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Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, 1947-1998 (bulk 1947-1957)

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Nadel (Leonard) Photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles
Series I. Projects related to housing and urban redevelopment, 1947-1998, undated 3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Series I.A. Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, 1948-1997, undated 1.5 Linear Feet
Leonard Nadel photographs for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, 1948-1997

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) was established in 1938 by City of Los Angeles Resolution No. 1241. HACLA is one of the oldest public housing authorities in the United States, and currently one of the largest. Agencies such as HACLA grew out of the federal Housing Act of 1937 (P.L. 75-412). Under the terms of the act, public housing was to be built and owned by state-chartered and locally governed public housing authorities (PHAs). While public housing was built with federal funding, it was meant to be sustained by tenant rents, which meant that tenant income levels had to be high enough to cover the rents charged. However, there was a cap on tenant income to keep public housing from competing with the private market. Nevertheless, the populations of early public housing developments were frequently made up of white working-class or middle-class families. The Housing Act also stipulated that an unsafe or unsanitary housing unit had to be eliminated for each new unit built. This provision gave rise to the practice that became known as "slum clearance."
In 1940, the Lanham Act stopped the building of low-rent of public housing in order to create housing for defense workers, and also gave such workers priority for existing public housing units. The Housing Act of 1949 (P.L. 81-171) resumed the low-rent public housing program. While the resultant federal policy goal was to provide "a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family," it also authorized the Urban Renewal program which codified the slum clearance policy of the 1937 Federal Housing act. It also stipulated that communities were required to give preference for public housing units to families displaced by urban renewal. These changes – a lower income threshold and the need to those displaced by slum clearance - meant that the populations of housing projects began to shift from white families to families of color. Nadel's photographic documentation begins at this early post-war moment when the demographics of Los Angeles public housing was beginning to shift.
The bulk of the subseries comprises negatives, contact prints, annotated envelopes, and notes produced by Nadel as a documentary photographer for HACLA. From aerial and panoramic views to close-range shots, Nadel documented not only the physical environment and buildings, but also their inhabitants. A good portion of the material focuses on individual families or tenants, affording a very personal portrait of slum and project life in post-war Los Angeles. In addition to documentation of public housing projects such as Avalon Gardens, Ramona Gardens, Basilone Homes, and the unrealized Elysian Park Heights project, the subseries also contains extensive documentation of Los Angeles slum areas, particularly those near downtown.
Among the other HACLA-related material is a copy of There's Nothing Sentimental About Your Cash Register, which consolidates HACLA's 8th, 9th, and 10th annual reports with accompanying photographs, and a copy of And Ten Thousand More, the 1949 University of Southern California student film produced for HACLA. Also included is a small amount of material related to Frank Wilkinson, the assistant director of HACLA; planning meetings of city officials and architects, including Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, and Lloyd Wright; tours; hearings; and conferences. See Series II for Nadel's extensive documentation of the Pueblo del Rio and Aliso Village projects.
Arrangement
Arrangement is chronological by project or topic, with obviously related material, mostly undated, occasionally included in a grouping. Nadel's original grouping of material within each envelope is retained. The envelopes often contain a mixture of subjects and projects, and each group is therefore classified according to the preponderance of the visual materials contained within it. However, the notes on these envelopes and the accompanying note cards do not always reflect the subject matter of the negatives and prints contained in them.
box folder
13 1 The 8th, 9th, and 10th consolidated annual report of the Housing Authority of Los Angeles, 1948 1 reports
Spiral-bound annual report titled There's Nothing Sentimental about your Cash Register. Research by Los Angeles City Planning Commission and Los Angeles City Health Department. Photographs by Leonard Nadel, Thomas Barnett, Helen Brush, Los Angeles Daily News, Gene Daniels, Tyler Redd, Julius Shulman, Spence Air Photos, and Louis Clyde Stoumen.
box folder
14 1 And Ten Thousand More, 1949 1 item
And Ten Thousand More

The title of the film And Ten Thousand More refers to the number of new housing units that were needed in Los Angeles when the film was made in 1951. It was produced by HACLA as an argument for the financing of low-income public housing. The storyline records a newspaper reporter's visits to the slums in central Los Angeles and contrasts the conditions he finds there with those of the city's pre–World War II era housing projects. Directors/Producers: Algernon G. Walker, Gene Petersen. Narrator: Chet Huntley. Cast: Harold C. Hillhouse.
