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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

Scope and Content of Collection

Consisting primarily of photographic material produced by Leonard Nadel between 1947 and 1957, the archive records early efforts by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to to create public housing for the city's growing population, and also documents several areas of the city that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) targeted for commercial revitalization. Nadel's black-and-white negatives and contact prints form the bulk of the material, supplemented by handwritten notes and related documents. Also included are two unpublished books produced by Nadel.

Series I comprises Nadel's documentation of HACLA and CRA projects in the 1940s and 1950s. His work as a documentary photographer for HACLA records living conditions in the slum areas of Los Angeles and, to some extent, the new housing projects that replaced them, including Avalon Gardens, Rose Hill Courts, Ramona Gardens, and the unrealized Elysian Park Heights project. 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 both slum and project life in post-war Los Angeles. Also included are photographs of the planning meetings of city officials and architects including Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, and Lloyd Wright.

Nadel also documented several areas of the city that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) targeted for commercial revitalization in the 1940s and 1950s. He made meticulous photographic surveys, sometimes block by block, of the slums and historic areas targeted for demolition and redevelopment, including Bunker Hill, the Temple Street area, Ann Street, and the Alameda Street area. Documentation of the Bunker Hill Renewal Project is particularly extensive.

Series II contains Nadel's unpublished books and related material on Pueblo del Rio and Aliso Village, the two HACLA projects that Nadel documented most extensively. Through photographs and text, two large leather-bound volumes tell in detail the stories of the two housing projects, focusing not just on the architecture and layout of the complexes, but also recording the family life and project-supported social networks of their tenants.

Arrangement

Arranged in two series:
Series I. Projects related to housing and urban redevelopment, 1947-1998, undated;
Series II. Unpublished books, 1947-1994, undated.




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