagination and the Hollywood cowboy that include posters, scripts, press kits, fan letters, costume designs, scrapbooks, and publicity stills that document the growth of the film and television industry as well as key personalities in the field. The Library and Archives also have Southern California collections related to books and serials on tribal histories, government, and social life and customs of the native peoples, a large photo archive, more than 700 wax cylinder recordings of Mexican American and Native American songs recorded by Charles F. Lummis between 1895 and 1912 in the Southern California area, manuscript materials strong in local history and the history of American anthropology. The collection includes approximately 50,000 books and serials, 2,000 sound recordings, 3,000 maps, 147,000 photographs, 3,000 works of art on paper, and 700 manuscript collections.

The mission of the Library and Archives is to provide exemplary stewardship for our renowned collections, inspire scholarship by a multidisciplinary research community, and fuel discussion about the past, present and future of the American West. We actively connect Autry visitors to book and archive collections in exhibition galleries and public programs, through engaging outreach and diverse collaborations.

The Autry’s new, state-of-the-art collections care, research, and educational facility in Burbank is anticipated to open in late 2019/early 2020. Until then, the Autry collections are not available for outside access, including in-person research. Please visit our online collections database for information about many of the items within the collections. Sign-up for this e-mail list to receive updates about the opening of the Resources Center. We look forward to seeing you in our new home!

USC DML Rare Books and Manuscripts

Rare Books & Manuscripts oversees rare books, manuscripts, and historic photographs for the University of Southern California. In addition to its book holdings, Rare Books & Manuscripts maintains approximately two hundred collections of manuscripts, correspondence, archives, and artifacts. Among the collections related specifically to Los Angeles are the following: • Coulter’s Dry Goods: the Coulter family founded this business in down-town Los Angeles in 1878 and it flourished until the 1960s; included in the collection are a family history of B.F. Coulter, family photographs, photographs of window and counter displays, business correspondence, and news-paper clippings • Charles Leland Bagley: directories, minutes, bylaws, and correspondence that reflect the activities of band and orchestra musician, lawyer (graduate of the University of Southern California Law School, 1910–1911), and labor organizer Charles Leland Bagley (1873–1965); also in the collection are copies of the union publication Overture, which printed Bagley’s history of musical life in Los Angeles during the early decades of the twentieth century • Agua Caliente Indians (Judge Hilton McCabe): historical and legal files dating to the 1950s and 1960s that deal with the territorial claims of the Agua Caliente Indians near Palm Springs, as well as typescripts for and a copy of Golden Checkerboard, the book dealing with this subject that journalist Ed Ainsworth published in 1965 • The Scribes: rosters, minutes, bylaws, and members’ correspondence for the period 1926 to 1955 from the exclusive newspapermen’s club, which was founded in 1897 in Los Angeles • George H. Stewart: scrapbook of invitations, tickets, souvenir menus, acknowledgments, and newspaper clippings which was compiled between 1891 and 1910 by banker George H. Stewart, who was active in the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and its president in 1908 and 1909 • Library of Aeronautical History: memoirs; training manuals; photographs of aircraft, airfields, and maintenance facilities; advertising brochures; and ephemera relating to early commercial aviation in the United States, with an emphasis on Southern California, the first airmail and cargo carriers, and the Western Air Express company (founded in 1926; later Western Air Lines) • Women’s International Association of Aeronautics (WIAA): biographies of early female aviators; correspondence; photographs; memorabilia; scrapbooks; instructional materials; copies of the WIAA publication Aerogram; and the personal archives of Elizabeth L. McQueen (Mrs. Ulysses Grant McQueen, d. 1958), founder of the WIAA and the Women’s Aeronautic Association of California, and organizer of the so-called Powder Puff Derby (Women’s Air Derby) • Poets Garden: publications, letters, diaries, and memorabilia of the women’s literary group surrounding Los Angeles poet Ruth Le Prade (1895–1969), along with material relating to West Coast poet Edwin Markham (1852–1940) • Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners: business files, correspondence, and publications archive for the period 1950 to the present from the Los Angeles chapter of the Westerners, a national organization devoted to the history of the Old West • Lawrence Lipton: during the 1950s, Lawrence Lipton (1890–1975) was instrumental in the creation of Venice West as the center of the Los Angeles beat movement; in the collection are business files, tax records, correspondence, typescripts, photographs, newspaper clippings, and literary journals; audiotaped interviews, readings, and radio programs, and Lipton’s archives for his Los Angeles Free Press column, “Radio Free America,” are also included • Illuminati Press: literary publications published between 1983 and 1988 by this Los Angeles small press • Rolfe/Lennon: articles (some photocopied) on Southern Californian literature, politics, and entertainment and on Jewish subjects written by the team of journalists Lionel Rolfe (b. 1942) and Nigey Lennon (b. 1954) between 1970 and the present, along with drafts for Rolfe’s Literary L.A. (1979) • Rupert Hughes: archives of Los Angeles novelist, biographer, screenwriter, and musicologist Rupert Hughes (1872–1956), including subject files, typescripts, correspondence, published articles, and personal memorabilia • Stephen Longstreet: typescripts, galleys, and drawings for books published by novelist, screenwriter, and art historian Stephen Longstreet (b. 1907), who taught creative writing at the University of Southern California between 1975 and 1980 • Henry Z. Osborne: miscellaneous papers relating to the Osborne family’s business and real estate activities in Los Angeles between 1900 and 1920; Californians twice elected Henry Zenas Osborne (1848–1923) to the U.S. House of Representatives • James Arkatov: approximately two hundred black-and-white images of classical conductors and soloists photographed in concert by Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist James Arkatov between 1950 and 1980.

Ebell of Los Angeles

Yearbooks, newsletters and bulletins, scrapbooks describing club activities and philanthropic activities spanning the years from 1894 through the present. Furnishings, artworks including paintings and sculpture, clocks, textiles and costumes.

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.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Photography Department

In the photography collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are approximately fifty-five hundred fine prints spanning the history of the medium, with an emphasis on post-World War II American photography. This collection includes one of the largest holdings of vintage Edward Weston prints in the world, as well as important works by Thomas Barrow, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Heinecken, William Henry Jackson, Alfred Stieglitz, and Karl Struss. In 1985, with the institution of the Ralph M. Parsons Acquisitions Fund, the Photography Department began purchasing significant twentieth-century photographs by Walker Evans, André Kertész, Barbara Kruger, László Moholy-Nagy, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, Minor White, and others. The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection of Photographic Self-Portraits, which contains more than one hundred forty images, was added to the collection in 1993. Forty celebrity portraits have been given to the museum by the Hollywood Photographers Archive, and a substantial holding of the work of George Hurrell and Clarence Sinclair Bull was received in 1995; both of these gifts complement the museum’s resources on the history of the movie industry. The department continues to acquire both vintage and contemporary work.

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.

Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park

The Museum exhibits American Indian cultural materials, primarily focused on cultures of the Southwestern, Great Basin and Californian culture regions, which were connected by a major trade route from circa 4,000 BP. One of the largest collections is from the California coast and Channel Islands. Seven thousand artifacts are represented, ranging in age from 8-9,000 BP to ethnographic/historic times.