The original [?] film was reformatted as a vidoecassette in 1997. Videocassette labeled: University of Southern California Student Film And Ten Thousand More (1949) First Amendment Foundation. Narrated by Chet Huntley. Edited by Edward Lybeck and Frank Wilkinson.
Slums, 1948-1952, undated
Includes extensive documentation of slum areas in and near downtown Los Angeles, often by specific street address. Note cards include information regarding names of occupants, family composition, wages earned, rents paid, and living conditions.
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1 1 Mixed use areas (industrial and housing), 1948 August 31 items (30 negatives, 1 envelope)
Views of housing in downtown Los Angeles, housing situated in close proximity to construction zones and industrial areas, and possibly scenes in Chávez Ravine. On envelope: Chávez Ravine / Industrial congestion / (Housing report).
1 2 Tent living on Rose Hill, 1948 October 14 13 items (11 negatives, 1 envelope, 1 note card)
Documents the homes of the Perea (2701 Amethyst St.), and Allman (4000 Amethyst St.) families. On envelope: Slums - tents (Rose Hill).
1 3 219 N. Olive St., 1948 October 21 6 items (5 negatives, 1 envelope)
Exterior, interior, bedroom, kitchen, and inhabitants.
1 4 Burned out housing, circa 1948 5 items (4 negatives, 1 envelope)
Includes one interior scene with a woman and girl washing. On envelope: Fire (housing).
1 5 Chaney family, Hewitt St., 1950 April 21 2 items (1 negative, 1 envelope)
1 6 Fickett Hollow slums, 1950 July 22 7 items (3 negatives, 3 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Fickett Hollow area of Boyle Heights. Also includes a view of tenements behind City Hall.
Aliso St., 1952
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1 7 Demolition progress, 1952 June 2 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
1 8 Children, Aliso Alley, 1952 July 15 3 items (1 print, 1 negative, 1 envelope)
1 9 Fire, Aliso, 1952 September 12 6 items (3 negatives, 2 prints, 1 envelope)
Firefighters putting out a fire.
1 10 205 N. Flower, 1952 June 9 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
1 11 Ord St. near City Hall, 1952 June 12 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
Mission Road 1952
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1 12 Mission Rd., 1952 July 23 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
1 13 319 N. Mission Rd., 1952 August 22 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
Rehabilitating housing.
1 14 Seventh and Mateo streets, 1952 August 22 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
1 15 Seventh and Mateo and W. Third and San Pedro streets, 1952 July 17 10 items (5 negatives, 2 contact prints, 3 envelopes)
Includes views of Chávez Ravine. On envelope: Chávez (old ones).
1 16 730 W. Third St., 1952 July 17 4 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 2 envelopes)
View of tenement with outhouses.
1 17 Bauchet St., 1952 August 22 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Rear patio with boy standing under laundry lines.
1 18 Shacks and outhouse, undated 8 items (4 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope, 1 note card)
Shows one- and -two-story housing, an outhouse, and housing demolition. On envelope: Slums.
1 19 Slum house, Bowery, undated 5 items (4 negatives, 1 envelope)
Includes views of Jack's Place liquor store and Morning Star Mission storefronts.
1 20 Slums (location unidentifed), undated 20 items (19 negatives, 1 envelope)
Public housing projects, 1949, undated
Includes photographs of Ramona Gardens, Avalon Gardens, and Basilone Homes for Veterans.
Ramona Gardens is an historically Hispanic public housing development in Boyle Heights. It was designed by Housing Architects Associated (Ralph Flewelling, George J. Adams, Lloyd Wright, Lewis Eugene Wilson, and Eugene Weston Jr.). Building began in early 1940 and its first tenants moved in in January, 1941.
Rose Hill Courts, located at 4446 Florizel St. in Monteceto Heights was originally built as housing for World War II defense workers and was completed in 1942. After the war it became public housing.
