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Collected photographs and postcards of Los Angeles, California and vicinity, circa 1857-1940

To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the library catalog record for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for general library access policy. See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
Guide to the J. Paul Getty Collected Photographs and Postcards of Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1857-1940
Series I. Photographic prints
This series comprises black-and-white photographs of early California (1857-1940s). J. Paul Getty collected these images; they reflect his interest in Los Angeles and the coastal region of Santa Monica and Malibu. The bulk of the images trace the development of Los Angeles from a small pueblo to a bustling city and show the Santa Monica coastline, canyons, and mountains prior to their development. The collection also contains several photographs of waterfront communities and resorts to the north and south of Los Angeles, a few shots of California missions, and one of the Redwoods. Within this series are also a few photographs of New York City and a photograph of an unidentified weightlifting competition.
Many of the photographs in this collection were originally collected by Charles C. Pierce (1861-1946). Several photographs in this collection are attributed to Adelbert Bartlett (1887-1966).
This series contains approximately 186 black-and-white photographic prints (plus four duplicates) ranging from 5 x 7 to 8 x 10 inches in size.
Please Note: Photographic negatives have been created from some of the prints. The negatives are housed in box 1986.AI.29-3.
Arrangement note
The photographs in this series are arranged in binders by geographic region, divided by tabs. They are arranged chronologically within each geographic region. Their original order has been retained.
1986.IA.29-01 Long Beach "Bathing beauties," 1900 (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)
1986.IA.29-02 Los Angeles, 1857-1930 (83 photographs, 8 x 10 inches and 2 photographs, 6 x 8 inches)
These photographs depict street scenes from locations in the heart of Los Angeles. Most of them bear captions written by J. Paul Getty describing cross streets and vantage points. Some of the buildings and events noted are Central High School (labeled as Los Angeles High School), the residence of Able Stearns, a Main Street parade, Pico House, Fort Moore Hill, San Pedro, Washington Gardens, Opening day of cable car service (June 8, 1889), Hamburger's (People's) Store, Hotel Westminster, Mason Opera House, Hotel Angeles, Blanchard Hall, Pacific Electric building, Call Building (burning on April 18, 1906), Los Angeles Furniture Company, Hotel Alexandria, Hotel Lankershim, and Los Angeles Plaza. The oldest images are two photographs of what appear to be sketches of Los Angeles (1857 and 1864).
1986.IA.29-02 Missions San Luis Rey, Santa Inéz, and San Antonio de Pádua, undated (3 photographs, 5 x 7 inches)
1986.IA.29-02 New York City: 5th Avenue, Delmonico's, and the Vanderbilt residence, circa 1876-1920 (3 photographs, 8 x 10 inches)
1986.IA.29-01 Ocean Park: pier, beach, bath house, and La Monica Ballroom, 1890-1926 (7 photographs ranging from 5 x 7 to 8 x 10 inches)
1986.IA.29-01 Playa del Rey, 1908 (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)
1986.IA.29-02 Redwoods of Cathedral Grove, circa 1900s (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)
1986.IA.29-01 Santa Monica and neighboring areas, 1875-1940 and undated (67 photographs, ranging from 5 x 7 to 8 x 10 inches)
These photographs focus on the coastlines, canyons, landscapes, and cityscapes of Santa Monica, Malibu, and Pacific Palisades. Hand-written captions include references to the Santa Monica Hotel, Hotel Arcadia, Las Flores Inn, Santa Monica Beach Club, the Lighthouse Café, bath houses, Santa Monica Pier, Southern Pacific Long Wharf, Santa Monica Bank, Ocean View Avenue, the stage road, fishermen's villages, road racers, Miramar Hotel, Miramar Estates opening, Castellemare, Castle Rock, and Arch Rock. They also include one photograph of what appears to be a photogravure depicting Santa Monica Pier and surrounding area in 1880; one photograph of a collage of the Southern Pacific Long Wharf; and one photograph of a sketch of Santa Monica Hotel.
Significant to Getty history are 1927 and 1929 photographs of Claude Parker's Ranch and the surrounding hills, the current site of the Getty Ranch House and Villa Museum in Malibu.
1986.IA.29-01 Topanga Canyon and the Outside Inn, circa 1918 (10 photographs, 5 x 7 inches)
1986.IA.29-01 Venice: pier, swimmers, and aerial view of city, 1905-1918 (7 photographs, ranging from 6 x 8 to 8 x 10 inches)
1986.IA.29-02 Weightlifting competition, circa 1920s (1 photograph, 8 x 10 inches)

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