Avalon Gardens is located in the Green Medows area of South Los Angeles. Built in 1941 for military families and veterans, it was opened to low income residents in 1947, although units did not become available until the 1950s due to the ongoing housing shortage.
Barracks for the US Army Corp of Engineers who were building Hansen Dam in 1940 occupied the site that became the racially integrated Basilone Homes for Veterans public housing project in Pacoima, which opened in 1947.
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1 21 Photo exhibition at Ramona Gardens, 1949 March 7 7 items (6 negatives, 1 envelope)
The images depict residents viewing an exhibition of Nadel's (?) work depicting community life and activities in Ramona Gardens.
Ramona Gardens is an historically Latino public housing development in Boyle Heights. It was designed by Housing Architects Associated (Ralph Flewelling, George J. Adams, Lloyd Wright, Lewis Eugene Wilson, and Eugene Weston Jr.). Building began in early 1940 and its first tenants moved in in January, 1941.
1 22 Rose Hill Courts, Avalon Gardens, undated 13 items (6 negatives, 5 contact prints, 1 envelope, 1 note card)
Primarily views of mixed groups of children playing outdoors.
Rose Hill Courts, located at 4446 Florizel St. in Monteceto Heights was originally built as housing for World War II defense workers and was completed in 1942. After the war it became public housing.
1 23 Avalon Gardens, undated 10 items (9 negatives, 1 envelope)
Depicts an outdoor carnival. Also included is a portrait of Georgia Ferris, a white girl.
Avalon Gardens is located in the Green Medows area of South Los Angeles. Built in 1941 for military families and veterans, it was opened to low income residents in 1947, although units did not become available until the 1950s due to the ongoing housing shortage.
Veterans housing, 1949, undated
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1 24 Inter-council conference, undated 3 items (2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Materials displayed on the walls relate to veterans housing.
1 25 Basilone homes, 1949 January 12 18 items (9 negatives, 8 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Homes for veterans sign. People playing in the snow. Children making snowman.
Barracks for the US Army Corp of Engineers who were building Hansen Dam in 1940 occupied the site that became the racially integrated Basilone Homes for Veterans public housing project in Pacoima, which opened in 1947.
Civic Center area, 1950-1951, undated
Includes views of downtown Los Angeles's civic buildings and the slums in their immediate vicinity.
box folder
1 26 View of City Hall and Federal Building, 1950 May 1 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
1 27 Civic Center views, 1951 January 10 21 items (10 negatives, 10 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Views of Los Angeles taken from a tower; views of City Hall; and views of the Los Angeles River.
1 28 Demolition, Civic Center, First Street, 1951 July 13 32 items (16 negatives, 14 contact prints, 2 envelopes)
1 29 Tenements near City Hall, undated 4 items (2 negatives, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
Exterior views. Includes a view of the Los Angeles River.
San Pedro, 1950-1952
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1 30 Channel Heights, 1950 June 16 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
View of housing with children playing on lawn.
The Channel Heights Housing Project was built for defense workers at the port of San Pedro. It was designed by Richard Neutra in 1942.
1 31 Rancho San Pedro grading, 1952 July 24 11 items (5 negatives, 5 contact prints, 1 envelope)
S. Mesa to Centre and W. First to Second St. area.
Rancho San Pedro was constructed in 1942 for defense workers and was converted to public housing in 1952.
Elysian Park Heights project, 1950-1997, undated
Elysian Park Heights was HACLA's proposed public housing project meant to replace the semi-rural, predominantly Mexican-American neighborhoods of La Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop and the surrounding hillside grazing lands in Chávez Ravine. In the nineteenth-century, Chávez Ravine was owned by Julian Chávez, a rancher, landowner, and local official. A pest house for smallpox sufferers, a Jewish cemetery, and brick factories were also located in the ravine.
By 1951, the area was home to over 1,800 families, many of whom owned their own homes. Yet the ravine's proximity to downtown Los Angeles made it highly desirable real estate, and a narrative of a poor, "blighted" community was spun by HACLA and other players who wished to see the area redeveloped. HACLA began acquiring the land in 1951 through both voluntary sales and the process of eminent domain, and most of the existing properties were razed between 1952 and 1953.
The planned public housing development, which would have converted the ravine's housing from single-family homes to high- and –low-rise apartments and doubled the number of families living in the area, was designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander. Yet, with the ravine vacated of most of its residents and original housing, the tide turned in 1953 when Norris Poulson, an opponent of public housing, was elected mayor of Los Angeles. Under the claim that public housing was "un-American," the Elysian Park Heights project was halted before building began. After an extended struggle over ownership the land was eventually purchased by the city of Los Angeles under the condition that it be used for a "public purpose." More years of wrangling over the land's development ensued until finally the definition of "public purpose" was stretched to include the building of a baseball stadium. Walter O'Malley, who was looking for a new home for the Brooklyn Dodgers, purchased Chávez Ravine from the city in 1958, with the land consequently reverting to private ownership.
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1 32 Chávez views, 1950 April-1950 June 54 items (27 negatives, 22 contact prints, 4 envelopes, 1 note card)
Views of Chávez Ravine depict the rural nature of the area with animals grazing on its open hillsides and unpaved roads leading to dense clusters of houses. Includes views of Bishop Rd. and Effie St., Chávez Ravine Rd. and Lilac Terrace, and Chávez Ravine Rd. Shot on 23 April, 1 May, and 6 June. Also includes views of the city from the ravine. For the joined panorama (12-123 a-c) see Box 13, Folder 1.
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13 3 Panoramas, 1950-1997, undated 13 items (11 photographic prints, 2 items)
Two two-part panoramic photographs, and a third, single view, and eight small joined panoramas (comprising two, three, or five photographs). The panoramas depict the area before and during land grading. Also includes notes by Nadel on Chávez Ravine and print-outs of Los Angeles Times articles.
box folder
1 33 Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles from Elysian Park, circa 1950 10 items (4 negatives, 4 contact prints, 1 envelope, 1 note card)
Looking towards City Hall.
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2 1 View of City Hall, circa 1950 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
City Hall seen through palm trees in Chávez Ravine.
2 2 Dirt roads, Chávez, 1950 April 21 27 items (12 negatives, 12 contact prints, 1 envelope, 2 note cards)
Boys and girls outside and playing street baseball. Includes views of streets (Effie St. and Brooks Ave., Davis and Curtis streets, Spruce and Effie streets); houses; and a view of the hill looking towards the city.
2 3 Street scenes, 1950 April 23 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Children on dirt roads, one image includes a milk truck parked on the side of the road. On envelope: Chávez Ravine: play areas, children, old man, landscapes, bad streets.
2 4 Sheep grazing, 1950 April 29 and 1950 May 1 20 items (14 negatives, 3 contact prints, 1 envelope, 2 note cards)
Views of the hillsides and slopes of Chávez ravine; a shepherd and his sheep; and two women talking in front of a quonset hut house. Includes negatives for the seven joined panoramas of the ravine housed in Box 13, Folder 1. On envelope: Views of Chávez Ravine.
2 5 Yolo Dr. and Pine St., circa 1950 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Children playing in streets; two girls sitting on the rear bumper of a car.
2 6 Robert Alexander with two kids, 1950 August 31 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
Architects' conference on Elysian Park, 1950
box folder
2 7 Architects' conference, 1950 October 2 46 items (11 negatives, 33 prints, 1 envelope, 1 note card)
Architects depicted include Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, Patterson, and Mr. Cimino from the Development Division.
2 8 Chávez architects' conference, 1950 13 items (12 negatives, 1 envelope)
Participants include: Charles Waldman of HACLA; Reynald Jackson; Mr. Mayer, Managment Director; Mr. Sweeting, Chief Project Planner; and Mr. Cimino, Development Division.
2 9 Architects, 1950 5 items (4 negatives, 1 envelope)
Includes Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, and Cimino. On envelope: Chávez architect's conference: Neutra, Alex., Cimino.
2 10 Drafting department and development division, 1950 October 2 25 items (12 negatives, 12 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Occupational portraits of Pete Perez, Lou Clerging [?], Jack Thass [?], and Sam Beckett.
2 11 Personnel, circa 1950 9 items (8 negatives, 1 envelope)
Portraits of Sid Grun [?], Clinton Arnold, Vicki Alonzo, Gracie, Botsy, Manny, and Ignacio Lopez.
2 12 Portraits, circa 1950 5 items (3 negatives, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
Identified on envelope: Rosen, F. W. [Frank Wilkinson], Nadel, Cimino. Also includes an unidentified woman.
2 13 Panorama of Lookout Mt. area, 1951 December 5 5 items (3 negatives, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
2 14 Views and meetings, 1952, undated 32 items ( 21 negatives, 10 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Views of the ravine; images from a conference or hearing including speakers, presenters, an installation shot of a wall display labeled "Growing Pains: Problems of the Industrial City," and portraits of participants, including a portrait of Tash Koshida (dated 21 May 1952). Also includes an image of a tenement near City Hall. No manilla envelope.
Demolition, 1952
box folder
2 15 Chávez demolition work, 1952 June 12 and 1952 July 8 7 items (3 negatives, 3 contact prints,1 envelope)
Curtis St. near Paducah and La Loma streets.
2 16 Demolition, fires, and house moving, 1952 June 24 15 items (7 negatives, 7 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Includes homes and buildings being demolished, burned, or moved to new sites.
2 17 Broad views of demolition, 1952 July 8 11 items (4 negatives, 4 contact prints, 3 envelopes)
Chávez Ravine, view from Curtis St.
2 18 Demolition in the ravine, circa 1952 14 items (13 negatives, 1 envelope)
Includes views of slopes with houses, children playing, and a ranchito. On envelope: Chávez (old ones).
2 19 Mailboxes, 1952 July 8 3 items (1 negative, 1 contact print, 1 envelope)
Mabrina [?] and Effie streets.
2 20 Elysian Park Heights trial, 1952 September 3 17 items (6 negatives, 5 contact prints, 5 envelopes, 1 note card)
On envelope: Elysian Garden Trail. Identified on envelope are: Carleton Williams (Los Angeles Times), Magnus [?] White (Los Angeles Examiner), Welton Weber (Assistant City District Attorney), and Clara McDonald. Possibly one of the eviction trails for residents who refused to leave the ravine.
2 21 Mexican dance group at Palo Verde School, undated 34 items (10 negatives, 22 contact prints, 1 envelope, 1 note card)
2 22 Portrait of an older Black man, undated 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
On envelope: Chávez.
Frank Wilkinson, 1950-1997, undated
In 1952, Frank Wilkinson, the assistant director of HACLA, was accused by real estate interests of being a Communist due to his championship of the proposed Elysian Park Heights housing project. He refused to state his political affiliations when under oath during hearings related to the matter and was fired from HACLA in 1953. He was a life-long civil liberties activist and a leading opponent of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
box folder
13 2 Correspondence and articles, 1950-1997 10 items
Letter from Nadel to Edward Roybal. Letter from Clarence R. Johnson to Wilkinson. Letter from Wilkinson to Evelyn Nadel. Articles by Wilkinson and about Wilkinson.
2 23 Wilkinson housing tour, undated 18 items (10 negatives, 7 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Annotations on envelope: NYC housing tour; Wilkinson housing tour. Many images show Wilkinson surveying and climbing among demolition rubble.
Hearings, publicity, 1951-1953
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2 24 Citizens Against Socialist Housing (CASH) and Mayor's hearings, circa 1951-1953 27 items (13 negatives, 13 contact prints, 1 envelope)
CASH was led by Frederick Dockweiler, a lawyer active in Los Angeles and California political issues, especially as an opponent of public housing initiatives.
On envelope: CASH and Mayor's hearings.
2 25 Housing Authority campaign (television), 1952 June 2 7 items (3 negatives, 3 contact prints, 1 envelope)
2 26 Protesters picketing public housing, 1952 June 28 5 items (2 negatives, 2 contact prints, 1 envelope)
Protesters, primarily women, carrying signs opposing public housing and Mayor Bowron's policies. On envelope: Protest picketing. Margaret Hess is identified on the envelope (as one of the protesters?).


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